Santiago: President Barack Obama assured top
US lawmakers that military strikes on the forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi`s "lawless" regime were in the national interest of the United States.
"Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could
ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous
consequences to the national security interests of the United
States," Obama said in a letter to Republican House Speaker
John Boehner and Senate President Pro Tempore Daniel Inouye.
The president also answered lawmakers publicly pressing
him to detail what US forces aimed to achieve in Libya and
openly worrying that "mission creep" could lead to a
protracted entanglement with no defined end-point.
Obama said US strikes on Libyan air defenses and military
airfields "will be limited in their nature, duration, and
scope" and aimed to set the stage for a no-fly zone as called
for under a UN Security Council resolution.
"United States forces are conducting a limited and
well-defined mission in support of international efforts to
protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster," he
The US president asserted that "the United States has not
deployed ground forces into Libya" but did not repeat past
pledges not to deploy them in the future.
And he slammed Gaddafi`s "illegitimate use of force,"
accusing him of killing "substantial numbers of civilians" and
"forcing many others to flee" to neighboring countries, thus
threatening to destabilize the region.
"Gaddafi`s defiance of the Arab League, as well as the
broader international community moreover, represents a lawless
challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its
efforts to preserve stability in the region.
"Gaddafi has forfeited his responsibility to protect his
own citizens and created a serious need for immediate
humanitarian assistance and protection, with any delay only
putting more civilians at risk," said Obama.