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Where Are the E-mails?

When congressional investigators looking into the suspicious firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year started asking after those e-mails, it turned out those were missing, too, just for different reasons: They'd been deleted by the RNC. The White House is ostensibly trying to recover those as well.

For background on that set, see my April 13 column, E-Mail Saga Gets Fishier, and my June 19 column, Casual Lawbreaking at the White House.

On Iran, Conflicting Narratives

Olivier Knox writes for AFP: "Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Saturday to pursue a diplomatic end to the Iran nuclear standoff as they worked on a common strategy towards a defiant Tehran.

"But the two did not appear to narrow their differences on individual country sanctions, as Merkel stuck to her position that Germany would wait until ongoing European and UN diplomatic efforts have run their course.

"'The top of my agenda is Iran,' Bush said as they met on his 'Prairie Chapel' Texas ranch. 'We will continue to work together to solve this problem diplomatically, which means they will continue to be isolated.' . . .

"National security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters the possibility of using a 'military option' against Iran 'didn't explicitly' come up."

Warren P. Strobel writes for McClatchy Newspapers that "the White House and its partisans may be inflating the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran, say experts on the Persian Gulf and nuclear deterrence. While there are dangers, they acknowledge, Iran appears to want a nuclear weapon for the same reason other countries do: to protect itself.

"Bush, by contrast, has suggested that a nuclear-armed Iran could bring about World War III. The president and his top aides, along with hawkish commentators, have suggested that Iran might launch a first strike on Israel or the United States, or hand nuclear weapon to terrorist groups Tehran supports."

Demetri Sevastopulo, Daniel Dombey and Andrew Ward write in the Financial Times: "The Pentagon is not preparing a pre-emptive attack on Iran in spite of an increase in bellicose rhetoric from Washington, according to senior officers.

"Admiral William Fallon, head of Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, told the Financial Times that while dealing with Iran was a 'challenge', a strike was not 'in the offing'.

"'None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war which is just not where we want to go,' he said.

"'Getting Iranian behaviour to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book.'

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