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TIME: Obama Exaggerating Atrocities in Libya to Justify War

President Barack Obama says he’s intervening to prevent atrocities in Libya. But details of behind-the-scenes debates at the White House show he’s going to war in part to rehabilitate an idea…the president and some of his advisers are so eager to rehabilitate the idea of preventive intervention that they’re exaggerating the violence they say they are intervening to prevent in Libya. “The effort to shoe-horn this into an imminent genocide model is strained,” says one senior administration official. That’s dangerous. Americans deserve an honest explanation when their leaders take them to war.

Obama and his aides know they are taking a big risk. “It’s a huge gamble,” says the senior administration official. The administration knows, for example, that al Qaeda, which has active cells in Libya, will try to exploit the power vacuum that will come with a weak or ousted Gaddafi.

“On the military side there was a lot of skepticism in the initial days that a no-fly zone by itself was going to achieve what we wanted militarily,” says a senior administration official. Another senior administration official is blunter: “[Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates tried to stop it.”

 

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TIME: Obama Exaggerating Atrocities in Libya to Justify War

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