After weeks of fear and uncertainty regarding the increasing use of American military forces to quell the recent unrest in Libya, President Obama addressed the nation on Monday, March 28. In his speech, he updated the American people on vital plans for success and gave assurance in the midst of civil unrest.
Colonel Moammar Gaddafi’s brutal forty-two-year long reign has been characterized by violence, cruelty and suffering for the people of Libya. In an attempt to terminate Gaddafi’s reign and protect civilians, Libyan rebels have spent the last two months in a series of violent protests.
With the recent involvement of the U.S. and its European allies, a no-fly zone has been established over Libya. Frequent air strikes have attempted to hold back the regime’s attacks on protesters to keep civilians safe while at the same time enhancing the military force used by the much more advanced and better armed supporters of Gaddafi’s regime.
Fearing that the nation is on the brink of civil war and that the United States is meddling in issues that are not its own, many Americans have criticized President Obama’s decision to place U.S. aid in Libya.
With these and many other concerns in mind, President Obama opened his speech Monday night with a statement on American values in the face of danger. “Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges,” he said. “But when our interests and our values are at stake, we have the responsibility to act.”
Chronicling Gaddafi’s recent refusal to step down and the increase of regime attacks, the President explained the reasoning behind his order of military presence in the Mediterranean as an attempt to stop a “looming humanitarian crisis” and respond to the opposition’s plea for help. Taking Gaddafi’s threat towards the city of Banghazi as a starting point, President Obama, refusing to witness something that would “stain the conscience of the world” authorized military action to stop the killing and weaken the regime.
Assuring the nation that U.S. involvement will remain limited in Libya, President Obama went on to explain the importance and benefits of a NATO based coalition, claiming that it would significantly reduce the amount of U.S. military involvement and financial strain for the government and the American taxpayer.
The United States, President Obama claims, will continue to provide aid to Libyan civilians both financially and physically to assist Libya in its attempt to rebuild. All this, he said, is the nation’s unique responsibility and an important representation of American values. “While I will never minimize the cost in military action, I am convinced that failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America,” he said.