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DISCUSSION: Was it Right for President Obama to intervene in the Libyan Conflict?



libyan conflict-President_Barack_Obama_speaking_on_the_military_intervention_in_Libya_at_the_National_Defense_University

Libyan Conflict-Was it Right for President Obama to intervene. Photo by National Defense University from Wikimedia Commons

On March 19th, 2011. President Obama made the decision to commit the United States already taxed military to a third Muslim war. Was it Right for President Obama to intervene in the Libyan Conflict?

“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 in a speech before officers at the National Defense University, a military think tank. “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

Also in that speech, he said the following.

America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him.  A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.  The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power.  The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security.  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.

Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Qaddafi and usher in a new government.

Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power.  I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means.


Some Republicans dismissed Obama’s speech as too vague. Others said the president had no right to send forces to intervene. Were they right?


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  1. Paul Idriss

    March 29, 2011 at 9:47 am

    American has no business going into Libya. Guadaffi is doing great for his people. Libya has one of the highest standards of living in the world and with a currency that is stronger than the dollar. Libya is one of Africa’s success cases and they have the statistics to prove it. That speaks volumes about the character and sanity of their leader. For Obama to call a fellow head of state erratic is very indecent to say the least. America will not win in Libya. I thought he had enough problems at home to deal with. This guy is not cool.

  2. Jorge

    April 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Yes it was right. How long do you think African people will go without proper governancy. We are tired of oppressive leadership. Always holding guns behind our backs so that we do nothing. Gadafir, Mugabe etc they should go.

  3. dahveed

    June 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    No it was not right. It’s always up to the people to solve there own problems.
    Maybe one day a country will invaid America on the behalf of blacks there.

  4. dongozeck

    August 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    well i will if the war have lasted long then its right else its wrong

  5. Ansel O Thompson

    March 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Obama being head of the world most-powerful intelligence agencies should have prevented the Libyan conflict , saving African lives and preventing destruction in Africa’s most financially stable country .

  6. Editte

    December 29, 2012 at 1:18 am

    First, the world wants America to step up to the plate and solve its problems, then it wants America to use its money and forget about its ideology. Well, it doesn’t work that way…not even with the Chinese……

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