Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Sunday that Libya was not a “vital national interest” to the U.S.
“Do you think Libya posed an actual threat to the United States?” ABC’s Jake Tapper asked Gates.
“No, it was not a vital national interest to the United States,” Gates replied. “But it was an interest.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added that the U.S. did the right thing by participating in the action against Libya.
“Imagine we were sitting here, and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people,” Clinton explained. “And tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands had fled and, as Bob said, either with nowhere to go, or overwhelming Egypt while it’s in his own difficult transition.”
“The cries would be, why did the United States not do anything? How could you stand by when, you know, France, and the United Kingdom and other Europeans and the Arab League and your Arab partners were saying, you have got to do something? Every decision we make is going to have pluses and minuses.”
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast March 27, 2011.