"President Obama has authorized the use of armed drones in Libya, deepening U.S. involvement in the stalemated conflict and once again putting U.S. assets into a strike role against loyalist ground forces.
"The U.S. military began flying armed Predators on Thursday and will continue to maintain at least two of them over Libya at all times, officials said.
"At a news conference, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was adamant that the use of the drones was not a prelude to an even deeper U.S. commitment involving more strike aircraft or U.S. ground troops. I think the president has been firm, for example, on boots on the ground, he said. There is no wiggle room in that. ... This is a very limited capability."