Archive for May 1, 2012
More people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers.
In surveys conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, 34% of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31% who favored newspapers); and a full 41% said they get most of their news online, 10% more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper. Of course, the 18-to-29-year-old group overwhelmingly cast their vote with the web; 65% said the Internet was their main news source.
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NEW ALBANY, Indiana — (DMN) – Police in the Southern Indiana city of New Albany may have discovered a serial killer. Prosecutors in Floyd County, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, are not ready to accuse William Clyde Gibson of being a serial killer — although the fact that he is already charged with two unrelated murders fits the definition, prosecutor Keith Henderson said. Henderson also said he was not ready yet to charge Gibson in connection with a third body that was found Friday night buried in his backyard on Woodbourne Drive in New Albany. “We are awaiting the final results from the medical examiner’s office on cause of death” to decide “whether or not there will be additional charges filed,” Henderson said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Henderson said he asked a Floyd County judge to seal the recording of last week’s hearing in which Gibson was charged with the two murders to protect the ongoing investigation. The prosecutor was asked whether that meant investigators are looking into the possibility that Gibson may have killed more women. “To the extent that there is information that could lead to eventually other crimes being charged or — other victims, it’s important that the integrity of the investigation — stay intact,” he answered. Henderson declined to say anything more on whether officials expect the investigation to lead to more murder victims.
On Friday night, the body of Stephanie Marie Kirk, 35, of the Charlestown, Ind., area, was found in Gibson’s backyard near the deck of his New Albany house. Gibson was charged last Tuesday with murdering Christine Whitis, 75, of Clarksville, who was found strangled in his home on April 19, and Karen Hodella, a 44-year-old Florida hairdresser whose body was found near the Ohio River in Clarksville on Jan. 7, 2003. Whitis had been best friends with Gibson’s mother, according to Whitis’ sister, Edith Coons. Both had worked as cashiers at Sears.
Hodella was found dead next to Emery Crossing Road, which is near New Albany, three months after meeting a man in a bar who bought drinks for her, according to her family. She had been in Indiana visiting her boyfriend’s family but was fighting with him at the time. Kirk, who lived with her father and daughter, disappeared March 25 after leaving a friend’s New Albany home. Police said it was believed she was going to meet a man she had met at a bar the previous night so they could go motorcycle riding. Henderson said the current charges against Gibson make him eligible for the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Either would require the prosecutor to file a separate charge. “We are reviewing that and we’ll make that decision in due course,” he said.
On Thursday, Floyd Superior Court Judge Susan Orth immediately granted Henderson’s request to seal the recording of the probable-cause proceeding that led to the charges in Whitis’ and Hodella’s murders. In the hearing — which took the place of a written affidavit that ordinarily accompanies criminal charges in Indiana — Henderson presented Orth with facts supporting the charges. The court audio recording of such a hearing is required to be available to the public just as if it were a paper affidavit. Orth told a Courier-Journal reporter through a member of her staff last Wednesday, the day before the prosecutor’s request, that she would make the recording available Friday. Instead, she ordered the next day that the recording be sealed for at least 30 days. “Afterwards the court shall re-examine the issue and determine the necessity of maintaining the confidentiality of said hearing,” Orth’s order says.
The Courier Journal contributed to this report.
Mitt Romney’s spokesman on foreign policy issues abruptly quit Tuesday after anti-gay conservatives made an issue of his outspoken support for gay marriage. Richard Grenell resigned on what was to be his first official day on the job, citing the “hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues.” Grenell, who is openly gay, was hired by the Romney campaign less than two weeks ago. He was a Republican communications strategist for over a decade, including a stint as the national security and foreign policy spokesman in the George W. Bush administration.
Some prominent conservatives criticized Grenell’s role in Romney’s campaign after he made comments via Twitter and other media in support of same-sex marriage. Last week, Matthew Franck wrote in the National Review, “I agree that Grenell’s being openly gay is, in itself, of no consequence for his service in the Romney campaign. Nor is the fact that he supports same-sex marriage. … But Grenell has made a particular crusade of the marriage issue, with a kind of unhinged devotion that suggests a man with questionable judgment.”
In a statement to news outlets, Grenell explained his decision to resign, while thanking Romney for hiring him. He wrote: “I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the foreign policy and national security spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.”
Romney Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades said the camapign is “disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons.” “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill,” he added. A source close to the Romney campaign denied that Grenell resigned because of complaints he is gay. Rather, the source said, Grenell stepped down because he had become a story himself.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — (DMN) – Most Muslims in several key Middle Eastern and Asian countries hold negative views of the terrorist network al Qaeda a year after U.S. forces killed its leader, Osama bin Laden, according to a recent survey. A new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted March 19 to April 13, 2012, finds majorities – and mostly large majorities – expressing negative views of the terrorist group in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon viewed al Qaeda in an unfavorable way.
In Pakistan, where U.S. Navy SEALs killed the al Qaeda leader during a raid on a compound a year ago, 55% of the Muslims surveyed had a negative opinion of the terrorist group, according to the poll. Only 13% had a favorable view. The United States has used controversial drone strikes in tribal areas of Pakistan to try to dismantle al Qaeda’s infrastructure. In May 2011, an elite team of Navy SEALs flew two helicopters into Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was living in a three-story compound with approximately two dozen people, including his wives and children.
The killing of bin Laden in that raid prompted an uproar in Pakistan. The blatant violation of the country’s national sovereignty embarrassed the civilian government and especially the military, which has a prestigious military academy in Abbottabad. The drone strikes, the bin Laden raid and airstrikes by NATO forces in November that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan have soured relations between Islamabad and Washington. But they do not appear to have created a high level of support for al Qaeda in Pakistan, according to the Pew survey.
Interfaith activist Fiyaz Mughal concurred, saying his organization uncovered nuanced feelings in Pakistan about the killing of bin Laden. “They were unhappy about the way the killing had taken place, but there was no sense they were angry he had been assassinated,” he said his London-based Faith Matters found two days after the killing. And with the passing of time, support for al Qaeda has fallen further in key parts of Pakistan, he said. “As more and more information comes out and more and more attacks take place, the population has gotten fed up with al Qaeda’s tactics,” said Mughal. “Because of the actions of al Qaeda specifically in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, they have managed to turn off a lot of people in Pakistan,” he said of the terror network. “They are not interested in seeing Osama bin Laden as some great martyr, feeling: ‘We are unhappy with the U.S., but we are not going to grieve over bin Laden,’” he said.
Sympathy for the terrorist group appears to be stronger in Egypt, the poll’s findings suggest. Twenty-one percent of the Muslims questioned there had a favorable view of al Qaeda, while 71% had an unfavorable one. The second highest level of positive opinions of the terrorist network among the countries surveyed was found in Jordan, where 15% viewed al Qaeda favorably and 77% viewed it unfavorably. Muslims polled in Turkey and Lebanon were much less likely to see the extremist organization in a positive light. Only 6% in Turkey and 2% in Lebanon viewed it favorably.
In Lebanon, 98% of those questioned held a negative opinion of al Qaeda. The number in Turkey was 73%. The survey’s results were based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults each in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon between March 19 and April 10. In Turkey, 1,001 adults were surveyed in person between March 20 and April 11. A total of 1,206 adults were interviewed face-to-face in Pakistan between March 28 and April 13. The Pew Research Center noted that the question about views toward al Qaeda was asked at a later point in the interview in Pakistan than in the other four countries.
The reporter is confused. The right wing fanatics call Barack Obama a “socialist”, “Hitler,” anti-business and have tried to convince all of us that he is going to kill the free market. The Occupy Left has tried to convince us that they are pro-Obama, the root of all evil is money, corporations and banks. Both movements and their toxic mouth-pieces deride the other side but I think…just maybe…they have it backwards. U.S. stocks moved solidly higher Tuesday as investors welcomed a rise in U.S. manufacturing activity and a mixed batch of corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) rose 66 points, or 0.5%, to close at 13,279.40, the highest since December 2007. The S&P 500 (SPX) added 8 points, or 0.6%, and is just a handful of points shy of a 2012 high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (COMP) increased 4 points, or 0.1%. The day’s gains were broad, with more than 70% of the Dow’s 30 components ending in positive territory. Countering signs that the U.S. economic recovery may be slowing, investors were encouraged by a report that showed manufacturing activity grew last month at the fastest pace since June 2011. “This comes as a big surprise, because activity in the New York, Philadelphia and Chicago regions slowed materially last month,” said Katy Lien, director of research and analysis at Global Forex Trading. “The details of the report showed strength in new orders, production, new export orders, employment, supplier deliveries and customer inventories.”
Columbus, Indiana based Cummins Engine Company (NYSE: CMI) reported strong sales and profits for the first quarter of 2012.
Wait…there is more. Cummins Inc. today reported strong sales and profits for the first quarter of 2012. First quarter revenue of $4.5 billion increased 16 percent from the same quarter in 2011. The increase year-over-year was driven by higher demand in truck, power generation and construction markets in North America and strong growth in global mining markets. Growth in these markets offset weaker demand in the truck market in Brazil, the construction market in China and construction and power generation markets in Europe.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was $658 million or 14.7 percent of sales compared to $532 million or 13.8 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2011. EBIT increased by 24 percent, continuing the company’s trend of growing earnings faster than sales. Net income attributable to Cummins in the first quarter of 2012 was $455 million ($2.38 per diluted share) compared to $343 million in the same period a year ago ($1.75 per diluted share). “Cummins continues to benefit from its geographic diversification and its leadership position in a number of end markets as evidenced by our very strong first quarter results,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Revenues in North America grew 40 percent in the first quarter, offsetting near-term softness in some emerging markets. I am delighted that through close coordination with our key OEM partners and strong execution from our manufacturing and supply chain teams, we have been able to quickly increase our production in North America to meet strong demand for our products.”
Based on the current forecast, Cummins reaffirms that total Company revenues are expected to increase 10 percent in 2012, with EBIT in the range of 14.5 to 15 percent of sales. Other recent highlights:
Cummins announced at the Mid-America Truck Show in March that it has commenced development of a new 15-liter spark-ignited natural gas engine for the U.S. heavy-duty truck market. Also at the Mid-America Truck Show, Cummins unveiled its product solutions that will allow the Company’s engines for U.S. truck customers to meet 2014 fuel efficiency and green house gas standards in 2013.
Cummins announced plans to develop a new master site for its operations in Brazil. For the fifth consecutive year, Cummins has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies by The Ethisphere Institute.
First quarter detail (all comparisons to same period in 2011)
Sales – $2.9 billion, up 20 percent
Segment EBIT – $381 million, or 13.3 percent of sales, compared to $290 million or 12.1 percent of sales
Improved demand in North American heavy duty truck, medium duty truck and light duty truck and construction markets offsetting lower sales to the China construction and Brazilian truck markets
Strong demand for mining engines globally
Sales – $1.1 billion, an increase of 19 percent
Segment EBIT – $143 million, or 13.0 percent of sales, compared to $105 million or 11.4 percent of sales
Record quarter driven by increased demand in North America and Brazil more than offsetting lower demand in Europe and China
Sales – $780 million, down 2 percent
Segment EBIT – $76 million, or 9.7 percent of sales, compared to $89 million or 11.2 percent of sales
Improved demand in North America and Brazil offsetting lower revenues in the Middle East and Europe
Sales – $775 million, up 21 percent
Segment EBIT – $94 million, or 12.1 percent of sales, compared to $89 million or 13.9 percent of sales
Revenue increase driven by strong growth in Asia Pacific region, North and Central America, Europe and Africa
Cummins is a Fortune 500 manufacturer of diesel engines.
Maybe it’s just me but it seems with this economic news, the Tea Party should be celebrating President Obama and the economy and the Occupy Movement is as clueless as I originally suspected. The Occupy movement would find these corporate profits “obscene.” It seems to me that these two polar opposites are fighting the wrong battle but it’s probably not the first time idiots have served as mouthpieces for movements they cannot really grasp and do not understand.
The Texas Department of Public Safetyrecently notified area district attorneys that the agency discovered errors with the analysis conducted by one of its forensic scientists in the Houston Regional Laboratory. That analyst has been suspended from casework pending an internal investigation, according to a DPS letter sent to law enforcement officials. Because of its initial suspicion, the agency retested evidence in 100 of the analyst’s most recent cases and found problems in two other cases, according to DPS. “An internal investigation regarding this matter is continuing, and DPS is taking additional steps to prevent any such occurrence in the future,” according to a statement released Tuesday.
The analyst, who has not been named, has worked for the DPS lab since 2006 and has tested evidence in 6,000 cases across the region. It is unclear how many of those are in Harris County. Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykoshas asked that evidence in hundreds of drug cases be retested because of questions that have arisen about the analyst who did the original testing. “We have a list of all cases that have been disposed of and that are current, and we’re asking that every single one of those be retested,” Lykos said Tuesday. “We are in the process of notifying the defense attorneys, and we’ve asked that the (Harris County Public Defender’s office) be appointed by the Court of Criminal Appealsas a conduit so we can give all the information to a single source and they can contact the defendants.” Lykos said the DPS has not been determined if the errors were intentional or negligent. “That’s part of the ongoing investigation,” Lykos said.
There is no telling how much money KTRH-Houston talk radio host Michael Berry paid to get out of trouble after being involved in a fender-bender outside a gay bar January 31. One thing is sure. It wasn’t cheap. The former Houston city councilman and conservative radio talk show host will not be charged with hit-and-run, a source close to the investigation say there is not enough evidence to prosecute him for his role in a crash outside a Montrose gay bar.
The Houston Chronicle reports that an unnamed source told them that prosecutors have not been able to locate club bouncer Tuderia Bennett, who reported that a black Chevrolet Tahoe, registered to Berry, hit his car outside the TC’s Show Bar, in the 2400 block of Converse. The source also said the paint samples taken by Houston police from the car that was hit did not match Berry’s car. This is the same Tuderia Bennett who reported the accident to police and was interviewed by the Houston media regarding the accident.
Berry’s defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, who is one of Houston’s best and most expensive criminal defense attorneys,confirmed he received a call from the Harris County District Attorney’s office letting him know his client would not be charged. Earlier, DeGuerin arranged a $2,330 payment to Bennett to compensate him for damages to the car, as well as for the cost of obtaining a rental car. “The DA’s office has declined to prosecute. The complainant has signed a release. The case is over with,” DeGuerin said. “I don’t think it was ever a case. ” Of course Dick doesn’t think it was ever a case, he made plenty off of Berry’s indiscretion.
DeGuerin said Berry, who acknowledged being at TC’s that evening, did not know he had scraped a car when he left the bar and drove away. “This was an inadvertent parking lot scrape, and Michael didn’t even know that he had scraped this other guy’s car,” DeGuerin said. DeGuerin said when a police officer contacted Berry and said a man reported his car had been hit by a car registered to Berry, he offered to pay. “Michael immediately said, ‘Well, if that’s so I’ll be glad to pay for his damages.’ The police officer said I don’t know whether it was your car or not so don’t pay it right away,” the attorney said. DeGuerin said the only reason the case had received any attention is because “Michael Berry is a controversial figure, and it’s been blown completely out of proportion.”
DeGuerin is right, it did get blown completely out of proportion because Michael Berry is a right-wing fanatical Obama hating talk show host who was at a gay bar. The defense attorney added that prosecutors would have to prove Berry knew he had hit a car and then drove off. “One of the elements of failure to stop and give information, which everybody calls hit and run, is that you know you’ve been in an accident and you intentionally run off. And that’s not what happened,” DeGuerin said. I, for one, am sorry it did not proceed to court as many of us want to know about Michaels like of trannies, especially one by the name of Tania.
People who have nothing to hide call the police when they are involved in a traffic accident. What they don’t do, in Houston, is hire Dick DeGuerin to handle a misdemeanor case. Berry was scared…very scared…that this story had legs and he paid and paid dearly to make it go away. I am going to guess that young Tuderia Bennett got a lot more than $2,330.00 with the condition he not pursue criminal charges. The good news for those who loathe Michael Berry is that he will screw up again. This is not his first time at the rodeo.
Indianapolis, Indiana this afternoon.
President Barack Obama is greeted by Lt. Gen. Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, second left, as he steps off Air Force One at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
KABUL, Afghanistan — (DMN) – President Obama arrived in Afghanistan Tuesday for an unannounced visit to meet with U.S. troops stationed there and to sign a ten-year agreement with President Hamid Karzai on the role of U.S. forces beyond the end of the war in 2014. Mr. Obama was set to meet with Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul and then travel to Bagram Air Field to meet with troops and make a televised address around 7:30 p.m. ET. The United States is also expected to designate Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally.
The visit comes on both the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden and the day a new report from the Pentagon giving the war in Afghanistan a mixed review was released. Issued twice a year to Congress, the report said overall insurgent attacks in Afghanistan fell last year for the first drop in five years and praised Afghan forces for their increased security capabilities. At the same time, the Defense Department said corruption remains widespread and violence in the southern region of Kandahar has increased. There are around 130,000 forces in Afghanistan, including around 90,000 U.S. forces and 40,000 troops from other nations. Those forces are scheduled to end combat operations after 2014, about thirteen years after the war began.
The visit is the third trip for Mr. Obama as president, with his most recent time there taking place in late 2010. Tuesday night’s remarks also fall on the nine-year anniversary of President George W. Bush’s speech aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln where a sign behind his back declared “Mission Accomplished” for the ship’s return to port. In the United States, the spat between the White House and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continues to grow. The former Massachusetts governor has accused Mr. Obama and his campaign team of politicizing the death of Osama bin Laden a year ago Tuesday. “I think them taking credit for the right decision is entirely appropriate. I think trying to attack me on that basis is disappointing and the wrong course,” Romney said Tuesday in an interview with “CBS This Morning.”
A day earlier, Mr. Obama reminded Americans that Romney had not always been as certain about the need to go after bin Laden. “I said that we’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House, referring to remarks he had made in 2007 in which he said he would authorize strikes in Pakistan without the Pakistani government’s permission if he had enough intelligence to act. Without mentioning Romney by name, Mr. Obama said, “if there are others who’ve said one thing, and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain.”
The Obama campaign has released an ad with former President Bill Clinton touting Mr. Obama’s decision and suggesting Romney might not have made the same call. The ad cites Romney’s 2007 comment that it was “not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” The countries have been negotiating a strategic agreement that would outline the basis for U.S.-Afghan cooperation after most U.S. and allied troops withdraw in 2014. Obama and Karzai are expected to sign the agreement on Tuesday, according to the senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the flight.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement provides a framework for the U.S.-Afghanistan partnership for the decade following the U.S. and allied troop withdrawal, the officials said on condition of not being identified. Specific levels of U.S. forces and funding are not set in the agreement and will be determined by the United States in consulation with alllies, the officials said. Noting the anniversary of the bin Laden mission, the officials called it a resonant day for the Afghan and American people. More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The United States is the biggest contributor, providing around 90,000 troops, followed by the United Kingdom (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600).
The war that began in 2001 is increasingly unpopular in the United States, with the latest CNN/ORC International poll in late March showing 25% of respondents supporting it while 72% opposed it. More than 2,700 troops from the United States and its partners have died in the war, the majority of them American. In 2011, the United States outlined its plan to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The move was followed by withdrawal announcements by most of the NATO nations. Last week, Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Daftar Spanta and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker initialed a text that outlined the kind of relationship the two countries want in the decade following the NATO withdrawal.
The deal had been long expected after Washington and Kabul found compromises over the thorny issues of “night raids” by U.S. forces on Afghan homes and the transfer of U.S. detainees to Afghan custody. It seeks to create an enduring partnership that prevents the Taliban from waiting until the U.S. withdrawal to try to regain power, the senior administration officials said. Obama previously visited Afghanistan in March 2010 and returned in December of the same year. He also visited Afghanistan in 2008 as a presidential candidate. A new report issued Tuesday by the Pentagon said that sanctuaries for insurgents in neighboring Pakistan continue to be a problem for the coalition forces and Afghan government. “The Taliban-led insurgency and its al Qaeda affiliates still operate with impunity from sanctuaries in Pakistan,” the semi-annual report said, adding that “the insurgency’s safe haven in Pakistan, as well as the limited capacity of the Afghan government, remain the biggest risks to the process of turning security gains into a durable and sustainable Afghanistan.”
While the coalition is on track to turn security fully over to Afghan control, the insurgency “remains a resilient and determined enemy and will likely attempt to regain lost ground and influence this spring and summer through assassinations, intimidation, high-profile attacks and emplacement of improvised explosive devices,” according to the report. The report covers security developments in Afghanistan from October through March. It noted several “significant shocks” during that period, including release of a video of U.S. Marines urinating on corpses, the inadvertent burning of religious materials by U.S. personnel, several “green on blue” incidents in which coalition forces were killed or wounded by Afghan troops, and the alleged killing of 17 civilians by a lone U.S. soldier. However, the report also noted that the insurgency has been “severely degraded” by Afghan and NATO combat operations, noting the “most significant security-related development” during the reporting period was the continuing decline in violence.
After five consecutive years in which enemy attacks had increased, they decreased by 9% in 2011 and by 16% so far in 2012. The report attributed the improvement to the expansion and improved training of Afghan security forces. Afghans partner with coalition forces on 90% of coalition operations, taking the lead on about 40% of them, according to the military. Along with the insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan, the report noted that Iran is trying to ensure a “dominant, long-term role” for itself in Afghanistan along with the permanent withdrawal of foreign forces. While much of Iran’s activity involves openly reaching out with economic and cultural support, the report said there also is “covert support, including the provision of weapons and training for various insurgent and political opposition groups,” including the Taliban.
CBS News and CNN contributed to this report.
President Obama is right in pointing out that he made a difficult decision to take out Osama bin Laden. Right wing extremists are trying to minimize the President’s decision, a year ago, as a political one. Perhaps it was but it was the right call. The President’s decision to go into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden caused a rift in U.S. Pakistani relations that has still not healed yet the overriding interest for for U.S. national security. Say what you want about Obama’s foreign policy but he has been right more times than not. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Islamabad long before the raid the killed bin Laden and told them to stop taking our money if they did not want to fight terrorism. The President was and is fed up with Pakistan’s cozy relationship with the Taliban and terror groups.
Here’s the flip side. Did Romney waffle on a decision to kill bin Laden? Perhaps. In 2007, Romney said “it’s not worth moving heaven and Earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” That is a privilege of being on the campaign trail. Remember Obama’s promise to close Gitmo? Didn’t happen, did it? The reasons are many and difficult but can best be summed up this way. Our politicians have the luxury of saying just about anything on the campaign trail, promising this and that with no accountability. The reality is that until you have sat in the Oval Office and been saddled with the burdens of this great nation, you really don’t know what you will do.
The issue over bin Laden has fired up the toxic-right and the keyboard commandos on social media in viral attacks on Obama’s politicizing the killing on bin-Laden. Save it for your tea party friends. Those of us in the middle who can think for ourselves without being fed by right wing talk radio can decide for ourselves whether political statements are right or wrong. I give the President an A+ for taking out bin Laden. Romney a D- for his 2007 comments but in the grand scheme of things, they really don’t matter to me. I think Romney would have made the same call had he been sitting where Obama was.
Romney said today that “any thinking American” would have given the order that President Obama gave to take out the terrorist leader and accused the president of politicizing the event. “I acknowledge the president’s success. He has every right to take credit for him having ordered the attack. At the same time, I think it’s very disappointing for the president to try to make this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn’t have ordered such a raid,” Romney said on CBS’ “This Morning.” “Of course I would have. Any American, any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing. But of course you give the president the credit for the fact that he did so.” I agree.
In the days after the raid, Obama told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the raid was “the longest 40 minutes” of his life with the possible exception of when his younger daughter Sasha became sick with meningitis when she was three months old. When they received word the helicopters carrying the Navy SEALs and the bin Laden body had left Pakistani airspace, the first person Obama called was his immediate predecessor, former President George W. Bush to inform him of the operation. Obama also called former President Bill Clinton that evening as well.
Vice-President Joe Biden was opposed to going forward with the raid all the way up to the point when Obama made the decision to proceed. In remarks to House Democrats at their annual retreat earlier this year, Biden recalled the final moments before the commander-in-chief made his decision. Obama went around the table of his senior national security team to get their thoughts on whether the operation should go forward. “He got to me. He said Joe what do you think,” Biden recalled. “I said, we owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there.” Biden told an audience in New York last week that Obama’s decision to ultimately go ahead with decision shows the president has a “backbone like a ramrod.” I agree.
The existence of bin Laden was a smack in the face to all Americans. Materials found inside Osama bin Laden’s compound last May show that the al-Qaida leader regularly ordered his subordinates to plan new attacks, including assassinations of President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, despite an increasingly limited cadre of operatives capable of carrying out such attacks. Like Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II ordering mythical German divisions to attack Russian positions, bin Laden wanted progress reports on how his plans were coming together. And like Hitler’s generals, al-Qaida’s top commanders believed that their isolated leader didn’t get how bad things were on the ground.
That’s one of the insights U.S. officials gleaned as they went through the terabytes of data quickly scooped up during the raid one year ago on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In all, Navy Seals recovered five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 storage devices — DVDs, discs and thumb drives — that included between 10,000 and 15,000 documents and between 15,000 to 25,000 videos, including a large number of duplicate files.
The right and the left can say whatever they want but the reality is this. It was a gutsy call, it was the right call and it was a courageous call. The men who carried it out did so with precision and excellence, they are the true heroes but at the end of the day, the Commander In Chief made the decision and as Harry Truman so eloquently pointed out, “the buck stops here.”