In his speech to the nation about Libya, President Obama repeatedly dwelled on his insistence that American "ground troops" not go to Libya. He said: " I said that America's role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya...Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge....We also had the ability to stop Qaddafi's forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground....If we tried to overthrow Qaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission."
Now NPR reports: "The CIA has sent a small, covert team into rebel-held eastern Libya while the White House debates whether to arm the opposition, NPR has confirmed. The operatives are in Libya to gather intelligence to help direct NATO airstrikes and to help train inexperienced rebel fighters."
So it's okay to send "covert" "operatives" into Libya, all the while congratulating oneself on television for not putting any "troops" on the ground. As a general matter I try to focus here on the president's policies rather than his personality, but at moments like this it's hard to avoid the reaction, "what a phony."