This is what Obama had to say yesterday:

(AFP) — President Barack Obama gave a staunch defense of the US role in the international military mission in Libya Saturday, as he comes under pressure to explain US goals to a public exhausted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama’s weekly radio and online address was his most detailed review of the UN-sanctioned action so far, and comes ahead of an address to the nation Monday on the US strategy in Libya.

“Make no mistake, because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians — innocent men, women and children — have been saved,” Obama said.

When innocent people are brutalized by a leader like Kadhafi who was threatening a “bloodbath,” and when nations are prepared to respond together, “it’s in our national interest to act,” he said. “And it’s our responsibility.”

And here’s Gates today:

David Gregory: Is Libya in our vital interest as a country?

Robert Gates: No, I don’t think it’s vital interest for the United States, but we clearly have interest there and it is a pat of the region which is a vital interest for the United States.

So which is it?