Gadhafi’s Comments, No Fly Zones, and Evacuation Efforts: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 2/24/2011

Feb 24, 2011 3:33pm

TAPPER:  Colonel Gadhafi today, in a rambling phone interview with Libyan state television, as well two days ago, talked about how the protestors had been fed hallucinogens by Osama bin Laden.  I was wondering if the administration had any response to anything Mr. Gadhafi has said in the last couple days.

CARNEY:  Jake, the way we've approached this, the way the president has approached this, is that our position on the unrest in these countries is not about an individual leader. It's about the responsibility that each government has to not respond with violence to peaceful demonstrators, to not restrict the universal rights that their citizens have, and to move forward with the kind of reforms that will be responsive to the legitimate aspirations of their people.

It's not about personalities.  And I would — I would simply note that one consistent theme I think you've seen in the way that we have responded to these developments, these events in the Middle East and the region, has been to make it clear that it's also not about the United States.  It's not about the United States dictating outcomes, picking leaders, telling countries who can run, who can be their leader and who can't be, because what we have seen are legitimate, organic, grassroots risings by the peoples of these countries, demanding more freedom and greater opportunity in their lives.And again, it's not about individual leaders.  And — it's about the peoples in these countries.

TAPPER:  The French defense minister has talked openly about imposing the no-fly zone more openly than the U.S. has talked about it.  Can you explain why?

CARNEY:  Well, I don't want to explain what other leaders in other countries have said or other senior officials from other countries.  What I — what we have said is that we are not going to specify which options are on or off the table.  We are discussing a full range of options with our partners at the U.N. and elsewhere. And, you know, we expect to take action in the near-term to – with the international community to, we believe, hopefully compel the Libyan government to stop killing its own people.

TAPPER:  Do you have any theory as to why other nations have been allowed by the Libyan government to land planes to extricate their citizens and the Libyan government has not allowed the United States to do so?

CARNEY:  Again, for the details on our efforts to extract American citizens from — or help evacuate American citizens from Libya, I'd refer you to the State Department.  I just know that we are doing everything we can to make that happen.

-Jake Tapper

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