President Barack Obama says that the joint military operation in Libya is succeeding
In his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama said Saturday that the joint military operation in Libya is succeeding and that his decision to deploy U.S. military firepower against dictator Muammar Qadhafi’s brutal regime saved lives.
By enforcing the United Nations Security Council’s resolution authorizing force to protect Libyans from a bloody crackdown, the president said, the U.S. and the international community have acted on a shared “responsibility” to maintain peace and security in the world.
“The United States should not — and cannot — intervene every time there is a crisis somewhere in the world,” Obama said. “But I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives — then it’s in our national interest to act.”
Despite uncertainty about the action in Congress, the president reiterated a message he’s repeated since giving the go-ahead for the aerial strikes last week: the mission in Libya is “clear and focused” and that the U.S. will soon transfer command of the “no-fly” zone and humanitarian responsibilities to NATO and other allies. The operation, he noted, is restricted to aerial patrols over Libya, and doesn’t include troops.
“As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited,” Obama said. “We are not putting any ground forces into Libya. Our military has provided unique capabilities at the beginning, but this is now a broad, international effort.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scrambled to broach divisions within NATO earlier in the week that had prevented the organization from agreeing to take over both the military and humanitarian missions. After reaching an agreement with Turkey, France and Britain on Thursday, administration officials now say that plans could be finalized by Monday for NATO to take full command of the no-fly zone; already, the number of U.S. planes flying patrols over Libyan airspace have been reduced.