WASHINGTON — There may be less than meets the eye to President Barack Obama's statements Monday night that NATO is taking over from the U.S. in Libya and that U.S. action is limited to defending people under attack there by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.
And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion — coordinated or not — to advance an offensive.
Here is a look at some of Obama's assertions in his address to the nation Monday, and how they compare with the facts:
Top stories: Turmoil in the Middle East NYT: Washington debates arming Libyan rebels
Updated 96 minutes ago 3/30/2011 4:07:24 PM +00:00 Libya rebels beat rapid retreat east under fire
Updated 46 minutes ago 3/30/2011 4:57:32 PM +00:00 Syrian president fails to lift emergency laws
Obama: 'Gadhafi will ultimately step down'
Are Libyan rebels al-Qaida sympathizers?
Top diplomats agree: Gadhafi needs to go
Israel considering annexing West Bank settlements
NBC's Ron Allen answers questions about Middle East
..OBAMA: "Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and no-fly zone. ... This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday. Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gadhafi's remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role — including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation — to our military, and to American taxpayers — will be reduced significantly."
THE FACTS: As by far the pre-eminent player in NATO, and a nation historically reluctant to put its forces under operational foreign command, the United States will not be taking a back seat in the campaign even as its profile diminishes for public consumption.
NATO partners are bringing more into the fight. But the same "unique capabilities" that made the U.S. the inevitable leader out of the gate will continue to be in demand. They include a range of attack aircraft, refueling tankers that can keep aircraft airborne for lengthy periods, surveillance aircraft that can detect when Libyans even try to get a plane airborne, and, as Obama said, planes loaded with electronic gear that can gather intelligence or jam enemy communications and radars.
Advertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoices
Advertise | AdChoices
.The United States supplies 22 percent of NATO's budget, almost as much as the next largest contributors — Britain and France — combined. A Canadian three-star general, Charles Bouchard, was selected to be in charge of all NATO operations in Libya. Bouchard is deputy commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples. The command's top officer is an American admiral, Samuel Locklear, and Locklear's boss is the supreme allied commander Europe, a post always held by an American.
OBAMA: "Our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives."
THE FACTS: Even as the U.S. steps back as the nominal leader, reduces some assets and fires a declining number of cruise missiles, the scope of the mission appears to be expanding and the end game remains unclear.
Other political news of note Obama talks energy policy as gas prices climb
Updated 53 minutes ago 3/30/2011 4:50:47 PM +00:00 Seeking to show he understands the burden of rising gas prices, President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal of reducing U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025, and vowed to break through the political gridlock that has stymied similar initiatives for decades.
Updated 28 minutes ago 3/30/2011 5:15:41 PM +00:00 Dems hint at flexibility in budget talks
House plans symbolic budget vote as pressure on Senate mounts
Lawmakers seek answers on Libya
House, Senate No. 2s battle over federal budget
..Despite insistences that the operation is only to protect civilians, the airstrikes now are undeniably helping the rebels to advance. U.S. officials acknowledge that the effect of air attacks on Gadhafi's forces — and on the supply and communications links that support them — is useful if not crucial to the rebels. "Clearly they're achieving a benefit from the actions that we're taking," Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said Monday.
The Pentagon has been turning to air power of a kind more useful than high-flying bombers in engaging Libyan ground forces. So far these have included low-flying Air Force AC-130 and A-10 attack aircraft, and the Pentagon is considering adding armed drones and helicopters.
Obama said "we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people," but spoke of achieving that through diplomacy and political pressure, not force of U.S. arms.
OBAMA: Seeking to justify military intervention, the president said the U.S. has "an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful - yet fragile - transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the U.N. Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America."
THE FACTS: Obama did not wait to make that case to Congress, despite his past statements that presidents should get congressional authorization before taking the country to war, absent a threat to the nation that cannot wait.
"The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize and military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," he told The Boston Globe in 2007 in his presidential campaign. "History has shown us time and again ... that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch."
Obama's defense secretary, Robert Gates, said Sunday that the crisis in Libya "was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest."
TO READ THE REST OF THIS STORY, SEE THE LINK BELOW.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42314188/ns … ite_house/
Give us a break, you've already answered this one! Only point I will add is what politicos tell us is like the iceberg of information: the sounds bites we are allowed and the real stuff (most of it) kept away from the ignorant parvenu...Bob
Oh exactly Bob!! Politico is a rogue outfit! Operation Mockingbird type stuff!!
They show up out of the blue, and all of a sudden, are THE place to go for "news"?
And, who's that guy who took over Olbermann's time-slot?? Can't think!
Anyway, he made a big stink about the fact that the Congress DID authorize this action. They voted on it.
He was making a stink because he said Rand Paul is lying when he says Obama did not consult Congress.
They took a vote on it, and Rand voted electronically.
Now Paul is claiming Obama did it on his own, and this guy on MSNBC is calling HIM on it!
Lawrence O’Donnell: Rand Paul’s Unanimous Consent Vote On Libya http://dlvr.it/MCfBD
by Flightkeeper 7 years ago
President Flip Flop, as a senator, opposed the "dumb war" against dictator Saddam Hussein but supports "kinetic military action" against dictator Kadaffy. Unfortunately for him, it's not going so well because the rebels are an undisciplined rag tag bunch without a...
by RKHenry 9 years ago
I just watched a portion of Obama's town hall meeting in France. I would like to know what the rest of you thought about it. Was it a successful or was it a failure? Did he poise himself better than past American Presidents? Or was it just the same?I know, despite what some...
by ahorseback 2 years ago
Is it really true that President Obama has never visited the Normandy celebration of WWII ? Of the six times that An American president has NOT been to Normandy on the celebration day , all 6 of these no -shows are President Obama's to celebrate ?
by OLYHOOCH 7 years ago
A NEWS FLASH, to Mr Obama, from, WE THE PEOPLE. There are 3.4 Billion of us, SENIORS.We are wise to your, OBAMA PLOY'S.Obama Care, no thanks.......Libya NO FLY ZONE TRICK, this will end soon and you think, WE THE PEOPLE, will give you our votes because you will say, YOU prevented another WAR....
by ahorseback 10 months ago
How much racism do you think President Obama's terms CREATED rather than cured? Did he help or hurt the overall cause of race relations ?
by Deforest 5 years ago
How come my president is prompter to believe takfiri dogs/criminals versus Assad? Any interests involved? Your opinion. I've noticed that not many people are concerned on the subject. Fear of a potential retaliation from the NSA?Satellites showed the ambassadors that the missiles were shot from the...
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|