President Obama affirmed America’s responsibility as a world leader to prevent atrocities Monday, as he maintained why he authorized intervention in Libya despite critics’ concerns with the cost of military action and involvement in another war.
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action,” President Obama said at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Military action launched by the United States that led the international coalition was crucial and necessary to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who is accused of using violence against his own people, the President said.
“Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked,” the president continued. “Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off.”
Obama explained that America’s security was not threatened, but the country’s “interests and values” were at risk.
Critics have complained that the United States should not use military intervention or “police the world.”
The American military cannot be deployed “wherever repression occurs,” President Obama said.