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Wednesday December 2, 2009

More Troops to Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers patrol through the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009.  Many Afghans were still sleeping when President Barack Obama announced he was sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to the war. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said NATO and U.S. forces would hand over responsibility for securing the country to the Afghan security forces "as rapidly as conditions allow." Obama said if conditions are right, U.S. troops could begin leaving Afghanistan in 18 months. (AP)

U.S. soldiers patrol through the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. (AP)

President Obama outlined his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan last night. We’ll have analysis of that strategy from several guests.

  • Bing West is a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, and a retired Marine captain who served in Vietnam. He’s also a journalist who has made several trips to Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Erik Malmstrom served with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, in Afghanistan in 2006-2007. He’s now a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
  • Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who is also a retired Army colonel who served in Vietnam, and is a longstanding critic of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Washington Post editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who covers the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His book on Iraq is “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone.”

Saving Wetlands in Louisiana

Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, coastal Louisiana has lost more than 300 square miles of wetlands. And marine biologists say those two hurricanes might have caused less damage if some of the Louisiana wetlands hadn’t already disappeared. The BBC’s Matthew Wells visited the New Orleans area and has our report.

The DARPA Challenge

This Saturday, DARPA, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will release 10 moored weather balloons at fixed locations across the country. The point: to find them. The competition is open to the public and offers a $40,000 prize to the first person, or group, who can identify the GPS coordinates of all the balloons. Our guest, Erica Briscoe, a research engineer at Georgia Tech, who will be competing on Friday, talks to us about the Challenge, and tells us why it may be harder than it sounds.

Google Zeitgeist

What are people across the country googling? The search giant just released their annual report on Internet search trends, and John Abell, New York Bureau Chief for Wired.com joins us with the results.

Food History

When it comes to a defining moment in the history of food in the U.S. would the publication of the first cook book or the building if the Erie Canal classify as the more pivotal moment? We get some surprising answers to that question from Andrew Smith, author of the new book, “Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine.”

Music from the show

  • Air, “Mike Mills”
  • Fred Hirsch, “Desafinado”
  • Nena, “99 Red Baloons”
  • BAS

    I really appreciated your bringing in Andrew Bacevich to discuss the President’s new Afghanistan strategy today. I have been keeping my ears open for his lucidity in all the recent discussions. When he speaks, windows open.

    I’d also like to hear from Rory Stewart , Director of Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School during this time; another voice I trust to discuss the bigger picture in Afghanistan.

  • Marg

    Did the host just make fun of the way the guest was talking when he described his first trip to McDonald’s? Are you kidding? This whole program is so self-important that it’s appauling that when someone tries to fit into your mold you finally feel the urge to pull up short on that self-importance? Not to mention, just bad manners.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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