The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Obama addresses US involvement in Libya

“Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya: what we’ve done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us,” President Barack Obama said as he addressed the American public at the National Defense University on March 28.

Since February 2011, Libyan citizens have led an uprising against their leader, Muammar Gaddafi. In March, the U.S. joined the international effort to unseat Gaddafi. Since the beginning of the U.S. involvement, many have objected to Obama’s decision to involve the U.S. in a third war.

According to The Washington Post, Obama said the role that the U.S. will play is to try to prevent a mass killing of the Libyan rebels.

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” Obama said.

The founder of Guilford’s Republican Club, Claire Massagee gave her opinion of Obama’s speech in an email interview.

“I think the writers of the speech we heard last night (March 28) put a lot of effort into framing U.S. military action in Libya in a way that would convince the general public that such military action was morally necessary and that it will not result in another military quagmire,” said Massagee, a junior and political science and computer science double major. “Whether his actions will mirror his carefully crafted words, I cannot say.”

Democratic South Carolina Representative James Clyburn released a statement in response to Obama’s address.

Clyburn’s statement says that Obama “made clear … that he acted in America’s values and interest and effectively led a limited and international effort supported by the Libyan opposition and the Arab league to do what he said we would do — stop Muammar Gaddafi’s deadly advance on his own people … As a result, thousands of lives have been saved,” reports The Washington Post.

Massagee wonders why there was such a significant expanse of time between the U.S. military intervention and the president’s speech.

“Why did it take so long for him to explain to us what the U.S. is doing in Libya?” Massagee continues in the email. “Perhaps he doesn’t know. It seems likely he no longer knows what the American people want.”

Massagee then quotes Peggy Noonan, the writer of the piece entitled, “The Speech Obama Hasn’t Given,” which appeared in The Wall Street Journal just days before Obama’s address.

“People didn’t hire him to start battles, but to end them. They didn’t expect him to open new fronts. Did he not know this?” Noonan said in her article.

House Majority Leader and Republican, Eric Cantor didn’t “see any victory defined,” as reported by The Washington Post.

“So, while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America,” Obama said during his speech.

Massagee remains unsatisfied with the end of Obama’s speech.

“He forgot to give substantial answers to my most pressing questions: Why Libya, what exactly are we doing there, what are our goals, how long will it take, what resources will it require, how will we know when we’ve succeeded, what are their underlying strategic interests, is this setting an unwanted precedent, will there be moral repercussions to our morally necessary efforts?” said Massagee.

Obama continued his speech by recognizing the American soldiers involved in past and present wars.

“Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward,” Obama said in his closing statement. “And let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world.”

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