Monday, October 03, 2005

Morning copy 10.03.2005

Court announcement

President George W. Bush is about to announce Harriet Miers as a nominee to the Supreme Court to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

Katrina delay and Iraq war linked

The Independent has a report from the Office of the Secretary of Defense that identifies Iraq, and corruption, as prime reasons for ineffective Katrina relief. Read this story, but here's an excerpt:

The confidential report, which has been seen by The Independent, details how funds for flood control were diverted to other projects, desperately needed National Guards were stuck in Iraq and how military personnel had to "sneak off post" to help with relief efforts because their commander had refused permission.


A great recap of the week that was for Tom DeLay in TIME. Excerpt:

"You leave a job like this, there is no coming back," says a top Republican official who likes DeLay and thinks he will be cleared. "Politics abhors a vacuum more than anything else, and it's going to move past him too quickly."

War on terror

Afghanistan's slow march toward progress, in spite of many problems, gets the spotlight it deserves in TIME:

President Hamid Karzai has an army of more than 20,000 and has begun to expand its authority beyond Kabul, the capital. But much of the country is still controlled by the warlords who filled the vacuum created by the Taliban's demise. And while the Taliban commands little political support, its fighters remain tenacious: the Taliban has launched more attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces in recent months than at any other time since 2001.

Two U.S. Generals on the talk show circuit yesterday played a more optimistic note than they had on Thursday before Congress, Washington Post:

The generals' largely optimistic tone in their television appearances yesterday still included grave worries. Asked on CNN's "Late Edition" whether he thought the nearly 2,000 American troops killed in Iraq since the war's beginning may have died in vain, Casey answered: "No, I don't worry about that. Not yet -- we're not there yet."

Similar story in the Los Angeles Times:

Abizaid stressed that victory in Iraq required a long-term commitment.

"I think those of us who have been fighting this war have said time and time again that it's a long war," he told NBC.

Abizaid distanced himself and his commanders from Vice President Dick Cheney's widely reported statement in May that the guerrilla movement in Iraq was "in [its] last throes."

"It is certainly alive and well, and I don't think any of us that are military people have ever said anything other than the fact that we've got fighting on our hands, especially as we go through this political process," he said.

The Pentagon is slow to enact a reimbursement program for soldiers and Marines who purchase often necessary combat equipment at websites like this one, story in The New York Times:

The sponsor of the original legislation, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, says he plans to introduce an amendment to a defense bill this week to take authority for the program from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give it to military commanders in the field.

"We should not be sending our young men and women into harm's way less than as well prepared as their nation can prepare them and provide them with the kind of protection they deserve," Mr. Dodd said. "The Pentagon has never acted on this legislation despite the fact that it is the law of the land."

Moronic PR trip instead of policy

The Los Angeles Times is highly critical of Karen Hughes' tour through the Middle East. The so-called public diplomacy did not go very far. The conclusion is that presentation is second to policy, but the introduction is alarming, shouldn't a high ranking administration official know who the Muslim Brotherhood is?

EVEN BEFORE SHE ALIGHTED in Cairo, Karen Hughes had her first awkward moment. Hughes, the undersecretary of State for public diplomacy, was on her way last week to the Middle East on her first foreign trip. When a reporter on her plane asked if Hughes would be meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood, a popular but banned opposition group in Egypt, she turned to an aide. After a moment she replied simply, "We are respectful of Egypt's laws."

The rest of Hughes' trip through Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey didn't go much better. Hughes' audiences asked tough questions, and Hughes gave them non-answers. Her lack of foreign policy expertise was evident, but the larger problem may be the job itself: The office of public diplomacy is poorly defined, poorly organized and quite possibly unnecessary.

Austria may nix Turkey ascension talks in the EU

Times of London's lede and then some:

EU foreign ministers have so far failed to break the deadlock over Turkey's entry to the EU today, stranding their Turkish counterpart at Ankara airport as negotiations continue in Luxembourg.

Amid warnings of dire consequences if the EU rejected Turkey, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, chaired fraught negotiations late into the night in an attempt to stop Austria from torpedoing the talks.

FEMA reax

FEMA remains broken, according to one parish president, CNN:

"It's the bureaucratic part that, once they make the request for me on my behalf, for the past five weeks, I don't get a response," Davis said.


Fred Hiatt writes an important column in the Washington Post about Putin's undemocratic grip in Russia, and how the freedom-loving Bush administration ignores what is going on there:

The Bush administration, after some zigs and zags on Russia, seems to have developed a fairly coherent strategy regarding Russia's slide from democracy: Ignore it. The National Security Council apparatus in the White House believes that what happens inside Russia is irrelevant to the United States; that the United States can't do much to influence domestic events in any case; and that dwelling on Putin's authoritarianism would compromise other U.S. interests in bilateral relations.

Aren't you glad we have such a tough and brave president?

"Borrow and Spend"

A Google blog search now shows 300 hits for "borrow and spend" and a regular Google search now shows 135,000 hits. Last week the phrase "borrow and spend" generated with Google 111,000 pages. Google's blog search had 261 pages for "borrow and spend" last week.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Regarding "Moronic PR trip instead of policy" this is just yet another example of where our government's knowledge is when it comes down to dealing with terrorists and the knowledge thereof about them.

What really bothers me is the fact that the answers are right here on the internet, but yet the govt remains uneducated about the threat and what makes them tick.

A very good blog I follow is here:

3:01 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I'll check that blog tonight, thanks. As for the foreign policy push of one Karen Hughes, my first reaction was a snicker... Now I am kind of outraged that they think Madison Avenue gloss can undo international conflict with a long history. I guess I should expect nothing less than sheer idiocy from what is left of this administration.

3:09 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Plus if you've spent one low key Sunday watching the History Channel you probably caught something about MB!

3:10 PM  

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