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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector of the Day – James Earl Jones

January 5th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

It is for his sonorous bass voice that most people recognize James Earl Jones.

The American actor of stage and screen is best known for speaking the roles of Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” films and Mufasa in “The Lion King.”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/05/earljones.art.jpg caption="The voice of Darth Vader: James Earl Jones"]

Known for his humility, Jones declined to have his name appear on the credits of both “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” claiming that he felt his contribution wasn't significant enough to warrant a mention. He did eventually bow to pressure and agree to have his name appear of the credits for the third Star Wars film: “Return of the Jedi.”

Born in 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, Earl Jones didn't always boast such a commanding voice. In fact, he suffered from a stutter in early life and took acting lessons to help control it. He has since made a career of the impressive authoritative voice, and is heard by millions every day intoning “This is CNN” on our network.

He has starred in many movies over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic “Dr Strangelove”. He has since been seen on screen in “Field of Dreams,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games.”

As a Tony award winning stage actor (for his performance in “The Great White Hope” in 1968, Jones is treading the boards again. Currently appearing in London’s West End, as Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” recently transferred from Broadway.

Send your comemnts about James Earl Jones here.

U.S. intelligence failures in Afghanistan

January 5th, 2010
01:56 PM ET

The top U.S. military intelligence officer in Afghanistan has published a damning assessment of the capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies in the country calling them “only marginally relevant.”

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/05/afghan.intel.art.jpg caption ="U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan have likened their task to fortune telling."]

In the course of the 26-page report published by Washington think tank the Center for a New American Security. Major Gen. Michael Flynn – the senior author – paints an extraordinary picture of intelligence operations in the country.

Flynn says: “The U.S. intelligence community has fallen into the trap of waging an anti-insurgency campaign rather than a counterinsurgency campaign.”

Some of the analysts, which Flynn calls “bright, enthusiastic and hungry” are “starved for information from the field” with many of them describing their work as more like “fortune telling” rather than serious intelligence gathering. Amazingly – a word not overused in the context of this report – Flynn reports that decision-makers tend to rely on newspaper reports rather than military intelligence.

The report concludes: “History is replete with examples of powerful military forces that lost wars to much weaker opponents because they were inattentive to nuances in their environment.”

At the moment, the success of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan is based on what  the authors describe as  "the dubious premise that a bull will not tire as quickly as a Russian bear.”

After eight long, bloody years in Afghanistan war is the U.S. merely repeating the mistakes made by the Soviet Union in the 1980s?

Was Major Gen. Flynn right to issue such a public denunciation of his own intelligence forces? We would like to hear your views.

Filed under:  General

Wednesday's Connector of the Day – Michael Steele

January 5th, 2010
12:50 PM ET

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele lays out his vision for the future of America in his new book: "Right Now – A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda".

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/05/steele.art.jpg caption="Michael Steele: Republican National Chairman."]

An outspoken critic of the president, Steele says he is reaching out to town hallers, tea partiers, independents, and anyone who is simply "fed up with a federal government drunk on power." He invites his followers to join the effort to bring back core conservative values and revive the right to build a life free of government intervention.

Actively opposing Obama's "Reign of Error," the book calls to take back National Security, and limit government spending on healthcare and education.

Both President Obama and Michael Steele share the historic honor of becoming the first African Americans to fulfill the roles of president, and RNC chairman, respectively. But that is where their similarities end.

Democratic opponents of Steele argue that he offers a lot in the way of criticism but little in the way of new policy or ideas.

If you have a question about Michael Steele’s book, President Obama, or the Republican Party in America, post it here.