Obama's Speech on Libya Left Many Questions Unanswered
Congress, public deserve some more answers on the U.S.'s strategy.
Libya is a country in North Africa slightly larger than Alaska and the vast majority of it is desert. Nearly 90 percent of the roughly 6.6 million people living there reside in 10 percent of the country – mainly in coastal cities. On March 19, President Obama commanded our military forces to help protect civilians in Libya from being brutally attacked by Moammar Gadhafi regime by issuing air strikes to help prepare a no-fly zone.
Last week, President Obama finally addressed the nation about these actions.
I offer my gratitude to our brave fighting forces who are protecting freedom. However, I believe the men and women serving in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the American people and Congress deserve to know the threat, the mission’s clear objective and President Obama’s plan to achieve it through the use of our military. The president’s speech did not provide such answers.
Instead, the speech left us with greater concern and more questions.
The president pledged in his speech that “the United States will do our part to help.” But what does that mean? What is our benchmark for leaving Libya? If Gadhafi is not defeated or does not step down, how long will U.S. troops remain? If other nations begin to disengage from the coalition, will we remain or will we disengage as well? And if the president wants to actively pursue Gadhafi being out of power “through non-military means,” how long will our military have a presence in Libya? If we needed to step into this crisis, will we need to do the same in other countries, such as Syria?
The list of questions continues.
And while the president said that the U.S. would hand over the mission to NATO, let’s not forget the head of NATO is an American. The apple really isn’t falling too far from the tree. In my opinion, Congress deserved the respect of being conferred with much earlier, especially when such actions placed more troops in harm’s way and the cost of these actions is already more than $1 billion – all at a time when Washington is trying to cut spending and avoid a government shutdown.
Our nation has a long history of promoting individual freedom and we should be proud of that. But the American people deserve answers and to understand there is a game plan. Let’s hope Monday night’s speech was just a start, and the president will keep members of Congress and the American public informed all along the way.