Obama: Coalition Mission Succeeding in Libya

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2011 — The mil­i­tary mis­sion in Libya is suc­ceed­ing and pre­vent­ing fur­ther atroc­i­ties against the Libyan peo­ple by Moam­mar Gad­hafi and his forces, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said today in his week­ly radio address.
Oba­ma said that “because we act­ed quick­ly, a human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe has been avoid­ed and the lives of count­less civil­ians — inno­cent men, women and chil­dren — have been saved.”

President Barack Obama
Dur­ing his week­ly radio address, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said U.S. forces have con­tributed to the suc­cess of the mil­i­tary mis­sion in Libya, which has saved the lives of inno­cent Libyans from the forces of Moam­mar Gad­hafi.
White House pho­to by Saman­tha Apple­ton
Click to enlarge

The com­man­der in chief cred­it­ed the part played by U.S. troops in “Oper­a­tion Odyssey Dawn,” which was launched March 19 by coali­tion forces to enforce a U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion to pro­tect the Libyan peo­ple from Gadhafi’s forces.

“Thanks to our brave men and women in uni­form, we’ve made impor­tant progress,” Oba­ma said, not­ing that he faces “no greater deci­sion” than send­ing U.S. forces into harm’s way. He also said the U.S. “should not — and can­not — inter­vene every time there’s a cri­sis some­where in the world.”

Gadhafi’s bru­tal­i­ty against inno­cent Libyan peo­ple, how­ev­er, made the mil­i­tary action nec­es­sary, he said.

“When some­one like Gad­hafi 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. It’s our respon­si­bil­i­ty,” he said. “This is one of those times.”

Over the past week, Oba­ma said that U.S. and coali­tion forces took out Gadhafi’s air defens­es and stopped his forces’ advance­ment across the coun­try. Libyan forces also were pushed back in Beng­hazi, a city of about 700,000 peo­ple, where Gad­hafi threat­ened to show “no mer­cy” to the country’s oppo­si­tion.

“Our mes­sage is clear and unwa­ver­ing,” he said. “Gadhafi’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.”

The pres­i­dent said that “Moam­mar Gad­hafi has lost the con­fi­dence of his peo­ple and the legit­i­ma­cy to rule, and the aspi­ra­tions of the Libyan peo­ple must be real­ized.”

Oba­ma explained that the role of Amer­i­can forces has been lim­it­ed, and the U.S. is act­ing in con­cert with a multi­na­tion­al coali­tion.

“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,” he said. “Our allies and part­ners are enforc­ing the no-fly zone over Libya and the arms embar­go at sea.”

The pres­i­dent not­ed that “key Arab part­ners,” such as Qatar and the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, have con­tributed air­craft to the effort.

Oba­ma said this is “how the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty should work, with more nations, not just the Unit­ed States, bear­ing the respon­si­bil­i­ty and cost of uphold­ing peace and secu­ri­ty.

“This mil­i­tary effort is part of our larg­er strat­e­gy to sup­port the Libyan peo­ple and hold the Gad­hafi regime account­able,” he said. “Togeth­er with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, we?re deliv­er­ing urgent human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance. We?re offer­ing sup­port to the Libyan oppo­si­tion.”

By freez­ing tens of bil­lions of dol­lars of Gadhafi’s assets, the needs and aspi­ra­tions of the Libyan peo­ple can be bet­ter met, he said, “and every day, the pres­sure on Gad­hafi and his regime is increas­ing.”

Oba­ma said that Libyans have begun express­ing their grat­i­tude for the mis­sion.

“Every Amer­i­can can be proud of the lives we’ve saved in Libya and of the ser­vice of our men and women in uni­form who once again have stood up for our inter­ests and our ideals,” he said. “And peo­ple in Libya and around the world are see­ing that the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca stands with those who hope for a future where they can deter­mine their own des­tiny.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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