Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
And, if one measures by reduction in the aggregate number of troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president is right. But it’s also true that Obama has presided over a significant escalation in the war in Afghanistan.
One can see that in charts of American troop levels, and also, as a new Congressional Research Service report shows, in the number of American soldiers and Afghans being killed and wounded. Click the chart for the full image:
(The 2012 figure is so low because it’s only a few weeks into the year.)
Those American troop death figures are, of course, dwarfed by the number of Afghan civilians being killed. There were 2,262 civilians killed and 3,032 wounded in the first 11 months of 2011, the report finds. The whole thing, via Secrecy News, is worth a read and can be found here (.pdf).
The headlines out of Afghanistan have been grim for the administration in recent weeks, dominated by stories about Marines urinating on dead bodies, the killing of American troops by their putative Afghan allies, and the prospect of a pullout by France following the deaths of four French soldiers. The war, though, has not yet become much of an issue in presidential politics, at least outside of the GOP debate last year focusing on foreign policy.
Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustinMore Justin Elliott.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.