DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates announced on Wednesday that five of its diplomats were killed in a bombing in southern Afghanistan the day before, one of the worst attacks to target the young nation’s diplomatic corps.
Meanwhile, the Taliban denied planting the bomb in the Kandahar attack, which also wounded the UAE ambassador to Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces inspect the site of two large bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Two loud explosions have rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul, causing casualties. The target of the blasts was probably an area that includes government and lawmakers’ offices. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that first, a suicide bomber carried out an attack, followed by a second explosion, caused by car bomb parked near the site. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s prime minister and vice president, said on Twitter that “there is no human, moral or religious justification for the bombing and killing of people trying to help” others. Read the rest of this entry »
Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was murdered at the Benghazi Consulate on 9-11-3012, screamed out “Hillary is a liar!” after watching the movie ’13 Hours.’
The move comes as the President’s short list for the potential nominees got even shorter in recent days—top candidates including Michelle Flournoy, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and current Homeland Security Jeh Johnson all removed themselves from consideration
David Bastawrous—Special Report: Senior White House officials say President Obama has decided to nominate Ashton Carter as the next Secretary of Defense, a number of news outlets are reporting. The New York Times reports that the administration will hold off on making the official announcement until at least the end of the week, as the vetting process is still
“Though a Yale and Oxford trained physicist by trade, Carter has previously worked the number 2 and 3 positions in the Pentagon after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate.”
Before serving as both Leon Panetta’s and Chuck Hagel’s deputy, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The role placed Carter at the helm of, among other things, managing the DOD’s stock of weaponry.
Carter also has significant fiscal management experience within the DOD, as he was tasked with carrying out the 2012 $500 billion sequester cuts within the department.
Republican Senator Jim Inhoffe, a member of the Committee on Armed Services, today spoke of his support for Carter as the nominee. Read the rest of this entry »
“‘Worthy Fights’ is highly self-regarding even for a Washington book.”
Peggy Noonan writes: There’s the sense of an absence where the president should be.
Decisions are made—by someone, or some agency—on matters of great consequence, Ebola, for instance. The virus has swept three nations of West Africa; a Liberian visitor has just died in Dallas. The Centers for Disease Control says it is tracking more than 50 people with whom he had contact.
“Publicly Mr. Panetta has always been at great pains to show the smiling, affable face of one who is above partisanship. But this book is smugly, grubbily partisan.”
The commonsense thing—not brain science, just common sense—would be for the government to say: “As of today we will stop citizens of the affected nations from entering the U.S. We will ban appropriate flights, and as time passes we’ll see where we are. We can readjust as circumstances change. But for now, easy does it—slow things down.”
[Check out Panetta’s “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace” at Amazon.com]
Instead the government chooses to let the flow of individuals from infected countries continue. They will be screened at five U.S. airports, where their temperatures will be taken and they will be asked if they have been around anyone with Ebola.
A lot of them, knowingly or unknowingly, have been around Ebola. People who are sick do not in the early stages have elevated temperatures. People who are desperate to leave a plague state will, understandably if wrongly, lie on questionnaires.
“He is telling partisan Democrats on the ground that he’s really one of them, he hates those Republicans too, so you can trust him when he tells you Mr. Obama’s presidency is not a success.”
U.S. health-care workers at airports will not early on be organized, and will not always show good judgment. TSA workers sometimes let through guns and knives. These workers will be looking for microbes, which, as they say, are harder to see. A baby teething can run a fever; so will a baby with the virus. A nurse or doctor with long experience can tell the difference. Will the airport workers?
None of this plan makes sense. Read the rest of this entry »
“I didn’t have any specific information, but the fact was: when you bring grenade launchers to a demonstration, theres something else going on. And I just, from the very beginning, sensed that this was an attack — this was a terrorist attack on our compound.”
Max Boot writes: Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility.
“What happened? How did the centrist Obama of his early years in office give way to the dovish Obama of more recent times? “
Panetta has been making headlines with his criticism of Obama on 60 Minutes for pulling out of Iraq too soon (“I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq”) and not doing more early on to aid the Syrian opposition (“we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS”).
“Obama suffers from the not uncommon defect of the intellectually able: He imagines that he is always the smartest guy in the room and thus has trouble taking advice that does not accord with his own predilections.”
Meanwhile, Gates has been critical of Obama for prohibiting U.S. “boots on the ground” to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own,” he told CBS This Morning. “So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [the United States won’t put boots on the ground], the president, in effect, traps himself.”
[Check out Max Boot’s “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present” at Amazon.com]
In retrospect, it is clear, the first Obama term—when Gates was at Defense (followed by Panetta), Panetta at CIA (followed by General David Petraeus), Hillary Clinton at State, Admiral Mike Mullen at the Joint Chiefs, and retired General Jim Jones at the National Security Council—was a golden age (by Obama standards) when there were grown-ups more or less in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Obama at first tended to accede to the advice of his more seasoned foreign policy hands because as a first-term senator he was acutely aware of his own lack of experience or credibility in the field. Read the rest of this entry »
Breaking: Benghazi Transcripts Reveal; Top Defense Officials Briefed Obama on ‘Attack,’ Not Video, Not Demonstration, Not ProtestPosted: January 13, 2014
James Rosen reports: Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show.
The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.
Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing — in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing — occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief.
WASHINGTON – Kimberly Dozier reports: Newly declassified documents show that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to “Zero Dark Thirty” scriptwriter Mark Boal, who was allowed to attend Panetta’s speech at CIA headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Judicial Watch filed a request for the more than 200 pages of documents, which the CIA released Tuesday. The documents concerned the internal investigation of its role in the film about the bin Laden raid.
In a statement, Panetta says he had no idea Boal was in the audience when he gave the speech. He says he assumed everyone inside had proper clearance.
by AWR HAWKINS
On August 12, Joe DiGenova, attorney for one of the Benghazi whistleblowers, told Washington D.C.’s WMAL that one of the reasons people have remained tight-lipped about Benghazi is because 400 U.S. missiles were “diverted to Libya” and ended up being stolen and falling into “the hands of some very ugly people.”
Was Obama in Charge—or Not?
by Gary Schmitt
Much has been made of President Obama’s considerable use of the pronoun “I” on the night he announced to the nation the killing of Osama bin Laden. As Mark Bowden notes in his recently published account of the killing and the decision-making that led up to the operation, The Finish, the president was not shy about putting himself front and center when it came to the decision to proceed with the operation: “I directed Leon Panetta … I was briefed … I met repeatedly with my national security team … I determined … and authorized … Today at my direction.”
While a bit over the top when it comes to the “me” factor, nevertheless, the president is indeed commander in chief and, under the Constitution, with its unitary executive, he is, as the text of that document asserts, the sole holder of “the executive power.” Unlike many of the state constitutions of the time, the national executive authority was not divided among various state office holders nor as under the Articles of Confederation—the country’s first federal constitution—was it in the hands of the national assembly. So, whether critics of the president liked his rhetoric or not, whether they felt it was unseemly or not, it wasn’t out of bounds from a constitutional perspective.
KENNETH ABBATE/US NAVY
WASHINGTON — The Navy said Saturday it is replacing the admiral in command of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Middle East, pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment.
Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette is being sent back to the USS John C. Stennis’ home port at Bremerton, Wash., in what the Navy called a temporary reassignment. The Navy said he is not formally relieved of his command of the Stennis strike group but will be replaced by Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker, who will assume command until the investigation is completed.
It is highly unusual for the Navy to replace a carrier strike group commander during its deployment.
The Navy did not reveal details of the allegations, citing only an accusation of “inappropriate leadership judgment” that arose during the strike group’s deployment to the Middle East. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy’s chief spokesman, declined to discuss the investigation.
The Stennis group deployed from Bremerton in late August and had entered the Navy 5th Fleet’s area of operations in the Middle East on Oct. 17 after sailing across the Pacific. The Stennis made port visits in Thailand and Malaysia on its way to the Middle East.
It deployed four months earlier than scheduled in response to a request by the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis, to maintain two aircraft carriers in the Middle East. The Stennis replaced the USS Enterprise carrier group.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited the Stennis and its sailors in Bremerton shortly before they departed. He thanked them for accelerating their deployment on short notice.
“I understand that it is tough,” Panetta said. “We are asking an awful lot of each of you, but frankly you are the best I have and when the world calls we have to respond.”
via Navy – Stripes