Libyan opposition forces need training and organization to oust Muammar Qaddafi, but the US military shouldn't be involved, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress Thursday.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
But none of that is likely to change the Pentagon’s operations or the White House’s political calculus in the weeks ahead, he added. The US military’s mission remains “much more limited” than America’s stated political objective – namely, ousting Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
The US military will not provide any troops on the ground in Libya, either to aid operations or to train the rebels, Secretary Gates assured lawmakers. “Not as long as I’m in this job.”
That said, he conceded that rebels could use some help if they hope to overthrow Col. Qaddafi. “What the opposition needs is some training, some command and control, and some organization,” Gates said. “It’s pretty much a pickup ballgame at this point.”