British press raps Obama over Libya no-fly zone delay

18th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British newspapers on Friday reprimanded US President Barack Obama for dragging his feet on a move to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, passed almost three weeks after it was first mooted.

The 15 members of the UN Security Council Thursday approved a resolution permitting "all necessary measures" to impose the no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on strongman Moamer Kadhafi's military.

Britain and France had pushed for military action for some time.

"David Cameron (the British prime minister) first urged a no-fly zone over Libya 19 days ago when the uprising was in full swing," The Sun said in an editorial.

"Had America listened, Libya might already be liberated and the mad dog hanging from a lamp-post. But US officials rubbished the PM's 'loose talk' and said he didn't know what he was on about," it said.

"This was not the President's finest hour."

Richard Spencer of the Telegraph blamed Obama's reluctance to commit US military might on a desire to project a less-interventionist foreign policy than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"The US has, by implication, decided after much hand-wringing to maintain the role undertaken by successive administrations but seemingly rejected by Mr Obama: that of the world's policeman," wrote Spencer.

Simon Tisdall, writing in the centre-left Guardian, offered more measured criticism.

"He did not want another foreign distraction ahead of his presidential re-election bid next year. He did not want the cost, the corpses or the inevitable collateral damage, political and human," said Tisdall.

© 2011 AFP

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