Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:07 am
U.S. soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan for a couple more years. But already there's a debate about future U.S. security needs worldwide. Here, soldiers examine the site of a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Jan. 19.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
U.S. troops have already left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.
So is America now safe enough to scale back its emphasis on security? Or are the potential threats no less dangerous — just less obvious?
These questions are not just philosophical, but practical. They're also the underpinning of the current argument about what the level of defense spending should be.
The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.
This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.
Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:12 am
This January 19, 2012 image provided by the US Navy, shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transiting the Arabian Sea.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
For the second time in recent weeks, the USS Abraham Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz. If you remember the strait has been central in the diplomatic rift between Iran and the United States.
Reacting to sanctions imposed by the United States and approved by the European Union, Iran has threatened to close the narrow strait through which about 20 perent of the world's oil exports passes through.
All wars bring innovations — in weapons, and also in ways to repair the damage done. Penicillin is one of the more famous examples: It came into use as a treatment for troops in World War II.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought their own breakthroughs, none more dramatic than the prosthetics that come close to giving back what has been lost. And big advances in treating grievous injuries have meant many more troops coming home alive.