McCain: Perils in Libya include al Qaeda
April 24th, 2011
10:43 AM ET
9 years ago

McCain: Perils in Libya include al Qaeda

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. John McCain warned of a stalemate in Libya that could lead to al Qaeda filling a leadership void in the African country.

“If you have a stalemate, I think it's very possible that Al Qaeda could come in and take advantage of a stalemate situation,” McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But right now it's not al Qaeda that motivated this and it's not al Qaeda that's running it.”

In order to avoid such a situation, the senior Arizona senator, who serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said rebel forces need training and equipment in order to successfully fend off Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

McCain said the anti-Gadhafi rebels are “badly outgunned in armor, in equipment, in training.”

Speaking from Cairo, Egypt following a trip to Libya, McCain seemed to disagree with his colleague, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who earlier on CNN said the U.S. should bomb Gadhafi’s “inner circle” in Tripoli and remove the long-time leader.

“I certainly think that we ought to make Gadhafi aware that his very life is in danger, but I think we just have to be a little careful how we do that. I think we can achieve the goal of him being finished off by pursuing the battlefield on the ground as well,” McCain told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

“We can't count on taking Gadhafi out. What we can count on is a trained, equipped, well-supported liberation forces, which can either force Gadhafi out or obtain victory and send him to an international criminal court,” McCain said. “My emphasis is in winning the battle on the ground, not taking a chance on taking him out with a lucky airstrike.”

Both McCain and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who is part of the Democratic caucus, said the United States needs to lead the NATO forces, but McCain said “that does not include boots on the ground.”

And Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, said the U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized force in Libya could also be used to target Gadhafi.

“If you look at the United Nations resolution that is the basis for our going into Libya, I think it gives justification, if NATO decides it wants to for going directly after Gadhafi because the U.N. resolution authorizes the use of all means necessary to protect the civilian population of Libya,” Lieberman said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I can’t think of anything that would protect the civilian population of Libya more than the removal of Moammar Gadhafi.”

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

Filed under: Joe Lieberman • John McCain • Libya • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    This man gets medicare, social security, military disability AND military retirement in addition to $176,000 per year plus all the benefits.

    HE IS A MAJOR DRAIN ON THE US ECONOMY. KICK HIM OUT. He crashed planes, was at the bottom of his class(not smart). KICK HIM OUT – get him off the U.S. Government DOLE.

    April 24, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Trained, equipped, well-supported liberation forces” we did the same in 80s and 90s for Taliban now we are hunting down Taliban

    April 24, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Big Al

    They don't want to talk about "deficit" anymore. How are we going to pay for another war?

    April 24, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Gabe Berk

    Obama should ask for the help of Mccain.

    April 24, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Jack N Clauss

    Our presient should ask Colin Powell to get into the process

    April 24, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    And it while your having those Alzheimer's hallucinations, why not include Winky Tinky the purple gay nemisis?

    Surely he has sought political asylum in Libya against the 'breeder" puppets here in the U.S.!

    McCrypt, you are just a husk of a man, still searching for relevance after being spanked by "that One"!

    And who knew when the GOP was yammerin' about JOBS, it meant starting yet another war and creating more soldier "opportunities"!

    April 24, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Grroingo

    As far as McCain goes, I would never believe a word from that lying senile old war monger.

    April 24, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. All day

    The wondering old man is back. Al qaeda will gain power with a stalemate but if US create a power vacuum that is better theu will not !!! Senetor Mcain is as smart a bag of rocks.

    April 24, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. jon

    Hey Glenda, what does getting rid of Obama have to do with paying for a war. Being able to pay for it did'nt deter Bush from 2 unfunded wars which got us into this mess. We also were given tax cuts for the rich and unfunded Prescription drug plans
    by Bush.You could at lest put some blame where it belongs.

    April 24, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. acura2010

    Glenda is delusional that President Obama piled up the debt. Eight years of Bush and congress exploded this mess and the delusional coments by Glenda goes to show her ignorance.

    April 24, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Dirk Wladon

    Well Big John. What should we do after thousands of years of losing human lives in the region? Send in the Marines like Reagan did and lose 300 men? That's what they are waiting for. And getting rid of this president won't solve their issues either.

    The superstar hero mentality only writes bigger checks that our poor boys has to cash for the wealthy politicians. No thanks to another war.

    April 24, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. w l jones

    Why be a member of UN if we ignor them an go on our own? We need reasonable mind dealing in foriegn affairs.

    April 24, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |