Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A submitted draft of morning copy 8.23.2005

Pat Robertson

This is just crazy.

(CNN) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him "a terrific danger" bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas.


Analysis in the Washington Post: The Iraq constitution is on hold for three days, in an effort to build Sunni support for the decentralized governmental structure. Kurdish autonomy may upset the Turks, SCIRI (and Iran) could have strong influence in the south. And as for the oil:

Negotiators said Monday that the draft would put Iraq's existing oil production under control of the central government. But control of new oil production would go to the south and north, where the oil is produced, meaning revenue for the central government, and Sunnis, would likely ebb within a few years.

The non-Administration analysis does not appear until the second half of the story:

An American serving as adviser to the Kurds, Peter Galbraith, disagreed that the charter protected women's rights and condemned what he called the Bush administration's "hypocrisy" on that issue in the constitution.

The fact that the charter remains unfinished headlines the New York Times. Legerdemain:

In a legal sleight of hand, the Iraqis decided to give themselves three additional days to close the gaps, despite the requirement in the country's interim constitution that the document be completed by a deadline, which already had been extended a week.


But the Sunnis were not alone in their opposition; they were joined on some major issues by a group of secular Iraqis, led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister. Mr. Allawi's group is concerned about what its members describe as an Islamist-minded coalition of the majority Shiites that is pushing for a large autonomous region in the oil-rich south.

Would not Mr. Allawi's stance, and his past priority with the administration, serve to demonstrate Bush's rush to "get out of dodge" with something on parchment?

The vagaries of this document are detailed in the LA Times, LINK. Excerpt:

The text calls for such liberties as freedom of expression and the press. It gives Islam a role in national affairs, while offering Iraqis the option of following civil code in areas such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.

But the drafting committee left it up to the transitional National Assembly to sort out issues including specifics on regional rights, the language of the preamble, the removal of Saddam Hussein's former Baath Party members from government, and the exact role of the presidency, officials said.

Also in the LA Times, by Ashraf Khalil (LINK), Excerpt:

Occasionally, a reporter would try to interview one of the parliament members. But there was a problem: Anyone who could talk was, by definition, out of the loop.

The Christian Science Monitor's account of the rush to get this document done, LINK, Excerpt:

Mr. Khalilzad has in many ways been at the center of Iraq's constitutional storm in recent weeks. He has had to balance the drive to push a draft through quickly - something the Bush administration wants - with the recognition that if a constitution is completed without buy-in from Iraq's Sunni Arabs it won't have a chance of fulfilling its primary goal: ending the war.

"If they make the deadline because the Shiites and Kurds essentially rammed a draft through over Sunni Arab objections, there will be hell to pay,'' Wayne White, who was the principal Iraq analyst for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research until his retirement earlier this year, warned shortly before the delay was announced.

The AP translation of the draft constitution, LINK.

The New York Times Op-Ed elucidates the inconsistencies between this draft versus the promises and justifications for the war, LINK. Excerpt:

Months ago, the United States was assuring skeptics that the secular Kurds would rein in the Shiite religious parties, while the majority Shiites would limit Kurdish separatism. But instead of being counterweights, these two groups seem mainly to have reinforced each other. Washington, desperate for any draft, encouraged their complicity.

Please explain to me how a fractious Iraq -- with Iranian influence in the Shiite south, Kurdish autonomy likely to trouble the Turks and Iranians, and rebellious Sunnis -- honors the sacrifices made by so many Americans, coalition members, and their families.

The War of Words

Salon.com is offering a free membership for American service members, LINK.

The LA Times says that there is a persistent disconnect from the presdient's words and the situation in Iraq, LINK. The conclusion:

But vague statements are not enough. As more Americans and Iraqis die, Washington and Baghdad need a plan to stem the chaos the U.S. unleashed with its invasion — a chaos that has given terrorists a new recruiting tool. Wishful thinking and stubborn optimism do not constitute a policy. The sooner realism prevails, complete with metrics for progress and consequences for those who fail to meet them, the better.

Washington Post's coverage of Bush's speech, LINK.

Salon.com on the War of Words, LINK. Excerpt:

Political observers say the gulf between the White House message and the reality on the ground in Iraq may be hurting the president, whose job approval ratings hover near record lows. "When he said that stuff a few years ago he was saying it at a time when most of the American people gave him the benefit of the doubt," said Ret. Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations at Boston University. "Now he begins to sound stale. He begins to sound false."

Bush supporters and anti-war activists "clash". Boston.com LINK.

More links

No proof found for an Iranian nuclear weapons program, Washington Post LINK.

Harvard's stem cell creation, from skin cells, may hinder debate over loosening restrictions imposed by Bush, Washington Post LINK.

Connecticut sues the United States over "No Child Left Behind", NY Times LINK.

At issue is the lack of flexibility, opines the Connecticut Post, LINK.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney backs Bush's stance on Iraq and the troops, Boston Globe LINK.

Houston Chronicle on the perplexing, vexing changes, region by region, on gas prices, LINK.

When you see a sentence like this: Arizona Gov. Ev Mecham was recalled, indicted, impeached and ridiculed as "an ethical pygmy." And his only crime was being a John Birch conservative Pontiac salesman with a Chia Pet toupee. You link to it in your blog.

U.S. pushes for Taiwan to bulk up on their defense, Washington Times LINK.


The Washington Post picks up on work done originally by the Pittsburgh Gazette. Post LINK. Gazette LINK.

The Gazette's lede and then some:

By Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Staff Sgt. Jason Rivera, 26, a Marine recruiter in Pittsburgh, went to the home of a high school student who had expressed interest in joining the Marine Reserve to talk to his parents.

It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt.

"I want you to know we support you," she gushed.

Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.

"Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told him.

The Post advances this anecdote and the question of affluent representation in the military, excerpt:

Certainly, there are no absolutes here. Many of the wealthy are Democrats, some of whom support the war. Some of whom oppose it. Many of the poor and working class are Republicans, and support the GOP on Iraq.

By looking at long-term trends, it seems logical that some of those most likely to support Bush and his Iraq policy are also those least likely to encourage their children to go into the military at wartime. And it raises questions, such as, if you are among those most likely to support the war, shouldn't you be among those most likely to encourage your child to serve in the military? Shouldn't your socioeconomic group be the most receptive to the recruiters' call? And would there be a recruitment problem at all if the affluent put their money where their mouth is?


Anonymous Atlanticus said...

Didn't Pat Robertson also pray "for another vacancy on the supreme court" the other day?

The negotiations about the Iraqi constitution are a real thriller. Thanks for covering them so well with so much insight. I am pretty pessimistic, I have to say.

And thanks for commenting on our blog.

12:23 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Atlanticus, thanks for your comment.

Iraq is one helluva mess, I'm mulling over a larger write up on it for later in the week.

As for Pat, well, he is a silly man. I'll swing by your blog with frequency. Have a good day!

12:30 PM  

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