Peggy Noonan is one of many Conservatives (and many anti-war Liberals) demanding President Barack Obama explain the military action against Libya. They argue that the president's informal and scattered remarks are counter-productive. Let me suggest the below as a possible speech, based on what I have picked up from my own reading.
This is my own creation, done with a minimal amount of research. Please forgive my amateurism. And yes, I do suspect this is what is going on in the President's mind. Although, I am not sure he'd choose to be this brief. ;-)
I come before you tonight to talk about the hardest duty of any president - sending men and women into battle to protect the interests of the United States of America. Combat should never be entered into lightly, and the lives of our soldiers should always be held dear in the minds and hearts of all Americans. We should never spend blood and treasure without urgent need and compelling national interest. And we should always seek the counsel and assistance of our allies.
In February, inspired by events in Yemen, Egypt, and elsewhere, the people of Liyba rose up against the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi. They successfully seized control of large, economically powerful portions of their country and they have held their positions against relentless assaults from the increasingly desperate dictator. The Libyan people have made it clear that they want freedom from Mr. Gaddafi. At the same time, it now appears the tyrant is willing to do anything to eliminate this opposition, including the annihilation of civilians. If we wish to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, there is an urgent need for action.
Muammar Gaddafi has long been an enemy of the free world and the United States, on particular. In 1981, he threatened the assassination of President Ronald Reagan. In 1988, he ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. And he has continued to fund and encourage terrorism against Americans around the world. He has proved himself to be a foe of America, and a foe of all free peoples.
A broad international consensus has formed that Mr. Gaddafi's actions are intolerable. Even the Arab League - normally opposed to any action by Western powers in the Middle East - has called upon the international community to protect Libyan civilians. On March 17, the United Nations established a no-fly zone over the nation of Libya, and passed a resolution calling upon member nations to protect his civilian population.
In light of this urgent need, compelling national interest, and unanimous voice of our allies, I have given order to our commanders in the region to work with our allies - most prominently Britain, France, and Germany - to do what is necessary to protect civilians from this brutal dictator. This will include the creation of a no-fly zone, the reduction of Mr. Gaddafi's offensive capabilities against allied air forces, and the bombing of front-line positions to establish a perimeter around civilian positions.
Let me be clear. I have not taken this action lightly. And American lives will not be at risk in this engagement any longer than is necessary. I expect the American leadership in this operation to last weeks, not months. We will pledge ongoing aid and training to ensure civilians remain safe. But we will not expend a drop more American blood than is necessary.
America is a mighty force for good in this world. For peace. For security. We desire all people to be free. We will protect our friends, and punish our foes. We will not waste the blessings we have been given.
Thank you. And God bless America.