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Robert Gates' goal for Libya: No American troops on the ground

March 31, 2011 |  7:47 pm

Gates

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, under heavy questioning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, swore that despite the fact that Moammar Kadafi will "kill as many (people) as he must to crush the rebellion," there will be no American troops on the ground in Libya "as long as I'm in this job."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there was "no daylight" between herself and President Obama regarding Libya.

"The president said no boots on the ground, and I agree with him," Feinstein said, adding that NATO should do its part. "We have a number of other nations who can put boots on the ground."

Feinstein talked tough but hesitated when it came to arming the Libyan rebels. "We did it in Afghanistan and we got burned by it. In Iraq we got burned by it," she said. "The weapons cropped up later and were used against us. We don't know, other than a few dozen, who these people really are.... The call has gone out for jihad and there is a Libyan Islamic Front. I would be very reserved."

She was not at all reserved about Kadafi, however, when she was interviewed by MSNBC. Feinstein said "the international court" should "go in and arrest" Kadafi, who she called the "head of the snake."

RELATED:

Dramatic photos: Rebels pushed back in Libya

Robert Gates again rules out U.S. ground forces for Libya

Libyan regime could collapse from within, U.S. officials say

-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

Photo: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates testifies in the Senate on Thursday.  Credit: Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency

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