September 4th, 2008
10:03 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Meet the 'pitbull with lipstick'

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

Good morning everyone!
Did you watch last night? Looks like Palin packed a punch last night. For a speech tagged as the most important speech of her political career, she was able to hold her own.

She introduced herself to the world Wednesday by calling herself a "hockey mom" and then asking what the difference was between a hockey mom and a pit bull.

"Lipstick," the Republican vice presidential nominee said.

She promptly went on to prove the point, tearing into Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as two-faced, inexperienced and intoxicated by the sound of his own voice.

"This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word 'victory' except when he's talking about his own campaign," she said.

She slammed Obama for "saying one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco," argued that he had written two memoirs but never authored a major piece of legislation and asked what he would do "when those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot," a reference to the stage where Obama gave his acceptance speech last week.

So what did you think of Palin's speech?

Filed under: The Buzz
September 4th, 2008
07:05 AM ET

U.S. Troops on the ground in Pakistan

Barbara Starr | BIO
CNN Pentagon Correspondent

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been a real problem for the U.S. military. With insurgents hiding out in Pakistan, the U.S. has been frustrated trying to stop them. Today we learned from a senior U.S. official that a number of U.S. military forces did something very rare, they landed at a compound in Pakistan to take out targets linked to recent attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The official declined to be identified citing the extreme sensitivity of the matter. The Pentagon has refused to comment officially on the attack, but several defense officials acknowledged that U.S. military activity had taken place inside Pakistan.

Why is all this so sensitive? Under former President Pervez Musharraf there was the well understood public fiction that the U.S. would never enter Pakistan. Any publicly acknowledged U.S. military operations inside Pakistan would have put more pressure on Musharraf from fundamentalists. But there were indeed secret agreements with Musharraf to do just that, especially if the U.S. had intelligence about the location of Osama Bin Laden. A recently retired senior U.S. military official confirmed those arrangements to CNN.

But now, with Musharraf gone, the Pakistani government in utter disarray and the US military furious that Pakistan isn't stopping attacks against American troops and everyone is on even more fragile eggshells. The only way the US military can get any cooperation out of Pakistan is to promise not to talk about these operations publicly.

Top U.S. military officials met with Pakistani counterparts on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the North Arabian Sea several days ago to talk about the problem of insurgents on the border, but it's not clear to what extent they discussed operations like the one we learned about today.

The tactic was an uncommon one for the U.S. military. Generally, NATO forces do not enter Pakistan except when pursuing insurgents in Afghanistan who slipped over the border or, in an extreme case, to pursue a high value target. They have fired from the Afghan side or send in a drone to fire missiles along the border, though.

As we understand it, here is what happened in the border area. A small number of U.S. helicopters landed troops in the village near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, where Taliban and al Qaeda fighters have hunkered down over the years. Local media reports said the attack used both helicopters and ground troops who came out of a chopper and fired on civilians.

The U.S. official said there may have been a small number of women and children in the immediate vicinity, but that when the mission began "everybody came out firing" from the compound. He said that the U.S. troops specifically attacked three buildings in the compound believed to contain high value individuals responsible for training and equipping insurgents who have been crossing the border in increased numbers in recent months and staging large scale high profile attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.

The official could not say if the troops were going after a specific individual. But he acknowledged the U.S. operation, although complex, was actually launched fairly quickly when it became clear there was sufficient intelligence to take the risk of putting U.S. troops on the ground in a potentially hostile area of Pakistan without formal permission from the government. This official and other sources told CNN there was no indication the target was Osama Bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri.

Filed under: Pakistan • Pentagon
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