On a tour of Iraq, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to Iraqis about the threat posed by Iran. Iraqis worry that Iran will fill the void left by the withdrawal of US forces.
It has big needs, business savvy, and plenty of opportunity, say optimists. But critics are wary.
President Obama is expected to announce next week his decision on troop numbers and strategy for the war in Afghanistan. It won't be too different from the policy laid out in March, say experts.
The murder of 13 in Abu Ghraib this weekend has some worried that Al Qaeda in Iraq may be exploiting gaps between withdrawing US forces and Iraqi troops not yet ready to stand alone.
The defense bill signed into law by President Obama Wednesday provides money to pay Afghans to stop fighting. It's modeled after a similar successful effort in Iraq.
The attacks are sparking concerns of a return to violence in an area that was the epicenter of the Sunni insurgency until local tribal leaders allied with the US in late 2007.
By next summer, more than half the US troops in Iraq will have come home. Meanwhile, General McChrystal wants up to 40,000 more in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon once took the unprecedented step of switching Capt. 'Scott' Speicher's status from 'killed in action' to 'missing-captured,' thinking he was alive.