Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Morning copy 8.17.2005

First off,


There are a lot of Op-Ed pieces and a few News analysis articles today. But, first some news from Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor.

Murphy has interviewed members of the constitution drafting committee and they report that tensions have actually risen in the past week. (Sunni) Kurds, Sunnis (Arabs) and Shiites still have a number of issues, LINK. Excerpt:

"We can not and we will not approve a constitution that our coming generations will damn us for,'' says Saleh Mutlak, a Sunni member of the constitutional drafting committee.

"I think the best option is to dissolve the parliament and have fresh elections, though I don't think the Americans will allow that. If we try to finish a constitution without real consensus, the situation here could easily get worse," he says.

Peter Grier, also of the CSM, develops on the theme reported previously in the Washington Post that expectations for a stable democracy in Iraq have "downshifted". Grier also contrasts non-administration analysts as "worried" while the administration says this delay was but a bump in the road. LINK. Excerpt:

"I think it's very fragile. I'm very worried," says Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and a former advisor to the US occupation authority in Iraq.

In Washington, US officials described the Iraqi transitional government's failure to meet its constitution-drafting deadline as a bump in the road, nothing more. President Bush said Monday that he was sure that Iraqi Kurds, Shias, and Sunnis would eventually reach consensus on the remaining issues, and that their continued efforts are "a tribute to democracy."

Multiple car bombings in Iraq have killed at least 43, AFP LINK. Two US soldiers also killed in seperate attacks.

In an important news analysis article, Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer outline the set backs Bush's foreign policy team has suffered on all three fronts of the battle against the so-called "Axis of Evil". "[T]he quick succession of setbacks has left his national security team privately discouraged and searching for answers," they report in the Washington Post, LINK. Excerpt:

"The situation in Iraq is sufficiently sober [that] I think this has given the Iranians a boost of confidence that they didn't have two years ago," said Geoffrey Kemp, a Reagan administration national security official who is now a scholar at the Nixon Center. "They're not scared of us as they once were."

US troops support, heavily, the rebuilding of the Mosul police force, NY Times LINK.

Frederick W. Kagan makes an interesting Op-Ed contribution to the WaPo, LINK. Developing an effective Iraqi force is the stated exit strategy, but Kagan raises some issues, Excerpt:

But this light infantry force does not constitute an army. It will not be able, whatever its numbers, to conduct a counterinsurgency by itself for many years, and it will not be able to do so at all unless certain critical deficiencies are remedied. For example, it appears that efforts to establish Iraqi logistical elements are lagging badly behind the formation and training of light infantry units.


Cindy Sheehan has moved camp closer to Bush, Boston Globe LINK.

Michael A. Fletcher of the Washington Post, LINK, writes the following about the increasing media attention on Ms. Sheehan:

The backlash is becoming a new object lesson in how saturation media coverage and the instinct for personal attack are shaping political debate.

Ronald Brownstein of the LA Times has a news analysis piece, LINK, Excerpt:

For Bush, a reinvigorated protest movement presents obvious dangers as he struggles to bolster flagging public support for the mission in Iraq. But such a challenge could present opportunities for the White House.

If a revived antiwar movement promotes alternative policies that the public resists — such as the immediate withdrawal of all American troops, which Sheehan favors — Bush could garner support for his course, some analysts say.

"Since Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder, 23, was killed fighting in Iraq on Aug. 3, 30 more Marines and soldiers have been killed in combat," says NewsNet5, LINK. More:

Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer are vowing to keep their son's spirit alive by helping to protect the troops still in Iraq.

"Either send more troops to get the job done right, or send them home," Paul Schroeder said. "(They) can't keep doing what they're doing."

Schroeder's parents are lending their support to Cindy Sheehan, the mother who's protesting outside of Bush's Texas ranch. And they want others who support the troops but oppose the war to speak out.

"We applaud the efforts of Cindy Sheehan in Texas," Palmer said. "We consider her the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war."

Biographer Edmund Morris has an Op-Ed in the Times, the main thrust is that being president is hard and draining. It is interesting, but doesn't make a whole lot of sense to spill a gallon of ink about Reagan on what is ostensibly a poorly structured defense of Bush's distance from Sheehan: Maybe he's tired? LINK. I did like this sentence though: "Richard Nixon was not unsympathetic so much as transcendentally awkward."

More links (international)

100s of small, homemade explosions throughout Bangladesh, BBC News LINK.

Must read account of the subway shooting of an innocent man by London police last month. Numerous inconsistencies from what was originally reported. Guardian LINK.


Senator Patrick Leahy says that John Roberts articulated and defended far-right opinions, CNN/AP LINK.

Groups on the left turn up the heat on elected representatives, Washington Post LINK.

Roberts was hearing a terror case while the nominee selection process was underway, WaPo LINK.

Files on Roberts opinions on affirmative action are missing from the Reagan library's release, WaPo LINK.

How Edwin Meese inspired judicial conservatives, NY Times LINK.

A very complex account of Judy Miller's incarceration and how it is playing at the NY Times office, LINK.

Walken for President campaign draws attention on c01 of the Washington Post, LINK. Excerpt:

Still, imagine a State of the Union address delivered in syncopated Walkenese: "The state . . . of the union . . . is mahvelous . Just -- mahvelous." Pivot, glare. "I can't think of a better -- STATE -- for the union to be in ." Shoulder hunch, head twitch. Rapturous applause.

Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger is on an extensive 17 event fundraising tour, not long after criticizing them, LA Times LINK.


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