Monday, November 21, 2005

Morning copy 11.21.2005

The war over the war in Iraq

This item in TIME is a major story. Repeatedly, Bush and company have said that commanders will get what they want in the field. Reresentative John Murtha has contested this. Sally Donnelly reports that John Warner and Carl Levin met with 10 battalion commanders:

According to two sources with knowledge of the meeting, the Army and Marine officers were blunt. In contrast to the Pentagon's stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told TIME that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat.

I know Rumsfeld can differentiate between a known unknown and an unknown unknown. I wonder if he can also make a distinction between a requested request and an unrequested request?

Dick Cheney has a speech at AEI, and the editorial page of the Washington Times asks that:

What the administration has yet to do in any kind of systematic way -- and we hope Mr. Cheney will begin to do today when he speaks at the American Enterprise Institute -- is to directly explain to the American people why we cannot abandon the people of Iraq to the Islamofascists who are murdering them.

Howard Fineman in Newsweek opines that George W. Bush is at a tipping point in his presidency:

After months of debate over the question of how the country got into Iraq—who knew what and when about the absence of WMD—the political center of gravity suddenly shifted to another question: how we get out.

The New York Times reports on the links between John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham. The three have reshaped the Iraq debate of late:

Senator Warner, the committee chairman and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, was secretary of the Navy when Mr. McCain's father commanded the armed forces in the Pacific and Mr. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. That experience, he says, "bonded me with John McCain."

Senator Graham, a former military lawyer, was co-chairman of Mr. McCain's 2000 campaign for president in South Carolina and still has bitter memories of the tactics used by operatives for Gov. George W. Bush. Should Mr. McCain make a White House bid in 2008, as is widely expected, Mr. Graham says he will be there.

The Christian Science Monitor tries to explain the quick erosion of public support for the Iraq war:

But the seeds of Bush's woes were planted early on. Just seven months into the Iraq war, Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who viewed the sending of troops as a mistake had jumped substantially - from 25 percent in March 2003 to 40 percent in October 2003.

Meet the new Iraqi army, same as the old Iraqi army, Washington Post.

Newsweek has a story on an Iraqi official's trip to Tehran to work on an agreement for after the U.S. occupation:

Rubaie returned home on Friday with what he regards as an important prize: a memorandum of understanding with Tehran that commits the two governments to cooperate on sensitive intelligence-sharing matters, counterterrorism and cross-border infiltration of Qaeda figures. Yet Rubaie's bold diplomacy took even the powerful U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, by surprise. Khalilzad told NEWSWEEK in a telephone interview that he found out about the agreement only afterward. The diplomatic confusion shows that Iraq remains in a shaky state of limbo, somewhere between independence and occupation.

The New York Times has a recap of the sunday talkies, featuring a juxtaposition between John Murtha and Don Rumsfeld.

The Los Angeles Times also has a recap, but adds some of Bush's quotes from the weekend.

The Washington Times reports on troop morale, as reported by commanders via the Pentagon:

"They say morale is very high," said a senior Pentagon official of reports filed by commanders with Washington. "But they relate comments from troops asking, 'What the heck is going on back here' and why America isn't seeing the progress they are making or appreciating the mission the way those on the ground there do. My take is that they are wondering if America is still behind them."

New Orleans

TIME magazine reports on all the work still needed in New Orleans.

So, uh, who pays? The Washington Post:

There is widespread agreement on who will end up receiving that money: the companies that make their living doing architecture, engineering and construction work for the government. Less clear is who will pay.

It is yet to be determined, for instance, just how much of a role the federal government will play in picking up the tab. "It depends on a threshold question: What are you going to rebuild? What is the federal responsibility for rebuilding a city, a metropolitan area or a region? This is where it gets really confused," said Bruce Katz, director of the metropolitan policy program at the Brookings Institution. "Federalism is a messy business."

Health coverage

The Los Angeles Times reports on another aspect of federalism, states trying different routes for problem solving:

Several Democratic-leaning states are rallying around plans to ensure universal coverage for children as a first step toward expanding access for adults.


Conversely, the hot idea in Republican states is giving private health insurance companies the principal authority for operating Medicaid, the joint state-federal healthcare program for the poor. Sanford was actually the second GOP governor to propose such a shift; Florida's Jeb Bush has already won approval from Washington for a test he'll begin next year, assuming the Legislature gives its final blessing in December.


Popular Virginia Democrat John Warner surges into New Hampshire, but the Washington Post notes of the triumph:

Or let's: For there is no dreamier time to be a presidential hopeful in New Hampshire than 27 months before primary day. You are merely a "potential" candidate, subsisting on cold chicken and hot possibilities. The foliage is bright, the sun glows warm and there are no meaningful polls or fundraising benchmarks to yank a would-be Mount Rushmore subject back to the frozen earth.

Bob Novak's SUNDAY column is more interesting than his MONDAY column:

Presidential aides said Card was left behind to handle the crush of congressional business during Bush's absence. However, the chief of staff almost always accompanies the president on foreign travels.

A footnote: Al Hubbard, director of the National Economic Council, is being given a wide variety of domestic assignments beyond economics and is speculated on as Card's possible successor.


December's brief legislative season should be very interesting. The Christian Science Monitor sets up why:

These factors are already changing the dynamics in both parties. Both conservatives and moderates in GOP ranks are taking stronger stands on issues ranging from social spending to the environment. And Democrats are exhibiting a disciplined opposition more solid than at any time in the Bush presidency.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only one piece of news from the weekend that will be talked about for years to come.

9:33 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

That is a major story. Uh, I read the Washington Post account and I guess a NYC tabloid has it on the first page.

Edit Copy is above this. ;-) At least on Mondays.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...


12:18 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

I hope everyone out there is receiving proper health care. Do they have bluecross out there?

8:34 PM  

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