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Obama and Osama - McChrystal Clear

bin Laden's whereabouts remain a question mark while US beefs up its military leadership in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - In his latest commentary, TRNN Senior Analyst Pepe Escobar
attempts to trace Osama bin Laden through key military and government
officials and finds that no one, not even the people assigned to find
bin Laden, knows where he is or if he is still alive.

James Jones, US President Barack Obama's national security advisor,
said on May 10th that he didn't know if anybody knew if bin Laden is
alive or not.

Along with the confusion and doubt surrounding
the whereabouts of bin Laden, Graham E. Fuller, former CIA station
chief in Kabul, has also suggested that "[only] the withdrawal of
American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow for the
region to start to cool down."

Osama bin Laden has become the key symbolic figure for US
involvement in Afghanistan since 2001. "He's the reason for the whole
war on terror," Escobar says.

Yet US military efforts in
Afghanistan show no sign of slowing down. When asked about his
administration's focus on bin Laden, President Obama said that "bin
laden and Al-Qaeda are our number one threat when it comes to American


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The replacement of General David D. McKiernan with General Stanley
McChrystal as Commander of both the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) and US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) on May 11th also
demonstrates the shuffling of US military control in Afghanistan over
to firmer hands.

McChrystal led the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for five
years, and his unit in Iraq, Task Force 6-26, has been credited with
the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
There has also been controversy over the task forces' use of abusive
interrogation methods in handling suspects.

Escobar says the recent appointment of McChrystal shows a
frightening new shift toward more aggressive US military efforts in
Afghanistan as President Obama seems longer to need bin Laden dead or
alive to justify further involvement. "The war-on-terror framework
stays," Escobar says.

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