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Putting the War on Autopilot

"[T]he de facto ban on media at Arlington funerals fits neatly with an effort by the administration to sanitize the war in Iraq. That, in turn, has contributed to a public boredom with the war. . . .

"Hall was riding from his quarters to the place in Fallujah where he was training Iraqi troops when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was taken into surgery, but he died from his injuries. . . .

"[Y]esterday, his family walked slowly behind the horse-drawn caisson to section 60. In the front row of mourners, one young girl trudged along, clinging to a grown-up's hand; another child found a ride on an adult's shoulders.

"It was a moving scene -- and one the Pentagon shouldn't try to hide from the American public."

Poll Watch

Gallup reports: "The most recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds 63% of Americans saying the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, a new high mark by one percentage point.

"The new high in Iraq war opposition is also notable because it is the highest 'mistake' percentage Gallup has ever measured for an active war involving the United States -- surpassing by two points the 61% who said the Vietnam War was a mistake in May 1971."

Secret Torture Memos

Yet more evidence emerged yesterday of intimate White House involvement in crafting the most controversial tactics of the war on terrorism, including the use of torture.

Dan Eggen writes in The Washington Post: "The CIA concluded that criminal, administrative or civil investigations stemming from harsh interrogation tactics were 'virtually inevitable,' leading the agency to seek legal support from the Justice Department, according to a CIA official's statement in court documents filed yesterday.

"The CIA said it had identified more than 7,000 pages of classified memos, e-mails and other records relating to its secret prison and interrogation program, but maintained that the materials cannot be released because they relate to, in part, communications between CIA and Justice Department attorneys or discussions with the White House.

"Nineteen of those documents were withheld from disclosure specifically because the Bush administration decided they are covered by a 'presidential communications privilege,' according to the filings, made in federal court in Manhattan. Some were 'authored or solicited and received by the President's senior advisors in connection with a decision, or potential decision, to be made by the president.'

"Although the precise content of the documents is unknown, the agency's statements illustrate the extent to which senior White House officials were involved in decision-making on CIA detentions, interrogations, and renditions, a term for forced transfers of prisoners. These topics were the targets of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by liberal advocacy groups that compelled the CIA's disclosures. . . .

Here is what the CIA released yesterday in response to a freedom of information lawsuit by human-rights groups.

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