WASHINGTON – The U.S. on Sunday claimed initial success two days into an assault on Libya that included some of the heaviest firepower in the American arsenal — long-range bombers designed for the Cold War — but American officials said Sunday it was too early to define the international military campaign's endgame.
The top U.S. military officer suggested that Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi might stay in power in spite of the military assault aimed at protecting civilians, calling into question the larger objective of an end to Gadhafi's erratic 42-year rule. Other top U.S. officials have suggested that a weakened and isolated Gadhafi could be ripe for a coup.
A second wave of attacks, mainly from American fighters and bombers, targeted Libyan ground forces and air defenses, following an opening barrage Saturday of sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. expects to turn control of the mission over to a coalition — probably headed either by the French and British or by NATO — "in a matter of days."
"We judge these strikes to have been very effective in significantly degrading the regime's air defense capability," Gortney said. "We believe his forces are under significant stress and suffering from both isolation and a good deal of confusion."
Gortney's assessment suggested that further strikes on the scale of Saturday's heavy assault with sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles may not be needed, although he did not rule out further attacks.
The systems targeted most closely were Libya's SA-5 surface-to-air missiles, Russian-made weaponry that could pose a threat to allied aircraft many miles off the Libyan coastline. Libya has a range of other air defense weaponry, including portable surface-to-air missiles that are more difficult to eliminate by bombing.
Sunday's attacks, carried out by a range of U.S. aircraft — including Air Force B-2 stealth bombers as well as Marine Harrier jets flying from an amphibious assault ship in the Mediterranean — demonstrated the predominance of U.S. firepower in the international coalition. By striking Libyan ground forces, coalition forces also showed that they are going beyond the most frequently discussed goal of establishing a no-fly zone over the country.
A military official said the B-2s flew 25 hours in a round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs.
U.S. missiles and warplanes were clearly in the lead Saturday and Sunday, but Gates said the plan remains for the U.S. to step back once the threat from the Libyan military is reduced.
Libya's claims of civilians among the dead from the strikes appeared to make Arab countries nervous, after the Arab League took the unprecedented step of calling for a no-fly zone. On Sunday, Arab League chief Amr Moussa criticized the missile strikes, saying they went beyond what the Arab body had supported.
"What happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives," Moussa told reporters in Cairo. "What we want is civilians' protection, not shelling more civilians."
So it seems that the good archbishop knows what he is talking about....Libya hasbeen/ is being bombed.
The archbishop stated: "If there are violations of human rights, I cannot use the same method to stop them. As a Christian I have to use peaceful methods, first of all dialogue."
Bombing military installations is not a "human rights violation". The Bishop is lying. If he is not an idiot, he is a liar.
It's clearly not only military bases that are being bombed....civilians are being killed too.
The archbishop hasn't lied about anything. He would like the conflict in Libya resolved using "peaceful methods" beginning with dialogue. not by vengeance for vengeance or eye for an eye methods.