(CNN)-It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar: The weakening of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Rick Perry mulling a presidential run.
Check out what we're reading, and make sure to watch the show today with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod at 9am/12pm ET.
SECRETARY ROBERT GATES
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, as he prepared to depart the government for the second time, said in an interview on Friday that the human costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had made him far more wary about unleashing the might of the American armed forces.
AROUND THE WORLD
The officials said the intense campaign of drone strikes and other covert operations in Pakistan-most dramatically the raid that killed Osama bin Laden-had left Al Qaeda paralyzed, with its leaders either dead or pinned down in the frontier area near Afghanistan. Of 30 prominent members of the terrorist organization in the region identified by intelligence agencies as targets, 20 have been killed in the last year and a half, they said, reducing the threat they pose.
“When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost – in terms of life and treasure – hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people,” the ambassador said, "they are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here.”
Thousands of documents that reveal in chilling detail orders from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's senior generals to bombard and starve the people of Misrata have been gathered by war crimes investigators and are being kept at a secret location at the besieged Libyan port.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is exploring the possibility of a presidential bid in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, a top strategist to the four-term Republican said Saturday.
“It’s really a logistical question: Can we build a financial infrastructure to raise the money without using so much of the governor’s time that he can’t campaign in the early states?” Carney said. “If you can do one without the other, it doesn’t really matter; you’ve got to be able to do them both. That’s the real question, and we don’t know the answer to that.”
But while still heading the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Huntsman accepted invitations to deliver commencement addresses in the pivotal nominating states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. In New Hampshire, two political operatives who are now playing key roles in his soon-to-be-announced presidential bid helped arrange his visit.
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