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Good evening everybody the United States will end all official combat missions in Libya tomorrow leaving NATO in command.
It is though a change in name only as we've reported here in the United States makes up nearly 25% of -- budget.
It leads NATO's military and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and joint chiefs chairman admiral Mike -- announced the pullback.
Jobs -- Libyan forces were seeking a cease fire even as I said they retreat.
Copies forces for their part are going to fight -- they say and so far this week.
Got -- army has pushed rebels back a hundred miles from key cities.
To this point.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates seems to be the only member of the Obama administration.
Offering concrete answers about what the US mission in Libya is and is not.
-- the removal of colonel Qaddafi will likely be achieved over time through political and economic measures and by his own people.
However this NATO led operation can -- great -- -- military capacity to the point where he and those around him.
Will be forced into a very different set of choices and behaviors in the future.
It was -- to Secretary Gates to define for congress what a time limited scope limited military action consists.
The Defense Secretary went on to guarantee no American boots on the ground in Libya so long as he's Defense Secretary in this administration.
But what he was asked about contingency plans were Qaddafi to remain in power Secretary Gates offered -- sober assessment.
Think we have.
Considered the possibility of this being made.
Stalemate and being a drawn out affair.
Well my first guest tonight says regime change is the only option in this war that we are not allowed to call -- war of course.
-- one retired lieutenant colonel United States Marine Corps he conducted a number of intelligence gathering missions in the Middle East also.
Fox military analyst good to have you with us colonel.
Look I need it thanks for writing that the idea that this is senator regime change that Qaddafi is at a target.
You think that is -- -- falling.
-- it has to be falling Lou if we if he somehow -- there.
Then all the things were over there for which primarily on -- -- under the humanitarian banner.
What to protect his citizens from his power base there from -- obliterated by him then we've lost all that because we're.
Qaddafi in his -- and power.
No matter what else goes on around there he will find a way.
To go ahead and start eliminating those who opposed him whether it's visible to -- or not it'll happen in those people of their know that.
Does it strike you as either reasonable our common sense for the United States to -- air support.
Before the rebel forces.
As they are now obviously many of them in retreat from come -- these armies.
Well Louis you know we look at the last three days you imagine coming in here that the rebels have been pushed the opposition been pushed way far back by cannot be fortunate.
In large part that's because for the last three days or three days the weather has been too bad to be able to run air strikes so we then take away the most capable force.
For running airstrikes we really have a scenario whereby air firm for all practical purposes is not a dominant factor in what goes on on the ground.
The obvious question what should the military be doing what should this administration order.
Well I -- I tend to agree with the no boots on the ground Lou I've got a son who's done three -- combat tours are ready and there's many.
Families as you know listening to you right now -- and -- show and worrying about their son getting deployed but look.
Now we've got a lot of intelligence gathering capabilities we've got electronic warfare capabilities we have.
The ability to spot targets to identify targets and have aircraft NATO and or US go after -- -- we should be helping with the training.
First the assessing and then the training and equipping of -- I'll give the president.
Some credit for the fact that he signed a presidential executive order allowing things like that we haven't done it yet.
But there are things we could be doing short of -- US forces on the ground and helping ensure that adopt the indeed is eliminated.
Is that within the scope though of our capacity without boots on the ground is it in in fact.
A conflict a military action a time limited scope limited military action is this administration wants to describe it -- Is this and action in which that can be achieved simply through.
Air power we'll -- -- time monitored scope limited if -- -- range in power Lou because will be dealing with this problem endlessly about what he's doing -- -- because population of people were spoke to me.
Protecting from ivory might add quickly that Egypt right there on the border of Libya is a -- was and actually still is a very powerful army.
A very powerful ally in the egyptians have the capability.
With our help and our direction to be training the opposition forces to be helping equip the opposition forces to get the opposition's.
Forces prepared to actually conduct combat operations so there are things we could be doing.
Without the direct involvement of US boots on the ground.
Although colonel I think and we should point out that Egypt.
And of course Libyan forces may be having some some struggle trying to figure -- what it means to be an ally of the United States right now.
Really appreciate you being with a.
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