It’s a very tough battle along the Red River near Fargo at this hour, with a flood wall breached, new evacuations and a fresh callup of National Guard — 800 new troops, adding to the 900 already there. This morning the Red River rose to 22 feet above flood stage, clearing the high water mark set more than one hundred years ago. We have several reporters on that story, as Fargo fights to hold on.
The other major story today involves what for years was referred to as this nation’s "other war" — in Afghanistan. It’s hard to refer to it that way any longer — given that casualties (civilian and military) are eclipsing Iraq levels, and given the strategic import of unrest and militancy in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today President Obama has announced the results of a strategic review of the Afghan war — a mix of firepower and civilian aid that aims to — as some call it — "double down" on the U.S. effort to make progress there.
Other news today: Bank CEOs meet with President Obama; consumer spending ticks up (one more hopeful metric); General Motors races to meet a White House deadline for restructuring; new questions about ADHD medications; and the International Olympic Committee decides (after the fiasco surrounding last summer’s Beijing Games) to abandon its international torch relays.
Oh — one other thing: Given the Afghanistan/Pakistan story, we’ve chosen Greg Mortensen as our Person of the Week. We are not in the habit of reviewing books here — but if you haven’t read Mortensen’s autobiographical "Three Cups Of Tea," we heartily recommend it. It’s a gripping story, and a powerful case for the importance of "brain power, not just firepower", as Mortensen puts it. He has almost single-handedly altered lives and the landscape of the tribal areas in Pakistan — and won a wide following around this country and the world.