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John McCain Pressing Hard for Consideration of Libyan No-Fly Zone

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Sen. John McCain said Thursday that establishing a no-fly zone over Libya should be a viable option for the United States military -- and saying so does not amount to "loose talk."

McCain (R-Ariz.) did not mention Defense Secretary Robert Gates by name at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, according to the Associated Press. But Gates has warned Congress about loose talk in connection with the difficult task of setting up a no-fly zone in response to Moammar Gadhafi's air offensive against rebel positions.

On Wednesday, in an appearance before House Appropriations Committee, Gates said establishing a no-fly zone to police Gadhafi's warplanes would involve a "big operation in a big country." It is doable, Gates testified, but he added, "Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. . . . And then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down."

The debate came as Gadhafi launched airstrikes Thursday against two rebel-held towns. Gates, the highest ranking Republican in the Obama administration, is well respected on Capitol Hill, but McCain also has credibility as a onetime Navy pilot whose plane was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam war.

McCain said Thursday U.S. experience in southern Iraq beginning in 1992 suggests that keeping the skies clear over a contested zone is "not hard to do," The Hill newspaper reported. Even threatening a no-fly zone would amount to a "strategic deterrent," he said during an exchange with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey. "Deterrence" is an option the national command "should always have," Dempsey said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) also endorsed serious consideration of a no-fly zone.

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pauldeasy

Never saw a war he didn't like?!?!?! He was a P.O.W.-he knows EXACTLY the costs of war, as well as NOT fighting one. I voted for Obama, but voted McCain as Senator in AZ, but he is NO WAR MONGER-he is a patriot. You guys should maybe consider what us establishing a no fly zone does, and how many thousands it will save. Ghaddafi is bombing his own people on a daily basis. The entire region wants democracy and our intervention would change the face of America in the Middle East. Not an invader forcing an abstract ideology on them...instead assisting them in creating their own form of democracy (every Western country has a different form). I hope you guys realize too, being typically egocentric, that $5/gallon gas will soon be a luxury as the conflict continues, Oil refineries and ports are bombed by their own leaders, and after they are ousted, we aren't friends with the new DEMOCRATIC regime. Think a little further guys

March 04 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robynmarigny

Why does McCain think every problem can be solved by killing something?
Libya is not our client state. There's several trillion in military equipment over there. Let them ask their neighbors.

March 03 2011 at 7:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
joe

McCain should shut up. This is Obama's show and he should take the credit or blame for the results. If things go wrong the first thing Obama apologists would say is that it was Mc Cain's idea. Don't know why McCain is working so hard to get Obama re-elected.

March 03 2011 at 6:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joe's comment
ettu

I do not believe the actions/words of John McCain have anything to do with elections, unless it is campaign time. A greater patriot cannot be found. If John had to choose between doing the right thing with the consequences being that Obama was re-elected, or doing the wrong thing because it would bring Obama defeat, he would choose the former every time. He knows when to campaign, and when to do the job he is paid to do, one more attribute missing in our current President.

March 03 2011 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fworfe

fworfe
If Senator McCain is making another run for presidential nomination, it might be understandable that he'd stick his neck out for an advantage. But at this point, gratuitous point-stretching seems a bit off-the-cuff even for him. Meaning that, like former President Carter, in recent years he lands in the outer fringes of common sense. Let's let Defense Secretary Robert Gates handle this one. Not because he's a Republican hold-over, but because he makes a whole lot of sense in a crisis, and he knows how to prevent one.

March 03 2011 at 4:20 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
akissmybass45

mccain loves war maybe he should talk to bush and see how its done

March 03 2011 at 4:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
msgusarmyret77

John McCain never saw a war he didn't like. If it were up to him we would have intervened in Georgia's dispute with Russia. He would have us bomb Iran. He would stay in Iraq for 100 years if needed.

March 03 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Just how many wars or 'combat' zones does McCain want the American troops in? The US is NOT the police of the world. We can't afford more combat spending and American lives on 'thoughts' from these neo-cons.
With soldiers going to Afghanistan for there 3rd tour is he crazy?

March 03 2011 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

OMG! Imagine if Grandpa McCain and Palin were in the White House. We'd be at war in another God-forsaken land. If McCain's opinions (opposed by top military leaders) were to be put into effect, the entire region could explode, and probably Sarah Palin could see it from her back door. You would think that a man who was a prisoner of war would not want to jump into such an action. Let's let the UN or NATO coordinate any response.

March 03 2011 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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