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News Link • WAR: About that War

U.S. Gunships Will Be ‘on Standby’ in NATO’s Libya War

Most legislators are relieved — if skeptical — to hear that U.S. planes and ships will pull back from strike missions in Libya. Sen. John McCain is appalled. And he got Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen to put a caveat on their pledge that the U.S. will stop its “offensive operations” under the new NATO command.

McCain was practically livid during a Thursday afternoon hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. With the Libyan rebels getting routed on the ground, “your timing is exquisite,” McCain sarcastically lectured Gates and Mullen. “I’m glad to know that small arms will be effective for them.”

Mullen confirmed that the U.S. Air Force’s low-flying gunships — chief tools of close air support for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan — will only be available for striking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks, trucks and artillery pieces “over the next several days.”

McCain couldn’t believe what he was hearing: “It seems to me we are not doing everything necessary to achieve our policy goals.”


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