Friday, June 17, 2011

In the News: Pentagon Proposes Deadline to End Afghan Surge; al Qaeda Chief Selection Reflects Flaws; and Unemployment for Veterans Remains Higher than Civilian Counterparts

From The Wall Street Journal: 

Deadline to End Surge
Pentagon: Wait Until Fall 2012 to End Afghanistan Troop Boost

The military is asking President Barack Obama to hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge until the fall of 2012, in a proposal that would keep a large portion of the 33,000 extra forces in the country through the next two warm-weather fighting seasons.

The military seeks to avoid a scenario in which large numbers of troops are pulled out during the heaviest period of militant activity next year, just as it hopes to be focusing on the violent eastern provinces bordering Pakistan. 

From the New York Times:

Qaeda Selection of Its Chief Is Said to Reflect Its Flaws

American counterterrorism officials all but welcomed the announcement on Thursday that Ayman al-Zawahri would succeed Osama bin Laden as leader of Al Qaeda, arguing that his deep flaws are likely to weaken the core of the terrorist network.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Bin Laden “had a peculiar charisma that I think Zawahri does not have.” He also said there was evidence that Bin Laden had been more “operationally engaged” than Mr. Zawahri, and that Mr. Zawahri’s Egyptian roots and focus limited his appeal to militants from other countries.

Independent specialists largely agree that Mr. Zawahri is not an inspiring model for young militants, noting his lack of combat experience, his long history of ideological squabbles and his abrasive manner and pedantic speeches — including a recent six-part series of audio messages about Egypt that trailed well behind the events there.

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And from USA Today:

Out of uniform means out of work for many new vets

Unemployment payments to servicemembers fresh out of the military have doubled since 2008, a sign that veterans are returning from war to an increasingly tough job market.

Veterans are having a particularly tough time finding jobs. The estimated jobless rate among male veterans ages 18-24 was more than 30% in May, compared with 18% among male civilians of the same age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

>> Read more <<  

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