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John McCain urges medical aid for Libya

October 02, 2011|By Katherine Skiba
(Abdel Magid al-Fergany…)

Sen. John McCain, who visited Libya with other Republican senators last week, said as the military mission there winds down the U.S. should consider helping the North African country cope with its “horrendous” casualties.

The Arizona senator proposed sending some of the injured to the U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, or sending a U.S. hospital ship either to Libya, or, if that was too dangerous, to Malta, a European island nation south of Sicily.

He said the revolution that toppled Moammar Kadafi had left 25,000 people dead, 3,000 maimed and 60,000 wounded. McCain attributed the figures to the country's new government.

The Libyans, he said, “don’t have the medical capability to care for all of these wounded — more are still coming in.”

Treating the wounded, he said, “would be very important in our relations with the Libyan government and people.”

McCain said enormous challenges remained for the Libyans, saying they lacked a national army and it was unclear where militias “will go and where they lie.”

McCain spoke Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” in response to remarks to the Associated Press by Gen. Carter Ham, the top U.S. commander in Africa, who said the military mission in Libya was largely complete.

McCain is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He traveled to Libya and Malta last week with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

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