Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Articles worth noting in today's New York Times -- plus chuckle for the day from the Times

Praising where it appears it's earned, let's note "U.S. Military Says 26 Inmate Deaths May Be Homicide" by Douglas Jehl & Eric Schmitt's (with contributions from Neil A. Lewis). The article appears to indicate that the Times itself was responsible for pressing for numbers from the military. From the article:

At least 26 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials.
The number of confirmed or suspected cases is much higher than any accounting the military has previously reported. A Pentagon report sent to Congress last week cited only six prisoner deaths caused by abuse, but that partial tally was limited to what the author, Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III of the Navy, called "closed, substantiated abuse cases" as of last September.
The new figure of 26 was provided by the Army and Navy this week after repeated inquiries. In 18 cases reviewed by the Army and Navy, investigators have now closed their inquiries and have recommended them for prosecution or referred them to other agencies for action, Army and Navy officials said. Eight cases are still under investigation but are listed by the Army as confirmed or suspected criminal homicides, the officials said.
Only one of the deaths occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, officials said, showing how broadly the most violent abuses extended beyond those prison walls and contradicting early impressions that the wrongdoing was confined to a handful of members of the military police on the prison's night shift.

Read the article in full (if you have time and don't mind visiting links) because it is worth reading.

Poor Scott Shane. (That's not sarcasm.) He always gets to report on the nonstory. But at least he's setting himself up as a reliable voice these days (something the paper could use more of).
Today he's got "Anthrax Scare Is Attributed to a Testing Error." From the article:

A senior military official said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday night that "quality control problems" at the contractor's laboratory appeared to have caused the bioterrorism false alarm.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that any laboratory testing for anthrax usually kept a sample of anthrax on hand to calibrate equipment. He said evidence suggested that the sample had somehow contaminated an air filter from a Pentagon shipping center that had been sent to the laboratory for routine testing last Thursday.

Also don't miss Sara Rimer's "Professors, in Close Vote, Censure Harvard Leader." Lawrence Summers gets a public rebuke, but gets to keep his job. From her -- Note, this section keeps disappearing in posting. I've tried twice but it gets lost in posting. I'll try doing it in its own entry. But Rimer's article is worth reading.

For chuckles, don't miss Adam Nagourney's "From Rivals to Running Mates to Rivals" which attempts to tell you that John Edwards, who ran for president in 2004, and John Kerry, who won the nomination, must be at each others throats since both are presumably preparing for primary runs in 2008. Lynda finds Nagourney's "tone of refined shock utterly foppish and politically naive" and notes this as the howler of the day:

After 2000, Mr. Lieberman delayed recruiting supporters and raising money in keeping with his pledge to Mr. Gore, a delay that Mr. Lieberman later said contributed to his weak showing in the 2004 contest, and a lesson that presumably has not been lost on Mr. Edwards.

Lynda: As if anything could have helped Lieberman. Anyone see him at that ice cream thing on The NewsHour where he couldn't even connect with the kids and have some ice cream? That's Lieberman, even at a meet and greet, he's stand-offish. His problems were his own and I'd love it if people could talk about the extreme damage he did to the Gore campaign during the recounts.