By The Hill Staff - 03/28/11 10:13 AM EDT
This Week, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, State of the Union, Fox News Sunday
Gates says US Libyan role over, predicts Gadhafi’s fall
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military mission in Libya is almost accomplished and that U.S. involvement in the no-fly zone is essentially over.
Gates reiterated on “This Week” that U.S. forces would not be on the ground in Libya but did not rule out giving arms to the rebel forces.
When asked on “Face the Nation” whether the Libyan rebels could topple President Moammar Gadhafi with all his tanks and artillery, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “[Gadhafi] has a lot fewer than he did a week ago.”
On “Meet the Press,” Gates clarified that removing Gadhafi was never part of the military mission, but was a goal of President Obama’s.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden said that nothing in Libya is over until Gadhafi is gone. “We need to square up our means with our objectives,” Hayden said on “State of the Union.”
But not everyone was supportive. Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said Obama should have communicated an end goal before taking military action.
“I don’t believe we should be involved in a Libyan civil war,” Lugar said on “Meet the Press.”
Another criticism of U.S. military action in Libya is the risk of civilian casualties.
“We have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties we’re responsible for,” Gates said. “We’ve been very careful in this effort.”
But Gates added on “Face the Nation” that there are reports that Gadhafi’s supporters have moved bodies his troops have killed into spots to claim they are civilian casualties of the bombing.
Neither Gates nor Clinton committed to helping other Middle Eastern countries in similar turmoil, such as Yemen and Syria.
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) said U.S. military involvement in Libya sets a precedent and that the United States should help get rid of all dictators as long as it doesn’t mean troops on the ground.
“[Syrian President Bashar Al-] Assad is getting a clear signal that if he slaughters his own people, the global community will enforce a no-fly zone just like in Libya,” Lieberman said on “Fox News Sunday.”
State of the Union
Japan nuclear plant crisis unprecedented
The Fukushima nuclear crisis is an enormous and ongoing problem for Japan, but the United States is unlikely to feel its effects, a nuclear analyst said Sunday.
“It is an unprecedented situation,” said Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund. “You have six nuclear reactors lined up in a row, and all of them are in critical condition at the same time.
“It gives new meaning to the term ‘nuclear dominos,’ ” he said. Cirincione said the best-case scenario involves a partial or complete meltdown of the nuclear reactor cores within the concrete boxes that house them. The worse case, he said, would be for the melted radioactive lava to breach the boxes and become exposed to the environment.
“I believe this is beyond the ability of the Japanese authorities [to handle],” Cirincione said.
Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press
Lugar, Gingrich examine Libya mission costs
Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said the Obama administration failed to outline plans, objectives and money before committing resources to the NATO and UN-led missions in Libya.
“We’re debating economic problems in Congress everyday but in the backrooms we’re discussing helping Libya, which is estimated to have already cost us $1 billion, and there has been no talk of devoted funds. Where are those funds coming from?” Lugar said on “Meet the Press.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) also questioned the cost of the military mission in Libya, saying it should not be coming out of the Pentagon’s existing budget.
“The president should call for a supplemental [bill] to fund [the military mission in Libya],” Gingrich said.
Rumsfeld defends Bush on Afghanistan, Iraq
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended his former administration’s approach to U.S. engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Rumsfeld was asked if he regretted entering those countries without using NATO as the command-and-control structure, as has been done in Libya.
“I think that argument is pure, nonsensical, partisan politics,” Rumsfeld said. “[Obama’s coalition] is the smallest one in modern history. There were 90 countries cooperating in the global war on terror, and dozens … involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Rumsfeld then pointed out the Afghanistan mission “evolved” into a NATO-command operation, and criticized the effort in Libya for lacking a “clear mission.”
“The most important question is whether [Libyan President Moammar] Gadhafi will stay … The goal has to be that [he] leaves,” he said.
WHO WAS WHERE
Face the Nation (CBS):
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Fox News Sunday: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Meet the Press (NBC): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
State of the Union (CNN): Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.), former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, nuclear policy expert Joe Cirincione, former Congressional Budget Office Directors Alice Rivlin and Douglas Holtz-Eakin
This Week (ABC): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld