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McCain: 'Gadhafi May Crack'


US Rebuplican senator John McCain (R) walks with Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa, spokesman of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), during his tour to the rebel headquarters in their eastern stronghold city of Benghazi (File Photo - April 22, 2011)

US Rebuplican senator John McCain (R) walks with Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa, spokesman of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), during his tour to the rebel headquarters in their eastern stronghold city of Benghazi (File Photo - April 22, 2011)

U.S. Senator John McCain says he would prefer to see a greater U.S. military role in the Libyan conflict, and he expressed concern American support for U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan is waning.

In an appearance on the talk show Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said he is not satisfied with the coalition's efforts to topple Moammar Gadhafi and end a stalemate between the Libyan leader's troops and rebel forces.

"People are dying on the ground in Libya, and they would not have to if we were using all of U.S. air power and the abilities and the unique capabilities that the United States military has," he said.

The United States, Britain and France began airstrikes in March to establish a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

Speaking at a G-8 summit in France last week, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished as long as Gadhafi remains in power directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people.

Britain and France have pressed for more U.S. involvement in the NATO-led operations.

"Gadhafi may crack. He may crack," said McCain. "But this thing could have been over a long time ago if we had brought the full weight of American air power to bear on him, and it is unfortunate."

McCain also said he would like the United States to formally recognize the rebel Transitional National Council, known as the TNC.

Last week, a U.S. diplomat said the TNC accepted an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to open a representative office in Washington. But the United States has stopped short of granting formal recognition to the group.

And, with the death of Osama bin Laden one month ago, some U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a speedier withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, where the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States were plotted.

McCain said he is concerned American support for a U.S. role in Afghanistan is diminishing.

"I am greatly worried, and it is not so much bin Laden - [having] taken him out, as it is Americans are war weary," he added.

Last week, in a vote of 204 to 215, lawmakers in the House of Representatives narrowly defeated a measure to set a quicker pace for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It was the first congressional vote on Afghanistan since an elite team of U.S. military operatives killed bin Laden in Pakistan.

President Obama will begin drawing down some of the 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in July, with all combat forces due out by 2014.

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