President Barack Obama speaks about Libya at the National Defense University in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama, in his address to the nation, tried to reassure an ambivalent, inattentive public and a skeptical press corps about American involvement in NATO's no-fly zone over Libya. The president's speech sought out a middle ground, couching his administration's approach as measured but decisive in the campaign against loyalists to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
"In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secured an international mandate to protect civilians, stopped an advancing army, prevented a massacre, and established a no-fly zone with our allies and partners," Obama declared.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama indicated that Col. Muammar Gadhafi must "step down from power and leave," a sign of increasing international pressure on the leader accused of massacring Libyan people in the streets. Gadhafi's regime has maintained some control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, while the rest of the country has fallen into rebel hands since protests began on Feb. 16. Those protesters were greeted with remarkable violence from the start, ordered by Gadhafi; Forces fired on a funeral procession and then bombed and strafed the civilian population with jet fighters.
When I wrote my first guest-post at the Prospect two weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was cautioning against a speedy exit for then-President Hosni Mubarak, and no one was predicting a broader regional uprising. Today, Mubarak is deposed and autocratic states are bloodying protesters across the Middle East and North Africa. Stay tuned.
It's been a pleasure dedicating extra time lately to keeping my fingers on the pulse of history in the making, and sharing that with you. My warmest thanks go out to the Prospect's readers, writers, and staff, especially Monica Potts, Pema Levy, and Adam Serwer.
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too," Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Mother Night. It's a maxim that South Dakotan extremists would be wise to remember.
Shortly after being appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman warned protesters that there would be no democracy until Egypt embraced a "culture of democracy." Here, in the capital of one of the world's longest standing democracies, our culture is marked by power struggles, posturing, and alarmingly focused smartphone fondlers.
Welcome to the club, Egypt. After Mubarak's rule, the next casualty of the revolution was opposition unity, as youth leaders took issue with each others' approaches to rebuilding their country's political system. Are multitasking typists next?