U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear III told House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner that NATO forces are trying to kill Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Foreign Policy magazine reported, citing Turner.
Locklear heads the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy. Turner, an Ohio Republican who voted Friday against authorizing the Libyan operation, said the admiral also told him last month that ground troops may be needed in Libya after Gadhafi is ousted, the magazine reported.
The House rejected a resolution Friday on a 295-123 vote that would have authorized U.S. support for allied bombardment of Qaddafi’s forces. Then, on a 238-180 vote, it defeated legislation to bar U.S. forces from engaging in hostilities.
“Without wishing to engage on the specifics” of the Foreign Policy article, “NATO’s position has been clear since the beginning of the Libyan operation: We do not target individuals and we do not have troops on the ground,” a NATO official said in an email Saturday. “NATO’s mission is to use all necessary means to prevent attacks and the threat of attack against civilians and civilian-populated centers, as the UN mandated.”
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
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