Today's Papers

Surge Failure

The “surge” isn’t working in Iraq, the New York Times reports in its lead story. The Washington Post leads with details of a car crash in which a driver barreled through a crowd, injuring dozens. The Los Angeles Times’ lead story also focuses on Iraq, highlighting Democratic efforts to keep pressure on congressional Republicans over the summerUSA Today leads with unprecedented federal intervention into local policing and prosecution in New Orleans. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide news box with a report that Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to aim his missiles at Europe in response to U.S. efforts to create a missile shield.

The LAT’s lead story gives high attention to Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, an anti-war coalition that will be pressuring Republicans in their home congressional districts. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate vow to hold a number of votes and debates that will force Republicans to address the issue in an attempt to get them to split with the president. The Times also reports that  14 American soldiers died in the last three days.

The USA Today story on New Orleans details broad federal efforts that will include U.S. attorneys, DEA and ATF agents, and nightly air patrols aimed at controlling violence in the city. A list of 71 wanted figures backbones the surge in federal police efforts.

Putin has created a “frosty” atmosphere for the upcoming G8 conference, the WSJ reports, with his missile threat and a mocking dismissal of a British request to extradite the murder suspect in a high-profile case that has captured the world’s attention.

The Times’ lead story on the fate of the surge so far is based on an internal Army report and interviews with military officers. It says that the U.S. Army controls only about a third of Baghdad’s neighborhoods, partly because Iraqi forces have either failed to materialize as promised or been unable to perform basic tasks.

The Army had set a previous goal of July for establishing security in Baghdad. That deadline is now September, said officers. Meeting it, though, will also require the competent and cooperative action of the Iraqi security forces, two things that have existed to date only in the optimistic forecasts of commanders.

The woman who drove a car through a crowd of people in Washington had been smoking crack earlier in the day, police said, and witnesses described an odd smile on her face as her car continued on. “When they said it was Tonya Bell,” said one woman who knew her, “it didn’t surprise me, because she’s got issues.”

The LAT off-leads with the second part of a three-part series on Jerusalem, this installment on the unintended consequences of the wall Israel is building. Described as a “security fence,” the wall threatens to cut Palestinians off from Jerusalem and disrupt economic activity. So for both financial and nationalistic reasons, thousands of Palestinians are moving into Jerusalem instead of staying put, as they likely would have done were the wall never built. It is expected to be complete early next year.

The Wall Street Journal teases on the front and reports on A3 that its parent company will meet with Rupert Murchoch’s News Corp. today to continue negotiations over the sale of the company. Murdoch, in the article, seems to promise that he will control the media operation he hopes to buy but won’t use that control to “change anything.”

“I can’t put down $5 billion of my shareholders’ money and not be able to run the business,” Murdoch told the paper. He also claims in the article that he has “no plans to change anything” about the news and editorial departments.

All eight Democratic presidential candidates debated in New Hampshire last night, and the Post fronts a recap. Obama gave a “more commanding performance” than he had in the last debate, Clinton was “forceful,” and Edwards aggressively drew distinctions between himself and the other top-tier candidates.

Both Clinton and Edwards took heat for not reading a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that contained some skepticism regarding the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Clinton said only that she was “thoroughly briefed” on the report and that a dog had eaten her own copy. Edwards’ copy, he said, had gotten lost at the bottom of his locker. (Okay, TP made  up those last two things.)

USAT splashes a photo of Cleveland Cavs’ star LeBron James on the front page after the 22-year-old took his team to the NBA finals over the weekend. His 48-point performance on Thursday, in which he scored his team’s final 25 points, is becoming legend, and basketball executives hope his participation in the Finals against the heavily favored San Antonio Spurs will spark interest among casual fans.

Not everyone is convinced. “Great heroes need great villains. Duncan’s the nicest guy in the world,” said marketer Ernest Lupinacci, referring to soft-spoken Spurs’ star Tim Duncan. “But I don’t care about him. Neither do fans.”