Entries in Military Action (2)


Obama's Strategy in Libya Vindicated by Gadhafi Downfall?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When President Obama announced military intervention in Libya in March, he was criticized by liberals for injecting the United States into a third war, and by conservatives for doing it too slowly.

As the mission dragged on, from "days and weeks" to months, the bipartisan criticism only grew, with charges that Obama was "leading from behind" and violating the War Powers Act in the process.

Now, the impending downfall of Moammar Gadhafi brings one of Obama's key foreign policy objectives closer to fulfillment, and signals that the president's strategy was at least partly a success.

"As of today, I think it is a partial vindication of the so-called Obama Doctrine, at least for certain kinds of cases," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military and foreign policy analyst at the Brookings Institution.

Obama had justified limited, pre-emptive U.S. military action in Libya as part a broad "international mandate for action" and compelling humanitarian interest to prevent "violence on a horrific scale," all while not requiring formal congressional approval.  He charted a course for greater U.S. support for multinational action instead of isolationism or unilateral force.

"The robust leadership of the president is pretty clear here," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, "and had a tangible impact on the outcome in Libya."

But the administration should avoid a victory lap too soon, foreign policy experts warn, with Gadhafi's whereabouts still unknown and the transition to new government in Libya in flux.

"Obama hasn't yet proven that he's going to avoid the problem George Bush faced in Iraq: the problem of catastrophic success," O'Hanlon said.  "We should all be a little chastened by the example of 2003 in Iraq and any feeling of triumphalism just because the bad guy falls.  We've seen what follows."

Two months after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush delivered a speech claiming victory in toppling Saddam Hussein's regime.  Eight years after that moment -- what has become known as his "mission accomplished" speech -- the war still lingers.

"The danger is that we will have another 'Mission Accomplished' moment, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy, NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen, President Obama, and their various pro-intervention advisers give each other a lot of high-fives, utter solemn words about having vindicated the new 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine, and then turn to some new set of problems while Libya deteriorates," Harvard University professor Stephen M. Walt said in a blog post on

Speaking from his seaside compound on Martha's Vineyard, Obama offered reassurances that NATO allies would not abandon Libya but instead remain "a friend and a partner," continuing military and diplomatic ties to "safeguard" the Libyan people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Officially Informs Congress that US Joined War in Libya

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Amid claims by members of Congress that they were insufficiently consulted, and the ensuing White House pushback, President Obama officially notified congressional leaders Monday that the United States had begun on Saturday to take military action against Libya.

In a letter to Congress, Obama wrote, “At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya.”

The notification was part of the president’s “efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” but given complaints from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and the fact that the war started two days ago, it had the effect of a rather discomforting “While You Were Out…” note.

The White House has pushed back against claims that Congress was insufficiently consulted, noting that the president met with congressional leaders the day before the attack and the administration has provided testimony and background briefings on the latest from Libya.

The president pledged in his letter, as he has in his public remarks, that the “strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope” and “will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio