The Washington Post

Obama needs to talk to the nation about Libya

When President Obama briefed members of Congress a week ago on Operation Odyssey Dawn, he was adamant that U.S. involvement would last "days, not weeks." Yesterday, the war that is not a war transitioned from U.S. control to that of NATO.

But questions remain. Serious questions.

House Speaker John Boehner (R) surely was playing a political game with his letter to Obama, which posed a series of questions about the nation's involvement in Libya. But that doesn't make some of the queries unworthy of being answered.

Politico reports that the president is avoiding an Oval Office address to the nation "in part, because he doesn’t want to equate what he regards as a smaller, time-limited mission with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Fine. I get that. What I and other Americans don't fully understand yet is the definition of "mission" and "time-limited." Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on "Morning Joe" yesterday, “I think [Obama] needs to face the nation and tell the nation, and tell Congress, what the endgame is and how this is going to play out.”

If not a speech then an East Room news conference will do.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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