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December 11th, 2008
01:49 PM ET

Additional U.S. Troops to Afghanistan?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to move three more combat brigades–thousands of additional soldiers– to Afghanistan by next summer.

Gates is in Kandahar, Afghanistan today meeting with military leaders there.

The U.S. currently has about 31,000 troops in Afghanistan, about one-quarter of the troop level in Iraq. But violence has skyrocketed in Afghanistan over the past two years. This year has been the deadliest year for U.S. troops there since the war began in 2001.

Gates told reporters the ideal size of U.S. military presence in Iraq is still being debated even though a status of forces agreement has been reached with the Iraqi government calling for U.S. troops to be in Iraq through the end of 2011.

Gates is going through a awkward transition right now. Last week, President-elect Obama announced he would keep Gates on as the Secretary of Defense. But for the next six weeks, Gates is answering to the Bush administration.

In a sign he is looking forward, Gates told reporters building up the Afghan army and improving cooperation with Kabul on security operations is key for the Obama administration…an administration he'll officially be part of come January 20.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. send additional troops to Afghanistan?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Afghanistan
December 11th, 2008
01:11 PM ET

When Will the U.S. Economy Turn Around?

FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

News on the economy just keeps getting worse. We're officially in a recession, unemployment filings are at a 26-year high and more layoffs are reported every day. No one really knows if the end is near.

Two-thirds of Americans don't see the economy turning around anytime soon, according to a Gallup poll. Most of those surveyed think a turnaround is at least two years away.

Here's how it breaks down: 29 percent say it will be two years until the economy starts to recover, 20% say three to four years, and 17 percent say five or more years. Just 15% think it will be within a year.

This is mostly unchanged from how Americans felt three weeks ago despite the fact that the news has continued to get worse during that time.

It becomes a vicious cycle: public fears of a lengthy recession lead consumers to stop spending which makes the recession worse.

It's been a year since the recession started. As the folks at the Gallup Poll point out, if it takes two more years for recovery to start, this could be one of the worst economic downturns in the nation's history.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take for the economy to begin improving?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: US Economy
December 11th, 2008
01:09 PM ET

More or Less Likely to Buy American Cars?

 Will you buy American?

Will you buy American?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It looks like U.S. automakers are going to avoid bankruptcy, at least for now. A bailout for the auto industry cleared the House but faces hurdles in the Senate.

Republican Senators are skeptical that the suits in Detroit will make the necessary changes to turn things around. Simply put, they doubt $14 billion will save the industry. After all, the amount is substantially less than the $34 billion the Big Three U.S. automakers asked for last week. Critics are afraid the $14 billion could be the start of something: that the automakers will be back asking for more in short order.

Grappling continues over amendments that could be the key to getting the bill passed and a test vote in the Senate could come Friday.

If it passes, a "car czar" appointed by the president will oversee the loans and dictate the terms and industry restructuring.

This is all aimed at preventing the automakers from filing bankruptcy. It's supposed to be the better alternative leaving consumers confident enough to still buy cars, at a time when auto sales are down 35%.

Here’s my question to you: Will a government bailout of the auto industry make you more or less likely to buy an American car?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Auto-Bailout