Eight days into the Libyan war, President Barack Obama says the U.S.-led military campaign is succeeding.
Obama said Saturday that Libya’s air defenses have been “taken out” and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have been pushed back from cities where the people have risen up against him. A humanitarian catastrophe has also been avoided, he said.
“We’re succeeding in our mission,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
His remarks served as a warm-up for a planned speech to the nation Monday explaining his decision-making. Both addresses follow complaints from lawmakers of both parties that the president hasn’t sought their input or hasn’t clearly explained U.S. participation in the mission.
Obama argued Saturday that the mission in Libya is clear and focused, with the U.S. and its allies and partners working together to enforce a U.N. Security Council mandate to protect the Libyan people from forces loyal to Gadhafi.
U.S.-led forces began launching missile strikes against Gadhafi’s defenses on March 19 to keep him from acting on threats to attack his people.
Obama was expected Monday night to emphasize a larger role for NATO and a reduced one for the U.S. military.
NATO has announced that it will take over enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. NATO is ironing out details for the military alliance to assume control of the broader military mission, the White House said.
In the weekly Republican address, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell spoke primarily about the new health care law that turned a year old this week. A majority of states including Virginia say the law is unconstitutional and they are challenging it in the courts.
McDonnell said the law is overly burdensome for states and businesses. He said it should be replaced with free-market policies that lower costs and increase coverage. Among the examples he cited are lawsuit reform and letting consumers buy health insurance across state lines.
McDonnell said the law, as is, “simply will not work.”