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March 4th, 2011
07:49 PM ET

McCain vs. Pentagon: Getting personal over Libya debate

Larry Shaughnessy
CNN Pentagon Producer

Washington (CNN) - Trash talk and criticism seems the norm in these days of social networking, talk radio and cable pundits. But now it's spreading to the halls Capitol Hill and the leadership of the Department of Defense.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates may have started it when commenting on an idea for establishing a no-fly zone over Libya to protect rebel forces.

"There's a lot of, frankly, loose talk about some of these military options," Gates told a House committee on Wednesday. "Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That's the way you do a no-fly zone."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has been one of the most vocal people on the Hill when it comes to supporting the idea of a no-fly zone. He responded Thursday in a Senate hearing.

"May I just say personally, I don't think it's loose talk on the part of the people on the ground in Libya, nor the Arab League nor others, including the prime minister of England, that this option should be given the strongest consideration."

But it's not just the idea of a no-fly zone that has these powerful men trading barbs in public.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • John McCain • Raw Politics
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