Tighten 'noose' so Osama can't operate: Obama

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Official Portrait of Mr Obama

United States President-elect Barack Obama says that it is no longer essential to remove Osama bin Laden from the battle field.

"My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him," said Mr Obama yesterday. "But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America."

Citing a CBS interview, The Australian says that the stance "also appear[s] to contradict Mr Obama's statements during the election campaign." The newspaper noted that at the October 7 presidential debate, Mr Obama stated, "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." But yesterday he softened that stance.

"We have to so weaken [bin Laden's] infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function and I'm confident that we can keep them on the run and ensure that they cannot train terrorists to attack our homeland."

In a recent audio tape attributed to bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader promised the president-elect that al-Qaeda would open new fronts against the USA. "The worst heritage is when a man inherits a long guerrilla warfare with a persevering, patient enemy - a war that is funded by usury. If he [Obama] withdraws from the war, that would be a military defeat, and if he goes on with it, he'll drown in economic crisis," he said.

Current Vice President Dick Cheney has been quoted as saying he wants to capture bin Laden before leaving office. "We've got a few days left yet," he said. He also cited the containment of al-Qa'ida as a major achievement for the Bush administration. "Osama bin Laden is - wherever he is - he's in a deep hole. He does not have much impact on the organization as best we can tell. The important thing was to go after the organization, after al-Qaeda."