McCain: 'Insane' Gadhafi's air defenses 'are not overwhelming'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defended the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya on Sunday, calling the Libyan air forces "antiquated."

"The air assets [Moammar] Gadhafi has are not overwhelming," McCain said on ABC's "This Week," saying that the no-fly zone would "send a signal that the president is serious" when he says that the Libyan dictator needs to go now.

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McCain was asked about Defense Secretary Robert Gates' assertion that the no-fly zone calls on Capitol Hill were "loose talk" and that such an operation would have to begin with a military assault on Libya's air defenses.

"We can't risk allowing Gadhafi to massacre people from the air," the senator said.

But McCain stressed that while ground intervention "would not be appropriate," there are other things the U.S. could do to support the rebels including intellligence, training and humanitarian assistance.


"I hope Gadhafi understands the inevitability" that he'll have to leave, the senator said. "He's insane."

Returing from a recess trip to the Middle East, Egypt and Tunisia, McCain said the key to moving forward there is that the U.S. is "not appearing to interfere or dictate."

The most important thing is investment, he said, noting that a trade preference agreement with Egypt could be enacted immediately.

"We fail in Egypt, it has severe consequences," McCain said.