Obama: a cautious warrior president
The international assault on Libya has shown Barack Obama to be a cautious presidential warrior who has reframed US rules for war abroad after absorbing the painful lessons of Iraq.
Though he escalated the Afghan conflict, one of two wars he inherited, the Libyan action is the first military adventure Obama has actually launched and reveals key aspects of his philosophy as commander in chief.
The president’s preference for avoiding overseas entanglements led him to anchor his political rise on opposition to “dumb” wars.
He was against the Iraq invasion launched by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush in 2003 — notably eight years to the day before Saturday’s US-led salvo of 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Libya.
In office meanwhile, his quest to get troops home from resource-draining wars in Iraq and eventually Afghanistan is a bedrock theme of his presidency.