I'm taking a lot of criticism right now for my administration's orders concerning Libya. That's a good thing, though. I've never planned on running my presidency without accountability. There are a lot of good points people are making and I'm going to address them all today. Whether you agree with my positions or not, this is the truth about why I authorized the use of extensive military force against Moammar Gadhafi and his supporters.
First of all, it's absurd to compare this situation to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those were wars predicated on lies and pursued for the sake of greedy industries. There are numerous justifications and advantages to supporting the rebel contingent in Libya that are evident to anyone with functioning eyes and ears. The Iraqi people didn't rise up against Saddam Hussein before we rolled in. The Afghani people weren't being shot for peacefully protesting. American munitions hit in Libya because the Libyan people clearly want justice they can't claim on their own. Their short-term gains were being reclaimed by Gadhafi and make no mistake, the end of that civil war with Gadhafi as the victor would have been punctuated with mass murder. Anyone associated with the uprising would have found themselves in an unmarked grave along with 10,000 of their closest friends.
But I'm not going to try to sell this as American altruism. There are genocides happening all over the world that we're not policing. Libya does present a clear, strategic advantage for the United States. When this is over and Gadhafi's head is on a pike, the new Libyan democracy is going to have a very positive view of Western powers. They're going to remember when American missiles destroyed columns of government tanks coming to level rebel-held towns. They're going to remember when the British assaulted Gadhafi's residence on behalf of the entire Western world. They're going to remember that Europe enforced a no-fly zone that kept Gadhafi's planes from bombing civilians. Having a pro-Western nation wealthy in gold and oil in North Africa is a good thing for a lot of countries.
But there's also a fair amount of symbolism in this situation. Civilian unrest is happening all over the Middle East and North Africa. If we let one despot squash the uprising against him, it'll be a sign to the others that they can do so as well. We got lucky with Mubarak because the military didn't support him. Sure, Mubarak was technically pro-USA, but he wasn't exactly a friend you wanted saying your name. If we're ever going to put real pressure on countries like Iran, we're going to need whole nations in the region in our corner. By swatting Gadhafi we can get rid of an enemy and gain an ally in one move. Is that morally just? Probably not, but most politics isn't. And as for the monetary cost of the operation, consider it an investment. We're buying a stake in an alliance and, yeah, an oil provider. There's potential in that, unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan.