11-29-2022  1:11 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

James Posey Elected Next President of NAACP Portland Chapter

Co-founder of the National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon will take office at the beginning of next year. 

The Science of Lullabies: Portland Music Educator Gathers Songs of Soothing from Around the World

Licia Claire Seaman’s new book shares stories, neurobiology and music. 

The KKK in Oregon: Same Wine, Different Bottle

Oregon and the Klan: Guest Column: The tactics and rhetoric deployed by today’s Trump-centric conservative movement read like the playbook of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Faces Snow-Plow Driver Shortage Heading Into Winter

New federal licensing rules for drivers resulted in longer wait times to obtain a commercial driver's license, which contributed to...

Air Pollution Monitoring to Increase for Oregon Communities

Two of Oregon’s most economically disadvantaged and racially diverse communities are getting a boost in their fight against air...

Georgia High Court Reinstates Ban on Abortions After 6 Weeks

The high court put a lower court ruling overturning the ban on hold while it considers an appeal. Abortion providers who had resumed...

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Pose Ongoing Concern to Health of Youth in Los Angeles County, Report from Public Health Shows

Excess consumption of added sugars contributes to the high prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity, and increases the risk for...

Patriot Front member pleads guilty to disturbing the peace

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — One of the 31 members of a white supremacist group arrested near an Idaho Pride event earlier this year has pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. Alexander N. Sisenstein, 27, of Midvale, Utah, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge on Monday, the...

Man gets 10 years in shooting that sparked racial protests

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a white man to 10 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. outside a nightclub last year in Bend, Oregon. Ian Cranston, 28, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in state prison and three years of parole on five counts,...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

Rivalry week should bring SEC bowl forecast into clear focus

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s rivalry week for most of the Southeastern Conference. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Palmetto Bowl. The Sunshine Showdown. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Battle Line Rivalry. It’s a chance for everyone to either avoid or add to the powerhouse...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Man gets 10 years in shooting that sparked racial protests

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a white man to 10 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. outside a nightclub last year in Bend, Oregon. Ian Cranston, 28, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in state prison and three years of parole on five counts,...

Lapchick focuses on racism impact in his social-justice work

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — The founder of the institute that examines diversity in sports is taking to Twitter to highlight weekly examples of racism in sports and elsewhere. Richard Lapchick is the founder of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), which was launched...

Missouri prepares to execute man for killing officer in 2005

A Missouri inmate convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis area police officer whom he blamed for his younger brother's death was scheduled to be executed Tuesday, barring a last-minute intervention. Kevin Johnson's legal team doesn't deny that he killed Officer William McEntee...

ENTERTAINMENT

Santa's back in town with inflation, inclusion on his mind

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't look for plastic partitions or faraway benches when visiting Santa Claus this year. The jolly old elf is back, pre-pandemic style, and he's got some pressing issues on his mind. Santa booker HireSanta.com has logged a 30% increase in demand this Christmas...

More than 150 agents back striking HarperCollins workers

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 150 literary agents, whose clients include Danielle Jackson, V.E. Schwab and L.A. Chandlar, have signed an open letter to HarperCollins vowing to “omit” the publisher from upcoming book submissions until it reaches an agreement with striking employees. ...

HBO to air Nancy Pelosi doc shot by daughter Alexandra

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A documentary on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s life and groundbreaking political career, shot and edited by her daughter, will debut on HBO next month. Alexandra Pelosi’s “Pelosi in the House” will premiere Dec. 13 and will include footage shot during the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Qatar says worker deaths for World Cup 'between 400 and 500'

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A top Qatari official involved in the country's World Cup organization has put the number of...

Mayor says NYC will treat mentally ill, even if they refuse

NEW YORK (AP) — Bidding to address a mental health crisis on New York City streets and subways, Mayor Eric Adams...

Houston lifts boil-water order affecting more than 2 million

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials lifted an order Tuesday that had called for more than 2 million people in the...

Russian diplomat says prisoner swap with US remains possible

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the United States have repeatedly been on the verge of agreement on a prisoner...

SAfrica: Convicted killer of anti-apartheid hero stabbed

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The convicted killer of South African anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani has been stabbed in...

Trial starts in Norway for Putin ally's son who flew drone

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The son of a Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin denied any...

Julie Pace the Associated Press

President Barack Obama awards a Purple Heart to a wounded warrior during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., June 17. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will announce the critical next steps in America's decade-long war in Afghanistan on Wednesday, outlining both a plan to start bringing thousands of U.S. troops home next month and a broader withdrawal blueprint aimed at giving Afghans control of their own security in 2014.

But even as Obama finalizes those plans, there are divisions in his administration, with military leaders favoring only a gradual reduction in troops but other advisers advocating a significant decrease in the coming months.

Administration officials say Obama is still working through the details on how many troops will start leaving Afghanistan in July, his self-imposed deadline for beginning the drawdown. He is considering a range of options presented to him last week by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

"He's finalizing his decision. He's reviewing his options," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

Obama is expected to make Wednesday's announcement in Washington. On Thursday, he will visit troops at Fort Drum, the upstate New York military base that is home to the 10th Mountain Division, one of the most frequently deployed divisions to Afghanistan and Iraq.

While much of the attention is focused on how many troops will leave Afghanistan next month, the more telling aspects of Obama's decision center on what happens after July, particularly how long the president plans to keep the 30,000 surge forces he sent in 2009 in the country.

There is a growing belief that the president must at least map out the initial withdrawal of the surge troops when he addresses the public. But whether those forces should come out over the next eight to 12 months or slowly trickle out over a longer time is hotly debated.

Military commanders want to keep as many of those forces in Afghanistan for as long as possible, arguing that too fast a withdrawal could undermine the fragile security gains in the fight against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the al-Qaida training ground for the Sept. 11 attacks. There are also concerns about pulling out a substantial number of U.S. forces as the heightened summer fighting season gets under way.

Retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he believes the initial drawdown should be "modest".

But other advisers are backing a more significant withdrawal that starts in July and proceeds steadily through the following months. That camp believes the slow, yet steady, security gains in Afghanistan, combined with the death of Osama bin Laden and U.S. success in dismantling much of the al-Qaida network in the country give the president an opportunity to make larger reductions this year.

There is also growing political pressure on Capitol Hill for a more significant withdrawal. Twenty-seven senators, Democrats as well as Republicans, sent Obama a letter last week pressing for a shift in Afghanistan strategy and major troop cuts.

"Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops," the senators wrote. "The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits."

There is broad public support for starting to withdraw U.S. troops. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll last month, 80 percent of Americans say they approve of Obama's decision to begin withdrawal of combat troops in July and end U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014. Just 15 percent disapprove.

Obama has tripled the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan since taking office, bringing the total there to about 100,000. The 30,000 troop surge he announced at the end of 2009 came with the condition that he would start bringing forces home in July 2011.

The president took months to settle on the surge strategy. This time around, aides say the process is far less formal and Obama is far more knowledgeable about the situation in Afghanistan than he was in 2009, his first year in office.

Obama has said the July withdrawal will be "significant," though aides haven't quantified that. They do say Obama sees the initial drawdown in July as part of a larger strategy aimed at ending the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and turning security responsibility over to the Afghans.

On a trip to Afghanistan earlier this month, Gates advocated for a comprehensive decision from the president.

"I think to make a decision on July in complete isolation from anything else has no strategic meaning," Gates said. "And so part of that has to be kind of, what's the book end? Where are we headed? What's the ramp look like?"

Gates is retiring from the Pentagon June 30.

There are also indications that the administration, having learned from the U.S. experience in Iraq, will set deadline dates for the drawdown as it progresses, in order to keep pressure on the Afghans and give Congress mileposts.

With Iraq as a blueprint, commanders will need time to figure out what they call "battlefield geometry" - what types of troops are needed where. Those could include trainers, intelligence officers, special operations forces, various support units - from medical and construction to air transport - as well as combat troops.

Much of that will depend on where the Afghan security forces are able to take the lead, as well as the state of the insurgency. Part of the debate will also require commanders to determine the appropriate ratio of trainers versus combat troops.

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Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns contributed to this report.

 

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