US general jokes with Gates over Libya

2011-03-08 08:48

Kabul - Television microphones picked up the US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, joking with Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Monday about possible military intervention in Libya.

"Welcome back sir, how are things?" Petraeus can be heard saying as he greets Gates on the Kabul airport runway, according to a transcript provided to AFP by the US television crew.

"Well, I think you have a bigger plane than normal, you're going to launch some attacks on Libya or something?" Petraeus jokes.

"Yeah, exactly," Gates replies.

The light-hearted exchange came after a number of cautious statements from Gates and other top officers over the crisis in Libya, suggesting the US military has little enthusiasm for intervention in that country - despite calls from some European allies and American lawmakers.

The audio of their exchange was provided to American television networks by a pool crew covering the Pentagon chief's two-day trip to Afghanistan.

At a press conference later on Monday in Kabul, Gates said the Pentagon was preparing a range of possible options for President Barack Obama but that any military action would have to have international backing.

Gates last week dismissed what he called "loose talk" about possible armed intervention and told members of Congress that setting up a no-fly zone was a major operation that would require bombing raids in Libya to knock out air defences.

  • AJ - 2011-03-08 09:05

    NOT news. AT all.

  • Neil - 2011-03-08 09:20

    I want the thirty seconds of my life back after reading that drivel...

      LBS - 2011-03-08 10:03

      Ha ha, good one Neil

  • rammstein.f4n - 2011-03-08 09:26

    So they made a casual joke while greeting? Not newsworthy.

  • Kaapie - 2011-03-08 09:30

    Cant even get things right in Iraq let alone Afghanistan.. oh lets not forget Vietnam(ran with tail between the legs) and now you want to go to Libya.

  • jdeeathome - 2011-03-08 09:39

    yawn, boring, the US news reporters are just as attention hungry as the US government. besides they only attack when it suites there needs, and run like cowards when they get there asses whipped, by starting "give peace a chance" rallies in there own country

  • Wernerkwane - 2011-03-08 09:44

    How is this news?

  • schjus008 - 2011-03-08 09:51

    AFP??? you're fired

  • mike - 2011-03-08 10:45

    I wonder if they will make a movie about it. Maybe come up with some weak ass plot and turn it into the biggest conspiracy of the century.

  • Blikskottel - 2011-03-08 11:22

    Perhaps they can continue that bombing run and also take out Mgaab.

  • Jasper - 2011-03-08 18:21

    The US Government is at it again,what's happening in Libya has been happening in Zimbabwe, no one has ever talk about military intervention there.Reason:There is no crude oil in Zimbabwe,I have no doubt US would lead her allies to invade Libya.Oil hungry US!

      Ingwe - 2011-03-08 21:02

      Thanks Jasper I knew someone would bring up Zimbabwe and Oil on this thread.

      Peter - 2011-03-09 00:56

      Perhaps if Zimbabweans made an effort to fight back the world would take interest. Any way Bob actually has many supporters in Zim

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