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Obama Defends US Involvement in Libya, Blames Europe for Aftermath

Admits Giving France 'Extra Credit' During War in Return for Involvement

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by Jason Ditz

A new round of wide-ranging comments on his assorted wars in The Atlantic saw President Obama defending America’s involvement in the 2011 NATO-imposed regime change in Libya, saying he had a UN mandate and it only cost $1 billion, which “is very cheap.”

And while Obama conceded that Libya turned into a “mess” in the aftermath, he sought to shift blame for that onto Europe, particularly Britain and France, saying he had “more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.”

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He was particularly open about France’s involvement, saying then-President Nicholas Sarkozy wanted to brag about all the flights France was launching, dispute waiting until the US wiped out all air defenses in the country. Obama said allowing France to take credit for more than they actually did was a way to “purchase France’s involvement” in the war.

He also took shots at British Prime Minister David Cameron, who he said “stopped paying attention” in Libya after the war, and ended up “distracted by a range of other things,” as well as other unnamed nations who were pushing the US to act but didn’t “have any skin in the game.”

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