As the US wraps up its operations in Iraq, where more than 4,000 American soldiers were killed and more than 30,000 wounded, the war in Afghanistan has claimed the life of another three American soldiers this past week. 1730 American soldiers have been have been killed in Afghanistan and nearly 15,000 have been wounded. The wounded figures do not include the countless number of soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Vice President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad earlier this week. Over a million U.S. soldiers passed through this U.S. military installation in Iraq. It was handed over to Iraqi authorities yesterday with little fanfare or media notice. Approximately 18,000 U.S. soldier remain in Iraq and will be withdrawn by the end of this month. The future of Iraq is now in the hands of the Iraqi government.
The world continues to be a dangerous place. Syria’s President Assad continues to defy the international community and Western nations have implemented tougher sanctions on the Syrian regime. The Arab League has condemned Syria’s attack on its people. Human rights organization put the death toll in Syria at over 4,000.
The Iranian regime continue to be defiant and this week protesters stormed the British embassy, after Britain had imposed more sanctions on Iran. As a consequence the UK expelled Iranian diplomats. Other Western nations will follow suit. The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran.
In U.S. domestic news, GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingricht has moved ahead of Mitt Romney in national polls, but the race is far from over. While the Obama campaign and the DNC has put out attack ads against Mitt Romney, the emphasis will likely switch to Newt Gingrich, who will be a target of the Romney campaign and the DNC. Herman Cain was the subject of another attack this week, where Ginger White claimed to have had a 13 year affair with the beleaguered candidate. Herman Cain has denied these allegations, although he conceded that his wife was not aware that he provided financial assistance to the woman. Cain is scheduled to make an announcement today as to the future of his campaign.
The rhetoric has also heated up on the payroll tax. On Thursday the Senate rejected two bills, one Republican and the other by Democrats. President Obama, during an announcement in New York, said that the Republicans are blocking the bill. Unfortunately for the Presidents both sides, including his own, rejected the bill. The President’s “Class Warfare” is getting old.
Amid the Euro Debt Crisis, there were some good news, at least psychologically. While job creation is well below that required to keep up with new entrants into the work force, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%. Whether it remains there remains to be seen. Some of the factors contributing to the drop are people who have given up to look for work and have left the work force, seasonal part time jobs in the retail sector ahead of “Black Friday” and the Christmas shopping season.
Meanwhile the Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa is in full swing and Canada and its Oilsands have been singled out as the global culprit. While the Alberta Oilsands are an attractive target for environmentalists their allegations deviate greatly from the facts. Unfortunately environmentalists were instrumental in delaying the XL Keystone pipeline, which would deliver over half a million barrels of oil to Port Arthur, TX. This is the most shovel ready project, financed by private industry. The project would create 20,000 good paying jobs, infuse Billions into the economy and most importantly would move the U.S. closer to energy independence. Ideology and politics are preventing this project from proceeding. Lawmakers in Washington are preparing legislation that would require the President to make a decision within 60 days. Don’t expect it to pass the Senate.
There are many irritants in this world, some which can make your blood boil. Nevertheless take a moment this week and think of our troops that continue to serve in dangerous places in the world. Lest We Forget
Below are this week’s updated DoD casualty figures:
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only 1730 1450 280 14969
Other Locations 103 12 91
DoD Civ Casualties 3 1 2
Worldwide Total 1836 1463 373 14969
Accumulated 2011 Casualties:
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
351 91 4883