In this morning's New York Times, James Glanz and Richard A. Oppel Jr. report on the weapons cache the US military say they discovered in Hilla last week. From Glanz and Oppel's
"U.S. Says Raid in Iraq Supports Claim on Iran:"
But critics assert that nearly all the bomb components could have been produced in Iraq or somewhere else in the region. Even if the evidence were to establish that Iran is the source, they add, that does not necessarily mean that the Iranian leadership is responsible.
The qualifiers are upfront and at the top (that's not the first paragraph, but even the first paragraph contains qualifiers). Damien Cave and Wisam A. Habeeb's "Militant Iraqi Shiite Cleric Denounces Security Push" covers a statement said to be released by al-Sadr (and note attribution):
Iraq's most powerful Shiite militant cleric publicly repudiated the new Baghdad security plan for the first time on Sunday, according to a statement distributed by his aides that said the push to quell violence was doomed to fail as long as it was directed by the American military.
The cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, controls the Mahdi Army, the largest Shiite militia in Iraq, and without his support for the stepped-up security effort, the prospects for continued sectarian violence and a direct conflict with American troops could increase.
They also cover the college bombing Sunday and note at least 40 were killed and at least 55 were wounded.
As the crackdown goes the way of the war (on and on with nothing accomplished), Lloyd notes Jon Cohen's "More Americans Trust Congress Over Bush on Iraq, Poll Finds" (Washington Post):
Congressional Democrats still hold a sizeable advantage over President Bush in who the public trusts to handle the Iraq war, though the gap has narrowed somewhat since Bush's State of the Union speech, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
With Bush's approval ratings mired by the unpopular war, Americans trust Congressional Democrats over Bush to handle the situation in Iraq by a 54 percent to 34 percent margin. That is down from a 27-point gap before the President's address last month. The Democrats' lead has been tapered not by Bush gains, but because of a five-point increase in the number who trust neither the Democrats in Congress nor the President on the issue and an 8-point decline in their advantage among independents.
Help me out here, are we still all pretending that the New York Times hasn't done a single poll on Iraq since before the November elections?
Turning to news of war resister Ehren Watada, Joan notes The Honolulul Advertiser's "UH law school to host debate on Watada case" on this free event ("open to the public"):
Ehren Watada's case against the war in Iraq will be debated Tuesday from 12:40 p.m. to 1:25 p.m. at the the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, will debate Professor Michael Lewis, a visiting law professor from Northern Ohio University in a debate entitled "Lt. Watada's Case and the Legality of the War in Iraq."
The US military refiled charges against Watada on Friday and plans to court-martial him again.
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