"How this ends from the political standpoint, I just can't say," Mullen said on CNN's "State of the Union."
President Obama has pledged that no US ground troops will be involved in the UN-sanctioned effort. But if the fight moves into urban areas, that makes attacks from the air (or from ship-based cruise missiles) much more difficult if civilian casualties are to be avoided.
Libyan state television reported Sunday that 48 people had been killed in the initial attacks Saturday. That could not be confirmed since western reporters were not allowed to visit targeted areas or hospitals.
So far, Qaddafi remains defiant against what he calls “foreign colonialism.”
“We are going to fight, we are going to fight for every square of our land,” he said on Libyan state radio. “We will go as martyrs.”
After Saturday’s attacks, the next step was conducting bomb-damage assessment.
The first major strike involved 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from US Navy ships (and one British submarine) against SA-5 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, early warning sites, and key communication modes.