Bremer Faults U.S.
For Insufficient Troops
L. Paul Bremer, the former U.S. official who governed Iraq after the invasion, said that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq, and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Bremer said he still supports the decision to intervene in Iraq but said a lack of adequate forces hampered the occupation and efforts to end the looting early on.
"We paid a big price for not stopping it, because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," he said in a speech Monday to the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. "We never had enough troops on the ground."
Bremer's comments echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion.
In a statement Monday, Bremer said that he fully supports the administration's plan for training Iraqi security forces as well as its overall strategy for Iraq. "I believe that we currently have sufficient troop levels in Iraq," he said in an e-mailed statement.
-- Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks
House Ethics Panel Rebukes
Majority Leader for Third Time
The House ethics committee admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for asking federal aviation officials to track an airplane involved in a Texas political spat, and for conduct that suggested political donations might influence legislative action.
The two-pronged rebuke marked the second time in six days -- and the third time overall -- that the ethics panel has admonished the House's second-ranking Republican.
The ethics committee, five Republicans and five Democrats who voted unanimously on the findings, concluded its letter to DeLay by saying: "In view of the number of instances to date in which the committee has found it necessary to comment on conduct in which you have engaged, it is clearly necessary for you to temper your future actions to assure that you are in full compliance at all times with the applicable House rules and standards of conduct."
DeLay said in a statement that he believed the complaint "should have been thrown out immediately," but, "I accept the committee's guidance."
The ethics panel faulted DeLay's actions in asking the Federal Aviation Administration last year to help locate a private plane that Republicans thought was carrying Texas Democratic legislators. Some Democratic lawmakers were leaving the state to prevent a quorum that Republicans needed in Austin to pass a bitterly disputed congressional redistricting plan engineered by DeLay.
The committee also admonished DeLay for his dealings with top officers of Kansas-based Westar Energy Inc. Some of the officers wrote memos in 2002 citing their belief that $56,500 in campaign contributions to political committees associated with DeLay and other Republicans would get them "a seat at the table" where key legislation was being drafted.
-- Charles Babington
Nobel Prizes Awarded in
Sciences, Literature, Peace
Nobel Prizes were awarded last week in:
* Physiology or Medicine to two U.S. scientists -- Richard Axel of Columbia University and Linda Buck of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle -- who as co-workers and later as competitors worked out the basic biology of the sense of smell.
* Physics to three Americans -- David J. Gross of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and H. David Politzer of the California Institute of Technology. They explained that quarks, the particles that make up atoms' protons and neutrons, bind more closely together as they are pulled apart.
* Chemistry to two Israelis -- Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa -- and an American -- Irwin Rose of the University of California at Irvine -- for discovering the method by which cells tag proteins that are defective or have outlived their usefulness and direct them to the cellular machinery that grinds them up into reusable parts.
* Literature to Elfriede Jelinek, an avant-garde Austrian author and dramatist known for politicized prose that stabs at social convention and sexual oppression. She is perhaps best known in the United States as author of the 1988 novel "The Piano Teacher," the basis for the acclaimed but controversial film of the same name.
* Peace to Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai for her work as leader of the Green Belt Movement, which seeks empower women, improve the environment and fight corruption in Africa. She is Kenya's deputy environment minister.
Worries About Contamination
Diminish Flu Vaccine Supply
The supply of influenza vaccine for the coming winter was cut in half when one of only two companies making flu shots for use in the United States said it would not be able to sell 48 million doses here because some of it may be contaminated.
Federal officials said they would appeal to healthy adults to forgo flu shots this year so that the supply can go to those who are at higher risk for complications from the viral illness.
Before Tuesday's announcement, this season's supply was supposed to be about 100 million doses, up from 87 million last winter. Influenza kills about 36,000 people in the United States each year, and as many as 500,000 worldwide.
Chiron Corp., which makes flu vaccine at a plant in Liverpool, England, said in August it would deliver most of its product late because some lots had been found to be contaminated with bacteria. However, virtually the entire order was canceled after the British agency that regulates drug manufacturing decided to halt all vaccine shipments from the plant for three months while it investigates.
A panel that advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immediately drew up a list of groups that should get first claim on the 54 million doses expected to be available.
Leading the list of those who should get the vaccine now are children 6 months to 2 years old.
Other high-priority groups include everyone 65 years and older, people between 2 and 65 who have chronic illnesses, pregnant women, nursing home residents, children taking aspirin, health care workers and people in physical contact with babies less than 6 months old.
-- David Brown
High Court Declines to Hear
Appeal on Do-Not-Call List
The national do-not-call list overcame its last legal hurdle when the Supreme Court let stand a lower-court ruling affirming its constitutionality.
Without comment, the justices rejected an appeal by telemarketers who argued that the popular anti-telemarketing registry imposed improper limits on their rights to free speech.
In the year since it took effect, more than 64 million telephone numbers have been posted to the list, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which is in charge of enforcing the list. Telemarketers risk a fine of as much as $11,000 for each number they call on the list.
More than 500,000 complaints have been filed with the FTC against more than 130,000 companies, including 200 with more than 100 complaints each. Still, surveys show that consumers believe the list works.
-- Caroline E. Mayer