In this morning's New York Times, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher are left to cover violence, the trial of Saddam Hussein, and more in seventeen paragraphs buried on page A8. That's thirteen less than yesterday but then they're not teasing and stroking one topic with questionable details which is probably why they're not on the front page. Translation, one possible reason that some continue to insist the Iraq war is going well is because when given the choice between the reality of Iraq (today) and another wave of Operation Happy Talk (Tavernise yesterday), note what gets front paged and what doesn't.
"Judge Postpones Husssein Trial As Laywers Continue Boycott" does not get front paged this morning. That's not because there are "hard" topics on the front page -- in fact the front page today resembles nothing so much as the cover of an issue of some psuedo-news mag. To look at the soft topics, you'd never know the United States was at war. Trans-fats! Possible abuse of the elderly ! (20/20 is right on it, I'm sure. Ooooh, it's a 'forensic' story so just know that the TV show C.S.I. gets a nod. Jane Gross gets a plug for the TV show into the third paragraph. Some call it reporting.) Opera cancelled! Campaign commercials! (With the "Theme: Don't Be Nice." What's really surprising is the way, election cycle after election cycle, the so-called hardened news reporters manage to manufacture shock over campaign ads.) "If it bleeds, it leads" appears to have been replaced with "If it fluffs, that's enough."
The only real news story worthy of the front page this morning is Mark Mazzetti's "Combative Bush Releases Parts of Terror Study." Mazzetti was the author of the Sunday report and he solos today. It's surprising nothing is said of Jane Harman's call for another assessment (classified and unacknowledged) to be released. Elsewhere in the paper, David E. Sanger's "Study Doesn’t Share Bush’s Optimism on Terror Fight" offers a run down of what the released portions (conclusions of the 30-plus page NIE report) do and do not suggest. The Chicago Tribune offers a laughable editorial that, despite being entitled "What the NIE says," does the judging for the reader (in slanted terms -- everything's coming up roses!) and demonstrates that the paper confuses itself with an administrative secrectary serving the Bully Boy (check the language). (Elaine called about this editorial.) Staying on the topic of the NIE for the rest of the entry.
Olive notes this from Australia's The World Today (program airing on their ABC network that's hosted by Eleanor Hall):
PETER CAVE: In the United States, President George Bush has bowed to pressure and released parts of a damning intelligence report that details how the war in Iraq has fuelled international terrorism. First leaked in the New York Times, the excerpts declassified by the White House describe the Iraq conflict as a "cause celebre" for jihadists. The report from 16 of Washington's key intelligence agencies goes on to describe how the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives. Even Pakistan, one of America's crucial allies, is now openly disagreeing with the White House about the effect of the Iraq war on terrorism. Kim Landers reports from Washington.
KIM LANDERS: It was a report that was never meant to be made public. Compiled by veteran analysts from 16 US intelligence agencies, it declares that Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for global terror, "cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement". Despite that, President George W. Bush still rejects any suggestion that the Iraq invasion was a mistake.
Heather notes "War in Iraq not making U.S. any safer" (editorial from The State):
Apparently, the war in Iraq can't do it. Neither can President Bush's war on terror. Five years have passed since New York City's twin towers crumbled and still, the plan to secure our country from terrorists is falling short. According to American intelligence agencies, the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq has only helped to breed an increased terrorist threat and a new generation of Islamic radicalism.
This comes as no surprise, since the concept of fighting an ideology with guns and bombs is absurd. It's also no big shocker that Democrats are hoping the release of such a report will undermine the GOP's image and urge Americans to choose new leadership in November.
We can only hope that will be the case.
The intelligence report, "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States" -- which represents views from the 16 different spy services inside the government -- is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism since the Iraq war began.
And Dominick notes "US terror report paints bleak picture" (Ireland Online):
The war in Iraq is breeding deep resentment of the US that is likely to get worse before it gets better, federal intelligence analysts conclude in a report at odds with President George Bush's talk of a world growing safer.
The bleak report was declassified and released yesterday on Bush's orders after weekend leaks caused an uproar over its findings that seemed so out of step with the Bush administration’s reassurances.
Compiled from the judgements of the top US analysts, the document concludes that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.
Bush and his top advisers have said the formerly classified assessment of global terrorism supported their arguments that the world is safer because of the war. More than three pages of stark judgements that warn of the spread of terror contrasted with the administration's glass-half-full declarations.
"If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide," the document says. "The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."
There's another entry going up after this. For visitors who continue to e-mail about the later time yesterday and today, this isn't Burger King, you don't get to have it your way. Members were advised last week I'd be having surgery Tuesday morning. The plan/goal is to return to normal time for Wednesday morning's post. If it doesn't happen boo-hoo. I'll get right on refunding the monies that complaining visitors paid to access this site -- oh wait, there is no charge.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org. (I went through about thirty e-mails at this account this morning. Members should use the private e-mail accounts. No one worked the public account Tuesday or Monday and it's jammed with e-mails, so use the private addresses.)
the new york times
richard a. oppel
david e. sanger