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Archive for March 28th, 2011

Obama Libya Case Speech Coming

TOM RAUM   03/28/11 06:46 AM ET   AP via: HuffPost

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is offering Congress and an anxious public his first detailed accounting of his rationale for U.S. military involvement in Libya and perhaps an answer to the burning question: What’s next?

His speech, set for 7:30 p.m. EDT Monday, comes after the administration scored an important diplomatic victory. NATO ambassadors on Sunday approved a plan for the alliance to assume from the U.S. command all aerial operations, including ground attacks.

That will help Obama assure the nation he can deliver on his promise that the United States will be a partner in the military action against Libya, but not from the driver’s seat. Bickering among NATO members delayed the process.

Ahead of Monday’s speech, Obama and his top national security officials worked to set the stage for the address – Obama in his weekly radio and Internet address, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates with appearances on Sunday television news shows.

But as they made the rounds, neither Clinton nor Gates could say how long the U.S. mission would last or lay out an exit strategy.

“I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that,” Gates told ABC News’ “This Week” when asked pointedly about reports that some officials within the Pentagon believed the mission could last many months.

Clinton was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” what would be an acceptable outcome given that Obama has both said that Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi must go and that he is not a military target. Would a partitioning of Libya be a possible solution? “I think it’s too soon to predict,” she said.

The interviews were conducted Saturday and aired Sunday.

Obama’s speech from the National Defense University in Washington comes as leading GOP lawmakers and some from within Obama’s own party are pressing him for more clarity about his goals.

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The Lessons of Fukushima

Truthout

Monday 28 March 2011

by: Hugh Gusterson   |  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | Report

As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through natural selection, but also through cultural learning? Or are we hardwired to repeat our mistakes over and over, like humanoid lemmings?

More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?

Some people, many of them presumably already ill-disposed toward nuclear energy, have concluded that the lesson of Fukushima is that nuclear energy is inherently dangerous. Thus, Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post: “We can engineer nuclear power plants so that the chance of a Chernobyl-style disaster is almost nil. But we can’t eliminate it completely — nor can we envision every other kind of potential disaster. And where fission reactors are concerned, the worst-case scenario is so dreadful as to be unthinkable.” His colleague Anne Applebaum wrote on the same op-ed page: “If the competent and technologically brilliant Japanese can’t build a completely safe reactor, who can? … I … hope that a near-miss prompts people around the world to think twice about the true ‘price’ of nuclear energy, and that it stops the nuclear renaissance dead in its tracks.” (The nuclear renaissance comprises plans around the world to build as many as 350 new nuclear reactors, partly as a way of inhibiting climate change.)

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