Obama Defends Limited Action in Libya

In a speech to the nation, President Obama “said that the military operations in Libya have succeeded in averting a humanitarian catastrophe, but he pledged that the United States would continue to scale back its involvement in the conflict over the coming days,” the New York Times reports.

Some reactions:

David Brody: “It seems that President Obama just delivered his ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech but has the mission been accomplished? While the President says America’s work is not complete, he made it very clear that the goals in Libya have been met and now it’s time to let the World take the lead.”

Andrew Sullivan: “The major objection – what happens now? – was not answered affirmatively by the president. It was answered negatively: there would be no military effort at regime change, as in Iraq; NATO, not the US, would soon be leading the mission; and, er, it may last a while. It is way too soon to celebrate a new model of international cooperation; but it seems striking to me that the rationale Obama invoked was very much GHW Bush in Kuwait rather than GW Bush in Iraq. That left Saddam in power for more than a decade. And yet Obama spoke as if Qaddafi’s days were obviously numbered. I sure hope they are.”

Marc Ambinder: “President Obama did not answer one key question on the mind of Americans — ‘When does this thing end?’ — but he made a workmanlike effort to answer the central one: ‘Why did the United States decide to intervene in Libya — and why did it do so in the way it did?'”

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