Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New roundup 03.22.2006

The long war (till 2009!) in Iraq

Howard Kurtz this morning:
Bush is in the unenviable position of saying much the same thing day after day, which is why he's not breaking through. The new tweaks are that he's taking real questions at his town hall meetings, instead of the pre-screened variety, and talking more candidly about the violence in Iraq, to show that he is not detached from the facts.
The Daily Show last night had a montage of Bush's speeches that demonstrated how repetitive the president has been in the past 700 days or so.

The Los Angeles Times notes Bush's definition of a civil war:
"The Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war," he said. "The army didn't bust up into sectarian divisions. The army stayed united."
The New York Times on yesterday's presser:
"The problem with the speeches is they get gradually more realistic, but they are still exercises in spin," said Anthony Cordesman, a military specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "They don't outline the risks. They don't create a climate where people trust what's being said."
The Chicago Tribune on the presser:
WASHINGTON -- As public confidence in the prospect of success for U.S. military forces in Iraq diminishes, President Bush is displaying increasing frustration with the gulf between Main Street America's perception of the conflict and his own unflinching optimism.
Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:
If President Bush's press conference yesterday carried a title, it would be "Freewheelin'." He careened all over the emotional highway - forceful, animated and impassioned one minute, jocular, testy and exasperated the next. At some points during the hour-long give-and-take, he was at his resolute best, at other moments, he looked goofy and punch-drunk. If you like roller coasters, you had to love the ride.
The Times of London on Tony Blair's effort to improve public opinion on the war. The PM will conclude his three part effort with a speech in the United States:
Mr Blair said of terrorism: “The only way to win is to recognise this phenomenon is a global ideology; to see all areas in which it operates as linked and to defeat it by values and ideas set in opposition to those of the terrorists.”
More Iraq news

The second insurgent raid on police stations in as many days was rebuffed, the New York Times.

The Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, March 21 -- A group of U.S. senators met with the prime minister of Iraq on Tuesday and urged him to speed the formation of a national unity government, warning that American support for helping Iraq could start to dwindle if there was too much delay.
The Washington Post:
Tammy Duckworth, the decorated Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a grenade attack, appeared victorious this morning in a close race in her bid for the Democratic primary nomination to succeed retiring Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R) in Illinois's 6th Congressional District.

The Los Angeles Times: "Iranian Leader Reaffirms Offer of Talks"

The Times of London:
BRITAIN is pressing for a United Nations resolution that would open the way for punitive sanctions and even the use of force if Iran were to refuse to halt its controversial nuclear programme.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States still believes the UN Security Council can reach agreement in the coming days on a statement calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities, a senior envoy said on Wednesday.
Dubai II

The Financial Times:
A person familiar with the thinking of both the US and United Arab Emirates said officials were concerned that the pending investigation of Dubai International Capital’s £700m ($1.2m) purchase of Doncasters, a privately-held British aerospace manufacturer that works on sensitive US weapons programmes, including the Joint Strike Fighter, could provoke a similar backlash and further damage the relationship between the two countries.

The Washington Times (apparently these Republicans have not seen any of the dozen or so presidential speeches at military facilities):
Republicans accused Capitol Hill Democrats yesterday of plotting to use military bases as props for political press events to criticize President Bush for his handling of the war in Iraq.

"I think that is deplorable," Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, said yesterday on Fox News. "It is pitiful. We are at war. This country needs to be unified and realize who the enemy is -- it's not fellow Americans."
The Democrats cannot go to Fort Bragg, like the president did in June 2005, and critique the opinions of the other party:
Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer.
National Guard

Good idea.

The Christian Science Monitor:
WASHINGTON – The increasing demands on the Army National Guard appear at last to be moving both Congress and the Guard toward tough decisions about the future of the force.

For the Guard, the past 12 months have been something of a worst-case scenario dreamed up by the most diabolical of Pentagon planners. Buffeted first by the war in Iraq and then by the relief effort for hurricane Katrina, the Guard has had to manage perhaps the two most ambitious operations in its long history, which dates back 369 years to the days of breeches and powdered wigs.

The Times of India:
ISLAMABAD: Urging Pakistan government to address the US' proliferation concerns, former Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar has, nevertheless, sought production of more fissile uranium for the country's weapons programme and expansion of nuclear cooperation with China to counter the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Pakistan cannot afford to "ignore concerns in Washington due to Pakistan's past failure in preventing leakage of sensitive nuclear technology by greedy persons in the Kahuta plant," he said referring to disgraced scientist A Q Khan, who headed the principle nuclear installation.

The Financial Times:
China will take measures to meet US complaints about their bilateral trade imbalance as part of next month’s trip to Washington by Hu Jintao, Chinese president, but has warned the US also to take responsibility for its economic problems.
Our overconsumption in America is helping to build a rival.


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