Speaking Monday night, President Obama defended his administration’s decision to intervene against Col. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, saying that “brushing aside” Gaddafi’s violence would have been “a betrayal of who we are. I refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking actions,” Obama said. The president described Gaddafi’s past violence against his people, including his killing of 1,000 Libyans in a single day, and likening them to “rats.” He said it was not in U.S. interests to allow the massacre in Benghazi that coalition forces thwarted in the first days of the intervention. “I will never minimize the cost of military action,” Obama said, insisting there would have been a “far higher price” for staying on the sidelines. Obama said it would be a “mistake” to broaden the goal in Libya to regime change, likely splintering the coalition currently behind the intervention.
THE BIG SPEECH Charles Dharapak / AP Photo, Charles Dharapak