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Entries in Miliarty Action (1)

Tuesday
Mar222011

Obama on Libya: 'We Have Already Saved Lives'

Pete Souza/The White House(SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador) -- President Obama insists it will still be a matter of “days not weeks” before the U.S. hands over control of the Libyan military operation which he says “has already saved lives.”
 
In El Salvador, the last stop on his Latin American swing, Mr. Obama said he was relieved that two American pilots whose F-15 fighter jet went down in Libya after a mechanical failure are safe. “We were extraordinarily relieved to find out that these two young men were safe in American hands,” he said in a news conference.
 
That story could have turned out quite differently, so the President was asked if he has fully prepared the American public for the costs of the operation in Libya. “There is no military operation that does not entail risk.  And that's why this is always the most difficult decision that I make as commander-in-chief and as president of the United States,” Mr. Obama said.
 
Despite reports of a fracturing of the coalition, Mr. Obama says there will “be clarity” in a couple days on who will be on control. It’s expected NATO will play a major role. “We will not be in the lead,” the President reiterated.
 
But in the second phase of the operation (enforcement of the no-fly zone), the U.S. will continue to provide aircraft for refueling, electronic jamming, and intelligence assets which the President described as a “relatively modest contribution as part of a broader international effort,” adding that the “costs are outweighed by the benefits.”
 
How long will those costs continue? Could Gadhafi change his ways and stay in power? The President seemed to suggest that could be a possibility. “Unless he changes his approach and provides the Libyan people an opportunity to express themselves freely and there are significant reforms in the Libyan government, unless he is willing to step down, that there are still going to be potential threats towards the Libyan people,” which the President said would require continued coalition efforts.
 
Despite criticisms from some members of Congress that he has not done a good job explaining the U.S.’s national interests in Libya and the current military action, the President said trouble in Libya could have spilled into Egypt and Tunisia which are in the midst of democracy movements.
 
Mr. Obama also said it was important to stop a brutal dictator. “Saying he will show no mercy and go door to door hunting people down, and we have the capacity under international sanction to do something about that, I think it's in America's international -- in America's national interests to do something about it,” the President said.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio