President Barack Obama Monday told Americans his actions had stopped a “massacre” in Libya, but warned a military campaign to oust Muammar Qadhafi could repeat the bloodshed and misery of Iraq.
Obama mounted a firm defense of his decision to launch air strikes and launch a no-fly zone as part of an international coalition to protect civilians after the teetering Arab strongman threatened his own people with a bloodbath.
He justified the operation as vital to honoring US “interests and values,” rejected claims he had been too slow to act, and made clear to war-weary Americans that the future US role would be limited.
“In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly Zone with our allies and partners,” Obama said in a televised speech.
The US leader said he had no choice but to act with international partners after Qadhafi rejected an offer to stop his “campaign of killing” and his forces surged towards the key city of Benghazi.
“Qadhafi declared that he would show ‘no mercy’ to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment,” Obama said.
“I refused to let that happen.” Obama admitted that there was “no question” that Libya and the world would be better off if Qadhafi went, and vowed to pursue his ouster in a manner that stopped short of a military bid to eject him from power.
“If we tried to overthrow Qadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter,” he warned. “We would likely have to put US troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq.”
“Regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.”
As international powers begin to contemplate the task of framing a political future in Libya without Qadhafi, Obama warned that they faced a “difficult task.”
“Forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong institutions,” Obama said, calling on the international community to join the Libyan people to build their future.
The critical address came on the eve of a major international conference on next steps on Libya in London, and as Libyan rebels, aided by coalition bombardments, make quick gains against loyalist forces.
Obama has faced a rising storm of criticism in recent days, especially from lawmakers who argued they were not fully consulted on the operation.
Congress has the sole constitutional power to declare war, but Obama aides said they had no time to request authorization as the humanitarian crisis was so acute, and maintain the operation in Libya falls short of full scale war.
“If the American people are uncertain as to our military objectives in Libya, it’s with good cause,” said Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican on Monday.
“The president has failed to explain up to this point what follows the evident establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya, as it was originally described.
“Further, the president has articulated a wider political objective of regime change in Libya that is not the stated objective of our military intervention.”
do you agree with usa's position on libya?
I think perhaps the Allies are acting because they believe a massacre was about to occur (with the oil in the back of their minds). But nearly all these interventions have ended badly. I won't bother to list them, we all know what they were.
It just doesn't hang right proposing to bomb people to teach them the error of their ways. I think Gaddafi is a despicable old tyrant, but perhaps not the worst. Along with any atrocities, he has done a lot of good for Libya (Irrigation, oil, etc.). There are many worse running around in African states and the Chinese occupation of Tibet has gone unpunished by the west. There are many more. Meanwhile, we lend tacit support to Israel and all the rest.
On balance. Time will have to tell on this one; we'll see what history writes. The surprising fact of this to me is to see Cameron emerging as such a hawk! Bob
yes, i agree with the US position in Libya... hope we bomb the hell out of every military vehicle and weapon Ghadafi has... but I alao wish the international community would give the rebels arms as well so that they can take care of the fight on the ground against his goons...
TRIPOLI, LIBYA—A Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to tell foreign journalists how she was gang raped by Moammar Gadhafi's troops will face criminal charges, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
The spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said the men accused by Iman al-Obeidi are now suing her. A son of a high ranking Libyan official was among those she claimed had raped her, he said.
“The boys she accused are bringing a case against her because it's a very grave offence to accuse someone of a sexual crime,” Ibrahim told reporters in the Libyan capital.
Al-Obeidi made headlines when she rushed distraught into Tripoli's Rixos Hotel on Saturday, seeking to speak to foreign media. She claimed she was detained by a number of Gadhafi troops at a Tripoli checkpoint on Wednesday.
She said they were drinking whisky and handcuffed her, and that 15 men later raped her.
Al-Obeidi's claim could not be independently verified. The Associated Press only identifies rape victims who volunteer their names.
As she started to tell her story, al-Obeidi was tackled by waitresses and government minders and dragged away from the hotel, and has since been missing. Her parents claim she is held hostage at Gadhafi's compound in the Libyan capital.
Libyan authorities have alternately labelled al-Obeidi a drunk, a prostitute and a thief.
Ibrahim on Tuesday refused to discuss al-Obeidi's whereabouts.
But in an interview with the AP on Sunday, he had said she was with her sister in the Libyan capital. He also said at the time that police have a file on al-Obeidi for prostitution and petty theft.
However, al-Obeidi's parents told satellite Al Jazeera TV on Monday that their daughter is a lawyer now pursuing a postgraduate degree.
The mother said she received a phone call Monday from an unidentified caller, purportedly from the Gadhafi camp, telling her al-Obeidi is held at the Tripoli compound and asking her to instruct her daughter to change the rape claim in return for freedom and other benefits such as cash or a new house.
The parents lauded their daughter's courage in stepping forward about her ordeal. It was unclear where they spoke from and Al Jazeera did not provide their names.
The London-based Amnesty International said Monday that al-Obeidi's account was “stomach-churning” and called on Libyan authorities to launch “an independent and impartial investigation” into the case, reveal al-Obeidi's whereabouts and set her free.
"On Libya, I was the first to question whether our involvement was constitutional and productive towards building a more peaceful world. Muammar Gaddafi is a barbaric, backwards leader, but our intervention may not help build peace. We're supporting armed rebels that we know little about, and we're fighting without a clear strategy or understanding about the humanitarian atrocities that predicated our intervention. And while we creep into our third war in the general region, we are ignoring our massive challenges here at home - poverty, retirement security, healthcare, and jobs.
One thing is clear: we should have a debate about this in Congress, as our constitution requires. We should challenge the conventional wisdom that this war is necessary or that it somehow helps build peace. We simply should not accept, blindly, that war is always necessary and that our nation and our world must persist in a state of violence.
I am going to continue to speak out to challenge the type of thinking that takes us into war, as I challenged the thinking that took us into Iraq, that keeps us in Afghanistan, and, now, that brings us into Libya.
It is time that we asked ourselves, once again, "What kind of a country do we want?" If we want a country that's forever on the warpath, well that's what we have right now. But if we want a nation that uses its resources to create a good life for the people in this country while at the same time having the resources to protect America, we can achieve this. And I'm dedicated to that mission."
From a blogger:
"Well, knock me over with a feather! 'Libyan rebels' to start oil exports soon 27 Mar 2011 Oil fields in rebel-held territory in Libya are producing between 100,000 and 130,000 barrels a day, and the opposition plans to begin exporting oil "in less than a week", a rebel representative said on Sunday. "We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day, we can easily up that to about 300,000 a day," said Ali Tarhoni, the rebel representative responsible for economy, finance and oil, at a news conference. He said the [US-funded] rebel government had agreed an oil contract with Qatar, which would market the crude, and that he expected exports to begin in "less than a week". [Well, at least there's no doubt as to why the USociopaths invaded.]"
And, Webster Tarpley says the rebels are really CIA trained. One blogger said they were trained in Africa by Xe.
Think about it...they're pretty proffesional for country rebels.
But I just don't get Israel's role...why send mercenaries to help Khaddafi? I thought we and Israel were on the same team...the PNAC trail?
it did I'm serious just believe Obama he never tells a lie!!!
I guess we hold Libya in higher esteem than most other African nations. The conflicts in these countries are pale in comparison.
3 Burkina Faso
8 Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo)
9 Congo-Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)
10 Côte d'Ivoire
34 Sao Tome and Principe
36 Sierra Leone
38 South Africa
45 Western Sahara
Millions of people have died in these wars. Why are we all of a sudden so "Interested" in Libya?
"Millions of people have died in these wars. Why are we all of a sudden so "Interested" in Libya?"
"Some 40 foreign ministers are taking part in the conference on Tuesday, which is aimed at seeking a plan for Gadhafi's exit from power."
Divide the spoils.
I loved it when Georgie Boy used the term "America's Interests" to qualify his response to any action he started and now the circle is complete with Obama using the same terminology.
Maybe someday one of these guys will define what "America's Interests" really means.
Obama in Audacity of Hope: "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?"
http://bit.ly/ ghb6DT fieldproducer Syrian State TV
Good one, LaLo! (See rhamson's exhaustive list of places we could intervene -- and that's just Africa!).
But... obviously the US cannot (nor should/would we want to) intervene in every country's business. We cannot be the saviors of the world. Heck, we're not even saviors to ourselves!
I think the difference between Libya and Iraq/Afghanistan is that Libya is not a US-LED initiative. We are part of a coalition. This is not US revenge or aggression against perceived imminent threats to our citizens.
It's nice to see the US actually coming to the table and not owning the table for a change...
Yeah, but there is always a hitch. I have to wonder if by Libya having their cival war it doesn't create some sort of concern by the administration that there may be some competition for the oil we are buying from other countries. We may run into some serious competition from them and that is something we can't afford especially now.
Don't kid yourself the US led the assault in Libya
If they did then it wasn't their idea. Obama was still twiddling his thumbs when Sarkozy first sought the approval of the closest allies to France (the UK) and the UK had teamed up with the French long before Obama got involved.
It was a minor assault, the US really wasn't needed this time. I wouldn't rule out the US wanted a slice of the pie though, if the west intends to carve up Libya for the oil, that may explain the need for Obama to get involved.
Hence the pass on all the other African countries in their tribal genocides. We pass because there's not monetary threat for the US. It's a trouble meant for humanitarian organizations to handle, not government, according to the US.
We really are driven by the money machines. And Obama is pretty bent on righting the ills of the world with some kind of grand world order scheme. In his mind, he is as benevolent as Khadafi, who helped all the peasants in his country irrigate their crops.
But this is my jaded view of politics, period. I bash equally both parties of politics in the US.
It does appear to be a major coincidence that the 'coalition' had just three members, all of whom house major oil corporations.
The British have got BP and half of Royal Dutch Shell, the French have got Total S.A., the Americans have got Exxon and Chevron.
So there you go, four oil giants protecting the liberties of the Libyan people*
* and their profits
the coalition has more than just 3 members
OK, just checked, so they have 5.
They also have Canada (pretty much the US), and Italy (Libya was once a colony of Italy).
So I just need to add a couple of oil companies then.
Italy have Eni (30% owned by the Italian government), Canada has plenty listed on the NASDAQ.
So the same sentiments apply, the oil corps attack Gaddafi.
Nah, less then 5...they have France, so that is pretty much just like the a big brother to the UK.
Funny how half of those who are against the effort are claiming that the US has no vital interests in Libya, while the other half are saying the due to oil, the exact opposite is true.
As far as the old 'in it for the oil' argument goes, if that was the case, then the last thing that the coalition would want is a long prolonged war in Libya.
They would have preferred the stability of a quick Qadhafi victory (which was about to happen by the looks of it), rather than destabilizing the flow of oil and increasing the uncertainty in the region.
And that would be why the French are relying on the British for nuclear technology. After the alliance was signed it turned out that part of the defence pact was to share aircraft carriers. And how many did France have? One. Yes, the whole country had one aircraft carrier.
Big Brother, that is most funny. They have a decent airforce, that is about it.
What do you know about our new military alliance with France? I can tell you that it is a clear move away from alliance with the US, probably because of Obama's attitude towards us.
The Americans aren't happy about it, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … sador.html
But the British public have wanted to cut ties with the Americans for a long time now. Primarily because of a complete lack of respect, and bruises from the Blair regime.
The Italians are the single biggest buyer of Libyan oil, read into that what you wish, but that only serves to support my claim. The Irish buy a lot too. The coalition wants to make sure the oil wells are kept open, that is all, there is nothing humanitarian about it. If the Irish can't buy from Libya, then they buy from Norway and the UK, and that pushes up the price of oil for much of central Europe. In fact, it pushes up the price of oil globally.
In the words of John Bolton "Who can the U.S. rely on?". They are running out of friends. In other words, our Prime Minister can buy his own DVDs from Amazon
Maybe it will change again in the future. But in the past decade we have followed the US into a sham war, and then been brused aside by Obama, and British-American relations are increasingly non-existant.
I probably know about as much about UK/France relations as you do about Canadian foreign policy and that of the US.. which isn't very much.
I do know that by listing examples of countries that have relied on the steady flow of oil from Libya, you are showing exactly why the coalition forces would NOT want a prolonged Libyan conflict if their interests were simply about oil.
The conflict was already happening, the rebels had already captured most of the oil fields.
What would Gadaffi had done if he had captured these? probably have blown them up, the bloke is a billionaire, remember Saddam? He set alight to his oil fields when the US invaded.
The coalition didn't start their efforts until AFTER Gadaffi had recaptured most of the area he had lost at the begiining, and was on the verge of taking back the last rebel stronghold.
That's why so many critics condemn Obama for 'acting too late'
"This is not US revenge or aggression against perceived imminent threats to our citizens."
Sooooo, what exactly is OUR National interest in making sure Libya is free from a dictator, he wasn't bothering us.
please see title of OP's forum topic re "we stopped massacre in Libya"
How exactly is that in the interest of the United States?
There are massacres occurring in Mexico.
Is that next?
Maybe it's me.. I always believed that America was willing to stand by those who were being slaughtered for simply standing up for their freedoms. My bad.
I'm not willing to send more troops to a country that doesn't like us.
I'm not willing to relinquish military control to NATO.
I do not want to see my country involved with France/Britain or any other country unwilling to die for Americans in the way we were willing to die for them.
The leadership doesn't like you... the people want the same freedom you value.
NATO is an alliance. The US is the ultimate 'decider' of how its forces are being deployed.
I can't speak for what France or Britain would do.... but I am sure when the war in Wisconsin gears up, Canada will be willing to send in troops (if only to watch the Jays beat the Brewers)
"The leadership doesn't like you... the people want the same freedom you value."
We fought for ours with a little help from France.
So can they.
If it wasn't for France helping you out in the revolution, you might all be looking and talking like Susan Boyle now
"Don't kid yourself the US led the assault in Libya". Yes - has, does and will.
So Obama is taking the full credit for something that was acually the idea of French prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy? He was the first to propose strategic military strikes, and at the time sought the approval of Nato.
He had proposed that, as had the British government which followed, long before Obama and his cronies had even mentioned military action in any statement.
“I refused to let that happen.”. That's called stealing the credit. The French and British sought NATO permission to engage in military action, they got the permission, the US joined them.
Whilst it is good to see three military allies work together, the French and British would have done it alone if the US preferred, that was pretty clear. So if anybody supports the military action in Libya, and the way that it has been orchostrated thus far, then any platitudes should be directed at this man:
Who didn't get a pass mention. The French actually did the riskiest part of the operation, the US operated from the safety of the sea, it was the French pilots that had to dodge the anti-aircraft missiles. It is little things like this which really grate on me when it comes to Obama, and perhaps American politics in general, the need to be the heros or the saviours of the world all the time and with little willingness to share or acknowledge the important role played by others.
I really liked the Sarkozy way, I wouldn't have liked to have seen the American way.
"But this is my jaded view of politics, period." Don't think it is jaded enough to correspond to the deep, dark "Inner Sanctum" truth.
Stopped a massacre - except for all those civilians who got massacred while obama dithered. If Sarkozy hadn't finally run out of patience with President "Watch me fill out my brackets while the world falls apart!" there might not be any civilians left there at all by now. As it is we have no idea where the end of this is supposed to be or really who we are 'supporting.' We may be setting the stage for massive humiliation and entrenching Quadaffy more than ever, or creating the next Al Quaeda. No one has a freakin' clue what we are doing, which is what happens when you put an inexerpienced, unqualified community organizer with nerves of memory foam in the White House.
The French and British were prepared to go ahead without US involvement, if it weren't for the requirement to get NATO permission, Obama probably wouldn't have been consulted.
But then they wouldn't want the US involved would they? The pie would have been shared between two, and now it is being shared between three.
Call me cynical if you want, I probably am. But Obama got involved because Chevron and Exxon would have been unhappy if he hadn't.
Of course they would want us involved. Where do you think the vast majority of the Tomahawk missiles being used in all this come from? And the logistics and coordinating technology?
obama initially said nothing, then was afraid to say nothing so he blustered but did nothing, then he was afraid to do nothing but had no idea what to do. So he played golf, danced in Rio, and watched the NCAA tournament until the adults decided for him.
which massacre? The one of the rebels or the one of Gaddafi's forces? Is one okay and the other not?
I have no vital interests in the area according to DOD Gates.
""we stopped massacre in Libya"". The new war doctrine called 'Humanitarian Intervention', as enunciated by Obama yesterday, applicable to any country in the world.
If the circumstances permit, then the international community should act to help to prevent massacres....
or should foreign policy not give a damn about that?
"to prevent massacres...." Big demonstrations in Wisconsin. There is going to be a massacre. We better invade. Anybody can say anything. Lets arrest him before commits murder.
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