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


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."


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

Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

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

Comments () | Archives (12)

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That doesn't count the American spies already there or the "advisers" which will inevitably follow. You can't have it both ways Secretary Gates. Either arm them, give them over to Kadaffi or get the hell OUT.

Wait stop. We do not have military boots on the ground but we have CIA boots on the ground. We pay death benifits and pensions to both. What is the difference? It is not about tens of thousands of Libyan lives; it is about millions of barrels of Libian oil!!!!

I totally agree with Rob Gates. Hell yes no American Troops on their soil. Let the change come within. If they need assistance, sure, I'll help you - you know what - but you gotta change for yaself.

Arming the rebels does not seem prudent for a number of reasons, many of which are listed in the article. Though if that becomes the catalyst for actually deposing Kadafi, perhaps it should be on the table. The international effort has already committed a large amount of time and resources essentially on the behalf of the rebels. A failure on the rebel's part would give other dictators a renewed vigor in future, similar disputes.

For National Security reasons, of course. Tick tock tic toc....I have this for senator Macbeth...I mean senator McCain. Don't ever forget the year 1984. Semper Fi Macbeth.

For National Security reasons, of course. Tick tock tic toc....I have this for senator Macbeth...I mean senator McCain. Don't ever forget the year 1984. Semper Fi Macbeth.

Do you want U. S. taxpayers to arm crazies who discharge their weapons into the air? You don't have to know anything about Sir Isaac Newton to understand how brainless that is.

Compare the American Revolution to the present Libyan Revolution:

I do not see any Lafayette's amongst the American leadership.

We are not a France that almost bankrupted itself to help us defeat the British.

Who was the German that trained our ragtag militias and turned them into an Army, a fighting Army.

Also, the Poles helped us during the Revolutionary War. The Spanish did their part as well. There were other nationalities too.

Something stinking is in the air! For the last 3 days the Libyan rebels have not received much airpower help.

Does any American want to stand up and be counted in support for the ragtag Libyan Revolutionairies?

Sounds almost like defeatocratism to me. I think the current approach looks more like the Reagan/Bush playbook than the Bush/Cheney playbook. Is that a bad thing? Not to me.

Dianne Feinstein says "the international court" should "go in and arrest" Kadafi.

However, ironically, the United States is NOT a member of the International Criminal Court. The Rome statute is not yet ratified, moreover the US along with Israel and Sudan unsigned the Statute, indicating no further intention to become a state party.

Concerning, "boots of NATO nations" on the ground. I believe, the majority of NATO 28 states would not agree to step there. It's worth adding that non-NATO states also contribute to the Libya operation, including Sweden, Qatar and Turkey among others.

This was started as enforcing a no-fly zone. That is very limited activity uisng a limited type of iarcraft. Then they added A-10s and AC-130s, ground support aircraft. Now they have CIA ground troops despite saying we have no ground troops. Soon it will by training advisors by the thousands. Sounds like the 60's.

There is a world of difference between the Iraq wars of the Bushes and this. And like I've said, this is much more like the Kennedy/Johnson war in Vietnam where we only went in half cocked. Iraq 1 was and in and out thing and Iraq 2 was a full scale invasion. You can say both were lies but the only lies were to the American people, not the Dummycrats in Congress - they knew full well what they were getting into. But this one I don't think anyone in Congress knows what is going on!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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