'This Week' Transcript: Target Libya


And let's go now to Martha Raddatz. The U.S. is pledging, as Jake said, to step back to a support role after the initial phase. Martha, you're there. You're covering the military. Is that happening? Do you think it's realistic to go into a support role? It's obviously very unusual in these kinds of military interventions. RADDATZ: It's certainly unusual for the U.S. And right now, a U.S. general is in charge of the operation, General Carter Ham. And you have an admiral, Admiral Scott -- or Sam Locklear, who is on a ship. And he is the tactical commander, meaning he is coordinating all of these air strikes.

But in a few days, the hope is, the U.S. hopes that General Carter Ham can turn over his responsibility to one of the coalition members. That is the plan right now. I don't think they know who that will be.

But in this initial phase, the U.S. does have unique capabilities, as the president keeps saying. You had stealth bombers going in there. You had the B-2 bombers going in there. You had these Tomahawk missiles on the ships. So the U.S. felt it had to take the lead role in this phase.

And this phase is, of course, to wipe out Gadhafi's air defenses. The next phase will be the no-fly zone. I do think the U.S. will be involved in that somewhat and will have fighters involved in that, but the bulk of the no-fly zone will be flown by British pilots, French pilots, and other allies.

AMANPOUR: Martha, thank you so much.

And joining me next, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And we'll put that to him. I'll ask him how the missions will work, when it will end, and whether it can succeed at all if Moammar Gadhafi remains in power.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Though his son sounded subdued, Moammar Gadhafi himself was sounding undaunted this morning. He says his supporters are armed and prepared to fight, and he's pledging that this will be, quote, "a long war."

Joining me now, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

Thank you for joining us.

MULLEN: Good morning.

AMANPOUR: Is the United States leading this? Or is it in a supporting role?

MULLEN: Well, actually, the French were the first ones in yesterday, in terms of starting to establish the no-fly zone. The United States is taking the lead in terms of the coalition. General Carter Ham, U.S. commander of U.S. AFRICOM, is actually the commander right now. And we look to, in the next few days, transition that to a coalition leadership.

AMANPOUR: So the U.S. will pull back?

MULLEN: The U.S. will essentially take a supporting role, providing unique capabilities, certainly in terms of things like jamming, things like...

AMANPOUR: But not bombing and flying over?

MULLEN: No -- well, certainly, the -- we'll be in transition. I mean, effectively, Christiane, what's happened in the last 24 hours is the no-fly zone has been put -- has essentially started to have its effects. We've got aircraft over Benghazi right now. We have that for 24/7. He hasn't flown any aircraft in the last two days. So the initial part of the operation and the idea of getting a no-fly zone in place is...

AMANPOUR: Is successful?

MULLEN: Well, it has been successful so far.

AMANPOUR: So will it be a long war, as Colonel Gadhafi pledges?

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