Tonight President Obama addressed why he ordered the United States to become involved in the conflict in Libya:
...much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.
It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what's right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi's forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.
To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
As I wrote last week in The Huffington Post and preached on Sunday, the question of whether or not to use violence is a difficult one for Christians. We are called to be peacemakers. But we cannot sit by quietly and allow genocide to occur. We've done that too many times. What President Obama has done is what we should have done in Rwanda and Darfur. War is always a failure of human imagination and tainted by sin but doing nothing in these circumstances would have been the greater sin, I believe.
Related Link: Can Christians Support UN Intervention in Libya?
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