Here in DC, the frenzy of orgiastic leader-worship that accompanied the inauguration has died down somewhat — outside of the professional sycophants and courtiers in and around Congress — but throughout the city one can still find shops hawking left over Obama merchandise. Walking by one such store the other day, I couldn’t help but notice these, shall we say, rather naive t-shirts:
Thought it wasn’t intended as such, these shirts would fit in well as the latest in ironic hipster fashion at Urban Outfitters — that is, if Urban Outfitters wasn’t already selling a wide selection of sickeningly earnest Hopeware.
WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (IPS) — President Barack Obama has given military commanders a free hand to determine the size and composition of a residual force in Iraq up to 50,000 troops, apparently including the option of leaving one or more combat brigades or bringing them from the United States, after the August 2010 deadline for the ostensible withdrawal of all combat brigades now in Iraq.
Although the ostensible purpose of the combat brigades remaining in Iraq would be to protect other U.S. troops in the country, they would also provide the kind of combat capability that U.S. commanders have wanted to maintain to deal with a broad range of contingencies.
CIA Director Leon Panetta said yesterday that U.S. aerial attacks against al-Qaeda and other extremist strongholds inside Pakistan would continue, despite concerns about a popular Pakistani backlash.
“Nothing has changed our efforts to go after terrorists, and nothing will change those efforts,” Panetta said in response to questions about CIA missile attacks, launched from unmanned Predator aircraft.
President Obama has ordered the first combat deployments of his presidency, saying yesterday that he had authorized an additional 17,000 U.S. troops “to stabilize a deteriorating situation” in Afghanistan.
The new deployments, to begin in May, will increase the U.S. force in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent, bringing it to 55,000 by mid-summer, along with 32,000 non-U.S. NATO troops. In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said that “urgent attention and swift action” were required because “the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda . . . threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border.”