The Washington Post’s later editions lead with—and the LAT also fronts—word that six projectiles struck a Baghdad hotel early Sunday where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying—he remained unharmed. Several were injured in the assault which followed a day of violence in the country. The New York Times leads with comments from the chairman of the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks saying that the White House is withholding classified documents and will face subpoenas if they don’t hand them over within weeks. The Los Angeles Times leads with an update on the wildfires raging across more than 50 acres in California, ravaging 200 homes. The fast-moving blaze is 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
There is some disagreement over what hit the hotel. Rockets hit three floors, according to the NYT, but the LAT reports that it was mortar rounds followed by “intense gunfire.” The Associated Press reports that one American might be dead, and a few guests reportedly lost limbs, says the WP. On Saturday, a convoy of civilian contractors was attacked west of Baghdad killing at least three; officials disagree on who committed the assault. In a separate incident yesterday, a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down, injuring a crew member.
The remarks by the commission’s chair are only the latest in a series of complaints from commission members frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the Bush administration. The panel is supposed to complete their work by May 2004, but members are now saying the White House’s delays may cost them the deadline. “I will not stand for it,” said the chair, Thomas Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey. “We will use every tool at our command to get a hold of every document.”
Whoops, never mind … a hard-hitting, front-page Post piece declares that “according to records made available to the WP and interviews with arms investigators from the United States, Britain and Australia, it did not require a comprehensive survey to find the central assertations of the Bush administration’s prewar nuclear case to be insubstantial or untrue. … It is now clear he [Saddam Hussein] had no active program to build a weapon, produce its key materials or obtain the technology he needed for either.” The Post sources the explosive story with anonymous sources and documents that came from them.
The WP stuffs an article revealing results of a recent State Department survey of Iraqis that found a split among Iraqis over what kind of government they want. While the majority of Kurds polled said they wanted a democracy, other respondents responded that they want religious leaders to play some role. This contradicts what Vice President Dick Cheney recently said: “If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2 to 1 margins they say no.”
The NYT and LAT front word that North Korea, in an abrupt turnaround, will consider dismantling its nuclear program in exchange for written security assurances from the United States. The WP stuffs the story. Earlier in the week, North Korea had called the offer “laughable.”
The NYT fronts an analysis piece on the influence evangelicals hold over White House decisions on international human rights issues. The Times links this religious constituency—40 percent of the votes President Bush received in 2000—to Karl Rove who, while not a foreign policy adviser, is conscientiously tending to the group’s interests.
The Post mentions on Page 8 that tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators convened on the Washington Mall Saturday to protest the U.S. occupation in Iraq.
The LAT profiles everyone’s favorite icon of 80’s excess: Robin Leach. Living in Las Vegas, consulting for restaurants and hotels while hosting a new talk show, Leach has meaningful words to share in his old age: “There’s nothing wrong with being rich. … Capitalism can do what governments can’t.”