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President Bush has often said that Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terror.  Barack Obama says it's Afghanistan, and even Defense Secretary Robert Gates seems to be coming around to that point of view. But no easy transition is possible from one to the other. Also, the UAW agrees to reopen contract talks as automakers go back to Capitol Hill. On Reporter's Notebook, if President Bush’s greatest surprise was the war in Iraq, what was his greatest regret?

Banner image: US Army soldiers patrol past a mountain village in the rugged Spira mountains in Khost province, along the Afghan-Pakistan Border, directly across the border from Pakistan's lawless Waziristan region. Photo: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

Military Power

Stephen Biddle

Making News UAW Agrees to Reopen Contract Talks as Automakers Go Back to Hill 5 MIN, 55 SEC

The Big Three automakers want tens of billions from Congress to stave off what could be the collapse of their industry.  Now there's possible help of a different kind. Leaders of the United Auto Workers Union held an emergency meeting today in Detroit. Neal Boudette is Detroit Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal.

Neal Boudette, Detroit Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal

Main Topic Exiting Iraq, Sinking Deeper into Afghanistan 33 MIN, 35 SEC

When Iraq's parliament passed the new status of forces agreement with the US, Prime Minister Maliki called the three-year timetable for withdrawal of American troops "a momentous step" toward restoring Iraqi sovereignty. Barack Obama plans to withdraw from Iraq and build up in Afghanistan, but neither project is going to be quick, easy or cheap, and the strategies that took so long to develop in Iraq's cities and deserts may not apply in Afghanistan's mountains and rural villages. We hear about the planning that's going on for a transition that's easier to talk about than it will be to accomplish. What are the obstacles? How long will it take? In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, How much will it cost? 

Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times (@TinaSusman)
Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Daniel Roper, Director, Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center
Stephen Biddle, George Washington University / Council on Foreign Relations (@ElliottSchoolGW)

Reporter's Notebook Bush's Biggest Regret? Bad Intelligence 9 MIN, 38 SEC

In what's called one of his first "exit interviews," President Bush has told Charles Gibson of ABC News that the thing he was least prepared for was the war in Iraq that started after the terror attacks of September 11. He also described his greatest regret. Richard Clarke, who served in the White House under three presidents, including George W. Bush, resigned in 2003 and is now chair of Good Harbor Consulting, a strategic planning and corporate risk-management firm.

Richard Clarke, Good Harbor Security Risk Management (@ghsrm)

Against All Enemies

Richard Clarke


Warren Olney

Sonya Geis
Frances Anderton

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