Posts tagged ‘Osama bin Laden’

May 6, 2011

Obama to honor troops, thank raid participants

Obama to honor troops, thank raid participants
May 6, 2011, 7:57 a.m. EDT

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s carefully calibrated response to the killing of Osama bin Laden is shifting from remembrance to appreciation.

One day after laying a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, the president was to go to Fort Campbell, Ky., to thank participants in the daring raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan five days ago.

Obama, however, is seeking to convey a return to the business of governing. He was also to stop in Indianapolis on Friday to promote his energy policies and showcase a transmission plant that produces systems for hybrid vehicles.

White House officials say that at Fort Campbell Obama will express his gratitude to the raid participants privately. But the president, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, also will address soldiers who have returned recently from Afghanistan, a public forum where the military triumph will be hard to mask.

Obama so far has tried to avoid rejoicing publicly over bin Laden’s death. But he has maintained a steady stream of events and activities that have kept the success of the remarkable commando operation at the forefront. On Thursday he visited New York fire and police stations that responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack that was carried out by bin Laden’s al-Qaida operatives, and he met privately with victims’ families. He also has given an interview about the operation to CBS that will air Sunday on “60 Minutes.”

In New York, Obama did not mention bin Laden by name. He didn’t have to.

“When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say,” Obama told firefighters.

At the same time, the White House is wary of overplaying its hand. Obama has decided not to release photographs of bin Laden’s corpse, saying, “We don’t need to spike the football.”

As a result, the president also has hewed to his regular schedule, participating in policy sessions and routine ceremonial events. The trip to Indianapolis originally had been scheduled for last month, but Obama canceled it as he negotiated an eleventh-hour deal with Congress to avoid a government shutdown.

Without bin Laden’s death to overshadow it, the Indianapolis trip would have policy and political consequences. Obama has been promoting his energy policies as a long-term answer to rising oil prices and U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The skyrocketing cost of gasoline had caused Obama’s public approval numbers to dip until bin Laden’s death shoved them back up. What’s more, Indiana is a battleground state that Obama won narrowly in 2008 by less than 30,000 votes. The state’s governor, Mitch Daniels, is contemplating a presidential run and would be considered a top contender for the Republican nomination.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood previewed the Indianapolis trip Thursday, promoting Obama administration policies that foster the manufacture of hybrid vehicles. Obama will tour the headquarters of Allison Transmission, which develops transmissions for hybrid propulsion systems.

LaHood said the administration this fall will announce long-awaited new mileage standards for the 2017-2025 model year vehicles. Under rules adopted last year, the average mileage of the new vehicle fleet will rise to 35.5 mpg by 2016, an increase of more than 40 percent over current standards.

Still, the centerpiece of the day for the president will be the stop at Fort Campbell.

The fort is home to the 101st Airborne Division and many of its combat teams have returned recently from tours of duty in Afghanistan. But its main draw for Obama is the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the highly specialized Army unit that carried Navy SEALs to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The unit, known as Night Stalkers, has fought in nearly every U.S. conflict, from Grenada to Afghanistan, and they were memorialized in the mission that resulted in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.” Many of its missions are classified and among its primary duties are flying special forces commandos behind enemy lines using night-vision technology and low-flying techniques.

They are equipped with Black Hawk, Chinook and MH-6 Little Bird helicopters. Aviation experts said a helicopter used in the bin Laden raid appeared to be a stealthier, top secret and never-before-seen version of a routinely used special ops helicopter. The helicopter made a hard landing and was destroyed by the military team at the site, leaving behind wreckage for experts to analyze.

White House officials would not offer details on the meeting between the president and the participants of the raiding party.

“The successful mission against Osama bin Laden is a monumental achievement,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “But the fact remains that we’re still at war, that we have 100,000 combat personnel in Afghanistan, we have troops in a support-and-assist role in Iraq, and we have U.S. military men and women in other places around the globe and, in some cases, in difficult situations.”

“So it’s important to acknowledge that and for Americans to remember that despite the elimination of bin Laden, we’re still extremely dependent upon and grateful to our military men and women for what they do.”

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Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Kimberly Hefling contributed to this report.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

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May 5, 2011

A foreign policy void in GOP 2012 field

A foreign policy void in GOP 2012 field
May 5, 2011, 4:58 a.m. EDT

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The daring nighttime raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan draws a sharp contrast between President Barack Obama and a field of potential Republican challengers who have comparatively scant foreign policy experience.

That field includes at least six current or former governors, and three current or former House members. The Senate, an incubator for international affairs expertise, doesn’t have a single member running for president, although one former senator has taken steps toward a run.

The stunning news of bin Laden’s death has temporarily focused attention on foreign policy over domestic issues, and highlighted the lack of international experience in the prospective GOP field compared with the president, a Democrat who has spent more than two years overseeing two wars and, more recently, military action in Libya.

None of the Republicans weighing candidacies is a foreign policy heavyweight, and all are working to boost their credentials by traveling to distant lands and weighing in on overseas matters.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, seen within the GOP as a credible voice on fiscal issues, bluntly acknowledged earlier this week to reporters that he was “probably not” ready to debate Obama on foreign policy. He was saying publically about himself what other Republicans say privately about the entire field.

A handful of likely contenders planning to attend a GOP debate Thursday in South Carolina are likely to get at least one question dealing with national security, diplomatic affairs or bin Laden’s death. Continued criticism of Obama’s Libya policies is expected. And the dramatic killing of the al-Qaida leader may force the White House hopefuls to sharpen their international talking points and proposals sooner rather than later.

Bin Laden’s death is likely to “increase calls for us to leave Afghanistan and cut off aid to Pakistan,” Republican consultant John Feehery said.

Foreign policy plays a big role in every presidential election, even if domestic issues usually dominate.

Americans typically say they want a president with a solid international resume, but they don’t always vote that way.

With few exceptions, governors have little or no meaningful foreign policy experience. Yet since 1976, three governors (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton) have defeated incumbent presidents. And Texas Gov. George W. Bush defeated a vice president. Obama himself had thin foreign policy credentials when he defeated Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam war hero who was heavily involved in national security matters for years.

Among this crop of Republicans weighing candidacies, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman may have the most immediate and concentrated foreign experience, having just finished his stint as U.S. ambassador to China. Huntsman was a young Mormon missionary to Taiwan, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese. He also has served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore and U.S. trade ambassador.

Conversely, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is in her third term, may have the most modest international experience of those weighing bids. She has traveled to Iraq and has been a member of the House Intelligence Committee since January.

A look at how others stack up:

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist, traveled to more than 30 countries as a businessman, Olympics official and politician.

Recently, he has said that Obama “has been unable to construct a foreign policy” because of his “fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism.” America is seen as weak, Romney said, because “we’re following the French into Libya” to support those rebelling against Moammar Gadhafi.

—Tim Pawlenty made trade missions and troop visits as Minnesota governor to Iraq, India, China, Brazil, Chile, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Germany, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Poland, Spain and other places.

He was among the first to call for a no-fly zone to protect Libya’s rebels from Gadhafi’s forces. And he criticized Obama for taking almost two more weeks to take that step.

—Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker best known for his interest in domestic issues such as tax policy and health care, sits on the Council on Foreign Relations’ terrorism task force, and teaches at the National Defense University.

He calls for a muscular approach to combating terrorism. But he was widely mocked recently for an about-face on Libyan policy. First he said he would “exercise a no-fly zone” and get rid of Gadhafi. Two weeks later, he said: “I would not have intervened. … I would not have used American and European forces.”

—Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa caucus winner, has traveled extensively, including numerous trips to Israel.

He was criticized in 2007 for saying that, as president, he would strike at terrorists inside Pakistan with or without permission from that country’s leaders. It looks rather prescient in light of this week’s events; Obama didn’t notify Pakistan before authorizing the raid that killed bin Laden.

—Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, spent much of his Capitol Hill career serving on committees covering agriculture, banking, housing and urban affairs, and other domestic matters.

Lately, he has accused Obama of “dithering” in Libya and creating a “morass” because he let the international community take the lead in aiding Gadhafi’s opponents.

—Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, was widely ridiculed for suggesting she had foreign policy credentials because “you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.”

She has worked to expand her foreign experience, including trips to Iraq, India and Israel.

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Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., Andrew Miga in Washington, Jay Root in Austin, Texas, and Shannon McCaffrey in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
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May 4, 2011

White House struggles to get story right on raid…

White House struggles to get story right on raid
May 3, 2011, 9:31 p.m. EDT

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!


WASHINGTON (AP) — Killing Osama bin Laden was a big victory for the U.S., but how exactly the raid went down is another story — and another, and another.

Over two days, the White House has offered contradictory versions of events, including misidentifying which of bin Laden’s sons was killed and wrongly saying bin Laden’s wife died in gunfire, as it tries to sort through what the president’s press secretary called the “fog of combat” and produce an accurate account.

Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that officials were trying to get information out as quickly as possible about the complex event witnessed by just a handful of people, and the story line was being corrected.

“We provided a great deal of information with great haste in order to inform you. … And obviously some of the information was, came in piece by piece and is being reviewed and updated and elaborated on,” Carney said.

The contradictions and misstatements reflect the fact that even in the case of a highly successful and popular mission, the confusion inherent in a fast-paced, unpredictable military raid conducted under intense pressure in a foreign country does not lend itself immediately to a tidy story line, some experts said.

“People are demanding the equivalent of a movie, they want to know scene by scene the most trivial details. You’re in the middle of a combat operation,” said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“One of the things we all have to be careful about is the idea that you can suddenly rush to transparency and understanding in a matter of minutes or hours on the first day of an event like this.”

The circumstances for the Navy SEALs involved hardly lent themselves to careful note-taking. One of their helicopters stalled even before they rushed bin Laden’s compound, entering different rooms from different angles, not knowing who they’d find and then, according to the White House, engaging in a firefight. Some of what happened during those 40 minutes in Abbottabad, Pakistan, may never be known.

Nevertheless, the contradictory statements seem certain to raise suspicions about the White House’s version of events, given that no independent account from another source is likely to emerge. The only non-U.S. witnesses to survive the raid are in Pakistani custody.

Some of the White House contradictions and corrections that have emerged so far:

—White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told reporters Monday that bin Laden’s son Khalid was killed in the raid. When the White House released a transcript of Brennan’s briefing, it substituted the name of a different son, Hamza. The White House said that was a transcription error.

—Brennan said bin Laden’s wife died while shielding the terrorist leader from U.S. gunfire. Carney said Tuesday that the wife hadn’t died and was merely shot in the leg, although another woman did die. But it wasn’t clear that either of them was trying to shield bin Laden.

—Brennan and other officials suggested that bin Laden was holding a gun and even firing at U.S. forces. Carney said Tuesday that bin Laden was unarmed.

—Officials have offered varying accounts of how President Barack Obama and his team in the White House Situation Room were able to monitor the raid. Without providing details on the technology involved, Brennan said that “we were able to monitor in a real-time basis the progress of the operation from its commencement to its time on target to the extraction of the remains and to then the egress off of the target.”

CIA Director Leon Panetta told PBS on Tuesday that “Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on.”

—The night of the raid, administration officials held a telephone briefing for reporters. “During the raid, we lost one helicopter due to mechanical failure,” one of the administration officials said. Later in the same call, another official contradicted that: “We didn’t say it was mechanical.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, clarified Tuesday that the explanation was more technical: The air temperature in the compound was hotter than expected and the helicopter was too heavy to stay aloft under that condition.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

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May 3, 2011

Obama going to NYC to mark Osama bin Laden’s death

Obama going to NYC to mark Osama bin Laden’s death
May 2, 2011, 7:46 p.m. EDT
Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to visit New York City on Thursday to mark the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The White House says Obama will visit ground zero, the site of al-Qaida’s attack on the World Trade Center, and meet with the families of those killed nearly 10 years ago.

U.S. forces killed bin Laden during a raid on a compound in Pakistan where he had been hiding, then buried him at sea.

Flag-waving crowds have been gathering at the lower Manhattan site of the attack since Obama announced bin Laden’s death late Sunday.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer announced Obama’s visit on Twitter.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!