On March 6 Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the television news program Meet the Nation "that Libya's air force could be disabled without the kind of expense and commitment required to maintain previous no-fly zones in Iraq and the Balkans,"  and instead "One could crater the airports and the runways and leave them incapable of using them for a period of time." His position on grounding Libya's air force was echoed by two of the Senate's top Republicans, John McCain and Mitch McConnell.
Kerry also called for turning an unspecified amount of the $30 billion in Libyan assets seized by the American government over to rebel groups in the country, adding, "I assume that a lot of weapons are going to find their way there from one means or another over the course of the next weeks."
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nation Bill Richards, too, advocated a plan to "covertly arm the rebels" (as did White House spokesman Jay Carney) and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.
Reports have circulated about Washington enlisting Saudi Arabia to airlift weapons to rebels in Benghazi.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan told Agence France-Presse that in regard to U.S. plans for Libya, "all options are being considered."
The New York Times on March 6 listed what those options are. They include the deployment of the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship, on which the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked and which took on board 400 more Marines in addition to the 1,200-2,000 it arrived with on the Greek island of Crete and with the USS Ponce amphibious warfare ship is now heading for the Libyan coast in a deployment ordered by Pentagon chief Gates. USS Kearsarge is equipped to carry V-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, the largest and heaviest helicopters in the U.S. military arsenal.
"The flotilla can be seen as a modern-day example of 'gunboat diplomacy,' intended to embolden rebels and shake the confidence of loyalist forces and mercenaries, perhaps even inspiring a palace coup." 
Gunboat diplomacy is the proper term, reminiscent as it is of the dispatching of four American warships to Tripoli in 1801 where they enforced a blockade of the harbor and where the USS Enterprise defeated the privateer ship Tripoli in a naval battle off what is now Libya's capital.
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