Obama Defends Mission in Libya in Weekly Address

By Kristina

Mar 26, 2011 6:00am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

President Obama defends the decision to intervene in Libya in his weekly address and declares that they are succeeding in the mission thus far.

“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,” President Obama says, “And it’s our responsibility.  This is one of those times.”

Hoping to assure Americans about the mission, the president says that the military mission in Libya is “clear and focused” and with allies and partners is already making progress, avoiding a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

“We’re succeeding in our mission.  We’ve taken out Libya’s air defenses.  Qaddafi’s forces are no longer advancing across Libya.  In places like Benghazi, a city of some 700,000 that Qaddafi threatened to show ‘no mercy,’ his forces have been pushed back.”

The president says that as he pledged before the “role of American forces has been limited,” referencing the agreement made this week for the operation to be transferred from the US to NATO.

“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. Our allies and partners are enforcing the no fly zone over Libya and the arms embargo at sea.  Key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed aircraft."

The president explains that the military effort is part of a larger strategy to hold the Qadhafi regime accountable. 

“Qaddafi’s attacks against civilians must stop.  His forces must pull back.  Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach those in need.  Those responsible for violence must be held accountable.  Moammar Qaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people must be realized.”

The White House has announced that on Monday evening Mr. Obama will deliver a speech to the nation on Libya at National Defense University in Washington, DC.

-Sunlen Miller


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