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Do you feel any safer from terrorism one year after the death of Osama bin Laden?
May 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Do you feel any safer from terrorism one year after the death of Osama bin Laden?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As President Obama celebrates the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death in Afghanistan, security is reportedly being stepped up at airports overseas.

The Department of Homeland Security says there are "no specific, credible threats or plots" against the United States at this time, but apparently there is some cause for concern.

ABC News reports that officials fear al Qaeda may soon try to explode aircraft bound for the United States with so-called "body bombs."

They worry terrorists might ingest explosives and then try to detonate them on a commercial flight. ABC reports this is why security has been increased at some airports in Europe and the Middle East and the United States has sent more federal air marshals overseas.

If you've been through airport security recently in this country, you might think bin Laden was somewhere on the concourse.

The Transportation Security Administration has come under fire for aggressive behavior toward passengers, including a 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, who walks with leg braces and crutches, and a 4-year-old girl who started crying hysterically. Parents say the TSA is treating these children like terrorists.

There were also reports over the winter of TSA agents asking elderly passengers in wheelchairs to lift their clothing to show medical devices like colostomy bags.

Meanwhile, it seems like the fear of terrorism has all but disappeared a year after bin Laden's death and more than 10 years after the 9/11 attacks.

A recent CNN/ORC International Poll shows only 2% of Americans say terrorism is the most important issue facing the country today.

Here’s my question to you: Do you feel any safer from terrorism one year after the death of Osama bin Laden?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from,
so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden
Should President Obama use Osama bin Laden's death in his campaign?
April 30th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Should President Obama use Osama bin Laden's death in his campaign?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is sounding more like the hypocrite-in-chief.

Contrary to statements he's made in the past, he's using the one year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his re-election campaign.

A web video narrated by former President Bill Clinton praises Mr. Obama's decision to order the killing of the Al Qaeda leader.

Vice President Joe Biden used a bumper sticker slogan that thanks President Obama, "bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." Biden suggests it might have been the other way around were Romney president.

So much for what the Obama White House was saying when bin Laden was killed.

In the days following the bin Laden raid, President Obama said he decided not to release photos of the terrorist's corpse, saying "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies" and "we don't need to spike the football."

What's more - four years ago, then-candidate Obama slammed his opponent Hillary Clinton for using bin Laden in a political ad. He accused Clinton of playing "the politics of fear" like George W. Bush.

None of this is lost on the president's critics. Republicans are blasting him for turning a unifying event into another way to divide the country. They call it desperate and cheap.

The real tragedy here is that President Obama, by politicizing the raid that got bin Laden, is upstaging the Navy Seals who are the real heroes who conducted the mission.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama use Osama bin Laden's death in his campaign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
An American flag was planted in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks.
September 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As our country prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, there's no doubt we were forever changed on that sunny Tuesday morning in September 2001.

One of Osama bin Laden's biggest victories was to make millions of Americans afraid.

So afraid that most of us stopped questioning our government – whether it meant launching unnecessary wars, removing some of our civil liberties, eroding constitutional rights, ignoring international treaties like the Geneva Conventions or torturing detainees.

So afraid that intrusive government security, especially invasive pat-downs and X-rays at airports, became the norm.

So afraid that we let politicians manipulate our fear to win elections and use Americans' deaths to advance their own agendas.

So afraid that in the name of national security, we've allowed the ill-defined wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to drag on. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars gone. Along with our once dominant position as the world's biggest superpower.

Bin Laden is, fortunately, dead and gone now, but not before accomplishing much of what he set out to do on 9/11.

On Thursday, a USA Today/Gallup Poll shows almost 1 in 5 Americans say the terrorists have won. Have they? Or have we defeated ourselves?

How much of the way our life has changed in the last 10 years is a result of that single act of terrorism on 9/11, and how much of it is because we allowed ourselves to succumb to our fears and in the process surrender much of what we have always been most proud?

Here’s my question to you: Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • War in Iraq
May 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Does getting Osama bin Laden justify enhanced interrogation techniques?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Leon Panetta, head of the CIA, said earlier this week that intelligence collected from detainees who were waterboarded provided clues that helped the U.S. track down Osama bin Laden.

Waterboarding, which is the simulated drowning of prisoners to get them to spill secrets, is no longer legal, thanks to President Obama. It was one of Obama's first acts as president.

The Bush Administration before him had been harshly criticized for what some said was legalizing torture. Panetta in the past has said that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding is torture and is morally wrong. However, he also said the debate about the use of these techniques will continue.

Some former members of the Bush Administration and a handful of other Republicans were quick to defend the practice in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Justice Department official John Yoo and Congressman Peter King from New York have all said in interviews this week that information obtained through enhanced interrogation techniques used on prisoners, like waterboarding, was key to the successful raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani hideout.

However, none of these men is really in the position to know this for sure. And there's been no official statement or any proof that any information gained from prisoners by using these interrogation techniques ultimately led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Here’s my question to you: Does getting Osama bin Laden justify the use of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

May 5th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Should killing of Osama bin Laden be an issue in '12 presidential race?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After hovering around all-time lows in the polls, President Barack Obama is getting a boost in his approval ratings following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

A new Gallup poll finds the president's approval rating jumped from 46% to 52% after Sunday's successful raid of the bin Laden compound.

Issues such as the deficit and the economy have been weighing on Obama's approval and putting his 2012 bid for re-election in jeopardy. His indecision over acting in the recent Middle East uprisings didn't help his cause either. But getting bin Laden - that was big. And somehow people suddenly forget how inexperienced and ineffective he seemed on foreign policy as recently as a few weeks ago.

You can be sure that the economy, things such as jobs and the skyrocketing national debt and deficits will still likely dominate the 2012 race. But for now - for this week– foreign policy and the war on terror have taken center stage. And President Obama is looking pretty good all of a sudden.

But that's also in part because of his lack of competition. The potential field of Republican candidates is pretty awful, consisting of mostly current or former governors and a few current or former House members. Plus a lot of people who have already run for president and lost.

But like I said, we have a tendency to forget pretty quickly, and once conversation switches back to the $14 trillion debt ceiling we're fast approaching and how we're going to cut next year's budget, the bin Laden "get" will likely hit the rear view mirror in a hurry.

Here’s my question to you: Should the killing of Osama bin Laden be an issue in the 2012 presidential race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Election Process • Elections • Osama bin Laden
May 4th, 2011
04:33 PM ET

Should the United States have tried to take Osama bin Laden alive?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If they had taken Osama bin Laden alive, there wouldn't be a debate about releasing these pictures. Hindsight is always 20/20. But reasonable people may disagree on whether or not it would have been a good idea to bring this guy back alive.

Depending on which account of the mission you believe, it sounds like it might have been possible. At first, we were told he had a gun, he resisted, he used his wife as a shield and the impression was the Navy SEALs had no choice but to kill him.

But then the story changed. He didn't use his wife as a shield. He wasn't armed. But he did resist. One account even said he looked like he was reaching for a gun.

You could also engage in a hypothetical discussion about whether shooting and killing an unarmed man is a good idea even if it was Osama bin Laden. In his case, I happen to think it was a great idea.

Returning him as a prisoner would have presented monumental security issues and putting him on trial would have cost this country a great dea l– financially, emotionally and psychologically. Tossing his body into the sea was also a good idea. No grave site that becomes a shrine for his demented followers.

Here’s my question to you: Should the United States have tried to take Osama bin Laden alive?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Obama Administration • Osama bin Laden
May 4th, 2011
04:16 PM ET

What should the U.S. do about Pakistan?

ALT TEXT

A Pakistani shepherd walks past the Abbottabad hideout where Osama bin Laden was killed. (PHOTO CREDIT: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There was a line in the "The Godfather, Part II": "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer." When it comes to Pakistan, which are they?

Osama bin Laden was living in a $1 million compound surrounded by 12-to-18-foot high walls topped with razor wire. It was in the middle of a quiet suburban town filled with retired Pakistani military officers. It was just yards away from the Pakistan Military Academy, which is basically that nation's West Point.

The compound was reportedly called Waziristan Mansion, after the tribal mountainous region of Pakistan where bin Laden fled after the September 11 attacks. There was no television and no phone lines. Instead of putting their trash out for collection, the people living with bin Laden burned it.

Come on.

If Pakistani officials didn't know who was living there, the neighbors likely did.

Neighborhood children even suspected something was up. They were not allowed to get a ball if it was accidentally kicked or thrown onto the property. Instead, they were given $2 to $3 to buy a new one. Other kids were invited to play with pet rabbits on the compound but noticed security cameras everywhere.

Ray Charles probably could have figured out who lived there. My guess is the Pakistani government wasn't looking very hard. And it's not because they didn't have the means to do so. The United States has given about $20 billion dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan over the past eight years - money meant to help combat terrorism. And as long as bin Laden remained at large, it was pretty easy to make the argument for that money.

Here’s my question to you: What should the U.S. do about Pakistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
June 16th, 2008
02:04 PM ET

Bush reportedly wants bin Laden captured before leaving office

ALT TEXT

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Bush has reportedly ordered a final attempt to capture Osama bin Laden before he leaves office.

The Times of London reports that the president has enlisted British special forces to help get the job done. Sources in both Washington and London confirm to the newspaper that a renewed hunt is under way. One source says: "If President Bush can say he killed Saddam Hussein and captured bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place."

British special forces have been participating in U.S. operations to catch the terrorist leader in northern Pakistan, but it's the first time they're crossing into Afghanistan regularly.

Of course, no one knows where Osama bin Laden is. He has eluded capture for almost seven years now. Some experts think he's in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. One Pentagon source says that U.S. forces are trying to push al Qaeda in Pakistan toward the Afghan border, where they'd have a better shot at catching him.

But, the increase in U.S. military action is not sitting well with the Pakistanis. Last week, they were outraged about what they claimed was an airstrike on a border post with Afghanistan that killed 11 of its troops. The U.S. says it's still "not exactly clear" what happened.

Here’s my question to you: President Bush wants Osama bin Laden captured before leaving office. How important is it at this point?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST