While talk of withdrawal from Iraq is all the rage, some very well-respected military analysts – including former CENTCOM commander Gen. Anthony Zinni, and retired Army major General John Batiste, are calling an immediate withdrawal not such a swell idea, The NYT reports on its front page.
One of the reasons why? Zinni says taking troops out now would likely incite more violence: "There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence."
Harry Reid's Log Cabin
The Washington Post has an interview with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who again emphasized a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. Also, his biography sounds much like a Willie Nelson ballad. He grew up in a "tin-roofed shack" in a Nevada mining town and hitchhiked 40 miles to school.
Paging Harriet Miers
The LA Times profiles President Bush's pick to replace Ken Mehlman as Republican National Committee chair, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez. Martinez, a Cuban immigrant, favors more liberal immigration laws and is therefore hated by some members of the party, one of whom described Martinez' appointment as a potential "Harriet Miers moment." Nonetheless, says the Times, Martinez probably won't pull a Harriet Miers and will actually get the post.
In news that will surely disappoint those potential 2008 candidates who were planning on pandering to NASCAR Dads, USA Today reports on its front page that interest in the sport is apparently lagging. One "third-generation driver" told the paper that one reason might be the length of the racing season -- "36 freaking races a year" – which might be a bit much for the average viewer to tune in for every week.
Don't Turn Your Back On Chocolate
While this study will probably be followed by another study revealing that chocolate will most certainly result in the growth of additional limbs and premature death, the LA Times' front page today screams this: that chocolate is good for your heart.
The bad news, of course, is that getting a significant benefit for your heart would require eating several bars of chocolate every day. And then, of course, you'll be obese, get diabetes and your teeth will fall out. Indeed, the story features a quote from the lead epidemiologist for the study, who says she would "never tell people to go ahead and eat chocolate." In other words, if you see this story somewhere today, ignore it.
A mass kidnapping at an Iraq Ministry of Education building is getting coverage on all the front pages (and the top of the WSJ news box) this morning. While worse news from the region seems all but impossible, all of the papers are emphasizing just how bad this incident appears to be. The New York Timesis calling it "one of the most brazen mass kidnappings since a wave of sectarian abductions and killings became a feature of the war." The Los Angeles Times says it's "audacious even by Iraq war standards" and The Washington Post has a similar description, that it is "startling even by the standards of a nation reeling from sectarian strife." Just how many were kidnapped is unclear, various sources are saying anywhere from 50 to 150 people were taken.
"Something Special" from John Edwards
"The Daily Show" used to be one of the go-to destinations for those announcing their political candidacy. Now, apparently, it's the official destination for those who are insinuating the potential of a run.
Because that's what Democratic presidential wannabe John Edwards did on the program last night, when asked if he was going to announce his candidacy in 2008. He said instead that interested viewers should go to his Web site, where they might find "something special" in the next few days. Maybe he's throwing his hat into the ring for town council somewhere in North Carolina.