Most of the president's speech was an explanation – a defense – of why we're there.
And I think the president was persuasive – arguing he had a responsibility to act before he saw "images of slaughter and mass graves."
But, beyond that, the speech did not engage the issues that make America so anxious about Libya:
The president, for example, did not reconcile his own wish that Moammar Gaddafi step down, with the military mission that's simply supposed to protect the Libyan people.
And while he's promising a limited role for the United States – with no ground troops – he acknowledged Libya will remain dangerous until Gaddafi is gone.
And there's the rub.
We're already seeing how the no-fly zone and air strikes are supporting the rebels who are trying to oust Gaddafi.
But if the rebels can't win without us, and we want them to win, then how long do we stay…and how much are we ready to spend to make it happen?
We didn't hear about that tonight, and that's why this speech disappointed me.
What the president said was important; but what he didn't say matters more.
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.
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