Here we are again. If you'd told me in 2008 that President Obama's legacy would be the systematic destruction of terrorism throughout the Middle East and South Asia I'd have laughed in your face. About 2:05 when Obama actually comes out to address the press.
"This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny," he says. A lot of really delicate phrasework that is both congratulatory and gently reproving about the necessity of a democracy going forward and the glory of a revolution won. Obama has taken his licks in the last year but this is something he can really do well.
Gaddafi was in charge for four decades, jeez. "The limitless potential of the Libyan people was held back, and terrorism was used as a politlcal weapon," sayz prez.
Now he's pointing out that "a coalition that included the United States, NATO and Arab regimes perservered this summer in protecting the Libyan people," or, in layman's terms, "we didn't actually fight this war, we just hung back to make sure people didn't get hurt," which isn't quite true, but is useful to have said. The rebellion is Libya's achievement, he emphasizes, and it "stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gaddafi's dictatorship." Asks "our Libyan friends" in the new government to hold elections and "continue to work with the international community to secure dangerous materials," which is worrying.
"You have won your revolution, and now we will be a partner as you provide a future that affords liberty, freedom, and opportunity." Again, words of warning wrapped in words of exhortation.
It will be interesting to see what tack Obama takes when he has to run for reelection, but this might be a clue: "WIthout putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end. We're winding down the war in Iraq and have begun a transition in Afghanistan." Hey, you already had the guy who starts wars, I'm the guy who wins wars, amirite?
Some idiot asks Obama if he was leading from behind as he walks back into the White House.