Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New York Times this morning: Does Bully Boy listen to Gen. Richard B. Myers?

In this morning's New York Times, we'll note Thom Shanker's "Pentagon Says Iraq Effort Limits Ability to Fight Other Conflicts:"

The concentration of American troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan limits the Pentagon's ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts, the military's highest ranking officer reported to Congress on Monday.
The officer, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Congress in a classified report that major combat operations elsewhere in the world, should they be necessary, would probably be more protracted and produce higher American and foreign civilian casualties because of the commitment of Pentagon resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let's note that first paragraph one more time:

The concentration of American troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan limits the Pentagon's ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts, the military's highest ranking officer reported to Congress on Monday.

Now flashback on last Thursday's press conference:

Q: Do you feel that the number of troops that you've kept there is limiting your options elsewhere in the world?
Just today you had the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency say that he was now concerned that the North Koreans, for example, could put a nuclear weapon on a missile that could reach Japan or beyond.
Do you feel, as you're confronting these problems, the number of troops you've left tied up in Iraq is limiting your options to go beyond the diplomatic solutions that you've described for North Korea, Iran?
BUSH: I appreciate that question.
The person I asked that to _ the person I asked that to, at least, is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, my top military adviser.
I said, Do you feel that we've limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq? And the answer is no, he doesn't feel we're limited. He feels like we've got plenty of capacity.
You mentioned the Korean Peninsula. We've got good capacity in Korea.
We've traded troops for new equipment, as you know. We've brought some troops _ our troop levels down in South Korea, but replaced those troops with more capacity.
[. . .]

The person he asked that to (his wording) was "the chairman of the Joint Chiefs." That would be Meyers who has just informed Congress (as reported in this morning's Times) that Iraq limits the military's abilities. Does Bully Boy just not get it? Does he hear one thing but say another?
Was he winging it in the press conference? Does he pay attention to anything that a leader should?

(Those are open-ended questions that you'll need to complete in essay form.)

Jonah e-mails to note Damien Cave's "Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules:"

Interviews with more than two dozen recruiters in 10 states hint at the extent of their concern, if not the exact scope of the transgressions. Several spoke of concealing mental-health histories and police records. They described falsified documents, wallet-size cheat sheets slipped to applicants before the military's aptitude test and commanding officers who look the other way. And they voiced doubts about the quality of some troops destined for the front lines.
The recruiters insisted on anonymity to avoid being disciplined, but their accounts were consistent, and the specifics were verified in several cases by documents and interviews with military officials and applicants' families.
Yesterday, the issue drew national attention as CBS News reported that a high-school student outside Denver recorded two recruiters as they advised him how to cheat. The student, David McSwane, said one recruiter had told him how to create a diploma from a nonexistent school, while the other had helped him buy a product to cleanse traces of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms from his body. The Army said the recruiters had been suspended while it investigated.
By the Army's own count, there were 320 substantiated cases of what it calls recruitment improprieties in 2004, up from 199 in 1999, the last year it missed its active-duty recruitment goal, and 213 in 2002, the year before the war in Iraq started. The offenses varied from threats and coercion to false promises that applicants would not be sent to Iraq. Many incidents involved more than one recruiter, and the number of those investigated rose to 1,118 last year, or nearly one in five of all recruiters, up from 913 in 2002, or one in eight.

Liang e-mails to highlight Douglas Jehl's "3 Ex-Officials Describe Bullying by Bolton:"

The three former officials provided the accounts in interviews with the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to transcripts of the conversations. The committee is reviewing Mr. Bolton's nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations.
The firsthand accounts came from a former ambassador to South Korea, a former assistant secretary of state, and the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency's weapons proliferation center. All three described Mr. Bolton as unwilling to listen to alternative views, the transcripts show, and two provided new details about episodes in which he sought to punish those who challenged his positions.
[. . .]
One of the former officials, John S. Wolf, who served under Mr. Bolton as an assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, described three different occasions in which he said Mr. Bolton had sought to punish those with whom he had clashed. "I believe that it would be fair to say that some of the officers within my bureau complained that they felt undue pressure to conform to the views of the under secretary, versus the views that they could support," Mr. Wolf said, according to the transcript.

Erika e-mails to note Abby Goodnough's "State Judge Allows Teenager in Florida to Get an Abortion:"

A circuit court judge in Florida has ruled that a pregnant teenager in state custody can get an abortion over the state's objections, a lawyer involved in the case said Monday night.
The lawyer, Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the judge, Ronald Alvarez of Palm Beach County Circuit Court, ruled that the girl was competent to make decisions regarding her pregnancy and had the right to do so under the state's Constitution.

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