Thursday, January 07, 2010

What is Obama thinking about Osama?

Speaking to Katie Couric on CBS a few days before his inauguration one year ago:

(CBS) In just six days, Barack Obama will be sworn-in as President of the United States. Today, Osama bin Laden marked the occasion with a new threat. But in an exclusive interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, the president-elect sent a message of his own for bin Laden and his terror network. What follows is a partial transcript of the interview.

President-elect Barack Obama: We took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq. And now it's done. My job is to withdraw in a responsible way from Iraq and stabilize the situation there. But our real focus has to be on Afghanistan, the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we have to put as much pressure on them as possible. I've already, you know, spoken to my national security team about how we're going to do that. And I'm confident that we can keep them on the run, and ensure that they cannot train terrorists to attack our homeland. That's my number one priority as President of the United States.

Couric: How important do you think it is, Mr. President-elect, to apprehend Osama bin Laden?

Mr. Obama: I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America....

Also worth remembering from President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University last June:

Let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with. Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military -- we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

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