Obama Defends Libyan Military Intervention

The president says the action in Libya is in the nation's best interest.

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Before President Obama returns to Washington from Chile Wednesday, he will hold a conference call with his national security team to discuss the situation in Libya. At a press conference Tuesday, Obama stressed that the United States' involvement in Libya is a humanitarian mission. "You had the prospect of Qadhafi's forces carrying out his orders to show no mercy," said the president. "That could have resulted in catastrophe in that town. Qadhafi's forces have pulled back because of this timely intervention." Obama reiterated his administration's goal for this effort to take "days and not weeks" and that European and Arab state forces would soon be taking over. Still, the Pentagon has raised concerns about whether Qadhafi will hold on to power as long as he can. Meanwhile, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are questioning the role of U.S. military intervention in Libya. Obama responded by saying the effort is in the nation's best interest. "Nobody has a bigger stake in making sure that the there are basic rules of the road that are observed, that there's some semblance of order and justice," he said. [See photos of the unrest in Libya.]