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With Secretaries Clinton and Gates at his side, President Obama today said that gains in Afghanistan are “fragile” but real. While he still hopes to begin a so-called “conditions-based” withdrawal in July of next year, US combat forces will remain until December of 2014. Also, in the aftermath of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against BP.  Fines and penalties could cost the company tens of billions of dollars.

Banner image: (L to R) Defense Secretary Gates, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton and Joint Chief of Staff Vice Chairman, General Cartwright look on as President Obama (C) discusses the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review at the White House, December 16, 2010. Official While House Photo: Pete Souza

Military Power

Stephen Biddle

Main Topic President Obama Claims Progress in Afghanistan 44 MIN, 20 SEC

Having sent 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, President Obama conceded today that progress is "fragile." He still thinks withdrawal can begin next July, but also said the war is moving into what he called a "new phase," and that US combat forces will remain until December, 2014. Intelligence estimates say the fight will be harder than the Pentagon claims, with Pakistan refusing to shut down Taliban sanctuaries across the border. A new poll shows that 60 percent of Americans don't think the war is worth fighting. We hear how the President defines his goals as well as his strategy.


Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes)
Caroline Wadhams, Director for South Asia Security Studies, Center for American Progress,
Stephen Biddle, George Washington University / Council on Foreign Relations (@ElliottSchoolGW)
David Corn, Mother Jones magazine (@DavidCornDC)
Harlan Ullman, Atlantic Council

Reporter's Notebook Justice Department Files Suit over Gulf Oil Spill 6 MIN, 17 SEC

Britain's Guardian newspaper today published new cables from WikiLeaks showing that BP had to evacuate 211 platform workers due to a gas leak in Azerbaijan — two years before the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meantime, the US has filed suit against the company charging violations of federal regulations before last summer's disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Jennifer Dlouhy has been covering the Gulf oil spill for the Houston Chronicle and Hearst newspapers.

Jennifer Dlouhy, Reporter, Houston Chronicle

Unfinished Business

Harlan Ullman

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