"What Obama is saying is that there are places in the world where the United States does not have vital national interests - where we have not been attacked - but where we have limited interests.
"He is saying that we are going to try to find a way to have some kind of limited military response in these situations. We are going to do some of the things ourselves. We are going to insist that allies do other things. We are going to insist we have an international mandate.
"What he is suggesting is given the circumstances - the Libyan opposition asking for help on the verge of a massacre, the Arab League asking for it, the UN endorsing it - the United States could not have done nothing. But that does not mean that he is going to accept the idea that this is an open-ended military commitment.
"What John McCain was suggesting strikes me as a very dangerous argument: In a place where we have clearly limited, non-vital interests, the United States and the President should adopt an open-ended policy of military escalation and say we should do whatever it takes to get Moammar Gadhafi out of office. Well, that is frankly the way we got into conflicts like Vietnam where in order not to be humiliated, we couldn’t back down.
"What Obama is saying is we have a limited military mission and he intends to keep it limited.
"The reference to Iraq was very pointed and clear in that respect."