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Obama says Libya military mission ordered to prevent a massacre


March 29, 2011 - Washington

US President Barack Obama has defended his decision to send American forces to Libya, saying Washington acted to "prevent a massacre".

He said that to do otherwise would have been "a betrayal of who we (the US) are."

In address to the nation, Obama said that the United States was not committing to toppling Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, but only keen on stopping the latter's "deadly advance" on the Libyan population.

"They will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be," Obama said.

The president's speech, delivered nine days after he authorized military action in support of a U.N.-approved no-fly zone, was meant to answer mounting questions about the direction and purpose of the mission, Fox News reports.

Obama described the U.S. involvement as "limited" and said NATO would assume full control of the operation Wednesday.

He also used the occasion to outline what could be called the Obama doctrine. Under that world view, the United States may intervene abroad to prevent humanitarian crises, provided international partners are involved.

"There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are. In such cases, we should not be afraid to act-but the burden of action should not be America's alone," Obama said.

The president, unlike his predecessors, chose to deliver an address about U.S. military action not from the Oval Office, but before a military audience at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

ANI

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