Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Morning copy 11.23.2005

The war over the war in Iraq

First, some national stories.

A major story from the National Journal on what George W. Bush knew and when he knew it. In a PDB, Bush was told Saddam Hussein viewed al Qaeda as a threat. Murray Waas' lede:

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

A U.S. general says that training the Iraqi army cannot be rushed. Note what Secretary Rice said in this story, CNN:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the number of U.S. troops "is clearly going to come down" as Iraqi capabilities increase, but she stopped short of saying how many might leave or when they might come home.

"I suspect that the American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are there for that much longer," Rice told CNN.

Bradley Graham and Robin Wright lede the Washington Post with:

Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.

Hey, that's a QRF in the region! Could that be a leftover from Murtha's plan or someone who talked to Murtha before his bombshell?

General John Vines is quoted in the Washington Times. The general says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would destabilize the region. He also says that the political debate in D.C. is "disturbing", yet part of democracy. Note that I had to rewrite the lede to tone down the Times', uh, journalism.

The New York Times has a story on the upcoming elections in Iraq:

Such is the state of Iraqi politics just three weeks before the Dec. 15 elections for a full, four-year government. With officials like Mr. Muhammadi unable to travel anywhere unless accompanied by enough firepower to level a village, and with even the politicians expressing distrust of the electoral system, this vote is fraught with as much peril as the last one, in January.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush wanted to bomb al Jazeera, but Tony Blair persuaded him not to do so. The AP followup on the story:

LONDON (AP) — A civil servant has been charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

Gunmen wearing uniforms of the Iraqi military have killed a senior Sunni leader, AP.

Scott Peterson -- who ought to write a book/memoir -- details the new U.S. strategy in Iraq: stay in the hot spots after the martial push, Christian Science Monitor.

The Washington Times on Iraq/Iran:

TEHRAN -- Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged visiting Iraqi officials yesterday to ask U.S.-led forces to leave their country and pledged Tehran's cooperation in restoring security to Iraq.

Peggy Noonan about John Paul the Second:

Democrats who are thoughtful and not just in it for the game should come forward and explain why they backed the Iraq invasion, and what has changed, what they feel is at stake, and what they feel will be the repercussions of unsteadiness or ambivalence or withdrawal, or what will potentially be gained by a declaration of mistake. Republicans should stop with the "How dare you question us at such a dramatic moment, what's wrong with you?"

Connecticut's two senators contrasted

David Lightman has had two stories in the Hartford Courant in the past two days. Here is his story from Tuesday on Senator Chris Dodd:

The Connecticut Democrat lists the changes he wants, point by point: Consider pulling troops out soon after the Dec. 15 elections. Get surrounding countries, particularly Arab League nations, to do more to help broker peace between Iraq's warring factions. Get NATO more involved in training troops and providing security. And require the president to set up "estimated dates" for pulling out troops.

Dodd has shifted from his support of the president three years ago. Further, the mention of Arab League nations is a hallmark of General Wesley Clark's message on Iraq. That is interesting to Note.

Today's story on Senator Joe Lieberman:

"If we do not act," the senator said in April 1991, "if we neglect our duty to humanity, we would, as Dwight Eisenhower once said in speaking about a failure to confront evil in the world, `outrage our own conscience. In the eyes of those who suffer injustice, we would become partners with their oppressors.'"

Lieberman's stance has become an increasingly lonely one in his own party. Fellow Democrats took aim at him throughout his 2004 presidential campaign. Then and now, his allies have usually been Republicans.

"Fine Democrats like Sen. Joe Lieberman share the view that we must prevail in Iraq," the president said Sunday, and on the Senate floor last week, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner, R-Va., had similar praise.

Ohio's fiery freshman Rep.

Ohio 2nd Blog has a lot of recent posts on Jean Schmidt and local reactions. Included is one post with her office number, if you care to drop a line.

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a story on Schmidt "backtracking":

Rep. Jean Schmidt said Tuesday that she had "no idea" when she created an uproar on the House floor by saying "cowards cut and run, Marines never do" that she was addressing the remark to a fellow House member who is a much-decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam.

"I did not know he was a Marine or I would not have said it," the newly elected Republican congresswoman told The Enquirer Tuesday in an interview at her Kenwood district office.

This was advanced by unnamed GOP lawmakers on Sunday, see the New York Times. I did not believe it then, I do not believe it now. In her remarks, Schmidt said she had a message for Murtha, cowards cut and run, Marines do not. Though it is not explicit, it is as close to a direct reference to Jack Murtha as one can get -- and I believe it shows knowledge of his service to our country.

Moreover, Schmidt has compounded her political sins. She lashed out at a popular, respected colleague and is now backtracking in a Clintonesque manner.

Charles Babington in the Washington Post covers the rookie lawmaker:

Judging by her words yesterday -- the first after avoiding the public for three days -- Schmidt doesn't understand what the fuss is about, and sees herself more as victim than villain. "I am amazed at what a national story this has become," she said in a statement. "I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening."

Many people are unsympathetic. NBC's "Saturday Night Live" lampooned her, the Cincinnati Enquirer's editorial page -- which endorsed her congressional bid -- said she was "way out of line," and the friend she claimed to be quoting on the House floor last week declared yesterday that he had said no such thing.

There are some letters to the editor available today from the Enquirer.

Barack Obama

Media darling (Page A 03 with a CHICAGO dateline) Barack Obama has called on Bush to admit mistakes concerning Iraq, Washington Post.

Jeff Zeleny in the Chicago Tribune has the story on Obama's remarks yesterday:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) injected himself Tuesday into the forefront of a growing bipartisan call to reappraise American foreign policy in Iraq, saying the U.S. should begin a gradual withdrawal of its troops next year so Iraqis become empowered to take charge of their country's fate.

As he scolded the White House for what he called "shameful" attempts to silence dissent about the war, Obama urged President Bush to look beyond politics and admit that mistakes were made in Iraq. He said the U.S. should seek to accelerate its training of Iraqi troops and seek political solutions that are more practical than striving to create a "Jeffersonian democracy" in Iraq.

Obama's speech can be read here, Tribune. The paper also offers a page devoted to the Senator's first year.

Other news...

AP: Citing factual inaccuracies, FOX NEWS refuses to air an anti- Alito ad. Note to MSM: find factually inaccurate ads that they have aired.

Jose Padilla's indictment yesterday has lead the New York Times to lede a news analysis with:

Four years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the government has yet to settle on a consistent strategy for holding and punishing people it says are terrorists. Its efforts remain a work in progress, notable for false starts and a reluctance to have the executive branch's broadest claims tested in the courts.

A good news cycle for Boston. The Red Sox acquire World Series proven ace Josh Beckett and President Hugo Chavez will help the Baystaters with Home Heating oil. Read Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News about the former:

I said to Brian Cashman one time, "You guys still haven't ever had a Beckett." He said, "We don't draft high enough to get one. Then by the time they've turned into a Beckett, they're not available."

Josh Beckett finally became available the past couple of weeks. The Red Sox grabbed him.

And if you want to read about the wheelings and dealings that now results in Joe Kennedy handing out cheap home heating oil from Hugo Chavez (like that one, Bush?) check out yesterday's Boston Globe.


Blogger Ezzie said...

Something you should consider, as another guy with a similar layout did: Adjust the margins wider - it would make an easier read.

The WH has dismissed the Al-Jazeera claim as "outlandish", and the British won't even comment. They were punished for the leak because it included troop deployments - not because of the Bush/Blair part.

Good for Fox to not air the ad - I find it unlikely you will find factual innaccuracies in any ads they've aired (in regard to politics). Most ads on both sides are interpretive claims each is making; this one was a straight attack on Alito. They also are allowing them to remake the ad without the inaccurate portion - just as many stations do when there's something objectionable.

11:54 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I changed the format around. I prefer the narrower body, looks like news print, but i guess the length of the paragraphs should be displayed in magazine style columns.

The AJ claim is zanny, agreed.

Fox is a heap of garbage.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Hmmm... Now I miss the old format. Maybe somewhere in between? Part of it is the huge gaps between quotes and your own words. Advice: You don't need to hit enter before and after a quote; when you blockquote something it automatically creates a blank line before and after. (It took me a while to realize that.)

11:29 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...


Happy Thanksgiving.

10:07 AM  

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