This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
Thursday marked seven
years since the attacks of September eleventh. Americans and others remembered
the day al-Qaida terrorists crashed hijacked planes into New York's World Trade
A third plane hit the
Pentagon, the Defense Department building just outside Washington. And a fourth
crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought the hijackers. The
attacks killed almost three thousand people.
President George Bush
attended his last observance in office for the anniversary of a day that set
the direction for his presidency. He was at the opening of a memorial park for
the one hundred eighty-four victims at the Pentagon. Permanent memorials are
also planned in New York and Pennsylvania.
Soon after the attacks,
the president declared a War on Terror. The United States and Britain launched
operations in Afghanistan. One goal was met: to oust the Taliban government
that sheltered Osama bin Laden. But two others were not: capture or kill him
and destroy al-Qaida.
Then, in two thousand
three, the United States led an invasion of Iraq. President Bush later said
there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the
eleventh, as officials suggested in defense of the war. Critics argued that the
Iraq war took away military resources needed in Afghanistan.
Earlier this week,
President Bush announced he is sending more troops to Afghanistan. About four
thousand five hundred will be redirected from Iraq by February. But others are
set to leave, so the result will be an increase of only about one thousand five
hundred. Top commanders want many more.
President Bush also
announced that about eight thousand troops will come home from Iraq by
February. He said the withdrawal is possible because of security gains made
since the surge -- last year's temporary troop increase.
Last week, Anbar became
the eleventh of Iraq's eighteen provinces to return to Iraqi control. Violence
in Anbar has dropped sharply.
Senator John McCain, the
Republican presidential nominee, supported the surge. Democrat Barack Obama did
not. Senator Obama has since agreed it was successful, but says the Iraqis have
still not taken enough responsibility. He wants to remove all American combat
forces from Iraq within sixteen months in office. Senator McCain says setting a
date is irresponsible.
Both candidates, though,
support more troops for Afghanistan. On Thursday they suspended their campaign
advertising and appeared together at Ground Zero in New York.
President Bush says the
United States must also help Pakistan defeat Taliban and al-Qaida militants in
tribal areas along the Afghan border. American officials confirmed this week
that he approved raids inside Pakistan without Pakistani approval.
That news led an
opposition leader in Pakistan on Friday to call for parliament to meet, saying
the nation is under a threat of war. Pakistan's army chief says the country
will defend itself "at all costs."
And that's IN THE NEWS
in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.