You can read the speech here. The president is very optimistic that NATO will take control of the R2P (Responsibility to Protect) part of the mission very soon. This is wishful thinking on his part. There are huge obstacles – namely, Turkey and Germany – to NATO continuing to protect the rebel advance on Gaddafi.
This was never mentioned in Obama’s speech – our unstated assistance to the anti-Gaddafi forces who are comprised at least partly of al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood fighters who were killing Americans recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. This little factoid never made it out over the airwaves – surprised, huh?
President Obama’s speech from the oval office, only the second of his presidency, was surprisingly limp. With three momentous subjects to cover – Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S. economy – Obama struggled to say anything new or interesting. It isn’t just that the soaring rhetoric of 2008 has disappeared; Obama is now affirmatively boring.
In “turning the page” on Iraq, the Great Speechifier could find no words with which to give meaning to our epic struggle there. Let’s give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume this is because he thinks the struggle had no meaning, except as it related to domestic politics in the U.S. But then why give a speech about it?