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Security politics


On ABC yesterday, "White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten indicated that the president would block legislation calling for a scheduled withdrawal" of US troops from Iraq. 

The Boston Globe says Democrats' call for a phased withdrawal of troops by mid-2007 "suggests an aggressive approach... on foreign policy," and "also sets up an early clash with the Bush administration, despite vows from both sides to pursue bipartisan solutions."

The Chicago Tribune says, "The Bush administration stands 'ready to make course adjustments' with the war in Iraq, the White House said Sunday, while insisting that the president remains committed to his vision of success there.  The administration's assurances came as violence rose to a height unusual even by Iraq's standards.  At least 159 people were reported killed, including 35 in suicide bombings at a police recruiting station in Baghdad and 75 whose bodies were dumped in the capital and Baqouba." 

The Sunday Washington Post looked at how the Iraq Study Group's imminent recommendations will hardly be a silver bullet: "Those familiar with the panel's work predict that the ultimate recommendations will not appear novel and that there are few, if any, good options left facing the country...  Given the grave predicament the group faces, its focus is now as much on finding a political solution for the United States as on a plan that would bring peace to Iraq." 

"Even before it is finished," the AP says, the group's "report is seen by many in Washington as having huge stakes.  It could give both parties a chance at consensus -- or at least a tenable framework for agreement -- after an election that gave Democrats congressional control and reshaped Bush's final two years in office." 

USA Today writes that Bush's trip to Asia later this week "also includes reminders of how the Vietnam War roiled U.S. politics and society and raises questions about whether the same thing is happening with Iraq...  Bush stressed what he said were the differences with reporters last week.  He said Iraqis overthrew Saddam Hussein with U.S. help, approved a new constitution and formed a government that is trying to move forward despite sectarian violence." 

In his Sunday column, Bob Novak wrote that one reason why Republicans want to quickly push Gates' nomination through the lame-duck session "is to avoid confrontation with an old enemy: James Webb...  Considering his background, Webb is likely to go on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  The White House wants to confirm Gates before Webb is sworn in."