ThinkFast: December 20, 2006

“U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army’s first survey exploring how today’s multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers’ mental health.”

The Bush administration “has been quietly nurturing individuals and parties opposed to the Syrian government in an effort to undermine the regime of President Bashar Assad.” Middle East experts note that such efforts could make dialogue between the United States and Syria “difficult or impossible.”

The U.N. Security Council yesterday “gave its unanimous backing to a hybrid U.N.-African Union force for conflict-wracked Darfur and urged all parties to quickly beef up the beleaguered African force on the ground.”

$53.4 million. The 2006 bonus for Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein. The bonus is the highest ever paid to a Wall Street executive and comes on top of his $600,000 salary.

Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad today on his first trip to Iraq as defense secretary. He said he plans to “listen to the commanders, talk to the Iraqis, and see what I can learn.”

“Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has submitted plans to retire and will leave his post in March.”

Nearly one in five (19.6 percent) Latinos lack sufficient access to nutritious food, compared to just 5 percent of non-Hispanic whites, according to findings by the National Council of La Raza.

The Pentagon’s inability to manage contractors in the nation’s wars “has hurt military operations and unit morale” and cost the nation millions of dollars, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

And finally: On Sunday night, Donald Rumsfeld’s house “appeared to be in party mode — the narrow streets clogged with the usual black SUV’s and attentive guys with earpieces.” But according to the Washington Post’s Al Kamen, Rumsfeld has “turned into a pumpkin. By Monday night, a neighbor tells us, the house was dark, the security was gone and so, it appeared, were the Rumsfelds.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.