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History

News # 1

The Iraq war had some serious repercussions on the U.S. economy. Us has spend

nearly $3 trillion on something which their own spokespersons had declared as a failed war.

Bush administration aides like former White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey had

estimated the cost to be around $100 billion to $200 billion but later Defense Secretary

Donald H. Rumsfeld declared it as nonsense and had insisted that it would cost around $50

billion to $60 billion. U.S. officials are now hoping that other allies also chip in. In truth Iraq

has become the second longest war of U.S. history after Vietnam and also the second most

costly after World War II. Public will have to provide money, through taxes, to the

government in the near future for refurbishing military for replenishment of equipment and

materiel, the estimated amount exceeds $1.5 trillion. The family of a young soldier killed in

Iraq or Afghanistan, gets about $500,000 much less than the average amount paid by an

average insurance company for the death of a youth in a car accident. Bush and Congress

have done tax cuttings, despite the economy showing a massive deficit. The borrowing used

to fund the war will have an additional burden of about $1 trillion on the economy. It is no

secret that the U.S. economy is currently facing a recession and the nation’s ability to come

out of it got crimped by the huge expenditures on the two wars and an increasing national

debt. Think of the possibilities of what $3 trillion could do for not only the people of United

States' but the world's. Problems like children education, social security, infrastructure etc

could have been dealt with very effectively. The war has also increased the oil prices which
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were less then $25 a barrel before the 2003 invasion. The Bush administration is not only

handing over the war to the next team but also the economic problems exaggerated by

tactless war financing. The total loss resulting from this economic downturn can be the

biggest since the Great Depression.

US war expenditures in Iraq, both in terms of money and lives, are now consistently

been compared by analysts to that of in Vietnam. The time and resources the war took is

easily comparable but the most unfortunate analogy is the result of two wars. In both the

cases the people of US grew tired of receiving body bags and the businessmen of decreasing

power of consumer buying. The bluffing of Bush administration has once again helped to

engrave the worst notions of distrust over politicians once again in the minds of general

public. The growing concern over the uselessness of the war and the dilapidated condition of

economy has led the newly President-elect to announce a gradual retreat from Iraq in nation’s

wider interests.

News # 2

The topmost challenge President-elect Barack Obama and his national security team

is facing is Mr. Obama’s promise to send more troops to Afghanistan. It has been a long

agreed fact that more troops are needed for better counterinsurgency operations. Even after

seven years of war, Afghanistan still has same problems like a rural-based insurgency, an

enemy haven across the border in Pakistan, the historical weakness of the Afghan

government, a flourishing drugs trade, little/less developed infrastructure and, if this all is not

enough, a hostile terrain. Between August and October, for the first time, the mean numbers

of daily attacks by rebellious groups have exceeded those in Iraq. Violence in Afghanistan is

climbing to new heights. Senator Obama, during his presidential campaign, was continuously

declaring Afghanistan as the central point in the fight against terrorism. Pentagon is currently

planning to deploy over 20,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. The current number of
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soldiers is 34,000 US and 30,000 NATO troops. Poor infrastructure in Afghanistan is making

the task of deployment more complex. 75-80% Afghans live in rural areas and the insurgency

also is rural-based. Afghanistan has inadequate Army and police to control such a vast

country and for the improvement of their professional attitude American brigades need to

partner with the Afghan forces and perform joint operations. There is great internal

resentment and dissatisfaction with President Hamid Karzai. The issue also gets complicated

by a sanctuary for insurgents across the border in Pakistan. Most of the militants have

little/no motivation to settle with the present Afghan government as they feel that the

government is not a true representative of Afghans and is very weak and it is them on the

winning side. For the success of operation the cooperation from Pakistani military is of much

importance. Afghans have lost the meaning of the concept of a centralized state in recent

times. The need is to develop a “bottom up” approach by involving tribal elders and

community leaders along with religious figures form local councils and they should be given

power and responsibility to keep peace in their areas.

Obama’s election has become a sign of change in US stance on war against terror.

The commitment is still there but the focus has been shifted. Contrary to President Bush’s

belief of Iraq as the center of terror and rebellion, the new President-elect thinks it is

Afghanistan we should focus more on. He is of the opinion that, as the Iraq war was started

on the reports of Saddam’s manufacturing and storing weapons of mass destructions and

dangerous chemical and biological weapons now that Saddam is no more and neither is his

Ba’ath Party in power and the WMD issue has also been swept under carpet, there is no need

for US forces to remain involve in Iraq. Whereas the case in Afghanistan is different,

reportedly Osama bin Laden, Al-Zavahiri and Mulla Omar are still in Afghanistan so the

fight should continue till they are neautralized.
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Works Cited

Bilmes, Linda J.; Stiglitz, Joseph E. The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More.

Washington Post. Page B01. March 9, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2008 from

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-

dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030702846.html>

Gordon, Michael R. Military Analysis - Afghan Strategy Poses Stiff Challenge for Obama.

The New York Times. December 1, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2008 from

<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/world/asia/02strategy.html?

pagewanted=1&_r=1>

Shakespeare, W. Hamlet. Barron's Educational Series. 2001.