Richardson calls for no-fly zone over Libya
March 6th, 2011
11:40 AM ET
10 years ago

Richardson calls for no-fly zone over Libya

Washington (CNN)-Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson called for a no-fly zone over Libya during an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Richardson made recommendations for next steps in handling the crisis in Libya, saying, "Next week is going to be crucial and the most important step is the development of an internationally recognized no-fly zone."

While speaking with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Richardson, who also served as governor of New Mexico, praised President Obama for his treatment of the situation in Libya thus far.

"The president has handled this crisis well," he said, adding that "His statement two days ago that Gadhafi must go lays the cornerstone as policy."

Richardson made recommendations for that policy. "What I think the U.S. Needs to do is, one, covertly arm the rebels. We should take that step. Develop a no-fly zone."

"Some kind of no-fly zone is going to be necessary mainly to send a message to Libya's military and Gadhafi that the U.S. and international community is not with them," he continued. "Protect those refugees."

He echoed an idea voiced on "State of the Union" by Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser for President George W. Bush, saying, "I like that idea of Steve Hadley's of establishing trust, a financial trust, that develops those democratic reforms in Libya. Get in there early."

Richardson also looked to the future: "There's huge opportunities for American foreign policy in the Middle East to be associated with democratic institutions, with those protestors that want democracy and equal rights, , for us to be on the right side."

"But the next week is going to be crucial and the most important step, I believe, is the development of an internationally recognized no-fly zone."

However, the White House downplayed calls for a no-fly zone or other military action. In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Chief of Staff Bill Daley said, "They talk about it like it's a game or a video game or something."

"When people comment on military action, most of them have no idea what they're talking about," he said.

Republican Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann agreed, saying on the same program that the president should listen to U.S. military leaders in deciding possible military steps to take in Libya.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military was ready to work with allies in implementing a no-fly zone over Libya, but he warned such a move would begin with attacks on Libya's anti-aircraft capabilities.

President Barack Obama, in response to questions about the U.S. response in Libya, told reporters on Thursday that it was important to ensure that the Libyan people feel "full ownership" for any transformation and cited Egypt's recent revolution as an example.

"We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn't tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome, but rather they owned it," Obama said.

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Tim

    We cannot afford any more military action!, either financially or emotionally. We've got our own problems to deal with – let's not deflect attention from them!

    March 6, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. vic nashville tn

    President, secretary of state and defense secretary they know what they are doing

    No fly zone and armed the rebels is this message we are sending to our allies

    March 6, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. annie s

    The President is correct. We must not be seen to impose or engineer an outcome. And our economy can not stand another war. I just hope the President does not cave into to these calls for military action.

    March 6, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. terry, va

    Richardson understands much more than Obummie. Hell, a fifth grader could get more right than Obummie in foreign policy matters. The only person that I know that couldn't is Annie from Atlanta. We declared war when the Japanese attacked us in WW2. We were not at war until that happened. The other thing is Presidents get imminent warnings of attacks all the time. For example Obummie knew about an attack at Christmas. Then we get the underwear bomber. Do you think ANY president wouldn't stop something if they knew when, where and how something was going to take place? I have faith that even Obummie would do that, even if it was his Muslim buddies.

    March 6, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Ah...Gov. Richardson, I love you but, not this time.; We cannot kill anymore innocents. The world and thankfully this country has finally had enough. I wish my friends would have listened to me in 2002. We will never recover from another war.

    March 6, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Rev Mkell,

    Just what we need, to be seen invading another Arab Country! Let some other country have the glory for once!

    March 6, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. terry, va

    We have to stabilize the middle east or pay 6-10 dollars a gallon for gas since Obummie has shut down the ability for us to produce own on oil. Yes, stabilize. We will have a democratic nation of Iraq. Maybe Afghanistan. If Obummie would have handled the people's revolt in Iran last year maybe they would have seen new leadership and a government that doesn't wish to destroy Israel and the US.

    March 6, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. vic nashville tn

    @ terry ,va “The other thing is Presidents get imminent warnings of attacks all the time.”

    I agree with you
    I bet G.W.Bush also got imminent warnings about 9/11
    And important information Saudi King best buddy of senior Bush and G.W.Bush

    March 6, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. w l jones

    A person in a position of power can say more by not saying anything when it come to Libya.

    March 6, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Jason

    We the United States are not the worlds Police.

    March 6, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The US has absolutely NO BUSINESS getting involved in that conflict, whatsoever.

    March 6, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. terry, va

    @ Vic Nashville..... I guess you think the evil devil G W Bush knew that Muslim terrorist were going to fly planes into the World Trade Centers the morning of 9/11? You dumbocraps would blame G W if the world came to an end tomorrow. How very sad. Even though I disagree with every thing Obummie stands for, I don't think he would do that. Anyone that has one ounce of American in him wouldn't do that unless he/she had been brain washed by terrorist.

    March 6, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. fayse

    Enacting a no fly zone is the equivalent to declaring war. And the US cannot afford to do this without the support of NATO.
    I say, arm the protestors, The Military could advise them without setting foot in Lybia.

    March 6, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Jason

    The United Nations Security Council has to pass a resolution, the problem that we have here, is we all think we in the U.S. should get involved, (Iran) and then when a different out come happens we just made another enemy. Just like with North Korea, does anyone truly think the Chinese and the Russians will allow us to start a war with the North? Get a clue!

    March 6, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. vic nashville tn

    Michele Bachmann, “the president should listen to U.S. military leaders”.
    John Mc Cain is not listening to pentagon so to whom she is sending this message

    March 6, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. anthony

    The US of A's top priority should be JOBS JOBS JOBS.
    Although I usually like Richardson's views, I have to disagree with him on this one. Everyone knows Obama has handled this correctly. Even if we were to arm these rebels, I highly doubt we'd ever go on record to let it be known. The US has no business "helping" in any foreign affairs when our house isnt in order in the first place. We cant have it both ways people, we cant criticize the President for non action abroad while in the same breath, expect him to fix the domestic problems.

    Let Libyans deal with Ghadafi. We've already got enough to deal with.

    March 6, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    A no fly zone means dumping bombs which means war and I wish people would stop advocating war.

    March 6, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    Terry From VA just hates Obama yet he has done nothing to harm this country. By letting thing play out as they should we are seeing more democracy than any of the wars started by the Bush crime family. 11 years of war in two countries and no end in site. Leaving these latest uprisings to play out we are seeing new democratic nation grow. This can only hurt the terrorist and bring more peace to the world.

    March 6, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The U.S. military is not the world's policemen.

    March 6, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    @terry,va, I am not sure what you stand for, but I do hope you can understand that America can no longer establish our own friendly governments in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, as the people will not support our having control of their government.

    March 6, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. josh

    A no fly zone means that the US will have to bomb the countries air defense systems and therefore invade the country... The president is correct in his notion: "We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn't tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome, but rather they owned it,"

    March 6, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    but its ok for the US to go bomb other countries at there discretion and Libya cnot do what it likes in there own land

    March 6, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Dick

    If we can't afford to fund our public schools, we can't afford any more military action, Period.

    March 6, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Indy

    If there was an international agreement to implement a no fly zone as a last resort that would be acceptable. If the US was to lead or do this without full agreement of the UN it would mean attacks on the US the second war was declared with a no fly zone. I am so thankful that Obama is doing the very best with this situation. I am amongst the majority of people in the world that agree Obama and his advisors have been handling this situation exactly the way it should be handled, with extreme caution and forethought.

    March 6, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Ali Khan

    Americans don't give a hoot for Libyans, for democracy, for human rights. Libyans' oil, yes. Libyans, no. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    March 6, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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