The operation to create a no-fly zone in Libya has just begun, but already conservative Fox News pundit Bill Kristol is wishing the U.S. would send in ground troops “sooner rather than later.”
U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the “Odyssey Dawn” operation launched under a UN Security Council resolution was a “limited military action,” unlike the regime change aims of the war against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
He pledged no U.S. troops would be deployed on the ground.
Fox News Chris Wallace asked Kristol Sunday if it was a mistake to limit the mission in Libya.
“Let’s talk about the mission,” Wallace began. “You heard Admiral Mullen, earlier in the show, say his orders are clear: protect the civilians, don’t overthrow Gaddafi. That’s not the point. Is that a mistake? Can we live with Gaddafi in any sort of power? He can create a lot of trouble.”
“No, we cannot leave Gaddafi in power,” Kristol agreed. “And we won’t leave Gaddafi in power.”
“The immediate military mission, Admiral Mullen correctly described but the political goal is to remove Gaddafi and ultimately military assets will serve that political goal.”
“First we protect civilians and destroy his military capability. And then we help other remove him indirectly, presumably. Though I, unlike the president, would not rule out ultimately having to go in with peacekeeping and nation stabilizing forces. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we do that at the end of the day,” he added.
The neoconservative pundit held up the Kosovo conflict as a model for action in Libya.
“President Clinton ruled out ground forces in Kosovo. And finally, the threat of ground forces caused Miloševic to capitulate and we ended up sending in peacekeeping forces and we eventually got rid of Miloševic.”
“I hope that happens sooner rather than later here. We need to get rid of Gaddafi,” he said.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast March 20, 2011.