Thursday, August 25, 2005

Morning copy 8.25.2005

Iraq: another day, another deadline

Or: another day, another insurgency.

As Shiite and Kurds push to get a deal with Sunnis, Shiite factions clash in the south of Iraq. Moqtada al Sadr's followers attempted to re-open offices in the holy city of Najaf and fought with SCIRI supporters, who likely did not want to lose their significant influence. WaPo LINK. For his part, Sadr has asked his followers to be peaceful, NY Times LINK. Shiite battles and an insurgent push into Baghdad leave constitutional process in doubt, al Jazeera LINK.

Nothing like a good battle between the Mahdi army and the Badr brigade.

The New York Times has an interesting article on the Sunni delegation to the constitutional convention, LINK.

President Bush continued campaigning to stay the course yesterday, WaPo LINK. An excerpt:

"An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations," he said. "So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror."


Asserting that "the stakes in Iraq could not be higher," Bush contended that the nation is "achieving our strategic objectives in Iraq." It is that last contention -- that the United States is moving purposely toward its goals and an accompanying exit from Iraq -- that has been subject to growing skepticism by Democrats.

The New York Times has a mouthful of a headline: "For 3rd Day in a Row, Bush Says Withdrawal Now From Iraq Would Embolden Terrorists". LINK.

David Brooks of the New York Times writes that America has accomplished an "organically Iraqi" constitution, LINK. His idea is that pro-Western Kurds get their autonomy and Shiite Iraqis get their little slice of Iran.

I'm not certain what to think of an organically Iraqi constitution, divisions and all, that will probably not pass the referendum in October and is also in violation of the interim consititution which proceeded it and limited the government that drafted this new document.

1500 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne are heading to Iraq for referendum security duty, LA Times.

More links...

Softening stance to the "axis of evil", Christian Science Monitor.

Presdient's daily intel briefing will now include divergent sources from different agencies, USA Today LINK.

Sidney Blumenthal in STRAIGHT TO THE EXCERPT:


"I don't know yet. I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm kind of hanging loose, as they say." With that, the questions ended and the vacation continued.

While Bush has allowed only abbreviated and controlled access for the press, he has been coddled by the Republican Congress, despite the spike in public disapproval of his conduct of the Iraq war.

In February 1966, Sen. J. William Fulbright ... held the first hearings on the Vietnam War, which were televised nationally for six days. The public was riveted by the penetrating questioning of administration officials and the debates among the members of the committee. Fulbright had been a friend of President Lyndon Johnson for years. ... But the escalation of the war and the absence of a clear strategy of resolution prompted Fulbright to call the hearings. ... Fulbright believed that it was his constitutional duty to exercise oversight of the executive.

No similar Senate hearings on the origins, conduct and strategy of the Iraq war have been held. During the Johnson period, the Democrats controlled both chambers of the Congress. But Fulbright did not feel that partisan discipline under the whip of the White House was a higher principle than performing as a check and balance...

The United States has sent a U.N. reform meeting into a tailspin one month before it is set to begin, WaPo. Excerpt:

The United States has only recently introduced more than 750 amendments that would eliminate new pledges of foreign aid to impoverished nations, scrap provisions that call for action to halt climate change and urge nuclear powers to make greater progress in dismantling their nuclear arms. At the same time, the administration is urging members of the United Nations to strengthen language in the 29-page document that would underscore the importance of taking tougher action against terrorism, promoting human rights and democracy, and halting the spread of the world's deadliest weapons.

NCLB funding defended, LA Times.

Israel will seize Palestinian land in the West Bank to build a barrier, LA Times LINK.

Hugo Chavez has offered free "petrol" to the poor of America, Guardian LINK.

Sean Penn's journal from Iran, SF Gate LINK.

Chinese websites are used to hack into secure American systems, WaPo LINK.

Democrats want to see documents Roberts wrote about Iran Contra and other topics, WaPo.

This is a huge recap of the CIA Leak, and I haven't read it yet, LA Times LINK.

Senator John Thune is upset with the Pentagon, Rapid City Journal LINK. Excerpt:

Ellsworth's proposed closing has caused the most political consternation because Sen. John Thune, a freshman senator, had argued during the 2004 campaign that he _ rather his Democratic opponent, then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle _ would be in a better position to save the facility. Nonetheless, it showed up on the Pentagon's closure list.


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