The Afghanistan Weekly Reader – Week of January 24th, 2011

This is a new feature we are introducing to give you the must reads from the week.  Its purpose is to create a quick and easy way to obtain this weeks vital Afghanistan news from a variety of mainstream news sources, analysts and experts.

Petraeus Skips Drawdown Talk in New Letter to Troops
Wired by Spencer Ackerman
Need another indication that July 2011 is going to come and go without substantial troop reductions? Take a look at Gen. David Petraeus’ brand new letter to his troops and civilians in Afghanistan about the state of the war. There’s a lot of talk about the “hard work” to expect in 2011, and absolutely none about troop withdrawals.

GOP Lawmakers Planning Meeting to Explore Alternatives in Afghan War
Huffington Post by Amanda Terkel
WASHINGTON — Three Republican lawmakers who have been outspoken on the war in Afghanistan are trying to push their party to start debating alternative policies and will be convening a meeting next month to start the debate

The Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds by Kelley B. Vlahos
News that a clear majority of conservatives want to reduce the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, plus reports of an emerging right-left coalition against the war, have served as hopeful signs in the heretofore quixotic pursuit to arrest the giant gears of the American war machine.

Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable
Salon by Andrew Becevich
In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation. Americans should not confuse that talk with reality. Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth. The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history.

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