Sunday, September 14, 2008

President Bush Makes a Final Effort to Kill or Capture Osama bin Laden

It has been seven years since thousands of American lives were snuffed out on September 11, 2001; and we still have not captured or killed the vicious religious fanatic Osama bin Laden. [See the White House: Remembering 9/11]

Perhaps he is dead, because we didn't hear from him on this anniversary.

One of my friends who used to teach in Brooklyn said that 24 alumni at his old school burned up in the World Trade Center towers.

The evil ex-professor Ward Churchill gloated when the victims died in the furnaces and called them "little Eichmanns." Ward Churchill also gloated when the two FBI agents were executed by Leonard Peltier and the AIMsters on June 26, 1975. Ward Churchill often expounds on who deserves to die horribly in his fabricated histories and when he addresses his cult followers.

On the plus side, our armed forces have killed many of bin Laden's subordinates; and our country has not had another 9-11.

According to media reports, President Bush is making a last effort to get bin Laden "dead or alive" as he once promised, and I wish the President and our armed forces good luck. The White House is not discussing this recent "surge" into the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands where it is said bin Laden is hiding.

The New York Times (9-12-08) reports:

Of all the unfinished business of his presidency, the hunt for Osama bin Laden may be the most vexing for President Bush...

"This is not the movies, we don’t have superpowers,” Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said Wednesday, offering up the explanation that the al Qaeda leader has proved far more elusive than anyone thought. Is Mr. Bush frustrated? She ducked the question. "President Bush is trying to get it done.”

...His first press secretary, Ari Fleischer, says it felt right at the time for Mr. Bush to provide ”tough talk” to reassure a nervous nation. But in retrospect, Mr. Fleischer says, it was a mistake.

"He will tell you that it was a mistake,” Mr. Fleischer said. "His wife pointed that out to him right away; she told him privately that he should not have said that about Wanted, Dead or Alive, she thought it was too gung ho. He disagreed, but he agrees with her now.”

...As the Bush presidency winds down, there is evidence the hunt is taking on fresh urgency. Earlier this month, American Special Forces helicopters attacked al Qaeda militants in a Pakistani village near the border of Afghanistan, the first publicly acknowledged United States ground raid on Pakistani soil. Officials have said Mr. Bush secretly approved orders in July for such ground assaults inside Pakistan, without the prior approval of Pakistani officials.

...Experts...say that catching Mr. bin Laden’s top lieutenants is as important as catching Mr. bin Laden himself, a point Ms. Perino has made repeatedly. "Fighting the war on terror has been a lot more than just hunting Osama bin Laden,” she said, adding, "As the president says, ’Osama bin Laden is not out there leading any parades.’ ”

..."He’s always focused on it’s not just one man, it’s the whole movement,” Mr. Fleischer said. "But knowing him, I am certain that there’s a small piece of him that would love to have bin Laden caught before 1/20/09.”

National Public Radio has 9-12 and 9-13 posts with audio about the recent U.S. attempts to attack Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan. The article is the same at both posts.

NPR (9-12/13-08) reports:

NPR has learned that the raid by helicopter-borne U.S. Special Operations forces in Pakistan last week was not an isolated incident but part of a three-phase plan, approved by President Bush, to strike at Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaida leadership.

The plan calls for a much more aggressive military campaign, said one source, familiar with the presidential order, which gives the green light for the military to take part in the operations. The plan represents an 11th-hour effort to hammer al-Qaida until the Bush administration leaves office, two government officials told NPR.

...Pentagon and White House officials have declined to discuss the new plan.

The intelligence community already had approval from the president to carry out operations inside Pakistan, which included attacks by Predator drones, which can carry 100-pound Hellfire missiles.
Additional authority came from the president just recently that allowed incursions by U.S. Special Operations forces, the source said.

A second source said that lawmakers on Capitol Hill were briefed on the new plan shortly before The New York Times broke the story this week about the Special Operations raid from Afghanistan into Pakistan. The source also said that CIA personnel from around the world were being pulled into the Afghan-Pakistan border area, an intelligence-community "surge" to go after bin Laden and other al-Qaida figures.

There was concern by some lawmakers about the political ramifications in Pakistan. The Pakistan government is offering some cooperation in halting the cross-border attacks by Islamist fighters from the tribal areas into Afghanistan. And Pakistan is a key logistics route for U.S. equipment heading into Afghanistan.

Should the U.S. raids continue on Pakistani soil, there is fear that the Pakistani government may halt — or at least curtail — its cooperation with American counterterrorist efforts in the border area. A military source says that the Pakistani government side is given little prior notice of the American military activity.

...The raid last week by an elite U.S. Navy SEAL team was a planned operation that took place miles inside Pakistan and led to the deaths of at least nine and as many as 20 individuals — some of them civilians. Sources say the raid was part of a "snatch and grab" operation aimed at Taliban or al-Qaida figures.

A powerful AC-130 gunship, essentially a flying battleship, was used in the operation. The SEAL team members were flown out of Pakistan by helicopter into Afghanistan. A western military source says a SEAL team remains on standby for similar missions on short notice. [Full Text]


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