News From Washington

On Tuesday, April 21, President Barack Obama approved an increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan, which will allow for an additional 17,000 U.S. military personnel, around 8,000 of which will be coming from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

“This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires,” said President Obama at a press conference announcing the measure. At the moment. around 36,000 U.S. troops are on the ground, almost 28,000 more than January 2003. A Washington insider said that all of the troops will be deployed around the Afghani Pakistan border and will be used to stop foreign insurgents and to train Afghan troops. The United Nations has also pledged that it will send an additional 5,000 troops to help with the efforts as well as the upcoming elections.

“If we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose, because nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience and money,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates following President Obama’s speech.

The new deployment numbers are on the heels of an increase of rapes in Afghanistan, some girls as young as seven, a resurging opium trade, and a controversial new law that states that if a married woman refuses to have sex with her husband, he can refuse to feed her.

Meanwhile, in the United States, President Obama is still facing challenges with the economy. On Earth Day, April 22, President Obama announced a plan to build offshore energy projects that can harvest wave and wind energy, as well as cutting carbon emissions by easing into our dependence on more traditional energy plants, such as coal. He said that the projects would create 250,000 jobs.

President Obama also continued to push his stimulus package during a speech at Georgetown University on April 14, saying, ” …we will hold accountable those who are responsible, will force necessary adjustments, we’ll provide the support to clean up those bank balance sheets, and we’ll assure continuity of a strong and viable institution that can serve our people and economy.”

As of press time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 46 states as having over-the-month unemployment rate increases as well as payroll decreases for the month of March.