Today's Papers

Resolution Dreams

The Los Angeles Timesleads with word that German investigators have recommended arrest warrants be issued for 13 American intelligence operatives who were involved with the “extraordinary rendition” of a German citizen. Investigators say Khaled Masri was kidnapped and sent to Afghanistan, where he was allegedly beaten and secretly detained for five months before he was released without charges. The Washington Postand New York Timeslead with the increasing debate among Republican senators on how best to respond to President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq.

USA Todayleads with a look at how at least a dozen states are discussing whether they should use their budget surpluses to decrease business taxes  to lure investors. The paper says this is a change since states traditionally have preferred to target personal taxes. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with news that at least 58 people were killed in Iraq yesterday “during rites” on the Shiite holy day of Ashura. The NYT notes that last year there were fewer than a dozen people killed on the holiday, but in 2004 at least 180 people died. 

German officials said indictments could be filed as early as next week. The LAT notes the news comes at a time when an Italian court is considering whether to put 26 Americans and nine Italians on trial for the abduction of an Egyptian cleric. The paper notes it is unlikely the U.S. government would agree to extradite suspects. 

At first, GOP senators wanted to propose one resolution that would strike a balance between supporting President Bush and voicing concern about the war’s direction. Now, according to the Post, there are at least five competing drafts going around, and senators can’t agree which one best expresses their interests. A “raucous debate” about the different resolutions erupted during a lunch Republican senators had with Vice President Cheney and military leaders. “Resolutions are flying like snowflakes around here,” Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said.

Couldn’t the lack of a unifying resolution ultimately help the White House? On Saturday, the Post reported that senators hadn’t seen a particularly aggressive lobbying effort by the administration, which could benefit from a bunch of resolutions that dilute any message Congress wants to send President Bush. All this debate probably pleases Vice President Cheney, who was widely quoted when he declared: “[Y]ou cannot run a war by committee.”

The NYT does a good job of summarizing the events regarding Iraq that took place on Capitol Hill yesterday. There was a confirmation hearing for Adm. William Fallon, who was nominated to lead U.S. forces in the Middle East and yesterday said that “what we’ve been doing is not working.” Meanwhile, in another hearing, the leaders of the Iraq Study Group said the diplomatic efforts put forth by the White House in the Middle East have been insufficient.

The WSJ mentions up high that after initial resistance, Democrats have agreed to President Bush’s idea of forming a bipartisan working group on Iraq and terrorism.

USAT fronts an interview with the No. 2 U.S. general in Iraq, who says Iran is giving weapons to militias in Iraq. According to Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, U.S. officials can “trace back” weapons to Iran through serial numbers. Among the weapons is a new type of roadside bomb that is being used to attack U.S. troops. “Properly handled, it goes through armor like a hot knife through butter,” said a military expert.

The LAT gets word from military officials that the Air Force’s role in Iraq could increase. Among its tasks would be a stepped up effort to monitor the Iran-Iraq border to prevent arms smuggling.

The WP and NYT front, while everyone else goes inside with, the testimony of former NYT reporter Judith Miller at the Libby trial. Miller said Libby first told her that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA almost three weeks before Cheney’s former chief of staff claims he got the information from a journalist. Miller also testified that Libby “appeared to be agitated and frustrated” when he told her the news, a contrast with his usual demeanor, which she described as “very low-key and controlled.” Everyone notes Miller testified for the prosecutor who sent her to jail for 85 days. 

Miller then “began to sigh frequently and grow testy in her responses” (NYT) when Libby’s attorney began his aggressive questioning. The defense tried to target her memory and credibility by wondering how it was possible Miller now knew so many details of a meeting when she claimed that she could not even remember it when she first testified before the grand jury in 2005. The WSJ says at one point Miller “turned to jurors, rolling her eyes and shaking her head in frustration.” The day ended with the defense trying to question Miller about other sources with whom she might have discussed Joe Wilson or his wife. The judge said he will hear arguments about whether to allow these questions, but everyone notes he didn’t seem inclined to permit them.

USAT fronts word that a major international report on climate change to be released on Friday will say that with “virtual certainty” fossil fuels are to blame for global warming. “Virtual certainty” means scientists are 99 percent sure, which is a change from 2001 when the group described the connection as “likely” (66 percent).

The WP’s Al Kamen points out that former associate attorney general and convicted felon Webb Hubbell is now promoting life insurance for people who smoke marijuana and are “responsible” about it. Typically those who smoke have had to lie on forms or pay high premiums to get life insurance. To target this “underserved market” Hubbell has teamed up with two insurance companies that agreed to write policies for those who enjoy a good toke.