The Corner

Mission Muddle in Libya

In a nationally-televised speech on March 28, President Obama defined the American military mission in Libya as humanitarian: We would enforce a no-fly zone to prevent Libyan forces from bombing civilians. I support that specific, limited mission. Last week, the president wrote in an op-ed with his British and French counterparts that “to succeed, Qaddafi must go and go for good.”

It is apparent that our military is engaged in much more than enforcing a no-fly zone. What we are watching in real time is another example of mission creep and mission muddle. In an op-ed in today’s Boston Herald, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton rightly notes that Obama has set himself up for “massive strategic failure” by demanding Qaddafi’s ouster “while restricting military force to the limited objective of protecting civilians.” Military action cannot be under-deliberated and ad hoc. The president owes it to the American people and Congress to immediately explain his new Libya mission and its strategic rationale.

— Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and author of No Apology.

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