Defense Secretary Robert Gates Wary of Libyan No-Fly Zone

Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Wednesday that a no-fly zone in Libya may not be the best solution, saying it would require “a big operation in a big country.” “Let’s just call a spade a spade,” Gates said. “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That’s what you do in a no-fly zone.” Gates’ comments are at direct odds with Sen. John Kerry, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sens. Joe Lieberman and John McCain, who held hearings Wednesday about whether the benefits of a no-fly zone—it could greatly weaken Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s air forces—outweigh the dangers of going into Libya. Meanwhile, Libyan rebels celebrated “victory” early Thursday when they were able to repel Gaddafi’s army in the oil port of Brega.