Today's Papers

Have You Seen Her Lately?

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post lead with news that Iraq has rejected U.S.-British proposals to the U.N. Security Council revising the rules and terms for weapons inspection. According to Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, inspectors are free to return to Iraq if they do so under the existing agreement with the U.N., not if they adopt the U.S.-led resolution that calls for inspectors to be accompanied by guards and allowed to enter previously restricted sites. The LAT and NYT quote Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz as saying that the United States, if it tries to oust Saddam Hussein, could expect “a fierce war during which the United States will suffer losses they have never sustained for decades.” All the papers report the flurry of diplomacy around the world. Not only do America and Britain have senior diplomats in Russia, China, and France—three of the Security Council members skeptical about the current proposed resolution—but the Iraqi foreign minister is reported to have met with Iran in Tehran yesterday to seek support from Iraq’s once bitter regional rival. The NYT, in its front-page news analysis, writes that Iraq’s words today could “mark the beginning of the transition from diplomacy to war in the Persian Gulf.” The WP takes a look at a new poll conducted jointly with ABC and argues that Democrats might suffer in the upcoming election if the issue of Iraq takes center stage over the economy. On the other hand, the poll numbers themselves show that in the last 12 days the percentage of people who approve of the way Bush is handling Iraq is down from 65 percent to 58 percent, and the percentage of people who favor military action against Iraq is down from 68 percent to 61 percent. The LAT makes an interesting observation about this year’s upcoming election (and the WP makes a short notation of this phenomenon too): Women are engaged in some competitive gubernatorial races, and depending on the outcomes of races too close to call, the number of women holding top office in the statehouse could double. There are currently five females governors. With four of the last five presidents serving as governor prior to nomination, the paper predicts that more women will eventually be considered presidential or vice-presidential candidates. The WP fronts a Chandra Levy development. Detectives in the murder case are again focusing on 21-year-old Ingmar A. Guandique, who is currently in prison for the assaults on two women jogging in Rock Creek Park, the same place where Levy’s body was found. Guandique originally passed a lie detector test, but investigators now believe the test was flawed, the result of using a Spanish translator instead of a bilingual test administrator. Investigators are said to be struck by the similarity in crime scenes between the three women, and while some discrepancies still exist, the FBI is now conducting DNA tests. The NYT fronts an article on Nancy Reagan, who the paper says, is “obliquely but persistently campaigning” to reverse President’s Bush’s decision last year to sharply limit federal funding for stem cell research. The article is not so much a critique of the former first lady’s beliefs, but rather an account of Ms. Reagan’s style for public communication—it seems, for example, that one unnamed friend had to get permission to speak to the NYT—as well as a short, but interesting, digression into where the old Bush-Reagan family feud now stands. The WP reacts rather skeptically to what it calls the “once-in-a-decade energy legislation that many analysts contend will do little to reduce the nation’s reliance on Middle East oil.” The paper tries to quantify how much oil will be saved or added by various measures, including new fuel economy requirements for SUVs, that will save 10 days of imports in a seven-year time frame, easily offset by a loophole allowing “dual feul” vehicles to be less energy efficient. Inside the LAT, the paper goes with a rather incongruous head to describe the International Monetary Fund’s fall meetings: “PROTESTS GO SMOOTHLY AS DEBT RELIEF PLAN DELIBERATED.” With 5,000 protesters attempting to surround the IMF and World Bank headquarters (or less than 2,000 by a WP count), and with 3,000 riot-clad police thwarting their efforts, shutting down a large area of downtown Washington, the paper says that four protesters were arrested for carrying explosive devices, less the 649 activists arrested for various infractions the previous day. The LAT quite possibly thinks it has a shot at a Pulitzer Prize with its account of a 5-year-old boy from Honduras whose mother left him behind to immigrate to the United States, and what happened when the son, 11 years later, decides to find his mother in El Norte. Today’s tale, Chapter 1 of six of “Enrique’s Journey,” comes with something perhaps unprecedented in the annals of journalism: a 2,449-word published source list, just for Chapter 1, detailing exactly how the paper got every small piece of its story.