U.S. military planning, but diplomacy still goal for dealing with Syria
April 19th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

U.S. military planning, but diplomacy still goal for dealing with Syria

By Mike Mount

The United States military is continuing to plan for various military options for Syria, but U.S. and international diplomatic efforts will remain the primary effort to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government to step aside, the top Pentagon leadership told a congressional panel on Thursday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told members of the House Armed Service Committee there would be no unilateral military action in Syria and there would have to be an international consensus for the United States to play a part in any military operations against the Syrian government.

"There is no silver bullet," Panetta told the congressional panel. "We also know that the complex problems in Syria cannot all be solved through the unilateral actions of the United States, or any other country. They demand a coordinated international response that is uniquely tailored to the situation," he said.
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Filed under: Assad • Dempsey • Military • Panetta • Secretary of Defense • Syria
April 19th, 2012
04:55 PM ET

Clinton: U.S. and allies looking for "action" from Iran

With the first round of talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear program largely seen as being “positive,” the United States and its allies are “getting down to testing whether there is a willingness” by Iran to seriously negotiate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview on the ‘Situation Room.’

“I believe in very clear action for action,” Clinton said about judging the volume of concessions Iran may or may not offer in the next round of talks.

And while U.S. military against Iran is not at the forefront of options, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he has no doubt about the success of any war plan drawn up by the U.S. military for Iran.

Intel influx leads to increased U.S. strikes in Yemen
April 19th, 2012
02:12 PM ET

Intel influx leads to increased U.S. strikes in Yemen

By Barbara Starr

The increased pace of counterterrorism strikes in Yemen by U.S. drones and aircraft is a result of what U.S. military and intelligence officials describe as improved intelligence about the leadership of the al Qaeda movement in that country.

The United States is using a broad range of assets, including manned U.S. fighter jets, along with unmanned drones operated by the military and by the CIA, according to two senior American officials who would not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The target list of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists the United States has developed has emerged since an American drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki last year in Yemen. Al-Awlaki was identified as a key operative, and the United States has focused on trying to determine the leadership structure that has emerged since his death. FULL POST

April 19th, 2012
12:27 PM ET

Curfew violations set off military’s Cartegana investigation

By Barbara Starr

The failure of five Army Green Berets to meet their curfew on the same night that Secret Service agents were allegedly involved with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, is what largely led the military to start its own investigation, CNN has learned.

The military involvement was acknowledged in an initial news release by Southern Command on Saturday saying that five military members were restricted to quarters in Colombia. But a U.S. official confirmed to CNN that it was the actions of five Army Special Forces soldiers that set off the investigation, which rapidly broadened to include five other members of the U.S. military, including two from the Navy, two from the Marines and one from the Air Force.

All are being investigated for possible heavy drinking and use of prostitutes while in Colombia as part of a support team for President Obama's visit there last week.

The investigation is being conducted separately from the one inquiring about the Secret Service agents. The U.S. official, however, said the military investigating officers have been in touch with the Secret Service and are sharing information “where appropriate.”

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April 19th, 2012
05:35 AM ET

Pakistan mulling when to deport bin Laden family members

From Nasir Habib, for CNN

Pakistan says it is liaising with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia before it decides when to deport several of Osama bin Laden's family members of back to their homelands.

The detention of the terrorist mastermind's three widows and two daughters ended Tuesday night. But as of late Wednesday, there were no signs that they had left the Islamabad house where they were held.

A judge had ordered earlier this month that the five women be deported back to their countries of citizenship after serving their sentence for living illegally in Pakistan. Two of the widows are Saudi while one is Yemeni.

Read more of the CNN.com story here.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism • Yemen
April 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Horrors of war meet 21st century digital media

By Larry Shaughnessy

A platoon of Marines engages the enemy in a deadly firefight that lasts days. When it's over, many Americans are dead, as are many enemy troops. Some surviving Marines cut the ears off the enemy and attach them to their helmets.

Had this been in Afghanistan, someone might have taken out a cell phone, snapped a picture of the helmets and maybe even posted it on the Internet. A major controversy would ensue, rising all the way to the very top of the U.S. military.

But this wasn't Afghanistan, it was Vietnam. And other than those young Marines, the only person who found out was their platoon commander, Lt. Karl Marlantes. "I went 'you can't do this.' "

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Pentagon