'This Week' Transcript: Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates speak with Jake Tapper on "This Week."

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS: And joining me now in their first interview since the attacks on Libya began, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Madam and Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for joining us.

I'll start with you, Secretary Gates. The mission is a no-fly zone and civilian protection but does not include removing Gadhafi from power, even though regimen change is stated U.S. policy. So why not have, as part of the mission, regime change, removing Gadhafi from power?

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, first of all, I think you don't want ever to set a set of goals or a mission -- military mission where you can't be confident of accomplishing your objectives. And as we have seen in the past, regime change is a very complicated business. It sometimes takes a long time. Sometimes it can happen very fast, but it was never part of the military mission.

TAPPER: NATO has assumed control and command for the no-fly zone or is this weekend but not yet for the civilian protection. When do we anticipate that happening?

GATES: Hillary's been more engaged with that diplomacy than I have.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, we hope, Jake, that NATO, which is making the military planning for the civilian protection mission, will meet in the next few days, make a decision which we expect to be positive to include that mission, and then just as the arms embargo and the no-fly zone has been transitioned to NATO command and control, the civilian protection mission will as well.

Tapper: what do you say to the people in Ivory Coast or Syria who say where's our no-fly zone? We're being killed by our government too.

CLINTON: Well, there's not an aircraft -- there's not an air force being used. There is not the same level of force. The situation is significantly different enough that the world has not come together. However, in Ivory Coast we have a U.N. peacekeeping force which we are supporting. We are beginning to see the world coalesce around the very obvious fact that Mr. Gbagbo no longer is president. Mr. Ouattara is the president.

So you know, each of these situations is different but in Libya when a leader says spare nothing, show no mercy and calls out air -- air force attacks on his own people, that crosses a line that people in the world had decided they could not tolerate.

TAPPER: When do we know that the mission is done? The no-fly zone has succeeded, civilian protection has stopped, when -- when do you --

GATES: I would say, for all practical purposes, the implementation of a no-fly zone is complete. Now it will need to be sustained, but it can be sustained with a lot less effort than what it took to set it up. As I indicated in my testimony on the Hill, you don't establishment a no-fly zone by just declaring it. You go in and suppress the air defenses and that mission is largely complete.

I think we have made a lot of progress on the humanitarian side and his ability to move armor, to move toward a Benghazi or a place like that has -- has pretty well been eliminated. Now we'll have to keep our eye on it because he still has ground forces at his beck and call. But the reality is they're under a lot of pressure. Their logistics -- there are some signs that they're moving back to the east -- back to the west away from Ajdabiya and other places.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...