McCain Lands in Libya, Calls Rebels ‘My Heroes’

US Rebuplican senator John McCain (2nd R) tours to the Libyan rebel headquarters in their eastern stronghold city of Benghazi on April 22, 2011. McCain is the highest-ranking US politician to visit Libya's rebel-held east since a popular uprising began against Moamer Kadhafi's rule in mid-February. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: MARWAN NAAMANI/2011 AFP

John McCain has been one of the most aggressive supporters for American military intervention in Libya. After landing in Benghazi, the opposition's de facto capital in the east, the senator's comments seemed to stay in the same hawkish vein. Exiting a hotel with his security detail, McCain said of the rebels, "They are my heroes." He was there to meet with the rebel National Transition Council "to get an on the ground assessment of the situation." (McCain has been pushing to arm the rebels, which he believes will prevent Qaddafi from consolidating power in one section of the country and creating a military deadlock.)

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen also expressed anxiety about a deadlock. Just a day after the U.S. announced it would authorize armed Predator drones against Qaddafi loyalists (for the first time since NATO took over), Mullen said Qaddafi's ground forces have attrited between 30 and 40 percent and are likely to continue to disperse. But, he added, "It's certainly moving toward a stalemate." Remember when the U.N. resolution seemed to have such neat and clean parameters? Yeah, us neither.

McCain lauds anti-Gadhafi force during Libya visit [AP via Yahoo]
Libyan ground forces degraded by up to 40 percent: U.S. [Reuters]