Limiting Collateral Damage

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday coalition forces are doing everything in their power to limit collateral damage as they enforce the no-fly zone over the northern coastal region of Libya. “Virtually all of our targets are [in] isolated, non-populated areas, [such as] air defense sites,” he said during a briefing in Moscow where he was meeting with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to discuss bilateral military issues. Gates added, “It’s perfectly evident that the vast majority, if not nearly all civilian casualties, have been inflicted by [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi.” Adm. Samuel Locklear, who’s overseeing the coalition effort to protect Libyan civilians from bloodshed, said Tuesday it’s clear that Qaddafi continues to attack his civilian population in places like Misurata, east of Tripoli. (Locklear transcript) (Gates-Serdyukov joint press statement) (Gates transcript)