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Voice of America news reported a statement made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on November 9 that the United States is willing to keep troops in Iraq past the current 2011 deadline, if Iraq's leaders request an extension of U.S. troop presence. VOA noted that Gates made the comment to reporters in Kuala Lumpur following a meeting with Malaysia's Defense Minister.

Mumbai attacksIn 2008 a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, claimed the lives of 164 people. According to the New York Times, one of the key plotters of the attacks was David C. Headley, a former drug dealer then serving as an informant in Pakistan for the U.S. government. To make matters worse, Washington had evidence that Headley was a terrorist sympathizer yet kept him on its payroll, says the Times, “even as he was learning to deal with explosives and small arms in terrorist training camps.”

When Republicans take control of the nation’s purse strings in January, one of the first things they could cut to save taxpayers money is the White House travel budget. In addition to earning the gratitude of Americans, it could also generate some goodwill among taxpayers in the countries the Obama family might otherwise visit since the citizens of those countries are forced to pay for security and put up with other inconveniences whenever the First Family shows up.

IraqOn October 22 the Internet-based whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published some 391,000 classified U.S. military documents on the Iraq War. WikiLeaks alleges the documents prove that the U.S. government continued to look the other way to Iraqi government torture through the end of the first year of the Obama administration and that civilian casualties in the Iraq war were much higher than publicly documented.

Voice of America reported on October 22 that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced an Obama administration pledge to seek $2 billion annually in military aid to Pakistan over five years “to help that country defeat violent extremism.” The report stated that the pledge came at a bilateral dialogue held at the State Department attended by Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (shown at a March meeting at left).

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