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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Libya, Obama, Congress, War....and Moore (Michael That Is)

Obama's statement on the air strikes conducted against Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces:

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 19, 2011


Tryp Convention Brasil 21 Center
Brasilia, Brazil

5:07 P.M. BRT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.

This is not an outcome that the United States or any of our partners sought. Even yesterday, the international community offered Muammar Qaddafi the opportunity to pursue an immediate cease-fire, one that stopped the violence against civilians and the advances of Qaddafi’s forces. But despite the hollow words of his government, he has ignored that opportunity. His attacks on his own people have continued. His forces have been on the move. And the danger faced by the people of Libya has grown.

I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it. I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.

So we must be clear: Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. That is the cause of this coalition.

As a part of this effort, the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners. And as I said yesterday, we will not -- I repeat -- we will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have great confidence in the men and women of our military who will carry out this mission. They carry with them the respect of a grateful nation.

I'm also proud that we are acting as part of a coalition that includes close allies and partners who are prepared to meet their responsibility to protect the people of Libya and uphold the mandate of the international community.

I've acted after consulting with my national security team, and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress. And in the coming hours and days, my administration will keep the American people fully informed. But make no mistake: Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.

Thank you very much.

According to the Pentagon 114 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been launched from U.S. and British ships in the Mediterranean, hitting more than 20 Libyan targets along the Mediterranean coastline. (Source)

U.K. defense officials report that three RAF Tornado jets have left the U.K with the task of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya.

It is also being reported that it was French fighter jets that fired the first shots against Qaddafi's troops and the French military have carried out four strikes so far.

Despite the blow, Qaddafi remained defiant as he threatened to attack military and civilian targets in the Mediterranean in retaliation of international coalition strikes on Libya.

"It is now necessary to open the stores and arm all the masses with all types of weapons to defend the independence, unity and honor of Libya," Qaddafi said in a speech broadcast on Libya state television, according to Reuters. He also warns that weapons depots are being opened to arm the Libyan people in defense.

Here in the U.S. the fallout is between the far left liberal Democrats and Barack Obama as the liberal House Democrats question the "constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya," with one Democrats broaching the topic of actually impeaching Obama. That topic nor suggestion was supported by anyone else on the Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq — only to be blocked by his own leadership — asked why the U.S. missile strikes aren’t impeachable offenses.

Kucinich also questioned why Democratic leaders didn’t object when President Barack Obama told them of his plan for American participation in enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone during a White House Situation Room meeting on Friday, sources told POLITICO.

And liberals fumed that Congress hadn’t been formally consulted before the attack and expressed concern that it would lead to a third U.S. war in the Muslim world.

Other headlines, (H/T Memeorandum) on this topic include;

The AP with "Arab League criticizes allied airstrikes on Libya

HotAirPundit provides video of Farrakhan blasting Obama and asking "Who the hell do you think you are?"

NYT headlines with "At Qaddafi Compound, a Human Shield," and "American Official Warns That Qaddafi May Lash Out With New Terrorist Attacks."

AFP with "Bombs dropped near Kadhafi's Tripoli bunker."

Forbes with "Rubber Bullets Fly at Anti-Obama Protest In Rio."

Obama will arrive in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday and give a speech to invited guests in downtown Rio. Originally, the speech was to take place at the Cinelândia square in the city, but was changed on Friday. The Embassy did not give a reason for the change. Rumors on the street and in the local press were that security officials were worried of a possible terrorist attack against Obama in open air in light of the UN Security Council resolution against Libya on Thursday. Obama endorsed military action against Libya following over a week of violence against anti-government rebels there. Moammar Gadhafi agreed to a cease fire.

As of that report fourteen protesters had been arrested.

The Hill reports "Michael Moore rips Obama over Libya."