Friday, September 30, 2005

Morning copy 9.30.2005

More on the testimony by the Pentagon brass yesterday, New York Times:

In testimony before Congress on Thursday, the senior American military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. of the Army, said the most recent analysis of intelligence from across the country supported the Bush administration's optimistic predictions that the referendum would pass.

But if the constitution is defeated, several officials said they feared that Iraq would descend into anarchy.

I wonder if General Casey will have a contradictory opinion -- on or off the record -- within the next seven days?

The Independent has the following to offer on Iraq, more brass but this time Iraqi:

It was meant to be a moment of reconciliation between the old regime and the new, a gathering of nearly 1,000 former Iraqi army officers and tribal leaders in Baghdad to voice their concerns over today's Iraq. But it did not go as planned.

General after general rose to his feet and raised his voice to shout at the way Iraq was being run and to express his fear of escalating war. "They were fools to break up our great army and form an army of thieves and criminals," said one senior officer. "They are traitors," added another.

News estimates are 80-100 dead in Balad bombings yesterday evening. Don't worry, we predicted this.

The Times of London:

The reasons behind the daily tit-for-tat murders are many, with sectarianism just one. Mr Rashid’s family are sure that he was targeted as part of a vicious Shia-Sunni turf war.

And in a quasi-related (everything is these days) story, Judy Miller is out of jail and she will testify.

Howard Kurtz this morning -- always a reliable source:

But now Miller is out, has cut a deal with the prosecutor, will testify today, and with her release comes a passel of questions.

Miller got a waiver to testify from Scooter Libby, Cheney's top staff guy. The strange thing is, she could have had that same deal months ago-- the very same deal taken by Time's Matt Cooper-- and stayed out of jail.

I asked her lawyer, Floyd Abrams, about this more than once. I knew and reported that Miller and Libby had had breakfast in 2003, days before Novak outed Plame as a CIA operative. Floyd wouldn't really discuss the details, but indicated that Miller wasn't convinced a Bush administration official could grant a voluntary waiver.

But Libby had specifically agreed, with Cooper's lawyer, that he was granting a waiver specifically for Cooper. Now Miller has talked to Libby, from jail, and gotten the same assurance.

Maybe, after her testimony, she can explain why the deal wasn't okay then and is okay now.

Plenty of folks will also want to know why she never wrote a story about Valerie Plame.

Miller's motivation was that prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald was making noises about either charging her with criminal contempt or impaneling another grand jury, which could have extended her stay in Alexandria. But I'm glad, for her sake, that she's out.

Of course, with this grand jury's term coming to an end, could Fitzgerald be ready to unload any indictments against an administration official or two? That would get Tom DeLay off the front page.


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