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Obama agenda: Drawdown in Afghanistan?

“Osama bin Laden’s death fueled demands yesterday for a hastened drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan, despite warnings that a rapid withdrawal could lead that nation into chaos,” the Boston Globe reports. Here was Sen. Richard Lugar (R), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at a hearing yesterday: “With Al Qaeda largely displaced from the country, but franchised in other locations, Afghanistan does not carry a strategic value that justifies 100,000 American troops and a $100 billion per year cost, especially given current fiscal constraints.”

“Hassan Ghul, an Al Qaeda courier arrested in Iraq in 2004, spent two years in a secret CIA prison, where detainees were subjected to interrogation practices such as facial slaps and sleep deprivation,” the Boston Globe writes. “Sometime during those two years, Ghul named another important courier, a crucial tip that eventually helped lead to Sunday’s daring raid on Osama bin Laden’s hide-out, according to the Associated Press. US officials have acknowledged that clues gleaned from the Bush administration’s controversial network of detention centers, coupled with years of patient intelligence work, netted the terrorist mastermind on Sunday. But they declined to say whether harsh interrogation practices — which President Obama opposes — played a role in their historic intelligence success.”

The New York Times: “[A] closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out. One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations. But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier’s identity.”

“CIA boss Leon Panetta said Tuesday night that the Osama Bin Laden death photos - which the White House labeled ‘gruesome’ - will be released,” the New York Daily News reports. “‘We got Bin Laden, and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him,’ Panetta said. The government reportedly has three sets of photos of Bin Laden's body, with the clearest shots showing a gaping bullet wound in his forehead.”

But the ultimate decision will be made by the Obama White House.

“Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) — one of two Muslim-American in Congress — said he did not have a problem with the White House releasing photos of a dead Osama bin Laden,” The Hill reports, though, “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the other Muslim lawmaker, declined to comment.”

Roll Call looks at Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s upcoming 2012 role for Obama, that “The White House and Obama campaign officials have helped create two new organizations that will enable Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to become a lead defender of the president’s signature health care reform law during the 2012 election campaign.”

“Prosecutors in the corruption retrial of Rod Blagojevich focused quickly yesterday on the most serious and sensational allegation: that the former Illinois governor tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Obama’s old US Senate seat,” AP writes. “At Blagojevich’s first trial last year, the government didn’t delve into that accusation until weeks into testimony.”