Obama: Why So Slow on Libya

The president finally addressed the Libyan meltdown yesterday.

“The suffering and bloodshed are outrageous and unacceptable,’’ Obama said. The Libyan government “must be held accountable for its failure . . . and face the cost of continued violations of human rights.’’

But Obama neither called for a change in Libya’s autocratic government nor announced a set of specific sanctions that the United States would support to punish it.

Not very bold. Why? The argument is that Obama has been slow to pressure Khaddafi because we have diplomats we need to get out of the country.

The U.S. State department issued an evacuation notice late Tuesday, instructing U.S. citizens looking to leave Libya to arrive at As-shahab port in Tripoli beginning at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Obama delivered his statement amid mounting criticism of his muted response to the violence, and a growing sense that, as the Arab Middle East and North Africa churn through a period of abrupt change, the White House remains behind events and overly cautious in responding to them.
Enormous questions remained about whether any foreign powers could wield the influence necessary to head off Libya’s dizzying plunge into disorder, much less persuade Khadafy to reconsider his vow to fight to the death in defense of his 41-year-old regime.