News / USA

Obama Defends US Involvement in Libyan Conflict

President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 29, 2011.
President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 29, 2011.

In a White House news conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama again defended U.S. involvement in the NATO-led military operation in Libya and renewed a call for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down.   

Reporters pressed Mr. Obama about his administration's legal justifications for U.S. participation in the NATO military campaign, backed by a United Nations mandate.

Recounting the run-up to NATO-led military operations, he said he made clear to the American people that the initial phase of the operation with the U.S. in the lead would "take days not weeks".

The United States has no ground troops in Libya, a point he and administration officials have emphasized. Saying he kept his promise to transition to a NATO lead,  Mr. Obama addressed the question of the definition of success.

The capacity of Libyan forces has been greatly reduced, he said, but he made clear that as long as Mr. Gadhafi remains in power, Libyan civilians will remain under threat. "As long as Gadhafi is still presenting himself as the head of the Libyan government and as long as he still controls large numbers of troops, the Libyan people are going to be in danger of counter-offensives, and retribution," he said.

Mr. Obama reiterated his position that he has not been in violation of the War Powers Act, saying the operation has not resulted in any U.S. casualties, with no risk of escalation, and remains "limited in time and scope. "We have done exactly what we said we would do, under a U.N. mandate and we have protected thousands of lives in the process, and as a consequence a guy who was a state sponsor of terrorist operations against the United States of America is pinned down, and the noose is tightening around him," he said.

Asked if any political settlement Libyans might arrive at, with Mr. Gadhafi involved, would be a success from the U.S. perspective, the president said the Libyan leader "needs to go."

The president was also asked about his decision to withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of this year from Afghanistan, and another 23,000 next year as part of an overall plan with NATO to transition to an Afghan security lead by 2014.

He noted that in his speech last week, and in 2009 when laying out his strategy, he never used the word "victory" but said the U.S. could be successful in a "narrowly drawn" mission.

The president said key objectives have been achieved, "severely crippling" al-Qaida capacities and building up Afghan forces, that make the U.S. drawdown possible. "We will draw them down in a responsible way that will allow Afghanistan to defend itself, and will give us the operational capacity to continue to put pressure on al-Qaida until that network is entirely defeated," he said.

Asked if the recent Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul caused him concern, Mr. Obama said the larger question is whether Afghan capacity is increasing.  

Referring to similar attacks in Iraq, where the U.S. combat role is officially ended though just under 50,000 U.S. troops remain, he said neither place will be perfectly safe but in Afghanistan the U.S. can help improve the ability of people to defend themselves.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs