Five die as NATO airstrike hits rebels
Libyan rebels run for cover from artillery shells fired by forces loyal to Gadhafi outside the eastern oil town of Brega, the frontline in a war in which neither side has been able to make any significant advances for days, on April 5, 2011. (Photo credit: Mahmud Hams / AFP – Getty Images)
Reuters, NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk, and The Associated Press via MSNBC
April 7, 2011
AJDABIYA, Libya — The U.S. may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, the former U.S. commander of the military mission said Thursday, describing the ongoing operation as a stalemate that is more likely to go on now that America has handed control to NATO.
But Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers that American participation in a ground force would not be ideal, since it could erode the international coalition attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s forces and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.
He said NATO has done an effective job in an increasingly complex combat situation. But he noted that, in a new tactic, Gadhafi’s forces are making airstrikes more difficult by staging their fighters and vehicles near civilian areas such as schools and mosques.
The use of an international ground force is a possible plan to bolster the Libyan rebels, Ham said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Asked whether the U.S. would provide troops, Ham said, “I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal view at this point would be that that’s probably not the ideal circumstance, again for the regional reaction that having American boots on the ground would entail.”
President Barack Obama has said repeatedly there will be no U.S. troops on the ground in Libya, although there are reports of small CIA teams in the country. …
Overall, [Ham] said the U.S. is providing less than 15 percent of the airstrikes and between 60 percent and 70 percent of the support effort, which includes intelligence gathering, surveillance, electronic warfare and refueling. …
Ham said he believes some Arab nations are starting to provide training or weapons to the rebels. And he repeated assertions that the U.S. needs to know more about the opposition forces before it would get more deeply involved in assisting them. …
Related reports on this site
A Libyan rebel walks past the charred remains of rebel vehicles that were hit by a NATO airstrike near Brega, April 2, 2011. (Altaf Qadri / AP)
(Some) Boots on the Ground in Libya (March 30, 2011)
Libya Update (March 26, 2011)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — April 7, 2010
One year ago today, I announced a second challenge to incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann for her U.S. House of Representatives seat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, on a platform of national security, law and order, fiscal responsibility, and uncompromising opposition to political extremism.
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U.S. President Barack Obama greets troops during a visit to Camp Victory, near Baghdad, Iraq, April 7, 2009. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP — Getty Images)
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