Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Morning copy 11.22.2005

The war (and peace) over the Iraq war (and peace)

Vice President Dick Cheney's speech is the big story this morning. Here are the ledes from some major dailies:

The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - Vice President Dick Cheney stepped up the White House attacks on critics of the Iraq war on Monday, declaring that politicians who say Americans were sent into battle based on a lie are engaging in "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety."

The Washington Times:

Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday accused Democrats of "corrupt and shameless" revisionism on the Iraq war and called their demands for a pullout "self-defeating pessimism."

Note the very different lede in the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday sought to tamp down what has become a bitter and personal fight in Washington over the Iraq war, offering praise for a senior House Democrat who had called for the full withdrawal of troops and saying that an "energetic debate" over the war was part of a healthy society.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post says this was the closest "the vice president gets to a retraction":

It was a delicate act: Celebrating debate and criticism while declaring that a key element of that debate -- whether the administration exaggerated prewar intelligence about Iraq -- is off-limits. But Cheney achieved it with matter-of-fact indignation.

For the most part, this was more of the same from the vice president. It was interesting, at times, to see a concilitory tone from Cheney.

Senator Joe Biden's speech on Iraq reported in the Washington Post. Biden says that there needs to be a policy change in Iraq, but does not call for a withdrawal like John Murtha's proposal.

Fred Kaplan in Slate takes a closer look at John Murtha's plan:

He doesn't elaborate on any of these ideas, but it's clear they don't add up to "cut and run." True, his final line reads, "It is time to bring them home," but his plan suggests he wants to bring, at most, only some of them home. The others are to be "redeployed" in the quick-reaction forces hovering just offshore.

John Murtha says that the public wants a draw down plan, AP:

"The public turned against this war before I said it," Murtha said. "The public is emotionally tied into finding a solution to this thing, and that's what I hope this administration is going to find out."

Iraqi officials call for U.S. withdrawal, New York Times:

About 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, many of whom will run in the election on Dec. 15, signed a closing memorandum on Monday that "demands a withdrawal of foreign troops on a specified timetable, dependent on an immediate national program for rebuilding the security forces," the statement said.

General John Abizaid calls for patience in a Washington Times story:

The top U.S. commander for Iraq urged "patience" from "within the Beltway" on the war in Iraq and predicted that the tide of battle will improve next year once a permanent Iraqi government has been elected and put into place.

If you want an anonymous Marine's account of weaponry in Iraq, turn to the Washington Times.

Hugo Chavez and a Quincy Democrat

Susan Milligan of the Boston Globe has a fascinating story on home heating oil:

WASHINGTON -- While most of Congress was spending an August recess tending to local constituents, Representative William D. Delahunt was in Caracas, sitting down to a four-hour, one-on-one dinner conversation with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, one of the Bush administration's most ardent critics.

That meeting -- unusual for a sitting member of Congress and a head of state so critical of the White House -- sparked negotiations that led to the official announcement scheduled for today: A US subsidiary of a Venezuelan-owned company will provide 12 million gallons of discounted home heating oil to Massachusetts consumers and organizations serving the poor.

Jack Abramoff

Michael Scanlon, an associate of Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty "to conspiring to bribe a congressman and other public officials and agreed to pay back more than $19 million he fraudulently charged Indian tribal clients." Washington Post.

Bloomberg News has interesting analysis on this plea:

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former lobbyist Michael Scanlon's cooperation with U.S. Justice Department lawyers in a conspiracy investigation may help them clear a constitutional hurdle that protects lawmakers from prosecution over official acts.

Scanlon's guilty plea yesterday gives prosecutors a witness who may be able to provide evidence that lawmakers worked to pass legislation in exchange for favors, said Jim Cole, a former attorney with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section. The Justice unit is spearheading the federal probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former associate, Scanlon.

"No Child"

The Washington Post reports on a series of alterations to NCLB that could be an effort by the White House to prevent larger changes from the Congress:

The Bush administration has begun to ease some key rules for the controversial No Child Left Behind law, opening the door to a new way to rate schools, granting a few urban systems permission to provide federally subsidized tutoring and allowing certain states more time to meet teacher-quality requirements.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Nobel nominee

The Governator must decide on a pardon campaign for "Tookie" Williams, SF Gate. Williams is a former co-founder of the Crips gang, a multiple murderer and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

After a year of plummeting popularity and squabbles with Democrats and labor unions over sometimes-arcane ideas about ways to change government, Schwarzenegger now turns to a more basic and far more gut-wrenching task.

He must contemplate crime and punishment, redemption and race. Williams is asking that Schwarzenegger buck a strong national trend that has turned clemency based on atonement into a political third rail.

Soviet style tactics

Soviet style tactics reported by the New York Times:

Here in the northern Caucasus, and across all of Russia, Islamic faith is on the rise. So is Islamic militancy, and fear of such militancy, leading to tensions like those felt in Europe, where a flow of immigrants from the Muslim world is straining relations with liberal, secular societies.

And so the government has recreated the Soviet-era system of control over religion with the Muslim Spiritual Department, which oversees the appointment of Islamic leaders.

Lynn Swann for governor?


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann told a crowd of business leaders, lobbyists and journalists Monday that Pennsylvania would be a better place if he were governor, but said he has not yet declared his candidacy and eluded some questions the way he once dodged tacklers.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Regarding Soviet tactics ~

Too bad our government won't crack down on the Islamic religion. We should. Make it apply to any religion that acts in an extremist fashion.

But anyway, keep an eye on how the Russians deal with muslims. The offenders are buried in pig skins.

10:18 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

There is a dark part of me that admires their tactics. I've heard a few stories about KGB in Afghanistan.

I try to not make many comments about news items I link in the morning, though sometimes I can't help myself. My sense with this one was "yeah, so?".

10:31 AM  

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