Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Tuesday that plan to transfer command of the mission in Libya to coalition forces is “complicated.”Gates says Gadhafi is lying about civilian casualties:
“We haven’t done something like this on the fly before,” Gates, who is currently overseas on a diplomatic trip to Russia, said.
Added Gates, “It’s not surprising to me that it would take a few days to get it all sorted out.” TRN
Later, in comments to journalists traveling with him, the U.S. defense secretary pushed back at the Russian criticism, saying he was "curious" about the tone that has been taken.Gates said as Gadhafi's ability to kill his people declines, military action will decline:
"It is perfectly evident that the vast majority, if not nearly all, civilian casualties have been inflicted by (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi."
Gates said virtually all the targets are in isolated, non-populated areas and air defense sites.
"We've been very careful about this," Gates said.
"It's almost as though people here are taking at face value Gadhafi's claims about the number of civilian casualties, which, as far as I'm concerned, is just outright lies," he charged. CNN
"It just seems logical that once we have the air defense system sufficiently suppressed that the level of military activity would decline."
He suggested there would be a transfer of coalition leadership shortly, as well.
"It will be other members of the coalition that on a day-to-day basis will be sustaining the no-fly zone." CNN