Tag Archives: Osama bin Laden

Obama Signs Pact with Afghanistan

Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer

Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama, speaking on television on Tuesday night from Bagram Air Base, declared that he had traveled to herald a new era in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan, “a future in which war ends.”

Mr. Obama’s address, during an unannounced visit to sign a partnership agreement with President Hamid Karzai that sets the terms for relations after the departure of American troops in 2014, was a chance for him to make an election-year case that he is winding down a costly and unpopular war.

“My fellow Americans,” he said, “we’ve traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of new day on the horizon.”

The President’s dramatic six-hour visit was a year to the day after Osama bin Laden was killed. Speaking from the country where the 9/11 terrorist attacks were incubated, Mr. Obama suggested that America had come full circle.

“One year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” the President said. “The goal I set — to defeat Al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.”

Mr. Obama spoke of an “enduring partnership” with Afghanistan, invoking the agreement, which pledges American help in developing the Afghan economy and public institutions, though it makes no concrete financial commitments.

The agreement, Mr. Karzai said, opened “a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan,” one marked by “mutual respect.”

Mr. Obama met briefly with Mr. Karzai before they emerged to sign the pact.

“With this agreement the Afghan people, and the world, should know that Afghanistan has a friend and a partner in the United States,” Mr. Obama said as Mr. Karzai looked on.

Via The New York Times.

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Obama Vindicated for Approach to Libya

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For President Obama, the outcome in the situation of Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi offers vindication, of his intervention in Libya.

Pres. Obama’s response infuriated critics, who blamed him for ceding leadership in a conflict or for blundering into another Arab land without an exit strategy.

However, with Colonel Gaddafi joining the list of tyrants and terrorists dispatched during the Obama Presidency, critics conceded a success for Pres. Obama’s approach to war, one relying on collective action and surgical strikes, not massive troop deployments.

“I think the administration deserves great credit,” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “I had different ideas on the tactical side, but the world is a better place.”

Sen. McCain called for the United States to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in the early days of the rebellion and to use heavier air power against the Gaddafi forces once the NATO operation began.

The President rebuffed those calls, deciding on a strategy that depended on marshaling support of NATO allies and Libya’s Arab neighbors. It was a strategy suited to a country weary of war and strapped for cash.

“Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end,” Pres. Obama said in a Rose Garden address. “We’ve demonstrated what collective action can achieve in the 21st century.”

Pres. Obama drew a link between Colonel Qaddafi’s downfall and the killings of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders, saying they show the “strength of American leadership across the world.”

An aide to Mitt Romney said that Col. Gaddafi’s death “brings to an end a brutal chapter in Libya’s history, but that does not validate the President’s approach to Libya.”

Later, after a campaign appearance in Iowa, Mr. Romney was asked whether the President deserved some credit. “Yes, yes, absolutely,” he said.

Pres. Obama has tried to balance a willingness to intervene in atrocities with reluctance to be drawn into large-scale combat. Last week, for example, he ordered 100 military advisers to Uganda, where they will help forces fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, a renegade group that has raped and murdered villagers in central Africa.

On Wednesday, Pres. Obama reiterated that he decided to intervene in Libya after Col. Gadhafi’s “forces started going city to city, town by town to brutalize men, women and children.” He noted that the U.S. was winding down the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

“Nobody could have predicted that in a six-month period, you’d see the deaths of Muammar Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden and Anwar Awlaki,” said Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “But it flows directly out of the decisions the president has made since the beginning of his administration.”

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Conservative Group Sues to See Dead bin Laden Pictures

On Friday, conservative legal group filed a lawsuit seeking public release of the photographs and video of the military raid that left Osama bin Laden dead.

Judicial Watch is demanding the Department of Defense comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for the material. The group particularly wants to see photos of bin Laden lying dead in his Pakistan compound.

The group says it is “irreparably harmed” by the “unlawful withholding of requested records.” I’m not sure how they’re personally being harmed by not seeing the photos of bin Laden, but whatever. Maybe logic doesn’t apply to these guys.

This week, some members of Congress were allowed to privately view the materials. The President stated, however, that his administration is keeping the photos private because they are very graphic and could be “an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool.”

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Pornography Found on Osama bin Laden’s Computer

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Officials who have gone through the files on computers, hard drives, and thumb drives found in Osama bin Laden’s compound said that numerous pornographic movies were among those files. They would not say whether the files had been viewed.

Information of pornography in bin Laden’s compound could tarnish his legacy with extremist followers. Among his many criticism of Western culture, Bin Laden took pains to denounce American culture for its exploitation of women.

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Religious Newspaper Removes Secretary of State from Situation Room Image

No doubt you’ve seen this image. The President and Vice President look deathly serious in a way we’ve never seen them before. Hillary Clinton watches, hand over mouth, in a way that seems to indicate almost unbearable anxiety.

Well, it turns out that the picture Hillary is just too damn sexy for one ultra-conservative religious newspaper, which digitally altered the picture to remove the two women in it. (The  woman in the back is Audrey Tomason, the national director of counterterrorism.)

So where is this radical bastion where women are not to be seen? Brooklyn.

Yup, that’s right: Brooklyn. The paper that edited out Hillary Clinton is a Hasadic paper based in one of New York‘s more colorful boroughs.

Apparently, the Hasidic paper will not include images of women because “it could be considered sexually suggestive,” explained Rabbi Jason Miller. I guess the paper doesn’t have a lot of faith in its readers to restrain themselves when confronted with a picture of the Secretary of State.

Rabbi Miller also explained that he did not approve of the paper’s treatment of the photo, saying, “To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g’neivat da’at (deceit).”

The editors have also violated a United States legal principle in ignoring the guidelines the White House put out with this picture: “The photograph may not be manipulated in any way.”

The White House has not made a statement regarding the altered image.

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Bin Laden Death Photos Will Not Be Released

The President has decided not to release death photos of Osama bin Laden, an administration official has told CNN.

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Sunday’s Speech was Obama’s Most Watched

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

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More than 56 million people watched President Barack Obama’s address Sunday night announcing Osama bin Laden’s killing. It was the President’s largest TV audience since he was elected.

Pres. Obama‘s speech was on from 11:35 to 11:44 p.m. EST. An astounding 57% of all televisions that were on during those nine minutes were set to one of the 9 networks airing Pres. Obama’s address.

Via WSJ.

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What Bin Laden’s Death Means Politically

President George W. Bush and President-elect B...

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Now that news of Osama bin Laden‘s death has circled the globe, we’ve all had time to reflect on what it means – and what it means politically.

In his first Presidential campaign, Barack Obama declared, “We will kill bin Laden,” but the terrorist leader’s name had come up less and less over time. Critics noted the change in rhetoric and decried the Obama administration as not devoting enough efforts to the war on terrorism.

On Sunday night, however, President Obama silenced his critics – by not addressing them at all. He used his address in the East Room of the White House to memorialize the victims of September 11 and call for national unity.

That isn’t to say that Pres. Obama did not tout his tactical victory: he declared bin Laden’s death as the most significant moment of the war on terror that was started by his predecessor, President George W. Bush. It was hard not to view bin Laden’s death as a victory for Obama and a defeat for Pres. Bush, whom bin Laden eluded for eight years.

Nonetheless, each President paid tribute to the work the other had done in ending bin Laden’s leadership of al Qaeda. After Pres. Obama called Pres. Bush on Sunday to tell him bin Laden had been killed, Pres. Bush issued a statement congratulating his successor and saying, “No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Other prominent Republicans adopted a similar tone. “I don’t care about the politics,” said Ari Fleischer, President Bush’s press secretary. “This is great news for our country.” Tim Pawlenty and Peter King also issued congratulations to President Obama.

Bin Laden’s death comes at a time when the Obama administration is dealing with difficult questions regarding its stance in the Middle East. Before the announcement, Pres. Obama had also been facing very low approval ratings.

In the midst of this great recession, next year’s Presidential election is still likely to turn on the economy. However, it will be increasingly difficult is for Republicans to portray Pres. Obama as an international lightweight, as they have tried to do in the past.

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How News of Bin Laden’s Death Leaked

News first came via Twitter around 9:45 p.m. from the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer. “POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 PM Eastern Time,” he wrote.

With that, journalists received an email that read, “Get to work.” Although no one knew the exact nature of the President’s speech, beltway reporters suspected that the announcement was about Osama bin Laden.

At 10:25, suspicions seemed to be confirmed when Keith Urbahn, Donald Rumsfled’s chief of staff, Tweeted the following: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.” He quickly followed that with, “Don’t know if it’s true, but let’s pray it is.”

With the cat halfway out of the proverbial bag, anonymous Pentagon and White House sources began to tell reporters the same information. ABC, CBS, and NBC all interrupted programming at 10:45 p.m. with the news that bin Laden was dead.

President Barack Obama, writing the speech himself, delayed his 10:30 address.

By 11:00, Pres. Obama still had not taken to the lectern, but the news had been published by news agencies across the world. The New York Post’s web site read, “We Got Him!” The Huffington Post page blared, simply, “DEAD.”

Pres. Obama finally began his address at 11:35 and confirmed bin Laden’s death.

Via NYT.

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President Obama Declares bin Laden Dead

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And now for the biggest news story you’ll likely ever read on this blog…

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks killing nearly 3,000 Americans, was killed in Pakistan on Sunday.

President Barack Obama issued a statement from the White House Sunday night to state that bin Laden was killed by American forces under direct order of the President. A small group of Navy SEALs rushed the compound where bin Laden was staying and killed him among a firefight. None of the Americans was harmed during the attack.

Former President George W. Bush issued a written statement hailing bin Laden’s death as a momentous achievement.

Let’s hope this news brings some bit of closure and relief for the families of the victims of 9/11. Please remember that they’re the reason we all care so much.

Enjoy your Sunday night/Monday morning, folks.

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