Nightly News | April 01, 2011
>> this, we're happy to be joined tonight by retired u.s. army four- star general , barry mccaffrey , who is, of course, an nbc news military analyst. general, first off, where do you see the momentum right now tonight? and if i can ask, how do you think this ends?
>> well, brian, to some extent this is bizarroland. we've got nato announcing they'll strike either side if they're attacking civilians. gadhafi is now putting his forces understandably in civilian clothes, in civilian vehicles. the u.s. is withdrawing its combat power from supporting this effort. it's hard to imagine why this will turn out well.
>> now, we call this a nato -led fight and yet you and i both know there's components of this that are purely a u.s.-run show. no one else is refueling aircraft, electronic jamming , surveillance, things like that. i want to put a graphic up on the screen, what you commanding general types call the tempo of battle currently for our company. you know about the multiple deployments. right now we've got 100,000 in afghanistan, 48,000 people in uniform in iraq, 55,000 in the area of operations around japan, and here we are taking part in this third combat front. what's it doing to the armed forces ? how much thinner can they get?
>> of course in the short run we can easily do, this but there are some aspects of this military force , brian, that are under intense pressure. special operations units, air force refueling assets, air force c-17, c-130 lift were 800 miles from the sea in afghanistan. if not for the u.s. air force we couldn't stay there. so i think it is the case, and notwithstanding 2.4 men and women in the armed forces and the department of defense , when it comes to the fighting elements, they are really pushed to the wall.
>> and generally, finally, what do you have your eye on next in this region where it just seems to change every day?
>> well, i think right now our essentially our strategy in libya is based on hope, which doesn't work very well in either birth control or military operations . somehow we have to end up with the gadhafi regime out, which means taking obvious military measures, arm the rebels, use the agency or foreign forces to do it, but the whole notion that nato is now neutral and will bomb either side strikes me as if we might have lost our way.
>> general barry mccaffrey with us from our washington bureau. general, a pleasure, as always. thank you very much for being with us tonight.