The CS Monitor reports Obama’s order to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan comes before the US has set a clear strategy. “President Obama’s decision to deploy 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan may be a defining move that will either reverse the deteriorating situation there or mire the new administration in a war with no foreseeable end.”
“This is the beginning of an almost unending need,” says one Pentagon official.
“It is as yet unclear exactly what the new force will do. But it will face a determined insurgency operating in a vast, mountainous country… At the same time, the Obama administration still has not settled on a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and does not yet know its endgame.”
Plus the NY Times reports Obama’s war on terror may resemble Bush’s in some areas. Despite abandoning the Bush administration’s policy of torture, “Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone. The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the ‘state secrets’ doctrine.”
From The Guardian a climate twofer. First the bad news: Melt-pools are ‘accelerating Arctic ice loss’, “New research has revealed that melt-water pooling on the Arctic sea ice is causing it to melt at a faster rate than computer models had previously predicted.” Since melt-pools “are darker than ice and snow, they absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it, which accelerates the melting process.”
And some good news: a Fifth of world carbon emissions are soaked up by extra forest growth. “Trees across the tropics are getting bigger and offering unexpected help in the fight against climate change, scientists have discovered… Simon Lewis, a climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: ‘We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of change.'”
Four at Four continues with whear stem rust, wind turbines in Alaska, and the Blackwater mercenaries trial.