President Barack Obama, in remarks from the White House East Room Friday, pointedly laid out a limited role for the United States in the military intervention authorized by the United Nations on Libya and stressed that the purpose is not the military ouster of Muammar Gadhafi but the protection of Libyan civilians.
"In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition," Obama said. "American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone -- it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together."
"We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone," Obama said.
Examined closely, the key line from Obama's remarks signals the U.S. will be providing support to European allies and Arab partners who will be the ones "effectively enforcing" the no-fly zone on Libya -- and less of a direct U.S. military role in the campaign.
Obama spoke after conferring with Congressional leaders about what he envisioned the U.S. role in Libya being.
Obama told Congressional leaders that "he had not authorized troops on the ground or airplanes," a staffer to one of the Congress members briefed Friday said on condition of anonymity. "He stressed the U.S. is diplomatically supporting the no-fly zone, not the enforcement itself."Read More »from Obama outlines limited U.S. role in Libya intervention