General: U.S. may consider troops in Libya
Army Gen. Carter Ham says ground forces wouldn't be ideal, but may be a possible way to aid rebels; Says current operation largely stalemated
- Libyan rebels riding on the back of an armed pickup truck retreat east towards Benghazi from Ajdabiya, Libya, April 7, 2011. (AP)
WASHINGTON - The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.
Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers Thursday that added American participation would not be ideal, and ground troops could erode the international coalition and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.
Ham said the operation was largely stalemated now and was more likely to remain that way since America has transferred control to NATO.
Democrat: White House is low-balling costs of Libya mission
A Democratic lawmaker said Thursday that the White House is “dramatically underestimating” the cost of the nation’s military involvement in Libya by relying on misleading accounting.
“That effort is costing us billions a week,” Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat and a certified public accountant, said in his opening remarks at a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing on reforming the United Nations with Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates testified that the nation’s initial involvement in establishing a no-fly zone over the skies of Libya carried a $550 million price tag and that the cost going forward would be about $40 million a month. He also assured lawmakers he had enough money in his budget to absorb the costs without asking Congress for new funding — though he wasn’t ready to say where exactly the money would come from.