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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid