These are the personal views of Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission:
After missteps addressing Congressional concerns, President Obama has articulated clearly the goals, means and duration of the U.S. military action in Libya. Critics may say he did not address those issues, but he did and the answers are not acceptable.
The President’s speech at the War College articulated the Obama Doctrine on the use of U.S. military force when America’s humanitarian interests may be at stake but an imminent threat to U.S. security is not present.
The President made clear the United States reserves the right to unilaterally use military force to address direct threats to “our people, our homeland, our allies and our core interests.” Something less direct, but equally important to the President is at stake in Libya; but the United States is constrained, under the Obama Doctrine, to act in concert with other nations, on a more limited basis, to achieve key objectives.
Prior to allied air strikes, troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were quite close to crushing the popular uprising in Libya and massacring the opposition. By any reasonable reading of international human rights law, Gadhafi is culpable for human rights crimes on a grand scale, but why is it an American responsibility to respond?