Obama approves attacks by armed Predators in Libya

Defense Secretary Robert Gates with Gen. James Cartwright announces deployment of Predators to Libya, April 21, 2011.

From Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service:  [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates and Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed reporters at the Pentagon.

“The president has said that where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those,” Gates said. “In fact, he has approved the use of armed predators [in Libya].”

Armed predators have been used in Libya “purely as [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems] until today,” Cartwright said.

Two unmanned armed predators capable of around-the-clock coverage are now in Libya, the general added. The first flights launched today but were cancelled because of bad weather. . . .

"This is a very limited capability,” Gates said, adding that the president has been clear from the outset that the U.S. role would be specifically defined.

Obama structured the U.S. role in Libya as a limited one because “of all our friends and allies, we are the most-stretched military,” Gates added.

“We have close to 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, we still have 50,000 troops in Iraq and we have 19 ships and 18,000 men and women in uniform still helping on Japan relief,” the secretary said.  (photo: Getty)

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