By Lucy Madison
President Obama will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai this Friday to discuss ongoing negotiations over the U.S.’s post-2014 role in Afghanistan, but the White House says not to expect any final decision about how many U.S. troops — if any — will stay in Afghanistan after the war’s official drawdown at the end of next year.
In a conference call this afternoon, the Obama administration’s Ben Rhodes told reporters that “they’re not going to finalize that decision” in this discussion, but rather attempt to “reach a common understanding of how we can achieve” mutual objectives for the post-2014 relationship. Then, he says, negotiators in Washington “will be able to take that guidance and be able to finalize an agreement.”
Among the topics up for discussion include the impending transition for the 2014 drawdown, as well as the plan for U.S. support in Afghanistan beyond that date. According to the White House, any continued U.S. troop presence will be guided by a few key goals: Assuring the continued progress of ongoing counterterrorism efforts and training and equipping the national Afghan security forces, while also guaranteeing full Afghan sovereignty. FULL ARTICLE
By Mike Mount
The Obama administration‘s plan to solidify the number of U.S. troops that will be left in Afghanistan after the NATO-led operations end in 2014 should come into greater focus this week as Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington.
With conversations scheduled at the State Department on Wednesday, the Pentagon on Thursday and the White House on Friday, Karzai should get a better sense of how the United States plans to maintain the relationship with his nation in the future. FULL ARTICLE
Updated: 2:01 p.m. ET
After weeks of speculation, President Obama formally tapped former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be defense secretary today, inviting a potential nominating battle from members of both sides of the aisle even as he prepares for several tough legislative fights in the coming months.
Mr. Obama, announcing his pick in the White House this afternoon, lauded the Vietnam veteran and two-term senator for his military credentials, his loyalty to the troops, and his willingness to go against the party grain. He also formally nominated John Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran and his top counterterrorism adviser, to lead the CIA. FULL ARTICLE
Most international troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan this year.
The U.S. government will exhaust its borrowing authority on Dec. 31 and hit the $16.4 trillion federal debt limit, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, beginning a countdown until Congress either passes legislation to allow for more borrowing or the government defaults on its debt.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a letter to senior lawmakers that the Treasury would begin to undertake “extraordinary measures” in order to forestall default. Geithner said the measures could create about $200 billion in additional funding available to the government – giving Congress two months before it must raise the debt
WASHINGTON – An independent panel charged with investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.
“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.
The report (PDF) singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation and confusion over protection at the mission in Benghazi, a city in Eastern Libya that was relatively lawless after the revolution that toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Despite those failures, the Accountability Review Board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action now. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future. FULL ARTICLE
So, you have clipped the Carolina wings of an ultra-qualified black woman in politics. What have you gained more than a black mark on your own legacies. But, you don’t care for fairness in government. ”No whipped cream on your apple pie, Susan Rice,” you tell your victim. Today the American people have more respect for the victim of your power-play than any success you may take delight in. Enjoy the bitter taste of such success as it macerates in your sorry mouths.
Note: Senator Graham’s first name is “Lindsey,” actually. Sorry.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a picture of President and Mrs. Assad leaving Syria?