After 10 days of military action, the president finally addressed the nation on Libya. His main points were these: • that Qaddafi is a monster
who has killed Americans and would have massacred thousands of people had no intervention been launched
• that America responded to pleas for help from the Libyan people
• that it is in our national interest to help the Libyans because a brutal massacre that we could have stopped would have been partially on the conscience of the United States
• that we are different from other countries in the sense that we do not turn a blind eye to atrocities around the world
• that we will not directly engage in overthrowing Qaddafi and nation-building in Libya because we tried that in Iraq and the price was too high.
So there wasn’t much new in the speech. It was fairly straightforward, and the president’s explanation is logical. You may not agree with it, but Mr. Obama can defend his position.
If the USA is indeed an exceptional nation and we can save lives without harming our country, we should. Strong argument, and “Talking Points” agrees with it.
There is a valid criticism of Mr. Obama, however, in that he did not lead in this matter. If he feels so strongly about stopping Qaddafi from killing people, he could have acted quicker and more decisively. He did not.
That doesn’t mean it was wrong to seek U.N. approval or world consensus. That is the smart thing to do. But Mr. Obama was not publicly aggressive in doing that. He laid back.
I want the United States to be seen throughout the world as a noble country that knows right from wrong and will protect innocent people if it can. The president seems to want that as well, but he is not loud enough about it. The speech was good, but it should have been given earlier and with more passion.
And that’s “The Memo.”