Boots on ground in Libya, but not for combat
A window in the U.S. embassy in Tripoli was shattered during a raid by pro-Gadhafi supporters last May
September 12th, 2011
02:08 PM ET

Boots on ground in Libya, but not for combat

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty in Tripoli, Libya and Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughessy at the Pentagon

For the first time since the fall of the Gadhafi regime, US military troops are in Tripoli, Libya. The Defense Department sent in a four-member team to accompany State Department personel returning to Tripoli to assess the damage done to the US embassy since diplomats left earlier this year, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

"As I understand the embassy was pretty well trashed, and their trying to go back in and see if that facility is still usable, and if it is what needs to be done to bring it back on line," said Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon. A US diplomatic team currently is evaluating whether the embassy can be renovated and/or reconstructed or whether a new embassy will have to be built.

A CNN team, including Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty visited the Tripoli embassy on Monday and saw the extent of damage done during what one State Department official said was a 38-hour rampage by pro-Gadhafi suppoerters on May 1 and May 2. The CNN team saw two buildings which had been trashed, burned and ransacked. In one building the ambassador's office was stripped and vandalized.

The embassy had already been evacuated when it suspended activity in February after the revolution began in the spring. No classified information or sensitive materials were left behind. On the night of the attack the compound was protected by just five local guards who fled, the State Department official said.

The military assignment does not negate President Barack Obama's insistance at the begining of operations in Libya that the US will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground" as the four-member team are for diplomatic security, not combat.

He said the four troops arrived in Tripoli over the weekend with the State Department team and consist of two troops who are "explosive ordnance specialist, because one of the concerns was whether there was any presence of any kind of munitions there at the site, or any kind of hazards in that regard," Kirby said.

The other two are "general security."

Kirby said the four troops were not Marines, who traditionally assist the State Dept. with embassy security, but he didn't say which branch of the service the troops are with or if they will be wearing their uniforms.

Kirby did hint that they would be armed.

"There are no other security personnel with them, they are equipped and prepared to provide for their own defense," he said.

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. JOE

    What I want to know is why CNN has cut me off from commenting on their political ticker for a week now. Is it because they're trying to defend the GOP from being exposed when I continuously question and highlight their failed record and misguided policies and leadership? Yea, I smell conspiracy CNN. But what I have discovered is that prior to the midterm election, the GOP's base were allowed to spill their hatred and lies on the air and CNN never bothered to censor their divisive, offensive and disruptive rhetoric about president Obama and the Democratic base.

    But nevertheless, what I have discovered is that something marvelous happened since the Democrat's defeat at the midterm election. What the midterm defeat did was awoken the Democratic base and since then, I have discovered that the GOP's base has been out numbered 2 to one as far as reader comments goes. But that's not all, because where as the GOP's base or the rightwingers have been straigh out lying about the issues to defend the GOP's failed record or to downplay the success of the Obama administration, the liberals have resorted to all facts and this is what the mainstream media is afraid of. You see lies, fear mongering and propaganda is what won the GOP the House of Representatives to begin with but now that liberals are taking a stand and awakening the American people with the facts, CNN and other Republican owned and operated networks are starting to censor and block comments by liberals that are pointing to the GOP's failures and lies.

    So CNN, for a whole week now my comments have been blocked while "Awaiting Moderation" and at the end of the day, when these articles are closed to reader comments, my comments are still awaiting moderation. And I must point out that none of my comments involved profanity or obscene language. So why censor my comments CNN? Is this a real democracy? What about my freedom of speech CNN? But I'm not worried CNN because there are millions of liberals across America who will speak for me and for this administration. And one more thing CNN, what you cannot do is deny me my right to vote. Obama/Biden by a landslide in 2012.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • mark

      joe writes

      "What about my freedom of speech CNN?"
      well you have freedom of speech but that does not mean
      CNN has to publish your comments or any body else's.
      this is CNN's web site. they have the right to post what ever they want or don't.
      If you want to publish your views build your own web site.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • fred

      Joe – maybe because you write too much and take up too much memory space. !?!?!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  2. keith

    There are other troops, covertly, that are in Libya.....how do you think the rebels are advancing....they had to have some outside professional help, not to mention NATO planes need someone to 'lase' up a target....

    September 14, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • Andrew

      remember, they had mutinised troops that joined the anti- Ghaddafi forces, to teach them how to fight. As well as NATO Bombing, plus some Libyans combatants are not just from Libyya, sme may have come from England, America and possibly may have served with the US or British defence forces.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  3. CNN Editor

    "and their trying to go back in"

    There, they're, their: those pesky homophones.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • Center Of Thought

      For a professional news service, your grammar sucks a big one...

      September 14, 2011 at 9:07 am | Reply
    • fred

      Hey ! Who you calling a homophone?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  4. Bob Hitler

    I told you "Obama, The Great War Monger" was going to get us sucked into this war. Pretty soon we'll have troops in Syria, Iran, Somalia, and god know's where else. Don't turn your back on "Obama, The Great War Monger".

    September 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • Gun Baron

      We already have troops on the ground in Somalia

      September 14, 2011 at 8:30 am | Reply
    • Brian

      I cant tell if you are joking or not

      September 14, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
  5. sharky

    Here we go again.
    First it is "Humanitarian" efforts, but we do not want Qaddafi to step down, just show remorse and change his ways.

    Then it is, Qaddafi must go.

    It was I do not need to talk to Congress or get their approval as this is such a small operation, so I will talk to the UN.

    Then it was no boots on the ground period.

    Now it is boots on the ground, but.......just 4 people, of course fighting has not stopped, but if anything happens to them.......then what.

    As already pointed out with JFK and Vietnam and we saw how messed up that became.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • Tootles

      Wow Sharky – please tell us more. I enjoy losing IQ points listening to you.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • JTO

      So your suggestion is we stop providing security for our embassies in any country with hostilities?

      September 14, 2011 at 5:07 am | Reply
  6. Hussein O

    JFK said the same thing when putting boots in Viet Nam. They were just advisors.

    Obama wants to be part of socialist Europe so bad, he'll do anything the Euro clowns want, just to be part of the elitist group.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • Turoq

      Amen to that!

      September 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • beast

      and we don't have soldiers in over 50 other countries? give me a break, if your going to hate the man, hate him for the right reasons, not a handful of soldiers chilling in libya

      September 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
      • Bman

        True, but he still is commander-in-chief, so what he says(with permission from congress) goes.

        September 14, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Busted

      This hyperbole is getting boring, learn something.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:55 am | Reply
    • redleg

      These aren't advisors but personnel to certify the compound as safe.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:36 am | Reply
  7. Blogson

    While it is possible to understand the current deployment of four troops to provide security for the embassy assessment people, history has shown that this will be the launching point for a much larger deployment. Obama like many other presidents has demonstrated that the art of deception and lying is a given.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  8. jalendui

    I must have been hearing things when Obama said "there will be no boots on the ground in Libya". If a car bomb explodes and kills the 4 "boots" that ARE on the ground in Libya.....just how will Obama explain THIS lie to the American people? HE LIED to us.With a straight face he LIED TO US.....AGAIN. And,the reader is correct....this how we weaseled our way into Vietnam.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • DDAP

      Really? Your comment is truly un-believable. The boots on the ground are there to protect State Department Employees assessing damage to the US Embassy. Like it or not, the US is going to have diplomatic ties with the new Libyan Government – this is part of that process.

      You are grasping at straws to support something that is not true. Of course your response to me will most likely be this: "You believe everything, you are naive, Obama lies, Obama lies, Obama lies".

      Yeah, well, so did Bush – where were the WMDs in Iraq? Umm, there weren't any – yet that cost us tax payers a Trillion dollars – I hope you have a problem with that lie as well.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Reply
      • jalendui

        Guess what? They BOTH lied to us.

        September 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • ready

        Guess what? Your a dumbass who knows nothing about the realities of life.

        US embassy = boots on the ground. An embassy is in any country we have diplomatic relations with. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Do I have to REALLY explain this to someone? God people are dumb these days.

        September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • Ed

        I guess no one remembers the satillite photos on Fox AND CNN showing a convey of trucks leaving Iraq and driving into the Syrian desert. Where they were promptly buried. Bush decided not to violate Syrian borders to go get them. I say bad chioce on his part.

        September 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
      • BillyBob

        Your Sir, are an idiot. The dims wanted to the war even before W was elected. Please do not try to revise history and lie about the present.

        September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
      • U.S Army and proud

        actually you are very very wrong about that. i have many people who work as chemical specialists in the army. they found stock piles of mustard gas. just because the news doesn't report it doesn't mean they aren't there. while i may not agree with the war. there were WMDs whether people want to admit it or not.

        September 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Brian

      Wow I knew some idiot would make a comment like this. Its the US embassy. Are we to send our staff there with no security and no check over of the facilities? Also to somehow equate 4 member of the US military protecting State officials to the Iraq or Vietnam war is absurd. You people are really sad

      September 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      Technically, these four soldiers are not being deployed to Libya. The US embassy grounds is considered US soil.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  9. Kenny

    ...and "their" trying to go back in and see......
    Really? You don't know the difference between there, their and they're? Look it up.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:46 am | Reply
  10. 2bits

    Another broken Obama promise.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • Seraphim0

      Are you serious? Because he sends four soldiers to look at our embassy to examine its viability as an embassy, you're saying this is exactly the same thing as having fighting troops on the ground?

      Wow. I guess the natural extension of such flawed logic states that every country we have military personnel stationed in is considered to be at war with us. Looks like we're at war with dozens of countries. Even Britain!

      You sir, are an idiot.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • ready

      another ignorant dumbass.

      An embassy WILL have security. Stop playing the internet's token idiot and get with reality.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  11. bailoutsos

    Isn't the same as Vietnam? Sent in advisors that got killed that led to America getting involved.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • ready

      Embassy security are not advisers, nice try at reading the article but you may be off your dyslexia pills.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
      • bailoutsos

        ready Embassy security are not advisers -- So, if 2 get killed and 2 are hostages, you mean America will not sent troops?

        September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
      • jalendui

        You are exactly right Bailousos. Has anyone told Obama that there is still fighting going on and there is no legit government right now? It's lunacy to put any American on the ground until the war is OVER. Even the rebels admit they are having trouble finishing the job. Bottom line...we have 4 miltary men on the ground. Bottom line....there is no need for an embassy yet. Bottom line...Obama lied to us again.

        September 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  12. ranger 830

    WTF SERIOUSLY!!!! Must not be much to report from Libya today! Foxtrot Tango Whisky.....How Copy......Over!!!! RLTW

    September 13, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  13. Hashim

    For more information on this read groundbreaking novel -- king of Bat'ha

    September 13, 2011 at 9:33 am | Reply
  14. Name

    Soldiers became troops, troops became boots. Sigh.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • BOB USMC

      And of course they're lying about the 4 that are there. We've had our military there for months. If the lazy American sheep would just go to another country's (Yes even Canada) media outlets and simply read. Our mainstream garbage is rife with lies and distortions. BTW. We're not in Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Somalia and roughly 80 other countries. But let's not tell John Q. And they're here too. Ask Germany.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Reply

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