March 9th, 2011
07:46 PM ET

U.S. sends mixed signals on U.N. backing for Libya no-fly zone

Tom Cohen

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration sent mixed signals Wednesday on its stance on a no-fly zone in Libya, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying U.N. backing was essential while White House spokesman Jay Carney left the door open to the United States acting unilaterally or in concert with NATO allies.

Some critics, as well as top Democrats such as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, have called for a stronger U.S. response to the Libya violence, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone that would prevent Libyan military aircraft from attacking the Libyan people.

President Barack Obama has made clear he wants any military response to come from the international community, to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from blaming the United States for his predicament.

Clinton emphasized that point Wednesday in an interview with CBS News, saying the administration seeks to avoid "any room for anyone, including Col. Gadhafi, to say that 'This isn't about my people, this is about outsiders.' "

She noted that the British and French governments were bringing a draft resolution on international action to the United Nations, saying: "I think it's very important that there be a U.N. decision on whatever might be done."

"We believe it's important that this not be an American, or a NATO, or a European effort. It needs to be an international one," Clinton said.

Approval by the U.N. Security Council for international military intervention in Libya, including a no-fly zone, is considered unlikely due to expected opposition from China and Russia. Both countries are believed to be reluctant to set a precedent of U.N.-supported military action in an internal conflict.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. daniel waitt

    Ive never been to war and ive never been in a gun fight or even own a gun for that matter. and i know that if we impose it risks a possible all out war but when good women and children are being murderd it must stop it must end

    March 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  2. patrick

    i like what anderson said to fouad ajami when he asked him, 'why does it always have to be america that has to respond'.
    well, we are the most powerful country in the world and thus we are the example.
    the next question should have been that if we do always have to respond then the rest of the world should write us a check to pay for it, cause we are broke!!

    March 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  3. eddie

    I'm tired of the usa going out to help other people of the world like in iraq and afghanistan and they only celebrate each time one of our soldiers die.We don't owe them any thing..I don't care about libya.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  4. slikshooter

    Wait for the UN. Are you kidding me? Half the
    population will be dead if the world waits for a UN resolution.

    March 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  5. slikshooter

    Does the world forget about Hitler and the like?
    Come on people, lets quit talking and do something to protect these freedom fighters.
    Regardless of the opposition leadership, what could be worse than Moamarr?

    March 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  6. Sheryl

    Well, I feel that White House and the U.S.State Department are basicly saying the same thing. It should definitely be an international response if any. It will not look good if the U.S. acts alone,because Gadhafi would love to say the U.S. is behide the uprising against him. The international community should get invovled due to the violence. The people of Libya have the right to stand up change without fearing for their lives.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    It would be surprising if the UN decided to do something about this civil war in Libya. Even in the Bosnian War, it was the US and NATO that gave military support with a no fly zone and some bombing. Obama may not want to do something with NATO but he may have to choose having NATO as his henchmen or not doing anything at all.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  8. Carolyn ZUPPANN

    I am so ashamed of America. My father was a colonel in the Army. His brother was a captain in the Army Air Corps (or whatever it was called before there was an Air Force), until he died flying a plane. My grandfather was a colonel in the Army. Many of my childhood friends are Army officers or married to Army officers. One is even a General.

    I was brought up to believe America was special because we always defended those that were not "free" and or able to help themselves. We certainly would not watch innocent people being slaughtered without trying to help stop it.

    It is so sad to hear on the news that we have to "see if it's in our interest strategically," before we can decide whether we will help. I was taught that we put our neck out for others just because they are human beings and they need help. I sure never heard anything like, "it's absolutely unacceptable. He has to stop..." as we sit by doing next to nothing except "considering options and whether it's in our best interest to help," as we reassure the surviving Libyan's that when he's through killing as many of you as he can "we will hold him accountable".

    We used to stand for something decent. Now we stand for decency but only if we will get something out of it. It's just so sad to watch. I'm glad my father, his brother and my grandfather are all dead because this would surely kill them. We could do so much to help without going to war, both with the tragic people caught in the log jam trying to get out of Libya, and to level the playing field for the children that are trying to stop a madman from slaughtering them in front of the whole world.

    For God's sake and so I can hold my head high once more, let's do SOMETHING! I have heard so many reasonable suggestions that would not mean war but would show the world we're still honorable people and would stop the brutal, unfair killing going on there. Certainly we could offer more aid at the border as we do when there is a natural disaster. I could go on and on but i am just so disheartened by how America is acting I'm just sick to my stomach.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  9. bats0711

    If a "no fly zone" is introduced somehow the US will be to blame, hell Gadhafi blames foreign countries if his opium was a bad high. With his funds frozen, he's already psychotic about that and he's going to continue to point blame at anyone other than himself. It's his way. There is no solution to this blood shed, that's why it's been like this for so many darn years for these people.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  10. Jo Ann

    I watch Anderson Cooper everynight and I literally cry at what is going on In Libya. I feel sorry for the people but understand our stance on this. Everytime we try to help we are the bad guys. As for the UN. This is 2011 and they ae still worthless!

    March 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  11. Timothy Ord


    The assertion a no-fly zone would need the USA to firstly bomb the Libyan air defenses is a myth. All that is needed is a no-fly zone over the
    territory held by the Libyan opposition where obviously Gadahfi has by definition no air defenses.

    Similarly with a limited no-fly zone (including helicopters) it is a myth you
    need to down every intruder as even a loss of every third or fourth aircraft
    would be rate of attrition that no air force could sustain for more than a few days.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  12. Walter Lyman

    Who are the allies of Libya? & why isn't the allies not doing anything about it such as enforcing the no-fly zone

    March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  13. blue

    The whole world hates col Qaddafi. so why dont they do something when the opportunity is there to get him out?

    March 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm |