...When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.
...At this point, 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.
Would his own Secretary of Defense agree with that assessment? From yesterday's Meet the Press:
The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol liked the speech:
The president was unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing, and didn’t shrink from defending the use of force or from appealing to American values and interests. Furthermore, the president seems to understand we have to win in Libya. I think we will.
Victor Davis Hanson did not, writing at NRO:
President Obama just gave a weird speech. Part George W. Bush, part trademark Obama — filled with his characteristic split-the-difference, straw-man (“some say, others say”), false-choice tropes...In a speech dedicated to clarifying our policy, it left it even more murky. What was our objective, and what is it now? Obama asserted that “We have stopped his deadly advance.” But is that the aim — the status quo, and a sort of permanent safe zone for rebels in accordance with UN directives? Or are we going beyond that to eliminate Qaddafi, who is the source of the problem? The president now says he won’t overthrow Qaddafi by force, but that is what he hopes, in fact, will happen as a result of our military presence.