"Facing accusations that he has not explained the United States’ interest in Libya’s war, Obama said the nation had a responsibility to prevent a mass killing after Gaddafi pledged to carry out a brutal reprisal campaign against civilians in rebel-held territory," the Washington Post writes. "He emphasized that the mission was undertaken with the United States’ closest allies, and that command of the military operation will be transferred to NATO on Wednesday.
"‘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,’ Obama told an audience of mid-career military officers, who remained quiet during much of the 27-minute address. ‘Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.’"
The front page of the Boston Globe: "Brutality in Libya required swift action, Obama says." From the Globe’s story: "The swift Libyan intervention — which marks the first time Obama has ordered US troops into a new conflict — is considered a key test of his presidency and a moment that allowed him to delineate his most comprehensive vision yet for America’s role in the world and the role of the military abroad."
The New York Daily News over a photo of Obama: "My war is over."
The New York Post’s cover: "No Mo!"
Some of the reactions to last night’s speech. Here’s the take by Politico’s Ben Smith: "The doctrine is there is no doctrine. President Barack Obama answered questions about America’s mission in Libya Monday night with a 27-minute address that focused narrowly on "this particular country, Libya, at this particular moment" and shied away from making sweeping statements about America’s role in the world, the larger principles that guide his decisions on using force or about the U.S. response to the unfolding Arab Spring."
(But upon closer inspection of last night’s speech, the Obama Doctrine was clearly there. "There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and our common security… In such cases, we should not be afraid to act -– but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well.")
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) writes in an op-ed in The Hill that President Obama needs to be clearer about the goal of the mission in Libya, how much it will cost, and bring a belated debate to Congress.
Joshua Greenman, writing the top story in the New York Daily News, picks up on Tom Ricks’ point last week of Obama’s "realistic ambiguity" vs. Bush’s "false clarity." "Just a few years ago, we had a President who valued clarity so dearly that he labeled three utterly different countries, presenting drastically different security problems, an ‘axis of evil,’" Greenman writes. "Didn't really make sense, but lumping them together was catchy and, at least as far as it went, clear. … Barack Obama isn't an all-or-nothing kind of commander in chief or an all-or-nothing kind of man. He gambled in pushing health care reform, but in his bones he's a cautious leader who overcomplicates where others oversimplify. He turns bumper stickers into dissertations, not the other way around. Those who are grousing about that fact now should count their blessings - and remember the alternative."
Politico's Roger Simon: "It was 'Mission Accomplished' but without the banner. In a strong, almost pugnacious, speech Monday night, President Barack Obama said he had achieved his initial goals in Libya. 'So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear: the United States of America has done what we said we would do,' he said. Slashing the air with his left hand, he used language that was not only robust, but martial: 'We struck regime forces….We hit Gaddafi’s troops….We targeted tanks.' BAM! ZAP! POW!"