In the middle of February, Libyan citizens unleashed an aggressive rebellion against Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi. Feb. 21, Democracy Now! reported that protestors had set the Libyan Parliament ablaze. Gaddafi and the Libyan military, the latter of which, demolishing, raping and killing, responded with extreme force.
|Visual By Grolier|
According to President Obama, Libyan protesters are rebelling to re-claim their "basic human rights." Natural rights, one of America's "core values" (as delineated by the chief of state), are worth defending, said President Obama. The defense of these "core values" and the broader protection of American interests were the reasons given for American entanglement in the conflict.
Suggesting that inertia in Libya could lead to absolutism in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, President Obama expressed fear that a deprivation of U.S. support in Libya would somehow infringe on American interests--however, whatever those are remains to be determined. In addition, the president made repeated reference to an ancillary reason for U.S. entanglement: safeguarding the Libyan people.
President Obama's speech comes after the climax of U.S. involvement has passed. Wednesday, explained the president, NATO will take the helm, limiting America's further contribution in the effort to logistical support, search and rescue, intelligence and the jamming of regime communications. President Obama says that limited involvement will reduce the conflict's cost to American tax payers and save American lives.
The president prefaced all this important information, during the first 10 minutes of his 27 minute speech, with a description of U.S. action taken in the region since the outbreak of the rebellion.
The following is a brief summary of that description:
- Gaddafi begins attacking his people.
- Obama evacuates the U.S. Embassy in Libya, freezes $33 billion of Gaddafi assets, establishes an arms embargo, broadens sanctions and holds Gaddafi accountable for his crimes.
- Obama asks Gaddafi to step down from power.
- Gaddafi escalates his attacks.
- Obama declares a no-fly zone over Libya.
- The international community unites behind President Obama.
- Obama initiates military action. He targets military assets. He hits Gaddafi's troops. He wipes out Gaddafi's air defenses. He hits Gaddafi's tanks. And he strikes regime forces in Banghazi.