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U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the speech he was born to give on Monday night, addressing the nation on the military intervention in Libya. Obama utilized his speech to both remind Americans of all the steps taken prior to military action while also outlining the future plans of the operation. His 30-minute speech on the North African nation was clear and detailed. Obama made is apparent that, despite what his critics say, he acted swiftly to the threat that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi presented.
Obama used the beginning of the speech to recap the events that led up to the military action. As the crisis in Libya began, the Obama administration immediately began taking decisive steps to stop Gadhafi. “As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Gadhafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of Gadhafi’s regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Gadhafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Gadhafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.” Obama also talked about the difficult choice that he faced after Gadhafi refused to back down.
“The United States and the world faced a choice. Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. “
The speech then looked at the future of Libya. He reminded Americans that the U.S. is now playing a “supporting role” in the campaign against Gadhafi. NATO is now taking responsibility to enforce the no-fly zone, the arms embargo, and protecting Libyan citizens from Gadhafi’s force. Obama said that “the United States will continue to handle tasks such as intelligence gathering and search-and-rescue operations for downed pilots. “ As a result of the limited U.S. role, he said, “the risks and costs of this operation to our military and to American taxpayers will be reduced significantly.”
The president also stated that Libya will not be another Iraq War. The primary goal for military force in Libya is for humanitarian intervention and not for regime change. “If we tried to overthrow Gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter, we would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission, or risk killing many civilians from the air” and enlarging “our share of the responsibility” for running post-Gadhafi Libya. “To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq,” he said.