The War on Terror Has Not Made Us Safer

Congress shouldn’t have passed the measure that gives the president wide military powers to pursue al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first place and 12 years later a repeal is long overdue.

— by Phyllis Bennis

Phyllis Bennis

Two days after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, I was sitting in front of my institute’s office around the corner from the White House. We had just been evacuated again. The police patrolling the streets didn’t have a clue what was going on. So we sat on the curb with red pens, marking up the draft of what would become Congress’s gift to President George W. Bush: Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It should never have been passed in the first place.


We put a lot of red marks in that draft. The text abandoned any campaign to bring to justice the perpetrators of this massive crime against humanity in favor of permanent war unlimited by time, borders, targets or victims. The next day Congress passed it almost unanimously – only the brave Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., voted no.

Read the rest on the US News & World Report Debate Club website, then vote on which writer makes the strongest case for repealing the the Authorization for Use of Military Force (or not).

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books include "Before & After: US Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism."  Photo Credit to: WBUR/Flickr

What I’ve Been Reading Lately— Monday, 3/25/2013

Lean in, Women; Corporations and Government, Brush Off Your Hands

Veena Trehan, Op-Ed: Fifty years ago, Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique” explained how wives were not fulfilled by homemaking and childbearing. Woman couldn’t get credit, were fired when their pregnancy showed and held mostly assistant or teaching positions in the 1960s. We’ve come a long way. Today, women comprise 58 percent of college students, 33 percent more college graduates than men, and a strong presence in most industries. Yet, they make up only 20 percent of Congress, 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies’ CEOs, and 15 percent of senior executives.

Senate Passes Monsanto Protection Act Granting Monsanto Power Over U.S. Govt.

Anthony Gucciardi, News Report: In case you’re not familiar, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735 of this bill actually grants Monsanto the immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous. Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GM crops that are thought even by the US government to be a danger to health or the environment.

Drone Warfare is Neither Cheap, Nor Surgical, Nor Decisive

William Astore, Op-Ed: Today’s unmanned aerial vehicles, most famously Predator and Reaper drones, have been celebrated as the culmination of the longtime dreams of airpower enthusiasts, offering the possibility of victory through quick, clean and selective destruction. Those drones, so the (very old) story goes, assure the U.S. military of command of the high ground and so provide the royal road to a speedy and decisive triumph over helpless enemies below. Fantasies about the certain success of air power in transforming, even ending, war as we know it arose with the plane itself.

Don’t Like Your Health Insurance? Make Your Own

Nina Rogozen, News Report: Millions of Americans lack adequate health care, using emergency rooms as a costly alternative or getting no care at all. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called “Obamacare,” opened the door for an affordable option. The December 31, 2012 deal between Congress and the administration that avoided the so-called “fiscal cliff” has, at least for the moment, closed that door for 26 states. The ACA funds private, nonprofit health insurers called Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans—CO-OPs. It originally set aside $3.4 billion for low-interest loans—seed money for at least one health cooperative in each state, plus Washington, D.C.

Capitalism in Crisis: Richard Wolff Urges End to Austerity, New Jobs Program, Democratizing Work

Amy Goodman, Video Interview: As Washington lawmakers pushes new austerity measures, economist Richard Wolff calls for a radical restructuring of the U.S. economic and financial systems. We talk about the $85 billion budget cuts as part of the sequester, banks too big to fail, Congress’ failure to learn the lessons of the 2008 economic collapse and his new book, “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.” Wolff also gives FOX news host Bill O’Reilly a lesson in economics 101.

America Split in Two: Five Ugly Extremes of Inequality

Paul Buchheit, Op-Ed: The first step is to learn the facts, and then to get angry and to ask ourselves as progressives and caring human beings, what we can do about the relentless transfer of wealth to a small group of well-positioned Americans. End the capital gains giveaway, which benefits the wealthy almost exclusively. Institute a Financial Speculation Tax; both to raise needed funds from a currently untaxed subsidy on stock purchases and to reduce the risk of the irresponsible trading that nearly brought down the economy.

Thirteen Offensive Things Justice Scalia’s Compared to Homosexuality

Ian Millhiser, News Report: Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear the first of two cases which could end discrimination against same-sex couples and ensure that all Americans can marry the person they love. Whatever happens in those two cases, one thing is all but certain: Justice Antonin Scalia will vote to maintain marriage discrimination and he will spend much of this week’s oral arguments making insulting comments about LGBT Americans. After the offensive things Scalia compared homosexuality to in his past opinions, Scalia concludes his Lawrence dissent with a plea that he is not in the least bit anti-gay. “Let me be clear,” Scalia writes, “that I have nothing against homosexuals.”

Asia and a Post-American Middle East

Yuriko Koike, Op-Ed: When the consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq ten years ago are fully assessed, the importance of the subsequent rise of political Islam there—and throughout the wider Middle East—may well pale in comparison to that of a geostrategic shift that no one foresaw at the time. That shift, however, has now come into view. With America approaching energy self-sufficiency, a U.S. strategic disengagement from the region may become a reality. China’s dependence on Middle East energy imports means that it is almost certain to seek to fill any regional security vacuum.

How to Avoid Fake Organic Products

Anthony Gucciardi, News Report: Thanks to corporate loopholes and profit-driven manufacturers, it’s harder than ever to really know what you are putting into your body — or perhaps even more importantly the mouths of your children. That said, it is possible to make sure you’re getting what is not just labeled organic and shipped from a contaminated facility in China, but actually high quality. The fact of the matter is that the decision to switch to organic food is one that signifies a serious change in lifestyle across the board, leading to a wealth of information and serious optimizations for your health.

Dozens Arrested as Keystone XL Protests Erupt Across the U.S.

News Report: One month after the largest climate rally in U.S. history urging President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline’s northern segment, protesters in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. are confronting Keystone XL’s corporate backers directly. Thirty-seven have been arrested over the last 10 days for disrupting business as usual at TransCanada and their investors’ offices, with more actions planned over the next couple of days.

Debt Friendly Stimulus

Robert J. Shiller, Op-Ed: With much of the global economy apparently trapped in a long and painful austerity-induced slump, it is time to admit that the trap is entirely of our own making. We have constructed it from unfortunate habits of thought about how to handle spiraling public debt. People developed these habits on the basis of the experiences of their families and friends: when in debt trouble, one must cut spending and pass through a period of austerity until the burden (debt relative to income) is reduced.

Fox: Americans Need Assault Weapons to Protect Themselves from an Iranian Invasion, Al Qaeda

Igor Volsky, News Report: During a roundtable discussion on Friday, Fox News’ Lou Dobbs agreed with a network contributor who argued that Americans need to access military-style assault weapons to protect themselves from an Iranian invasion. “What scares the hell out of me we have a president, as we were discussing during break, that wants to take away our guns, but yet he wants to attack Iran and Syria. So if they come and attack us here, we don’t have the right to bear arms under this Obama administration,” Angela McGlowan, a former lobbyist for News Corp., said in the midst of a conversation about violence in Syria.

Climate Change Now Seen as Security Threat Worldwide

Jim Lobe, News Report: Defense establishments around the world increasingly see climate change as posing potentially serious threats to national and international security, according to a review of high-level statements by the world’s governments released here Thursday. The review, “The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change: Preliminary Results,” found that nearly three out of four governments for which relevant information is available view the possible effects of climate change as a serious national security issue.

Tea Party Aligned S. Carolina Candidate Bankrolled by Kentucky Natural Gas Exec

Michael Beckel, News Analysis: Natural gas executive James Willard Kinzer of Kentucky is one of more than 100 small business owners listed online as supporting Curtis Bostic, the former Charleston County council member who appears to have advanced to a runoff against former Gov. Mark Sanford following Tuesday’s 16-way GOP primary in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. But he’s much more than that. Not only did Kinzer donate the legal maximum to Bostic’s underdog campaign, he pumped $30,000 into a pro-Bostic super PAC called the “Coastal Conservative Fund.”

BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele and Gen. Petraeus

Amy Goodman, Video Feature: A shocking new report has been released by The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailing how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads. It’s a story that stretches from the U.S.-backed involvement in Latin America to the imprisoned Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Amy Goodman is joined by Chief Reporter Maggie O’Kane

Beware the New Corporate Tax-Cut Scam: LIFT is a Big LIE

Dave Johnson, Op-Ed: The executives who run the giant multinationals want to be let off the hook for paying taxes on profits they make outside our borders. As an Apple executive said to The New York Times, giant multinationals “don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.” And to prove it, American corporations are holding $1.7 trillion in profits outside the country—just sitting there—rather than bringing that money home, paying the taxes due and then paying it out to shareholders or using it to “create jobs” with new factories, research facilities and equipment.

Full Show: What Has Capitalism Done for Us Lately?

Bill Moyers, Video Interview: Sheila Bair, the longtime Republican who served as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during the fiscal meltdown five years ago, joins to talk about American banks’ continuing risky and manipulative practices, their seeming immunity from prosecution and growing anger from Congress and the public. Also, Richard Wolff, whose smart, blunt talk about the crisis of capitalism the first time around now answers questions sent in by viewers, diving further into economic inequality, the limitations of industry regulation and the widening gap between a booming stock market and a population that increasingly lives in poverty.

An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell, From a Kentuckian

Carl Gibson, Op-Ed: Kentuckians live by the phrase, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” It’s emblazoned on our flag, and shows two men, a frontiersman (Daniel Boone) and a statesman (Henry Clay) standing together. They may be standing on opposite sides of the seal, but their embrace symbolizes a spirit of cooperation and caring for your fellow man even though you may sometimes disagree with him. Yet, as Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell proudly announced that his chief goal as the top Republican member was not to create jobs or help schools or look out for struggling middle class, but to deny President Obama a second term.

GMO Boycott: Major Supermarkets Say NO to GM Salmon

Anthony Gucciardi, News Report: Whether or not the FDA chooses to approve genetically modified salmon for sale in the marketplace, supermarkets themselves have decided to take a stand in the form of a mass boycott. One that would serve to crush the profits of the unlabeled seafood abomination. In a move that signifies the growing opposition to genetically modified creations from a grassroots level all the way to corporate understanding of consumer demand, chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and others are now all reporting that they will refuse the sale of AquaBounty Technology’s modified salmon.

Faced with F-35 Failures, Costs; Congress Says to Push On

William Boardman, News Report: The F-35 is a case study of government failure at all levels—civilian and military, federal, state, local, even airport authority. Not one critical government agency is meeting its obligation to protect the people it presumably represents. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who wrote the F-35 critique above, is hardly unique as an illustration of how government fails, but he sees no alternative to failure. The F-35 is a nuclear-capable weapon of mass destruction that was supposed to be the “fighter of the future” when it was undertaken in 2001.

The Wreckless, Heavy Toll of the Iraq War

Mar 19, 2013 | By ThinkProgress War Room

imageToday is one anniversary that is definitely not cause for celebration. Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush made the fateful decision to launch the unnecessary Iraq War.

The consequences of this decision have been overwhelming. A new report estimates that the Iraq War will end up costing American taxpayers at least $2.2 TRILLION, but perhaps as much as $4 TRILLION with interest since Bush put the war on the national credit card at the same he slashed taxes on the wealthy.

(Incidentally, $4 TRILLION is the total amount of deficit reduction that President Obama is seeking, including about $2 TRILLION in the current round of negotiations in order to replace the sequester and stabilize our long-term debt.)

The bill for the war may be large, but the human cost of the Iraq War is even more staggering. It’s estimated that 200,000 people, civilians and soldiers alike, were killed as a result of the war. A million other Iraqis were displaced by the conflict.

These topline figures are just the beginning. Our ThinkProgress colleagues outline five ways the U.S. is worse off because of the Iraq War:

1. The debt

At the start of the war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost around $50-60 billion in total. They were wrong by more than a factor of ten, sending the U.S.’ debt soaring, a condition that has yet to be rectified. According to a recent study, the war is set to have cost the U.S $2.2 trillion, though that number may reach up to $4 trillion thanks to interest payments on the loans taken out to finance the conflict. Of that staggering amount, at least $10 billion of it was completely wasted in rebuilding efforts.

2. The physical and psychological strain on U.S. troops.

The soldiers charged with fighting the war were stretched to their limits, put through multiple tours, with increasing length of time overseas as the war stretched on and shrinking downtime in between each. All-told, over 4,000 U.S. troops died during the country’s time in Iraq, with another 31,000 wounded in action. In the aftermath, the cost of providing medical care to veterans has doubled, adding to the difficulties faced by those who served. Up to 35 percent of Iraq War veterans will suffer from PTSD according to a 2009 study, while the suicide rate among veterans has jumped to 22 per day.

3. The forgotten war in Afghanistan.

Even worse, the war in Iraq caused the U.S. to take its eye off the ball in Afghanistan. Rather than following through, the Bush administration allowed the country to stagnate, prompting a Taliban resurgence beginning in 2004. As the West focused almost exclusively on Iraq, Taliban fighters imported tactics seen in Iraq to great effect, keeping the Afghan government weak and U.S.-led NATO forces on their heels. The result: the United States is still attempting to tamp down on Taliban momentum today.

4. The opportunity costs.

Aside from missed opportunities in Afghanistan, the Iraq War-effort was all-consuming, pulling resources from all other areas of U.S. defense policy. Relationships with key allies were allowed to grow stale and U.S. prestige around the world plummeted. Fighting in Iraq was realized to be a diversion from combating al Qaeda, drawing funding that could have gone towards a litany of other efforts to effectively counter terrorism.

5. The strengthening of Iran and al Qaeda.

The power vacuum left after the fall of Saddam and the lack of adequate U.S. forces left room for U.S. adversaries to fill the void. Counter to what some still believe, Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq prior to 2003. Instead, it was only in the post-Saddam climate that they gained a foothold in the form of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The group continues to carry out attacks against civilians to this day, keeping the Iraqi government on edge.

In the end, it was not the United States that gained the most strategically from invading Iraq, but the Shiite-dominated Islamic Republic of Iran. In removing Saddam Hussein’s predominantly Sunni regime from power, the U.S. opened the door to a greater Iranian influence in the region. That influence has been seen playing out counter to U.S. interests in situations such as allowing Iranian planes bearing weapons for Syria to cross Iraqi airspace.

Given that we know now that the war was launched on false premises and have witnessed what has happened since, you’d think the architects of the war would at least admit they wrong or express some regret. You’d be wrong.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took to Twitter today to pat himself on back:

“10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.”

Richard Perle argued in an opinion piece earlier this week that it was still right to have removed Saddam Hussein, even though he had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. Top war architect Paul Wolfowitz acknowledged that things “spiraled out of control,” but blamed others and argued that things would’ve been different if the war had been prosecuted his way (it was, incidentally).

Astonishingly, the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka even went so far this week as to argue that the mess in Iraq is really President Obama’s fault. This view was echoed yesterday by Fouad Ajami, a conservative intellectual close to Wolfowitz and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who also criticized Obama for ending “an honorable war.”

It appears that the American people are smarter, or at least more honest, than the neocons who led us into perhaps the worst foreign policy blunder in American history. Polls out this week show that a majority of Americans believe the Iraq War was not worth fighting.

Check out our complete timeline of the Iraq War. For more on the true costs of the Iraq War, please see our updated Iraq War Ledger.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Fact Sheet: Afghanistan

In his State of the Union address, the President announced that the United States will withdraw 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan by this time next year, decreasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by half – the next step to responsibly bringing this war to a close. 

  • Afghans in the Lead: Beginning in the spring of 2013, Afghan forces will assume the lead across the country. Even as our troops draw down, they will continue to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.  In that capacity, we will no longer be leading combat operations, but a sizeable number of U.S. forces will provide support for two additional fighting seasons before Afghan forces are fully responsible for their own security.
  • Planning for post-2014: We are continuing discussions with the Afghan government about how we can carry out two basic missions beyond 2014: training, advising and equipping Afghan forces, and continued counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda and their affiliates.

The Security Transition Process

At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, the United States, our International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners, and the Afghan Government agreed to transfer full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014.  This transition process allows the international community to responsibly draw down our forces in Afghanistan, while preserving hard-won gains and setting the stage to achieve our core objectives – defeating al Qaeda and ensuring it can never again use Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks against us.

At the Chicago NATO Summit in May 2012, leaders reaffirmed this framework for transition and agreed on an interim milestone in 2013 to mark our progress.  This milestone will mark the beginning of the ANSF’s assumption of the lead for combat operations across the country.  When we reach that milestone this spring, ISAF’s main effort will shift from combat to supporting the ANSF.  As international forces shift our primary focus to training, advising, and assisting, we will ensure that the Afghans have the support they need as they adjust to their new responsibilities.

Today, Afghan forces are already leading nearly 90 percent of operations, and by spring 2013, they will be moving into the operational lead across the country.  These forces are currently at a surge strength of 352,000, where they will remain for at least three more years, to allow continued progress toward a secure environment in Afghanistan.

As the international community’s role shifts and Afghan forces continue to grow in capabilities, coalition troop numbers will continue to decrease in a planned, coordinated, and responsible manner.  By the end of 2014, transition will be complete and Afghan Security Forces will be fully responsible for the security of their country.

Supporting Political Transition

The United States believes that Afghan-led peace and reconciliation is ultimately necessary to end violence and ensure lasting stability of Afghanistan and the region.  As the President has said, the United States will support initiatives that bring Afghans together with other Afghans to discuss the future of their country.  The United States and the Afghan Government have called upon on the Taliban to join a political process, including by taking those steps necessary to open a Taliban office in Qatar.  We have been clear that the outcomes of any peace and reconciliation process must be for the Taliban and other armed opposition groups to end violence, break ties with Al Qaeda, and accept Afghanistan’s constitution, including its protections for the rights of all Afghan citizens.

The Afghan Government will be holding presidential and provincial council elections in April 2014 and the United States intends to provide technical assistance and funding to support  a fair and inclusive process.

The U.S. Role After 2014

In May 2012, President Obama and President Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement to cement our long-term relationship in the areas of social and economic development, security, and regional cooperation.  The United States remains fully committed to a long-term strategic partnership with the Afghan Government and the Afghan people.  The steps we are taking now are intended to normalize our relationship, including withdrawing troops in a way that strengthens Afghan sovereignty and the Afghan state, rather than abandoning it, as the international community did in the 1980’s and 90’s.

While it is too soon to make decisions about the number of forces that could remain in Afghanistan after 2014, any presence would be at the invitation of the Afghan Government and focused on two distinct missions: training, advising and equipping Afghan forces, and continued counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda and their affiliates.  As we move towards decisions about a long-term presence, we will continue to assess the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, assess the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, and consult with our Afghan and international partners.  We also continue negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement with the Afghan Government that would provide the protections we must have for any U.S. military presence after 2014.  We hope that agreement can be completed as soon as possible.

Consistent with our goal of ensuring that al Qaeda never again threatens the United States from Afghan soil, the United States has committed to seek funds annually to support training, equipping, advising, and sustaining the ANSF.  Helping to fund the ANSF is the best way to protect the investment we all have made to strengthen Afghanistan and insulate it from international terrorist groups.

Strengthening Afghan governance and economic development is also key to achieving our core objective.  We’ve made significant economic and development progress in the past decade, but Afghanistan will require substantial international assistance through the next decade to grow its private sector and promote its integration in greater South Asia’s thriving economy.  The United States has committed to seek, on a yearly basis, funding for social and economic assistance to Afghanistan.  At the July 2012 Tokyo Conference, the international community and Afghanistan agreed on a long-term economic partnership, based on the principle of mutual accountability.  We expect Afghan progress in fighting corruption, carrying out reform, and providing good governance as the international community provides support after 2014.

Newt’s Been Sating Himself on Bull-Puckey

If you’ve been watching political TV of late, you’ve seen way too much of Mr. Gingrich huffing and puffing that President Obama has the absolute worst record of ANY President on foreign policy and national security.    Well Mr. Gingrich, you’re not only wrong, you’re lying through your teeth (or is it your dentures) … whatever!

It never ceases to amaze me how RepubliBans (I’ve changed their name to a more appropriate spelling, since they always want to BAN something) can accuse President Obama of making America less safe, when his foreign policy achievements include taking out multiple terrorist leaders using a strategy of small teams of America’s elite military forces.  So the next time on of your Tea Party acquaintances tries repeating a claim such as Mr. Gingrich’s, here’s a short list to remind everyone of just how seriously President Obama takes the national security of the United States:

  1. 2012/01:  Abdullah Khorsani … Al-Qaeda senior external operations planner  … KILLED
  2. 2011/09:  Anwar al-Awlaki …Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader  … KILLED by US Hellfire missles
  3. 2011/09:  Abu Hafs al-Shahri … Al-Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations  … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  4. <2011/09:  Yunis al-Mauritani … AQ external operations commander … ARRESTED  in Pakistan
  5. 2011/09:  Ali Saleh Farhan … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED
  6. 2011/08:  Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman … Al-Qaeda deputy leader … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  7. 2011/06:  Ilyas Kashmiri … Al-Quaeda commander  … KILLED by Predator strike in Pakistan
  8. 2011/06:  Ammar al-Wa’ili … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  9. 2011/06:  Qassem al-Rimi … Al-Qaeda senior military commander  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  10. 2011/06:  Ayedh al-Shabwani  … Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  11. 2011/06:  Saleh al-Tais … Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen  … KILLED in an air strike on a cell in Yemen
  12. 2011/06:  Abu Ali al-Harithi … AQAP senior operative  … KILLED by a U.S. air strike
  13. 2011/06:  Harun Fazul … Al-Qa’ida in East Africa (AQEA) senior leader  … KILLED in Somalia
  14. 2011/05:  Osama bin Laden … Al-Qaeda Mastermind  … KILLED in Pakistan during a raid to capture him
  15. 2010/06:  Hamza al-Jawfi … Al-Qaeda commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  16. 2010/05:  Sheik Saeed al-Masri … Al-Qaeda’s number three commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  17. 2010/04:  Abu Ayyub al-Masri … Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader  … KILLED in Iraq
  18. 2010/04:  Abu Omar al-Baghdadi … Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader  … KILLED in Iraq
  19. 2010/03:  Hussein al-Yemeni … AQ  operative  … KILLED in Pakistan
  20. 2010/02:  Abdul Ghani Beradar …  Taliban deputy and military commander  … CAPTURED in Pakistan
  21. 2010/02:  Muhammad Haqqani … Haqqani network commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  22. 2010/02:  Qari Zafar … Lashkar-e Jhangvi leader  … KILLED in Pakistan
  23. 2009/12:  Abdallah Sa’id … Al-Qaeda operational commander  … KILLED in Pakistan
  24. 2009/12:  Saleh al-Somal … Al-Qaeda operational commander … KILLED in Pakistan
  25. 2009/o9:  Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan … AQEA planner  … KILLED in Somalia
  26. 2009/o9:  Noordin Muhammad Top … Jemayah Islamiya operational planner  … KILLED in Indonesia
  27. 2009/o8:  Baitullah Mahsud … Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader  … KILLED in Pakistan

Oh … and let’s not forget about the ability to build a coalition to go after Moammar Kadafi. And let’s not forget the multiple Somali pirates and multiple Somali hostage takers killed or captured as well.  But if you’re still confused about which man would keep America safer, I think the following quote will make it clear.

“This is one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger … It’s almost like they should, every once in a while, have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.”  — Newt Gingrich, at a book talk in Huntington, NY, April 2008, saying that republicans should allow terrorist attacks on American soil just to remind us of the dangers in the world.

Now, what exactly was it that Candidate Obama said before becoming President … that he would track down and take out Al-Qaeda’s leadership and that if Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan and the Pakistani’s wouldn’t take action … he would.  HE did!

“And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.”  — Candidate Obama during the October 2008 Debate

Sorry Newt, but America is a much safer place, thanks to President Obama, his administration and our military.