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Weekend wrap: Expeditionary links

It was a short but emotional week for many people as the U.S. anticipated the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Here were some other stories this week that took a look back, or forward, at Sept. 11 and the other weighty matters of the day:

• The new Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, warned that the Army could shrink below its current end strength target of 520,000, and that would imperil its ability to fight two wars simultaneously. The Pentagon could break away from that assumption with its ongoing review, or it could effectively do so if it cuts that many troops.

• Super-committee member Sen. Jon Kyl said if the panel tries to put through additional cuts in defense spending, he's off the team, man.

• Air Force Magazine's air-scribe John Tirpak has a great writeup this month that essentially asked U.S. Air Forces in Europe, uh, so, what do you guys ... do?

• To hear former Secretary Rumsfeld tell it, he was having a meeting at the Pentagon the very morning of the Sept. 11 attacks, warning House Armed Services Committee members that a shocking "event somewhere in the world" would happen soon that would remind Americans of the importance of defense spending. A lot of Washington officials seemed to have meetings or discussions like this just before or the day of the attacks, at least according to books written years afterward.

• America got two new pundits this week: One, named Barack Obama, wrote a column in USA Today that said Americans should revive the spirit of unity that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. Another, named Joe Biden, wrote a column in the New York Times that said China's rise doesn't have to pose a danger to the United States. Might be worth keeping an eye on these two young writers ... they could be going places.

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