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BY MALLORY PERRYMAN
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This Sunday….the secretaries are sent out to talk about Libya. Why the U.S. is there- and when it’s getting out.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tells NBC’s David Gregory- this is a limited mission that’s going according to plan.
Robert Gates (U.S. Secretary of Defense): “The President has made it very clear there will be no American troops on the ground in Libya. This eventually is going to have to be settled by the Libyans themselves. Perhaps the UN can mediate or whatever but in terms of the military commitment, the president has put some very strict limitations in terms of what we ware prepared to do.”
And sitting on Gates’ right- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who says the U.S. wasn’t going to opt out when the international community was calling for action.
Hillary Clinton (U.S. Secretary of State): “Can you imagine David if we were sitting here and Gaddafi had gotten to Bengazi and in a city of 700,000 people he has massacred tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands had fled over the border destabilizing Egypt. Everybody would be saying, why didn’t the president do something?”
The duo also sat down with CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, where Secretary Gates revealed- embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is doing his best to make the Allies- the bad guys.
Robert Gates (U.S. Secretary of Defense): "We have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for. But we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Qaddafi taking the bodies of the people he's killed and putting them at the sites where we've attacked. “
As for what happens next, the secretaries say the U.S. expects coalition forces to take over enforcement of the UN-backed no-fly zone.
As for intervening in other revolting nations, Secretary Clinton says- there are a few things that must happen before the U.S. will step in. Here, she’s referring to Syria.
Hillary Clinton (U.S. Secretary of State): “If there were a coalition of the international community. If there were the passage of a Security Council resolution. If there were a call by the Arab League. If there was a condemnation that was universal.”
On CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Senator Carl Levin tried to simplify the argument for those in favor of intervention in Libya. Candy Crowley sums it up.
Candy Crowley (Host, State of the Union): “You know Africa is full of countries where leaders are slaughtering their people in the hundreds of thousands and we’ve done nothing about that. So the tipping point to you is ‘Well if they ask us to come and the international community supports it, then we’ll go. That’s your…
Sen. Carl Levin (D- MI): “That’s key. That’s absolutely critical.”
But some Sunday round table members aren’t buying the secretaries’ mission accomplished press circuit. The BBC’s Ted Koppel asks- why Libya?
Ted Koppel (The BBC): “The question hasn’t yet been answered as to why it is that Libya of all countries in that region has won the humanitarian defense sweepstakes of 2011.”
And ABC’s George Will argues the U.S. is way too optimistic about the chances of democracy in Libya.
George Will (ABC): “Our objective now, believe it or not, is to create a vacuum by decapitating the regime by getting rid of Gaddafi, into which we hope in this tribal society that something good will flow.”
But on the Meet the Press roundtable, Savannah Guthrie points out, President Obama isn’t thrilled about the situation either.
Savannah Guthrie (MSNBC): “The president is obviously not happy with his set of choices. One person told me in a meeting he called this military action in Libya a ‘turd sandwich’ which he was quoting one of his national security aides who likes to use that term.”
Finally- while Secretaries Gates and Clinton made their rounds on ABC, CBS, and NBC… Chris Wallace was pretty unhappy they didn’t stop by Fox News…and he let everybody know about it.
Chris Wallace (Fox News Sunday): “Despite the fact that we routinely have more viewers than two of those Sunday shows, the Obama team felt no need to explain to the millions of you who watch this program and Fox News why they have sent U.S. servicemen and women into combat. We thought you’d like to know.”
Mediaite notes- to be fair- the duo didn’t appear on CNN’s State of the Union either. So far, no on-air complaints from host Candy Crowley.
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