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LIBYA: Pentagon chief Gates cautions against targeting Kadafi

  U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates reported success Sunday in imposing a no-fly zone over Libya but cautioned against direct attacks against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.

Any attacks that go beyond a U.N. mandate calling for the protection of rebel-held areas and prevention of attacks on civilians risks disrupting the “very diverse coalition” that agreed to the campaign, Gates told reporters en route to Russia, according to CNN.

“This is basically going to have to be resolved by the Libyans themselves,” he was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg news service.

Asked at a Pentagon news briefing about reports of smoke rising from Kadafi’s compound, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said the Libyan leader was not being targeted.

Gortney said that he had no indication of civilian casualties, rejecting Libyan claims that international forces had hit a hospital and other civilian targets.

Speaking on CNN’s "State of the Union," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the coalition had destroyed most of Kadafi's air defenses and that the no-fly zone was “effectively in place.”

National security advisor Tom Donilon, briefing reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night, dismissed claims by the Kadafi regime that it had implemented a cease-fire.

"Our view at this point is that it isn't true or it's been immediately violated,'' Donilon said. "So we'll continue to monitor Kadafi's actions, not just his words.''

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Comments () | Archives (24)

This isn't an example of a wayward missile missing it's target. It could very well be that Kaddafi has communications equipment at this location that was taken out or the Libyans jammed the missiles coordinates to effectively miss a target ( hit his residence instead ). The reporters aren't allowed to snoop around to see what else is in the compound, are they ? Kaddafi wasn't there ( I wonder why ? ), no harm to him or his family. Keep an open mind on neutralizing a bad guy.

No-Fly Zone = Colonialism

Gates concerned over targeting Kadafi? Why? Going after Manuel Noriega wasn't a problem for George H.W. Bush who targeted Manuel Noriega nor was it a problem for George W. Bush when he targeted Saddam Hussein. Why all of a sudden a different standard for Barack Obama?

If the French want to compromise their integrity, so be it, but there is no logical reason why the US needs to be involved whatsoever in this mess.

What's happening over there is effectively a civil war, not an Egypt-style uprising. It's not our business, apart from the fact that Libya is an oil exporter, which in the eyes of corporate America makes it a legitimate target for intervention.

Gates has the right idea. Unfortunately, he has been effectively sidelined, and Clinton and the rest of the hawks have become preeminent in our foreign policy and military planning.

Mark Cole's comment about the economic impact is dead on. Do we hear the Tea Party extremists yelling about spending. Of course not. It's like Iraq, fundamentally an effort to get rid of a foreign leader we don't particularly like, though in reality it's much more complicated. No where near enough time to go into it here.

Be prepared for backlash!

So a president has ordered an undeclared war. He's just a tanned Bush;
he's completely pwned by the neocon/Israelis now.

How's that "two simultaneous war" strategy workin out for ya' ??

Does Libya add taggants to their C4, or is it undetectable? Just
askin'. Ask the IRA, I suppose.

Folks in glass empires ought not fly drones.

And so another war. And of course once again our forces are said to be in service to "the good." And, once again the media finds reason to credit a "humanitarian" mission. All the same this go round as before. A naked purpose of states of course. "We can fix this...with violence. Happy to oblige."

The same demented little people online comments besides..."we hope this WORKS " all the way up to full spread support of any and all uses of violence. Another run up that same killing and maiming hill.

The dictator is to be despised. Of course, his supporters are cannon fodder.

Our troops, once again, get used like chess pieces. The president said he had a difficult choice to make. I would say he hasn't shown he's suffering all that much. I would prefer to see him involved in actual combat.

I notice at this juncture both The New York Times and The Washington Post have set up a more restrictive policy regards comments. I'm not surprised.

I feel like we are living an Orwellian world. WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY:
Pentagon chief Gates cautions against targeting Kadafi
Missile damages Kadafi's compound

You know that is just talk. Of course were are trying to target him. Just don't say that we are.

I agree with "peaches": it doesn't make sense to treat symptoms when we know what the cause is. Gadhafi is the cause; get him and for all practical purposes you stop his machinery.

From December of 2007, when Obama was lying to you, in return for your support:

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action."

If they (that's 'we') are not targetting Kaddafi, then hitting his compound (or no other military significance) proves our targetting is completely incompetent. I'm sure we can count on our many many friends in the mid-East to take us at our word and to treat us as humanitarian liberators and protectors of the innocent.

Yes, Khadafi was not targeted, that is why his living quarters were targeted. |Oh, tempora, oh mores.

I am sick of lies! There was not a single one independent report that Khadafi was targeting civilians. If I am wrong just give me the link

this is an illegal invasion. we are going to pay deeply. apparently obama has not learned from the failures of bush the regime builder, who started us on the road to hell. we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. get out now and stay out.

This is hauntingly like the the intervention during the Spanish civil war and highlights a disturbing trend towards militarism by the states.
I would be proud of a nation if it did something constructive abroad
and invested in domestic improvement.
Not incessant war.

I appreciate and second what John Cameron posted.

So it's okay to kill Libyan soldiers, who are following orders, and to bomb Libya, but not to kill Gadhafi, the dictator who runs everything? What kind of stupid logic is that? Suppose he starts spending the billions of dollars he has stolen, to send suicide bombers, and to destroy the oil rigs? He and his sons run Libya like a mafia family, they rule with fear and money. Remove them, or see Libya divided in two, with years of fighting ahead.

Obama is making the same mistake as other presidents, using the military to posture and threaten, instead of dealing with the actual threat.

The same kind of thinking led to Osama getting away, leaving us to fight an endless supply of Taliban, and if we had killed Saddam at the beginning of the war, we would have spared thousands of US troops and iraqi civilians.

Mark my words, Bombing Libya but leaving Gadhafi alive will be a disaster.

Germany’s Angela Merkel is the shrewdest European leader and Obama should have listened to her rather than fruit cakes Sarkozy and Cameron or the Vatican’s Panzer Cardinal. The Mad Gadaffi, the increasingly unlikely scapegoat for Lockerbie, is not our enemy and - though ignored - he warned America about al-Quaeda two years before 9/11. The UN has explicitly avoided endorsing “regime change”; our Arab supporters have vanished; and the Africa Union is demanding an “immediate stop” to our attacks. Like Afghanistan, Libya is racked by tribal feuds and there are few reasons why a new regime should be better than Gadaffi’s and many reasons why it could be a lot worse.

Isn't there a reward for Kadafi's capture?

might be a little more economical to just pay someone to shoot him. 110 tomahawks at $575,000 each...what budget crisis??

The "no-fly" zone is "successful": Libyan airspace is full of bombers with a reputation for frequently bombing civilians. Gates does not want to kill Kadafi, because that would remove Gates' excuse to bomb like crazy.

 
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