USA Today: "One of the proposals developed by top U.S. commanders in Iraq would significantly redeploy troops from a combat role to training and advising Iraqi forces, according to four administration officials. The proposal... calls for changing the mission during the next several months."
The Washington Post says the Joint Chiefs "do not favor adding significant numbers of troops to Iraq... but see strengthening the Iraqi army as pivotal to achieving some degree of stability. They also are pressing for a much greater U.S. effort on economic reconstruction and political reconciliation." Although Bush "has made no final decisions on how to proceed in Iraq... the new disclosures suggest that military planning is well underway for a major change."
Incoming Senate Armed Services chair Carl Levin says he's OK with Bush's decision to delay his announcement on a new Iraq strategy until next year, so as long as Bush actually changes course, NBC's Ken Strickland reports. At a news conference yesterday, Levin said, "I'd rather the right conclusion be reached in January than the wrong conclusion be reached in December... The sooner the better, in terms of changing course, but changing course is what the goal has got to be." Earlier in the day, during a closed-press speech at the Brookings Institute, Levin himself didn't break any new ground on the war, according to his prepared remarks. He even joked, "I take no joy in repeating myself. So, let me pledge to you today -- as the President stands up and faces reality in Iraq, I will stand down."
One component of Democrats' "six for '06" agenda is implementing the recommendations of the September 11 commission. One recommendation was to change the Congress does oversight of the intelligence community by having congressional appropriations and intelligence panel members work together. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, per her spokesperson, will proposal such an effort at a press conference this morning. The Wall Street Journal reports, "Additional investigative staff will be hired for oversight, and the new panel would prepare the classified section to the annual Defense Department appropriations bill that covers much of the annual intelligence budget."