FROM Richard Miniter
Petraeus and Crocker: Back on Capitol Hill As a protester chanted, "Bring them Home," General David Petraeus refused to set any timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Democrats said his strategy added up to "a plan which has no end to it," while Republicans showed various degrees of support. Ambassador Ryan Crocker insisted there has been "progress" in reconstructing Iraq and reconciling sectarian factions. That led to partisan disagreement, too. We hear what John McCain and Hillary Clinton had to say on the recommendations President Bush will be getting from his command team, differing views on the rhetoric and the realities.
Funding the Troops; Fighting the Enemy in Iraq; Safety in the Green Zone Democratic leaders in the House and Senate hope to send President Bush an Iraq spending bill by the end of this week. It would include political benchmarks for the Iraqi government but not a timeline for withdrawal of troops. A car bomb has killed at least 25 people and wounded 60 or more today in a Baghdad market. Also, Inside the Green Zone , the US is building a complex that will be the largest US embassy in the world. Waiting for it to be finished, US State Department employees are angry over what they call inadequate safety precautions.
Prisoner Interrogations in the War on Terror The US Supreme Court says that the Geneva Conventions apply to suspects in the war on terror. Common Article 3 prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." In a dispute with Republican Senators, including John McCain , President Bush says that's too "vague" to protect CIA interrogators from being sued for abusing prisoners in the war on terror, and says he'll call off the interrogations unless Congress writes "clarity" into the law . In the meantime, the Army's top uniformed lawyer, Major General Scott Black, has written to the dissenting Senators that redefining the Conventions "is unnecessary and could be seen as a weakening of our treaty obligations." What does the President mean by "alternative interrogation techniques?" How are they different from torture? Is the US being tough enough to protect American safety?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?