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Security politics


The Washington Post covers the White House's credibility problem when it comes to intelligence about Iran: "The administration, conscious of its low credibility, believes it has gone out of its way to convince doubters that Iran is not Iraq all over again...  Much as the Vietnam Syndrome dogged the foreign and military policies of a generation of U.S. presidents, the Iraq Syndrome has become an ever-present undercurrent in Washington." 

The New York Times says Bush's statement yesterday that certain factions inside the Iranian government are supplying Shiite militants with roadside bombs that have killed US troops "amounted to his most specific accusation to date that Iran was undermining security in Iraq.  They appeared to be part of a concerted effort by the White House to present a clearer, more direct case that Iran was supplying the potent weapons - and to push back against criticism that the intelligence used in reaching the conclusions was not credible." 

For the House debate over the non-binding resolution opposing a troop increase, "The extent of the Republican opposition to Bush's plan is the only suspense left," says USA Today

House Democratic aides pointed out yesterday that Bush's speech happened to be scheduled for the same time when the biggest detractors of a troop increase within his own party's ranks were set to speak on the House floor.  The Los Angeles Times covers the group of 11 Republicans who spoke out.  "What remains unclear is how many GOP war critics will get behind the next step in the debate - Democratic efforts to go beyond symbolic opposition to Bush's pursuit of his Iraq policy."  Also today, Rep. John Murtha is expected "to announce a strategy for imposing limits on Bush's ability to carry out the troop increase." 

Murtha will deliver a videotaped message to MoveOn members at house parties across the country tonight, urging them to write their members of Congress and call for them to oppose Bush's planned troop increase.

The Washington Times notes that Democratic leaders yesterday tried to keep a lid on an intraparty fight of their own, quelling "voices within their own party who want to 'defund' the war in Iraq, while Republicans said that is exactly what the majority party intends to do." 

Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg looks down the road at whether or not Republican lawmakers will manage to distance themselves from Bush over Iraq in the next two years.  "It is almost impossible for GOP Members of Congress to talk about Iraq - about what is happening on the ground and about what to do about it - without being drawn into a discussion of the president and his policies.  Even more than that, Republicans will have to figure out what they'll do about - and with - the president when their national convention rolls around 18 months from now.  Does anybody really believe that Republicans will be able to put together a convention that ignores the president of the United States?"

The Boston Herald details the proposal Sen. John Kerry (D) will introduce today, which will seek "to punish war profiteers, root out cronyism in post-war contract awards and give new protections to whistleblowers." 

The Chicago Tribune writes that the husband of failed House candidate Tammy Duckworth (D), who lost both legs serving in Iraq, is now being deployed to Iraq himself. 

Australian Prime Minister John Howard's attack on Sen. Barack Obama (D) has forced the "main contenders in this year's Australian federal elections... into a surprisingly early and forceful debate on the country's involvement in the US-led coalition in Iraq," says the Financial Times.  Howard suggested last weekend that "that terrorists would want Mr Obama elected because of his proposal to withdraw US troops from Iraq by March 2008...  The spat has left political commentators questioning the normally astute centre-right prime minister's judgment."