Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended the Obama administration for intervening in Libya, expressing relief that the U.S. and its allies did not "sit on the sidelines."

Rice, who pushed for the spread of democracy during her term in the Bush administration, touched on the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa during a visit to Chicago Tuesday. MyFoxChicago.com reports the ex-diplomat had words of encouragement for the United States as it seeks the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi.

"The situation in Libya is very complex and it's difficult. I think no one would have wanted to see Colonel Qaddafi massacre his people," she said. "Just because it's complicated doesn't mean that you can sit on the sidelines."

She added that since she has experience "sitting in there and hearing people chirp from the outside," she didn't want to comment much further.

The Obama administration, while earning the support of leading lawmakers for the Libya mission, has also faced criticism from those who say the U.S. risks getting bogged down in a third war with no exit strategy. The U.S. government has already racked up millions of dollars in costs associated with the mission.

On the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, Rice was optimistic.

"Hopefully, as the people of the Middle East begin this march toward democracy, the experiences of those who have already been through it will be available to them to help them come to a democracy that is tolerant of difference, that protects the rights of all of its citizens, that makes peace, not war, with its neighbors," she said.