Today's Papers

Resolution Redux

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times all lead with word that the White House is about to introduce a Security Council resolution asking other countries to pitch in in Iraq. USA Today leads with the Supreme Court’s rejection of a plea from Alabama’s chief justice to allow a marble engraving of the Ten Commandants in Alabama’s top courthouse. The judge now faces a $5,000-per-day fine if it doesn’t take the slab down.

As most of the papers make clear, the developing resolution will essentially consist of a plea for help by the U.S. and, at least according to current plans, won’t give any additional authority to the U.N. As the LAT puts it, “The United States hopes to tap into global outrage over [Tuesday’s] devastating bombing to win quick passage of a resolution providing more troops and financial assistance without diluting U.S. control of the coalition forces or the political transition.” The WP also makes this point, though a bit more gingerly. The other papers, including the NYT, skip it. 

“My reading is that people in Washington have a wish list and they are saying, ‘Here is a chance to get everything we wanted,’ ” one foreign diplomat told the Post. “I’m not sure that’s actually the way things are going to work out.”

Indeed, one World Health official suggested to the LAT that the administration is willing to bargain. “There are going to be ideas circulating tomorrow and maybe some paper, but it’s still in this proto-plasmic stage. … What happens next depends on the reaction.”

As most of the papers note, Britain’s foreign minister is due in New York today and will push for a stronger U.N. mandate. The LAT mentions a possible compromise plan, not cited to any sources: Have two command structures, a U.S. one for American soldiers and a U.N. one for other troops.

As the WP notes inside, U.N. officials said they will reduce their staff in Iraq. “We’re going to keep just a core staff here,” said a spokesman. Meanwhile, the IMF and World Bank pulled their staffs out yesterday.

Everybody mentions that the U.N.-targeted bomb was made from Soviet-era munitions, though not much else about it is clear. USAT: “FBI: BOMB SHOWED LITTLE EXPERTISE.” LAT: “BAGHDAD BOMB HAD THE MARK OF EXPERTS.”

The NYT mentions inside that international donors have been hesitant to contribute to reconstruction efforts, since at this point it would basically mean handing dough to Uncle Sam. “When it comes to writing the checks, who do we write them out to?” asked one foreign diplomat. “We’re not writing them to the occupation. There has to be more of a U.N. role.”

As only USAT mentions on Page One, one GI was killed and two were injured after their vehicle came under fire and crashed.

The NYT mentions inside that Iraq boss Paul Bremer met with, and appears to have yelled at, members of the Iraqi Governing Council, saying they should be more active and visible. “You can’t blame for us anything,” argued one council member. “We don’t have any responsibility.”

That reminds TP: Five weeks ago, the papers all led with the formation of the Governing Council and all said that the council would have significant power, well beyond the symbolic role that Bremer had originally envisioned. So, how about a piece detailing what the GC is doing nowadays? Or as TP’s grandmother would put it, “Nu?”

Everybody notes that Israel surrounded Ramallah with tanks and ratcheted up pressure on the Palestinian Authority to move against militants,“Israel will take action, because they’re doing nothing,” said one Israeli official, adding there will be “pinpoint” operations. Early this morning, Israeli troops conducted raids in Jenin and Nablus.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas appears to be readying to make some sort of move against the militants. According to the NYT, Abbas met with Yasser Arafat yesterday and came out with only a condemnation of the bombing, while the WP says the Palestinian Cabinet approved a plan to go after the militants. One Palestinian official told the Post that there will be “a protracted campaign” against the militants to “destroy their capacity.” He added, “They went on a rampage, and the rules of the game have changed.”

According to the Israel paper Ha’aretz, Abbas and his top security man are trying to get Arafat’s approval before going ahead with any crackdown—indeed they reportedly threatened to resign if Arafat balked. “Clearly only some steps against Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be implemented,” said one Palestinian source. “But the decision will be in the hands of Arafat.”

Following on the success of this summer’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the Post’s “Style” section brainstorms some potential spin-offs, such as, “Straight Eye for the Queer Guy:Gay man dons Dockers, eats fast food, watches football and starts scratching.” Or, “Lesbian Eye for the Straight Girl:Girly-girl really, really improves her softball game.”