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Barack Obama promised to get US troops out of Iraq and send more to Afghanistan. Vice President Biden says more casualties should be expected. We hear about deteriorating conditions on the ground and the risks of escalation.  We'll also ask, what's the objective? Also, President Obama directs the EPA to review fuel standards, and the New York Times may be the standard-setter for journalism in America, but Moody's now calls it a "junk bond" investment.

Banner image: Chief elder from the Korengal Valley (C), speaks with a US Army Captain during a meeting October 30, 2008 at the Korengal Outpost in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban is very popular in the Korengal Valley and most of the elders have strong family ties to local Taliban fighters, who oppose the American presence in their area. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Limits of Power

Andrew Bacevich

Making News Obama Directs EPA to Review Fuel Standards 5 MIN, 58 SEC

President Obama today reversed former President Bush and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up the process of reducing greenhouse gases emitted by cars and trucks. After review, the EPA is expected to grant a waiver to California and 13 other states. Zachary Coile reports from Washington for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Zachary Coile, Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle

Main Topic Renewed Focus on the War in Afghanistan 36 MIN, 17 SEC

Eight years after being routed by American forces, the Taliban have regained control of much of Afghanistan. Military leaders say 70,000 US and NATO soldiers can't secure the population, so President Obama has promised some 25,000 more. Vice President Biden says the Administration has inherited "a real mess," and that there will be more American casualties. Even Obama Administration advisors say the President's principal challenge is to define the mission. Critics warn of a "quagmire" the US can't afford. Afghanistan is bigger than Iraq and harder to pacify, and efforts gone wrong could destabilize Pakistan, the nuclear-armed neighbor next door. What are America's goals and objectives? What are the benefits and risks of possible options?

Anand Gopal, New America Foundation (@anand_gopal_)
Martin Schweitzer, Colonel and Senate Liaison Division Chief, US Army
Andrew Bacevich, Boston University
Paul Burton, Director of Policy Analysis, International Council on Security and Development

Reporter's Notebook New York Times Given Junk Status 6 MIN, 37 SEC

In May, $400 million of debt will come due for the owners of the New York Times. With advertising revenue practically disappearing, the timing couldn't be worse. A $250 million loan from Mexican telephone mogul Carlos Slim will help, but not enough for Moody's Investment Services to change its last week's labeling of the Times as a "junk-level" investment. Ken Auletta, a columnist and contributor to the New Yorker magazine, is working on his eleventh book on the future of the media.

Ken Auletta, New Yorker (@kenauletta)


Ken Auletta

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