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March 2nd, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Libyan no-fly zone would be risky, provocative

Craig Johnson
Special to CNN

(CNN) - After days of unrest in Libya, U.S. officials say a no-fly zone is an option for pushing Moammar Gadhafi from power and preventing bloodshed in toppling the regime.

But the use of no-fly zones is rife with danger for both sides, foreign experts say, and instituting one in Libya would raise the geopolitical stakes.

A no-fly zone is the aerial equivalent of a line in the sand. Violators, whether they are civilian aircraft or fighter jets, can get shot at.

A member of the U.N. Security Council who spoke on background told CNN that while there has been no formal discussion of a no-fly zone, there have been informal discussions outside of meetings, and "informal planning" is going on at NATO for such a scenario.

The diplomat said that if the Security Council discovers evidence that Gadhafi is using his air forces to kill or bomb civilians, fly in mercenaries or impede humanitarian assistance, it would be prepared to consider a no-fly zone.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned Congress on Wednesday that any effort to create a no-fly zone in Libya would have to begin with an attack on the country.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
March 2nd, 2011
12:30 PM ET
March 2nd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #772 'A better way to budget time'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and the Dems are duking it out with the Repubs over the budget. Which reminds me, I need to stop by the ATM after I post this letter.

Dear Mr. President,

I have decided that for all my reading, interviews, telephone conversations and consultations with psychics I’m still never going to understand how business is done under the Capitol dome. The passage of this stopgap measure to keep the federal government from shutting down while everyone continues to rip and tear at the budget like a pack of junkyard dogs is just the latest example.

I can never fully grasp why it comes to this point. I know, I know…one side wants one type of budget, the other side wants another type, and this is the way you wrangle it out - by slamming your political desires up against a pending economic mess just so everyone takes it seriously.

But if this were a car, this would be the equivalent of speeding toward a cliff with the driver and his passenger jerking the wheel in opposite directions all because they could not agree on which road to take to Tulsa. And it happens over and over again.
FULL POST

March 2nd, 2011
12:30 AM ET
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