Wars, even good ones, require worthy explanation and justification. Both were missing in President Obama's address to the nation on Monday night.
While the president's speech on Libya was adequate at times, what stood out were statements that were contradictory, confusing and outright untrue.
Mr. Obama said "an important strategic interest" was at risk in Libya. I believe that's so. But members of Mr. Obama's national security team send the opposite message.
The president insisted that America "took a series of swift steps in a matter of days." In fact, the administration dithered for over two weeks. Mr. Obama claimed, "At my direction, America led an effort" to create "a no-fly zone . . . to protect the Libyan people." In truth, the direction and leadership came from the French, the British, and even the Arab League. Thank goodness French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron had the brass to push for bombing. Otherwise Mr. Obama still might be contemplating action, not taking it.
On Monday, the candidate who dismissed a coalition of 40 countries in Iraq became the president celebrating an alliance of only 15 nations operating in Libya. He also insisted the operation's command would move swiftly from America to NATO, to give the appearance of transferring the mission to a multinational body. Mr. Obama didn't remind the country that NATO is commanded by an American, Adm. James Stavridis. So the baton has been handed from an American general to an American admiral.