Defense Secretary Robert Gates' assertion that implementing a no-fly zone over Libya would require U.S. air strikes against Libyan defense systems was publicly questioned by Republican Sen. John McCain in recent days. Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican leader, has said a no-fly zone is "worth considering," but urged caution before committing American forces to any Libyan mission.*
However, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry echoed those concerns during an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday. "The last thing we want to think about is any kind of military intervention," Kerry told host Bob Schieffler. "And I don't consider the no-fly zone stepping over that line." In remarks The New York Times characterized as "[sounding] like a rebuke to a cabinet member," Kerry contended air strikes were "actually not the only option for what one could do," and elaborated on several alternatives, including "cratering the airports."
It's almost as if Kerry wants to show people he can do Gates' job. But why?
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*This post orginally mischaracterized Sen. McConnell's position and has been updated.