Wednesday, May 9

Quick Truths

From Thinkprogress:

The Pentagon’s announcement yesterday that 35,000 soldiers in 10 Army combat brigades will begin deploying to Iraq in August as replacements makes it “possible to sustain the increase of U.S. troops there until at least the end of this year.”

“Partial data on attacks gathered from five U.S. brigades operating in Baghdad” show that total attacks since the escalation began in February “were either steady or increasing. In some cases, certain kinds of attacks dipped as the U.S. troop increase began, only to begin rising again in recent weeks. Overall, ‘the number of attacks has stayed relatively constant’ in Baghdad, said one U.S. officer.”

“The government’s methods for deciding compensation for emotionally disturbed veterans have little basis in science, are applied unevenly and may even create disincentives for veterans to get better, an influential scientific advisory group said yesterday.”

“Led by California, 31 states representing more than 70% of the U.S. population announced Tuesday that they would measure and jointly track greenhouse gas emissions by major industries.” The new Climate Registry is seen as a “crucial precursor” to regulating global warming pollution.

Christians are fleeing in droves from the southern Baghdad district of Dora after Sunni insurgents told them they would be killed unless they converted to Islam or left,” marking “the first apparent attempt to empty an entire Baghdad neighborhood of Christians, the Christians say.”

House war opponents craft new bill.

“A week after President Bush vetoed a Democratic war spending measure that set a timeline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, House Democrats said Tuesday they hope to vote later this week on a second proposal that would impose new conditions on the administration’s prosecution of the war.”

[T]he plan developed by Reps. David Obey, D-Wis, and John P. Murtha, D-Pa. — and referred to by some Democrats as the “short-leash” plan — would guarantee about $30 billion in funding only through July for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At that point, the Bush administration would be required to report on the Iraqi government’s progress on a series of benchmarks, including disarming sectarian militias and passing laws to equitably share oil wealth across the country. Congress would then take a second vote to approve further funding through the end of September.

Gonzales angered when WH ties to firings were exposed.

On Feb. 7, 2007, Alberto Gonzales’ spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told two top Gonzales aides that the Attorney General was “extremely upset” that his deputy, Paul McNulty, had told the Senate Judiciary committee the day before that U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins had been fired to make room for an aide to Karl Rove. But why was he upset?

When the Roehrkasse e-mail came to light, he told the press that Gonzales had been upset because he believed that “Bud Cummins’ removal involved performance considerations.” But on April 15, Congressional sources tell TIME, Gonzales’ former chief of staff Kyle Sampson told a different story. During a private interview with Judiciary Committee staffers Sampson said three times in as many minutes that Gonzales was angry with McNulty because he had exposed the White House’s involvement in the firings — had put its role “in the public sphere,” as Sampson phrased it, according to Congressional sources familiar with the interview.

Chevron to acknowledge aiding Saddam.

“Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators. … At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company. Ms. Rice resigned from Chevron’s board on Jan. 16, 2001, after being named national security advisor by President Bush.” (Via Atrios)

Bush backing Wolfowitz despite ethics violations.

“The White House said on Tuesday the World Bank could continue to be effective with embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in charge.”

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