Today's Papers

Missing Arms

The New York Timesleads with a new federal report that reveals the U.S. military has not kept proper track of hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces. In addition, the American military has failed to provide spare parts and even manuals for most of the weapons given to Iraqis. The WSJ includes news of the report in the top spot of its worldwide newsbox, which is an Iraq roundup, and also mentions the renewed violence in the country, which killed 23 policemen. USA Todayleads with a new review by the Army’s casualty notification office that indicates seven families were misinformed about how their relatives died.

The Los Angeles Timesleads with the campaign spending by unregulated groups, known as 527s and 501(c)s, which so far has amounted to almost $300 million. Although this spending does not come close to the $600 million that was pumped into the 2004 campaign, these groups are responsible for many of the ads filling the airwaves in the last days before the Nov. 7 election. The Washington Postgoes across the top of its Page One with news that the governing body of Gallaudet University, the nation’s premiere school for the deaf, gave in to months of protests and said Jane K. Fernandes would not take over as the university’s president next year. After learning of the decision, protesters in Gallaudet’s campus celebrated and burned an effigy of Fernandes.

The report, released by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, revealed the U.S. military never even recorded the serial numbers of almost half a million weapons it gave to the Iraqis. This means tracking the weapons has now become nearly impossible and raises the possibility the arms could have ended up in the hands of insurgents. Inconsistencies in the number of weapons purchased and those in Iraqi warehouses show that more than 13,000 weapons are, essentially, missing.

In its review of 810 deaths, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq, Army officials discovered that in five of the seven cases, including former pro-football player Pat Tillman, families were not told friendly fire was to blame for the soldier’s death. The Army is now looking into all deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq to make sure there are no other mistakes. As part of the effort, the Army is also attempting to improve the way it notifies families of deaths. USAT takes a look at some of these efforts, which includes a new $800,000 video and more training for notification officers.

The NYT says on its front page that funds for research into energy technologies are falling, from both the government and the private sector. This decreases the possibility of finding viable alternatives to coal and oil. In the United States, federal spending for all types of energy research and development is less than half of what it was 25 years ago. In comparison, a revealing graphic accompanying the story shows how medical and military research has increased throughout the years. 

Today’s NYT and WP both front stories that are similar to ones first published by the LAT, with slightly different angles. Yesterday, the LAT led with Karl Rove’s role in the last days of the campaign cycle,and mentioned the way he uses government resources to give GOP candidates a boost. Today, the WP also takes a look at the involvement of the White House political mastermind before Nov. 7 and gives it a more inside-Washington twist. The Post mentions these midterm elections could redefine Rove’s influence and that he continues to be optimistic while some worry he might have some tricks up his sleeve. For its part, the NYT fronts a look at how many of the Democrats running for the House have conservative views that are more commonly associated with Republicans. Last Thursday, the LAT had a similar story on Page One, but today, the NYT focuses more on the tensions that could rise within the Democratic Party as a result of these candidates if they do win control of the House.

USAT goes inside with the story of Saba Al-Bor, an Iraqi town that illustrates the difficulties U.S. forces have in handing over power to Iraqi police. On Sept. 20, U.S. officials transferred control of the town to Iraqis and left. They had to come back 15 days later, after the town had descended into chaos, death squads roamed the town, and the majority of the town’s Iraqi police and residents had fled. 

The WSJ fronts a look at how Paul Wolfowitz is increasing the World Bank’s presence in Iraq. This is seen in contrast to usual Bank policy of staying away from countries in conflict. The move by Wolfowitz, who was U.S. deputy defense secretary and is now heading the bank, is raising criticism from some who believe he is using the multilateral institution to carry out Bush administration policy.

The NYT reefers word that the missing American soldier in Iraq was secretly married to an Iraqi woman, whom he was visiting when he was kidnapped last week. None of this is confirmed, but the Times talked to some Iraqis who claim they are the soldier’s in-laws. If true, it would mean the soldier broke military rules, which prohibits active personnel from marrying local civilians. So far, the U.S. military hasn’t even released the man’s name, but search squads have shown his picture to local residents. No one in his alleged bride’s family knew he was an American soldier until after he was kidnapped.

The LAT fronts, and everyone else mentions, that federal police in Mexico used tear gas and water cannons to fight off demonstrators who had held Oaxaca’s central square for five months. The protest began as a teacher’s strike, but soon other groups joined and it escalated. President Vicente Fox ordered the raid after one American journalist and two Mexicans were killed on Friday. Although the police was able to take control of the square with much less violence than was expected, there were reports of a 15-year-old boy being killed, some claim as a result of a tear gas canister, and some say he was shot

The NYT fronts a look at how Muslim Americans have become reluctant to donate to Islamic causes and charities out of fear that it could bring unwanted attention from the U.S. government.

Everyone mentions Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won a landslide reelection victory yesterday.

The NYT publishes an op-ed piece co-written by Vaclav Havel, former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, urging the world to pay attention to North Korea’s humanitarian crisis. The authors say the attention Kim Jong-il has gathered as a result of his nuclear tests should be used to shine a light on the way thousands of North Koreans suffer from malnutrition and human rights abuses. “It is clear that North Korea is actively committing crimes against humanity—against its own people,” the authors argue.