As the last convoys depart Iraq into Kuwait and eventually on their journey home, the war in Afghanistan is still claiming lives of American and NATO soldiers. This past week another three U.S. soldiers paid the ultimate price, while 71 were wounded in action (WIA).
Acts of terror still occur abundantly in Afghanistan. This week 60 people were killed in Kabul during a religious celebration. Pakistan, which is a key to winning the war in Afghanistan, has closed its border crossing to NATO and as a result of Pakistani anger over the killing of 24 of its soldiers just inside the Afghan border. The deaths were a result of a helicopter air strike. Several NATO fuel tankers have been blown up inside Pakistan earlier this week. Both sides blame the other for the firefight.
The Rest of the World in the News
Two big events, one in Durban, South Africa and the other in Europe have captured media attention in Canada and the United States. The annual Climate Change Extraganza, which has a carbon imprint that would serve my neighborhoods energy needs for a decade, is debating a new carbon reduction deal, which would include China and India, is apparently close to an agreement. The sticking point is binding carbon emission reduction. Environmentalists have made the Alberta Oil Sands their poster child, which they say would be the death of the planet. Despite their claims the United States is the largest carbon emitter, followed by China and India. Canada, interestingly enough, is number eight down the emitters list. Of course, America’s “Green President” has used politics to delay the decision on the XL Keystone pipeline, a project estimated to create 20,000 jobs and infuse $Billions into the economy. If there was ever a shovel ready project, this is one.
Europeans are in the process of negotiating a deal which would bring deficits under control and would invoke penalties on countries that failed to produce a balanced budget. President Obama, who is urging Europeans to do the right thing and come up with a solution for the European debt crisis, should set the example and bring his own spending under control. While 26 member nations are on side with the Sarkozy/Merkel plan, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has isolated himself and said he could not give up Britain’s sovereign budget. This has made him a target of opposition parties in prison and leaders of the EU. The markets, however, responded positively to the EU proposed solution.
The GOP Presidential race has new front runner, with Newt Gingrich having taken a significant lead over Mitt Romney. With the Iowa caucuses just weeks away, Gingrich’s lead is significant. Needless to say the knives have come out by both the main stream media and the Romney campaign. Tonight another debate will take place in Iowa, ahead of the caucuses, which will be carried and live blogged by Politisite.
This week President Obama took his dog and pony show on the road and chose Osawatomie, Kansas as the venue. This is where Teddy Roosevelt gave his landmark speech in 1911. Obama’s speech was purely political and pitched the middle class against the so-called 1% rich. If there was any doubt left where the President stood, this speech was revealing. The President’s strategy is obvious, deflect the blame of the lousy economy away from himself and blame the rich and the GOP for preventing him to fix it. Full Speech Here
The payroll extension was in the news this week as well. Two versions of the bill were defeated in the Senate. On Friday the House put forth a proposal, which includes the Keystone Pipeline. The measure would require the President to make a decision on the pipeline within 60 days. While the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said it’s a non-starter, time before the Christmas vacation is getting tight. There is no doubt that there will be a deal, it’s just a matter of what form this deal will take. House Payroll Tax Extension Bill Here.
Also in the news was the lost RQ 170 Drone, which surfaced in Pakistan. Iran claims that it ventured more than 150 miles into Iranian territory. Full Story Here
This week, once again, demonstrated that there is no shortage of crisis in the world. There are allegation of election fraud in Russia, as Vladimier Putin, is getting ready to take the reign in Russia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out on the alleged election fraud. A major protest is gearing up in Russia today. How will Putin handle it?
With all these diversions and little being reported in the main stream media on Afghanistan, please take a moment this week to pay homage to those that paid the ultimate price and those troops that will be spending Christmas in Afghanistan. Take a moment to think of them and their families that sacrifice so much. Lest We Forget.
Below are this week’s updated DoD casualty figures:
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only 1734 1454 280 15040
Other Locations 102 12 90
DoD Civ Casualties 3 1 2
Worldwide Total 1839 1467 372 15040
Accumulated 2011 Casualties:
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
355 91 4954