March 11 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. should support a no-fly zone over Libya to help underequipped insurgents fighting to topple well-armed and well-paid troops loyal to dictator Muammar Qaddafi, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said.
“They are not asking for ground troops, they don’t want us to get in the fight,” Clinton said of the insurgents at a conference in New York yesterday on the status of women. “Nobody wants to see an arms race in Libya, but it’s not a fair fight.”
Clinton, who is married to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, said he was “sympathetic” to the Obama administration’s desire not to enforce a no-fly zone alone. Clinton noted that similar efforts had worked in the past, both in Bosnia and Iraq during his own presidency.
The U.S. is spending $110 billion a year to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton said, and should be able to contribute to enforcing an air blockade over Libya.
“If the leaders are on television pleading for it, I think that we should do it,” Clinton said of the Libyan insurgents. He said the U.S. should say to the Libyan people, “If you want any assistance we will give it to you, and if you want us to stay home we will.”
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