On balance, however, the public does not think that the U.S. and its allies have a clear goal in taking military action in Libya. Just 39% say the U.S. and its allies have a clear goal, while 50% say they do not. – Modest Support for Libya Airstrikes, No Clear Goal Seen – Little Public Interest in Libyan Mission
If you want to know Pres. Obama’s job tonight, this is it. Make Americans understand the United States has a clear goal in Libya, which is also attainable. He’ll make the case by saying a humanitarian catastrophe has already been prevented, which isn’t a bad thing to bring to the table on his first speech on Libya to a national audience.
Also from Pew:
After several days of airstrikes on Libya by the United States and its allies, the public has mixed reactions to the military operation. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say the United States made the right decision in conducting air strikes in Libya while 36% say it was the wrong decision. Fully one-in-six (17%) express no opinion.
If Obama can move those 17% he’ll be in much better shape, regardless of the fact that his Libyan mission has been incoherent from the start.
I doubt, however, Pres. Obama will answer Justin Elliott’s question, which is a good one: Will Obama violate the arms embargo in Libya? The WSJ reported that Egypt is already arming the “rebels,” though it remains unconfirmed.
The video below of women in Libya is from “alivein” via Twitter.
It’s also good news that when Pres. Obama sits down tonight he can say NATO is in charge of a greater portion of what’s going on.
I can’t count how many articles I’ve read on Libya, from all sides of the political spectrum, mostly concentrating on foreign policy experts. Few can explain any backing of Obama’s war of choice in Libya with any clarity where American priorities are concerned. I don’t think anyone ever will.
One view from Canada is harsh, calling what’s been done in Libya as “humanitarian imperialism.”
This doctrine is known as the “responsibility to protect” (R2P for short) and was endorsed by the United Nations in 2005. It mandates that the “international community” is morally obliged to defend people who are in danger of massive human-rights violations. It’s rooted in Western guilt over the failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda. R2P is the moral underpinning of the war in Libya…
[...] We have entered a new age – the age of humanitarian imperialism. Humanitarian imperialists are besotted with fantasies of the West’s inherent goodness. As American writer David Rieff puts it, they have promised that, from now on, all wars will “noble wars of altruism.” To them, the facts on the ground don’t matter much. What really matters is their good intentions.
There is no equivalent between Rwanda and Libya, but that’s the trouble with humanitarian missions that aren’t in a country’s vital interests. What’s the death toll or atrocity trigger that pushes countries to action?
Ms. Wente goes on to talk about Clinton, Rice and Power, as well as France’s Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Pres. Obama will make his case tonight, but will he address his “Gadhafi has to go” doctrine in terms of strategic interests, as well as how this all ends? He can’t, because it doesn’t fit that framing, and no one knows.