Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted in February. He was convicted in March.
Page 3 of 5   <       >

Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney

David E. Sanger and David S. Cloud wrote Saturday in the New York Times: "The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate.

"It is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase runs its course.

"The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar Province. . . .

"Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations."

But Michael Abramowitz and Peter Baker wrote Sunday in The Washington Post that the White House disputed the Times report. They write: "The administration is trying to make judgments about where it will be in the months ahead, and officials are discussing possibilities accordingly. The scenarios for troop withdrawal are based on the premise of a successful 'surge.' There is also discussion about what to do if the buildup plan fails, but officials are unwilling to discuss it with outsiders even privately."

On Benchmarks

Julian E. Barnes writes in the Los Angeles Times: "U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success.

"In September, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, is scheduled to present Congress with an assessment of progress in Iraq. Military officers in Baghdad and outside advisors working with Petraeus doubt that the three major goals set by U.S. officials for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki will be achieved by then."

Memorial Day

Deb Riechmann writes for the Associated Press: "President Bush paid tribute Monday to America's fighting men and women -- 'a new generation of fallen leaders' - in a solemn Memorial Day visit to the national burial ground for war heroes. . . .

"At least 3,452 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in Iraq in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in the New York Times: "President Bush used his traditional Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to speak directly, in deeply personal terms, to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, assuring them that Americans 'will never forget the terrible loss you have suffered.' . . .

"The speech stood in stark contrast to one delivered on Saturday by Vice President Dick Cheney at another military venue: the United States Military Academy at West Point. Speaking to 978 academy graduates, Mr. Cheney delivered a sharp and at times bellicose defense of the administration's policies.

"'We're fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first, and hit us hard,' he said, adding, 'Nobody can guarantee that we won't be hit again.'"

<          3           >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company