Skip to comments.Gates: Libya was not 'a vital interest'; Clinton: President took the 'best available option'
Posted on 03/27/2011 12:09:51 PM PDT by jazusamo
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday defended the U.S. militarys role in airstrikes against Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces but said that Libya was not an imminent threat to the United States when the president ordered them.
In two separate interviews Gates acknowledged that Libya did not hold a vital interest for the U.S., although he emphasized the geopolitical importance of Libya in a region fraught with recent instability.
No I dont think its a vital interest for the United States, said Gates in a pre-taped interview with NBCs Meet the Press that aired on Sunday. But we clearly have interests there and its a part of the region which is a vital interest for the United States.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that the airstrikes and the no-fly zone established by U.S.-led forces had prevented a great humanitarian disaster and that the consequences could have been catastrophic if President Obama had not engaged the U.S. military.
The cries would be, Why did the United States not do anything? said Clinton on ABCs This Week. How could you stand by when, you know, France and the United Kingdom and other Europeans and the Arab League and your Arab partners were saying, you've got to do something?
Clinton elaborated in her interview with NBC, saying that it was critical to take action in Libya because of the potentially negative effect Gadhafis repression of the popular uprising could have had on its neighboring countries, Egypt and Tunisia, which both recently ousted their presidents and are in the midst of a politically uncertain period.
There is no perfect option when one is looking at a situation like this, she said. I think that the president ordered the best available option.
The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he was startled by Gates comments and that Obama needs to fully communicate the U.S.s endgame, or what it hopes to ultimately accomplish.
I was startled to hear Secretary Gates say that Libya was not a vital interest [and] Secretary Clinton then came in with the fact that our European allies are very disturbed about the situation, said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). And of course, we have justified military action as a humanitarian action to stop the shooting of civilians.
After more than a week of airstrikes by U.S., British, and French forces, Gate said, I think that we are at a point where a where the establishment of the no-fly zone and the protection of cities from the kind of wholesale military assault that we have seen certainly in the East has been accomplished and now we can move to sustainment.
Libyan rebels, who are fighting to remove Gadhafi after 42 years in power, pushed the pro-Gadhafi forces out of a key city in the eastern part of the country, according to news reports.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on CNNs State of the Union heralded the recent developments on Sunday as a sign of success that Gadhafi was on his heels.
Many Republicans and Democrats have expressed their fear of an open-ended U.S.-led military campaign and have criticized Obama for not communicating to them the U.S.s overall objectives in Libya.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote to Obama earlier this week asking him, If the strife in Libya becomes a protracted conflict, what are your Administrations objectives for engaging with opposition forces, and what standards must a new regime meet to be recognized by our government?
Obama has been rapidly trying to defuse congressional criticism, saying in his radio address on Saturday that the U.S. would have a limited military involvement in Libya going forward. On Friday, Obama held a conference call with Congressional leaders in which he laid out some details of his plan, and he is scheduled to give an address to the nation Monday evening on the topic.
On Sunday Gates said that as long as there is a no-fly zone, the U.S. will have a presence in the area, but that he didnt know definitively how long the U.S. military would be engaged. Gates added that the Defense department was already planning to draw down its resources in the very near future.
I don't think anybody knows the answer to that, said Gates, responding to a question on ABCs This Week of whether the U.S. would remain active in Libya until the end of the year.
Earlier this week NATO officials said that it would begin to take control of the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya as well as protecting Libyas civilians.
When Congress returns next week, after a weeklong recess, lawmakers will most likely be hunting down more concrete answers, especially about the increasing cost of the U.S. militarys actions, which some estimate could already be close to $1 billion.
The Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday announced it would hold a hearing on Libya on Thursday. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has also announced a hearing. A briefing for all House members is scheduled on Wednesday.
Something sure is up, the cackles have disappeared.
That's what they said about the bank bailout.
It’s the Goebbels approach.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
But they have worn it out.
Remember when these turds had weeks of hearings before the congress on the 160 mil in bankers bonuses?
They screamed and screamed about how the evil bankers had to pay the money back, and they quietly shoveled 780 bil of our money to them while they whipped us up.
Even Freepers bought into the BS
I sure do wish our unemployment level was at the rate it was the day they said the world will end tomorrow if we do not bail out the banks.
What’s the latest on Afghanistan/Iraq?
A year ago 25 USA businessmen began to trade with Libya after 37 years of NO TRADE. All those businesses lose in all this. The embargo and any subsequent change of leadership kills the deals.
Obama got us again...through the back door.
I got nothing against trade.
Insider dealing pisses me off.
yah...and the Regime withheld any spokesman from appearing on Fox News Sunday, where they might have faced some more direct questioning.
How many times did we hear the phrase “exit strategy” used in relation to Iraq??
How many times did the Dhimmies beat GWB about the face and neck with copies of “The Powell Doctrine”??
The only thing that is clear about the Libyan operation is that Premier Hussein and Company are making this up as they go, and are desperately trying to spin this in any way possible to protect Premier Hussein at all costs.
I’m amazed that Hillary is out selling this. When all goes to hell in Libya, she’s the one that will be thrown under the bus for it.
Good point and probably true, I hadn’t read about that.
You nailed it. Not only will Obama not say anything about this but doesn’t want his people saying much either.
I wonder if Gates was told to say what he said today, somehow I don’t believe he was.
If Bush would have tried something like this the enemedia and leftist politicians would have had him drawn and quartered by now.
Hussein Obama has had nearly two weeks to come up with whatever he will say to Congress, I sure hope the House doesn’t fall for it.
If this turns into a six month deal (or longer) or if the outcome is bad for us (AQ or MB in charge) then it will be an election issue. Any GOP hopeful who called for this will be unable to realistically use it to hammer dear leader. That includes Newt and Palin. They should have just shut up.
This war is about jobs. Get world war III going and US has to build more weapons for NATO .... Good union jobs.
Do we want more GUNS or BUTTER? This is an economic war. Its a War for JOBS, TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENTS, and to Get re-elected as he wants to get people back to work with new jobs in the defense industry when all HELL breaks loose.
AXELROD AND OBUMMER have this scripted out to not only destroy the economy when WORLD WAR III erupts but he also knows that he can do anything he wants as he only answers to GEORGE SOROS.
In the first few years after trade restrictions were lifted Colonel Qaddafi had given up his countrys nuclear capabilities and pledged to renounce terrorism many American companies were hesitant to do business with Libyas government, officials said. But with an agreement on a settlement over Libyas role in the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, finally reached in 2008, officials at the United States Commerce Department began to serve as self-described matchmakers for American businesses.
At least a dozen American corporations, including Boeing, Raytheon, ConocoPhillips, Occidental, Caterpillar and Halliburton, gained footholds, or tried to do so. In May, the Obama administration and the Qaddafi government signed a new trade agreement, designed, according to Gene Cretz, the American ambassador to Libya, to broaden and deepen our bilateral economic relations.
Agreed. I want to see Gadhafi dead and have for years. After saying that it looks like info has come out that the rebels are led and backed by al Qaeda, we sure don’t want them or the MB leading Libya.
A lot of rumblings, (heard on Chicago Black raidio WVON AM) among Obama’s base that he is spending ‘their’ welfare money on war instead of them.
Jesse Jackson Questions US Motives in Libya
Mar 24, 2011
It seems that the definition of the mission has been stretched beyond its original intent. Therefore we are getting closer and closer, from oversight, to more action on the ground.
It was particularly worrying that the multinational coalition had gone from imposing a UN mandated no-fly zone to attacking Col Gaddafi compound in Tripoli. This action meant there was a real risk the situation would worsen, he said.”
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