Tune in to hear what all the fuss is about.
From NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg
*** Making his case: When President Obama addresses the nation tonight at 7:30 pm ET on the situation in Libya, he’ll have yet another opportunity to explain why the United States should be intervening in that country’s civil war, especially when the U.S. is involved in two other wars and when U.S. unemployment remains so high. It’s a challenge that was highlighted by Defense Secretary Gates, who said on “Meet the Press” yesterday that Libya isn’t a “vital” U.S. interest. “I don’t think it’s a vital interest for the United States,” Gates said. “But we clearly have interests there. And it’s a part of the region, which is a vital interest for the United States.” Secretary of State Clinton added, “[Libya] didn’t attack us, but what they were doing and Khaddafy’s history and the potential for the disruption and instability was very much in our interest… And seen by our European friends and our Arab partners as very vital to their interests.”
*** What Obama will say: Here is what we’ve learned Obama will likely say tonight, according to sources. One, he’ll announce that the one-week campaign (to establish a no-fly zone and to immobilize the Khaddafy’s army) has worked. Indeed, due to the Western airstrikes, rebel forces have the momentum and are now at the doorstep of Khaddafy’s home town. Two, the president will stress that the U.S. has handed over command and control to NATO. A senior administration official confirmed to NBC’s Courtney Kube yesterday that NATO has agreed to take over the mission to protect Libya’s civilian population. And three, he’ll discuss the lives that the campaign has saved. One other thing to note: The reason why the president is making his speech from the National Defense University and not from the Oval Office is that it’s more of a “policy” speech (which presidents typically deliver from different venues) than an “action” one (which they typically give from the Oval Office).
*** What Obama hasn’t yet said: But here are questions we’re looking for Obama to answer in tonight’s speech. One, what’s the end game for U.S. involvement? What happens if Khaddafy’s forces and the rebels are locked in a months-long stalemate? Will the U.S. continue to intervene? Two, how much has the mission cost and how much will it cost? Three, if the rebels triumph, what kind of governing order would they bring to Libya? And four, what happens the next time there’s a humanitarian crisis and the international community supports an intervention? What does that mean for Syria? What about Iran? As Obama said in his weekly address over the weekend, “I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Khaddafy threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives—then it’s in our national interest to act.”
What do you think? Are we sticking out nose where it doesn’t belong (again)??