The president argued that lawmakers concerned about the legality of the mission were missing the point — the Gadhafi regime was going to “massacre his people” if the U.S. and its allies failed to act — but nevertheless said he thinks the operation is legal.
“Do I think that our actions in any way violate the War Powers Resolution? The answer is no,” he said.
Asked whether the mission can be judged a success so long as Col. Gadhafi remains in power, Mr. Obama reiterated that the Libyan leader “needs to go,” but he didn’t speculate how or when that might happen. The U.N. resolution authorizing a no-fly zone did not call for his removal.
“I think it’d be hard for us to feel confident that the Libyan people are going to be protected unless he steps down,” Mr. Obama said. “Now, what that means, whether there’s the possibility of Libyans arriving at some sort of political settlement — you know that, I think, is something that ultimately the Libyan people are going to have to make a decision about.”