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Obama: Coalition Mission Succeeding in Libya

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

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.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
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 photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

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."

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."

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Related Sites:
Special Report: Operation Odyssey Dawn
President's Weekly Address


Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

3/27/2011 11:19:51 AM
It concerns me that the mission was not clearly defined by the Oval Office. My son was murdered in Iraq, the first casualty of Operation New Dawn. That mission was never clearly defined. I received a letter from the Oval Office one month after the incident from the Oval Office on stock letterhead with no mention of my sons divsion or brigade or of the opeation which happened to be the President's operation. How will the Oval Office honor the casualties of this poorly defined operation. My son murdered by another soldier received a letter written in haste, signed off by the Commander in Chief, without a seal. It was just a piece of paper. Your article mentioned we saved the lives of Lybians and suppose this is a good thing..But what about our guys. A flag, shells from a 21 gun salute and a lousy letter is a shallow honor. It appears the salvation of the Lybian population presents a higher value than my son.
- Ling Noonan, Waertown CT

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