President Obama plans a Monday evening address with an increasingly common goal, to sell the American public on an increasingly unpopular war. But while those previous speeches were about the decade-long Afghan War, the Monday speech will be about the new war in Libya.
Just over a week after it began, President Obama’s newest war is facing growing questions, particularly about the lack of debate before it started and the lack of any concrete end-game strategy. Officials conceded on the Sunday talk show circuit that the war could last “months.”
And even months might be a generous assessment, with officials reluctant to define any goals or exit conditions. The no-fly zone is, to quote Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, open-ended. That means this war, like the others the Obama Administration is fighting, has no real ending planned out.
President Obama’s effort to sell the American public on support for a third major war will be complicated by admissions from top officials that the new war isn’t even a vital American interest in their eyes.
The speech will set the stage not just for a battle for public opinion about the war, but for Congressional hearings into the war, which was announced shortly after Congress went into recess, and was never debated.