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Iraq

The New York Times front-pages this analysis: "With the Democratic-led Congress poised to measure progress in Iraq by focusing on the central government's failure to perform, President Bush is proposing a new gauge, by focusing on new American alliances with the tribes and local groups that Washington once feared would tear the country apart. That shift in emphasis was implicit in Mr. Bush's decision to bypass Baghdad on his eight-hour trip to Iraq, stopping instead in Anbar Province, once the heart of an anti-American Sunni insurgency."

That said, "It was the White House and the Iraqi government, not Congress, that first proposed the benchmarks for Iraq that are now producing failing grades, a provenance that raises questions about why the administration is declaring now that the government's performance is not the best measure of change."

The Washington Post: "A bleak portrait of the political and security situation in Iraq released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office sparked sharp protests from the top U.S. military command in Baghdad, whose officials described it as flawed and 'factually incorrect.' The controversy followed last-minute changes made in the final draft of the report after the Defense Department maintained that its conclusions were too harsh and insisted that some of the information it contained -- such as the extent of a fall in the number of Iraqi army units capable of operating without U.S. assistance -- should not appear in the final, unclassified version."

As of press time, anti-war Democrats, including Reps. Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, and Barbara Lee, began holding a press conference at 9:00 am ET today to call for an end to the "irresponsible" training and equipping of Iraqi security forces.