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TRANSCRIPT: BBC Global Discusses Operation Odyssey Dawn with AFRICOM's Gen. Ham
<i>BBC Global interviewed Gen. Carter Ham, commander US Africa Command, via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), regarding the potential for a protracted engagement with Libya and how the coalition is fairing when engaging
BBC Global interviewed Gen. Carter Ham, commander US Africa Command, via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), regarding the potential for a protracted engagement with Libya and how the coalition is fairing when engaging regime forces who are attacking civilians in the cities. According to Ham, "I am not hampered by the rules that we have because what constrains us mostly is our focus on precision and our very keen interest to prevent civilian casualties." The complete transcript is below. KAY: General Ham, despite an awful lot of western firepower being thrown at Col. Qadhafi he is still holding up in Adjabiya, he is still attacking Misurata, this looks increasingly like, as the French have said it could go on for a very long time. GEN HAM: Well, I don't think it'll go on for a very long time I think we have an opportunity to execute the requirements of the UN Security Council Resolution the most important part of which is to protect civilians. It is important to note that we've already done that to a large degree by stopping the regime's attack into Bengazi. As you say there are other places where civilians remain threatened by the regime and we are doing our best each and every day and night to protect those civilians. KAY: In the urban areas where Qadhafi's forces still are attacking civilians do you feel you are hampered by the terms of the engagement because you can't go after Qadhafi's forces in those cities? GEN HAM: I am not hampered by the rules that we have because what constrains us mostly is our focus on precision and our very keen interest to prevent civilian casualties. It would make no sense to drop, for example, a large bomb on a regime armored vehicle in the city that would result in the killing of the very people that we are charged with protecting. And so we are very very careful and very precise. I would admit that it is a difficult target set and we work very hard and the very best that we can to protect civilians from those regime threats that emanate from inside the cities and we focus on that but we take this mission very very seriously. It is my mission to protect those civilians and I take that to heart. KAY: Is the anything more that you could do, that you would like to be able to do, to protect the civilians who are being attacked by Qadhafi's forces in the cities? GEN HAM: Well of course the best thing to do to protect the civilians would be if the regime's military forces would comply with the will of the international community, withdraw from those cities, and no longer threaten their people, no longer serve this government which has been determined, been assessed as illegitimate. That would be the best, that would be the best outcome of this. In terms of military applicationnnnnÃ?. KAY: But it is very clear that he's not going to do that. GEN HAM: Well we are trying, we are doing the best we can to try to convince them that that they should move away from these areas where they are threatening civilians and stop their attacks on their own citizens. But again, their leaders don't want them to do that so we're in a difficult time right now where we try to convince and compel the military forces to comply with the mandates of UN Security Council resolution 1973. BBC: Ok, General Carter Ham, thank you very much for joining us GEN HAM: Thank you
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