News / USA

    US: Libya Matters, But Not a Vital Interest

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file)
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file)

    The Obama administration is defending its decision to intervene militarily in Libya, despite admitting that no vital U.S. interests are at stake in the country. 

    One day before President Barack Obama is to speak to the nation on U.S. efforts in Libya, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked if turmoil and bloodshed in Libya posed a threat to the United States.

    "No, no. It was not a vital national interest of the United States. But it was an interest: the engagement of the Arabs [Arab League], the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake," he said. "You have had revolutions on the east and the west of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. So you had a potentially destabilizing event taking place in Libya that put at risk, potentially, the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt. And that was another [U.S.] consideration."

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, March 25, 2011
    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, March 25, 2011

    Gates spoke on ABC’s This Week television program, as did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who noted what might have happened without intervention in Libya.

    "Imagine [if] we were sitting here, and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled with nowhere to go or overwhelming Egypt while it is in its own difficult transition," she said. "If we were sitting here [passively], the cries would have been, ‘Why did the United States not do anything?'"

    Establishing the no-fly zone over Libya has the backing of the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain of Arizona.

    "We could quibble over the definition of vital interests," he said. "We said after Srebrenica [1995 massacre in former-Yugoslavia]: never again. After Rwanda: never again. And after the Holocaust: never again. The fact is that [Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi’s forces were on the outskirts of Benghazi. He said himself he would go house-to-house and kill and murder people. Thank God, at the 11th hour with the no-fly zone, we prevented that from happening.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks about Libva during a news conference in the Russell Senate Office building, on Capitol Hill in Washington (File Photo)
    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks about Libva during a news conference in the Russell Senate Office building, on Capitol Hill in Washington (File Photo)

    McCain spoke on Fox News Sunday.

    Some U.S. legislators have decried the Obama administration’s use of force abroad without first obtaining formal congressional consent. But Senator McCain had been urging the Obama administration to act weeks before the United Nations Security Council authorized intervention in Libya to prevent the slaughter of government opponents.

    "If you had allowed Gadhafi to do that, it sends a signal to the other leaders in the Middle East, dictators, [that] it is OK to massacre your own people to stay in power," added McCain. "Look, this is a moment of historic proportions. And this will give us a golden opportunity to help with democracy and freedom throughout the Arab world."

    With NATO assuming lead responsibility for operations over Libya, Defense Secretary Gates says the United States will begin to scale back some operations. Asked whether the mission will be over by the end of the year, Gates said, "I do not think anybody knows the answer to that."

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora