But Obama does not get full credit, I think, because he took so long to intervene. Recall that the U.S. intervened only after the U.N. Security Council approved intervention. Obama chose to wait until Qaddafi had driven the rebels into a last holdout in Benghazi. He chose to restrain our operations along the lines set out by the Security Council, which forbade ground troops. This prolonged the ouster of Qaddafi into a full-blown civil war and resulted in more disintegration of the nation’s institutions than was necessary. To the extent that it is harder to get a new government to stand up and to collect and control Libya’s arms, part of the blame must also go to Obama’s delay because of his undue sensitivity to foreign opinion and the U.N.Yoo doesn't really offer a basis for American intervention into Libya's foreign affairs that would demand unilateral American action, though. In the absence of a threat against Americans or U.S. soil—and Qaddafi posed none—President Obama was exceedingly wise to partner with other nations in the matter, lest the whole thing look like a bit of American empire-building ... a perception that might actually damage our interests in the Middle East, not strengthen them.
I don't think there was a sound American basis for intervening militarily. I feel certain that President Obama's decision to go to war there was constitutionally suspect, and that Congress was feckless in exercising its own power over the matter. For John Yoo, though, the world is endless ticking time bombs that can be solved only with the power of an unchecked Imperial Presidency. Whatever you think about that attitude, it is not keeping with the best traditions of American governance.