The sound of anti-aircraft fire filled Tripoli Sunday night as U.S. and allied forces from France and Britain entered their second day of airstrikes against Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Rebels cheered as Western fire took out regime targets earlier in the day. A French aircraft gunned down a phalanx of Gaddafi tanks that were headed for Benghazi, giving temporary relief to the rebel capital. Meanwhile, there is disagreement among Western powers about the end goal of the operation. France, which has taken the most aggressive tone, said it was committed to ousting Gaddafi, while American officials have continued to express hesitance about being drawn into another potentially open-ended conflict.
In an interview from Tripoli, Gaddafi's son Saif claims the U.S. is supporting terrorism. Plus, Admiral Mullen says Gaddafi may stay, Sens. McCain and Graham blast Obama’s hesitation to act, and more in our Sunday talk roundup.
Saif Gaddafi: U.S. Supporting Terrorists
In an exclusive from Tripoli on This Week, Saif Gaddafi, speaking on the phone, said that he was surprised by Western coalition attacks. Americans, he said, are supporting terrorists. Will Muammar Gaddafi step down? Not likely, because he’s fighting for the people of Libya. “It’s like the WMD in Iraq,” Saif said. “It’s another story.”
McCain: Obama Waited Too Long
Is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) happy now that Obama has become “tough” on Libya? On State of the Union, McCain said there was no doubt in his mind that the president waited too long to act. “Now, it is what it is,” he said, “And we need now to support him and the efforts that our military are going to make.” He then mentioned, again, how he “regrets” that we didn’t act more quickly.
Mullen: Ousting Gaddafi Not U.S. Goal
On Meet the Press, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the goal of the military campaign in Libya is not to oust Muammar Gaddafi. Instead, it’s to prevent the dictator from killing his own people. Watch as David Gregory asks Mullen what’s on the minds of many Americans: Is fighting in Libya in our vital interests?
Mullen: Gaddafi Has Mustard Gas
Making his rounds on the Sunday talk shows, Admiral Mike Mullen stopped by Face the Nation to talk about whether Muammar Gaddafi is in possession of biological weapons. Mullen confirmed Gaddafi has “scores” of mustard gas, and the U.S. knows exactly where it’s being kept.
Graham to Obama: Leading Isn’t an Inconvenience
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has some advice for the president: You’re the leader of the free world, so act like it. On Fox News Sunday, the senator scolded Obama for taking a “backseat” role in the ousting of a “tyrannical dictator.”
Should Journalists Stay Away From War?
Given the detainment of journalists in Libya, will that deter other journalists from heading into dangerous zones? Howard Kurtz posed this question on Reliable Sources to Rome Hartman, executive producer of the BBC’s World News America. “That’s our job,” Hartman said, “We have people chomping at the bit to go and do these jobs.”
Energy Secretary Trusts Japan’s Nuclear Information
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking on State of the Union, said he is confident in the information the U.S. is receiving from Japan about the Fukushima nuclear power plant. What explains the difference in initial assessments of safety? Chu said the U.S.’s “abundance of caution” was the source of the discrepancy.