It's the 12th Thanksgiving in Afghanistan for US troops. But after 12 years of war, with Afghan corruption still rampant, billions of dollars in aid spent, more than 2,000 troops killed and more than 19,000 wounded, some are asking why don't all the American troops just come home, rather than signing an agreement with Afghanistan that could keep some troops there past 2014. Barbara Starr reports.
(CNN) - The United Nations and the United States are calling for an immediate investigation of Syrian activists' claims that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians.
Anti-regime activist groups in Syria say more than 1,300 people were killed in the attack outside Damascus, many of them women and children. Video footage and witness reports appeared to bolster claims that chemical weapons were used.
President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. intelligence community to urgently gather additional information to try to assess whether chemical weapons were used Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.
At this time, she said, the United States is unable to "conclusively determine" chemical weapons use, but is focused on trying to nail down the facts, along with its international partners.
Drones with super-size cameras may be coming to a town near you in the not too distant future. But the debate over their implication for personal privacy is already heating up. Chris Lawrence reports for CNN's 'Erin Burnett Out Front.'
By Jamie Gumbrecht
He's the man who rolled into a bedroom in Abbottabad, Pakistan, raised his gun and shot Osama bin Laden three times in the forehead.
Nearly two years later, the SEAL Team Six member is a secret celebrity with nothing to show for the deed; no job, no pension, no recognition outside a small circle of colleagues.
Journalist Phil Bronstein profiled the man in the March issue of Esquire, calling him only the Shooter - a husband, father and SEAL Team Six member who happened to pull the trigger on the notorious terrorist. It's a detailed account of how the raid unfolded, and what comes after for those involved. The headline splashed across the cover reads, "The man who killed Osama bin Laden ... is screwed."
"They spent, in the case of the shooter, 16 years doing exactly what they're trained to do, which is going out on these missions, deployment after deployment, killing people on a regular basis, " said Bronstein, executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting. "They finally get to the point where they don't want to do that anymore."
By Barbara Starr
While there have been months of dire predictions from the Pentagon about spending cuts, one of the most visible for the military could resonate across the Middle East at a time when uncertainty continues to grip the region.
The U.S. Navy may face the prospect of not being able to routinely keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region, which has been a longtime requirement for any ability to launch military campaigns in that part of the world.
The United States would have to scale back to one carrier in the region if Congress can't avoid deep automatic spending cuts, including some $500 billion directed at the Pentagon over 10 years, a U.S. military official directly familiar with the Navy's latest preliminary budget analysis tells CNN.
The Navy has kept an on-and-off presence with two carriers in the Gulf region during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
By Jill Dougherty
For both President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the bid to broker a cease-fire in Gaza was high-profile, high-risk diplomacy.
“It’s a significant decision to send the secretary of state into an uncertain situation that puts American credibility and influence on the line,” a senior State Department official tells CNN. “I have the beginnings of ulcers to show that this was not a done deal when we left” for the Middle East.
Planning for Clinton’s possible “shuttle diplomacy” trip to the Middle East – cutting short a trip with Obama to Southeast Asia – began Sunday, the official says. When Clinton and her staff arrived in Thailand, they began conversations with the president’s senior staff. Did the potential benefits of going outweigh the risks?
Over lunch in Myanmar, Obama and Clinton discussed gaps between Egyptian and Israeli proposals for a cease-fire and how the U.S. might most effectively play a supporting role.
On Monday, the president called key players, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. By Tuesday, the decision had been made: Clinton would fly to the region. The staff began putting the wheels in motion for a mid-afternoon departure from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She would arrive in Israel at 10 p.m. local time and go directly to a meeting with Netanyahu.
As unrest unfolds on the streets of Tehran over Iran's collapsing currency, and international sanctions take their toll on the economy, new signs are emerging that Iran may be willing to suspend its disputed nuclear program. But that all depends on if the country gets something in return. Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty reports.
By Deirdre Walsh and Gregory Wallace
The State Department's rejection of "repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi" came amid "a clear pattern of security threats" in the five months leading up to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya, a Thursday letter from House Republicans obtained by CNN reads.
"The attack that claimed the Ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012," the letter from Reps. Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reads.
The Republicans demanded answers to several questions and testimony at a hearing next Wednesday – the only hearing on any matter scheduled so far in the 35 days remaining until Election Day.
It's a frightening scenario: American troops – backing their Japanese allies – drawn into a conflict with China. And fighting over nothing more than some uninhabited islands and a few rocks. Senkaku is privately administered by the Japanese, but the Chinese claim they are the rightful owners. While officially neutral, the US defense treaty means it would have to back Japan in a military confrontation over these islands. As the U.S. and Japan begin military exercises in the region, tension is rising. Chris Lawrence reports.
Iran's economy is supposed to be in a stranglehold from international sanctions, but U.S. officials say Tehran still has access to the international banking system – thanks to Iraq. The U.S. government is looking to the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to help stop any sanctions busting. Jill Dougherty reports.