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Saturday's Post: Inside the McCain Implosion

For those readers who are following the collapse (and ongoing revitalization) of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, make sure to check out this story from today's Post.

In it, Mike Shear and Dan Balz (of The Post), as well as The Fix, detail the events that led to the resignations of McCain's chief strategist, campaign manager and a number of other senior level staffers.

At its heart, the dispute was between John Weaver and Rick Davis -- two longtime aides to McCain. While Weaver seemed to be in control for much of the campaign, Davis had the ear of the candidate and, as importantly, the candidate's wife.

Following a 4th of July trip to Iraq -- on which McCain was accompanied by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an early endorser -- the situation came to a head with a meeting last Monday between Weaver, Terry Nelson and the candidate. The meeting ended with Weaver storming out. The resignations came the next day.

* Rivalries Split McCain's Team

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 14, 2007; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Both McCain and Edwards have to "change the narrative" of their campaigns. Edwards is trying to do that with his poverty tour, which probably won't help much. McCain needs a more drastic change to stop his slide. One way would be to take a cue from what Eisenhower did in 1952. Here's how:

Posted by: Connecting the Dots | July 19, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

progressives = communist crybabies

Posted by: Kent | July 17, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

As a mild defense of Harry Reid, it's not easy being majority leader with 51 votes, especially when one of them -- Lieberman -- is the biggest supporter of the Bush foreign policy in the Senate. Also, I think his job would be an awful lot easier if some of those "moderate" republicans, who want a new strategy, would actually vote for...a new strategy. How do you purport to "break with the WH" on Iraq and then NOT vote for Webb-Hagel? That I just don't understand.

Posted by: Colin | July 16, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

JimD - Again, you and I share the same world view, and disappointment with Reid.

Did you see Webb-Hagel as long overdue?

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 15, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Mark -

If you don't mind me putting my two cents worth in - I sure hope they could. I am getting very disappointed with the Democratic leadership in Congress, though. I think Pelosi and, especially, Reid have been incompetent. Reid, in particular, suffers from advanced foot-in-mouth disease.

While widespread dissatisfaction with the war propelled the Democrats to power, I do not believe most people will really support a timetable for total withdrawal. I think it could really backfire on the Democrats- if they ever succeeded - because the situation would only get worse. Teaming up with the moderate Republicans who are openly calling for a new strategy is the most sensible path. It would also be good politics to make this a bipartisan effort to find a sensible strategy for Iraq.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 15, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon, I am asking you this as one of the regulars to the left of me whose opinions I value.

Do you think it would be possible for the Ds to do a deal with Warner and Lugar to back their proposal in exchange for the 4 votes needed on Webb-Hagel?

I believe Webb-Hagel, if it passes, would become veto proof. To me it is beyond belief that Webb-Hagel did not get to 60 votes for cloture, and I am unpleasantly surprised that Lindsey Graham and John McCain voted against it [Warner voted "aye"].

I think Webb-Hagel has the salvation of the Army and the Marines at heart and I do not think either of the sponsors can be criticized for not "supporting our troops".

Harry Reid's "all or nothing" approach is not what we need in the currently divided state of government in my view.

But I really want to know what you think.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 15, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

'Bullets, trucks and armor -- the meat and potatoes of the defense industry -- are back in fashion.

After years of holding second rank to expensive, futuristic programs -- from $300 million fighter jets to robots -- the essentials have been pushed to the forefront by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that has proved good news for the stocks of companies that replenish the weapons, trucks and helicopters that see frontline action. They are among the best performers this year, analysts say.

The House authorized funding for more of Oshkosh Truck's mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. The firm's stock is up 34 percent this year. (Associated Press)
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The Iraq war may be politically unpopular, but it has been a boon for the defense industry. Last year, the sector soared 27.7 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 13.6 percent. So far this year, the industry has gained 26.7 percent, compared with the S&P's 9.5 percent increase. Since 2001, defense stocks that make up the S&P Aerospace & Defense Select Industry Index have climbed 181.7 percent; the broader market is up 17.6 percent.

"Clearly anything that is still related to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is the hottest market right now," said Byron Callan, an independent industry analyst.'

the rich making big bucks -- the poor dying for it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Fred Hiatt defends the administration's' mild, restrained' secrecy

Our press corps, intended to lead the fight against government secrecy, has become our country's most enthusiastic secrecy advocates

Posted by: tragic | July 15, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The US cannot win this alone. What we have to do is swallow our pride and humbly go to the UN to look for funding and troops. They will understandably be reluctant to help, so I propose that the US offer to - belatedly - push to ratify and observe the Kyoto accords, forgive a lot of foreign debt, and propose other ways of being a better team player. Don't know if this will work either, but it's something we should have done a long time ago anyway, and it just might convince our traditional allies that there is still some value to being a friend of the US. This will require skillful diplomacy, at which Bush has turned up his nose for so long, but we have to try. Also, as Obama rightly says, we need to re-focus on the al Qaeda headquarters, in Pakistan. As Obama and a few others knew from the get-go, this war is a grade A policy mistake from the least competent, most self-interested and short-sighted president and administration in American history. It is up to the rest of us to ensure that it does not prove fatal - to democracy, NATO, traditional alliances, traditional ideas of religious freedom, the possiblity of co-existence in a plural world, etc.

And by the way, if you want NO more of that type of leadership, do NOT vote Giuliani or Romney.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 15, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Those were the words of Bob Schieffer this morning as he tossed in the towel on Iraq and specifically the Iraqi government.

'I am still not sure that I believe it: The Iraqi parliament is going on vacation during the month of August.

The White House offers the lame excuse that, after all, Baghdad is hot in August - sometimes 130 degrees.

May I ask a follow-up?

How much hotter do you suppose it is if you are a wearing a helmet, full body armor, carrying ammunition and walking foot patrols through Baghdad?

The last I heard, that is how American troops are spending their August in Iraq.

For me, this does it.'

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, both chilling and burning, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. "Is he your only child?" I ask. "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe.""

If you are concerned that the hate constituency hates only Muslims, don't worry, they hate everyone who is unlike them and suggest not so novel ideas for taking care of undesirables (emph mine):

"I am getting used to these moments - when gentle holiday geniality bleeds into... what? I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a chatty, scatty 35-year-old Californian designer. As she explains the perils of Republican dating, my mind drifts, watching the gentle tide. When I hear her say, " Of course, we need to execute some of these people," I wake up. Who do we need to execute? She runs her fingers through the sand lazily. "A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country," she says. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get." She squints at the sun and smiles. "Then things'll change.""

The gas chamber, eh? Executions for fellow citizens? Is that where we are now?

"I am travelling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino - and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success". Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, "If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them." And I have nowhere to run."

Posted by: hate crazed repugs | July 15, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

After outraising the NRSC by $13.7 million to $7 million in the first quarter, the DSCC has done it again. Second quarter totals for the DSCC are $17.6 million; for the NRSC, $8.6 million.

How extreme is that? Get this: the DSCC raised as much in June as the NRSC raised in the entire quarter:

A snapshot of the disparity between the fund-raising of the two parties, which has also played out in the presidential race, was underscored by the figures for the month of June. The Democratic senatorial committee raised $8.6 million, compared with $3.3 million by the Republican committee.

Democrats also led in cash on hand, having $20.4 million (with $4.5 million in debt) while the Republican committee had $5.5 million on hand with no debt.

Posted by: FYI CC | July 15, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

A proposed new FBI program would skirt federal laws by paying private companies to hold millions of phone and Internet records which the bureau is barred from keeping itself, experts say.

The $5 million project would apparently pay private firms to store at least two years' worth of telephone and Internet activity by millions of Americans, few of whom would ever be considered a suspect in any terrorism, intelligence or criminal matter.

The project would involve "the development of data storage and retrieval systems...for at least two years' worth of network calling records," according to an unclassified budget document posted to the FBI's Web site. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Posted by: big brother's here | July 15, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

7 years of a republican government and this is what you get" we are in more danger than ever before:

'As senior intelligence and law enforcement officials met again today in the White House Situation Room to deal with the "summer terror threat," a top terror commander said an attack was coming that would dwarf the failed bombings in London and Glasgow.

Taliban military commander Mansour Dadullah, in an interview broadcast on ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson," said the London attacks were "not enough" and that bigger attacks were coming.

"You will, God willing, be witness to more attacks," he told a Pakistani journalist in an interview conducted just four days ago.

Photos Inside an al Qaeda/Taliban 'Graduation'

Just last month, Dadullah presided over what was termed a terror training camp graduation ceremony in Pakistan, supposedly dispatching attack teams to the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

In this new interview, Dadullah talked about the ease with which he and his men operate inside Pakistan.

Photos Inside an al Qaeda/Taliban 'Graduation'
World News Video Taliban 'Graduates' Heading West?
Blotter Exclusive: Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to U.S. Europe
Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Slideshows
"We have many friends," he said. "It is very easy for us to go in and out of the tribal areas. It is no problem."

Indeed, the rugged mountains of Pakistan have emerged as a safe haven for al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"They are the central front for al Qaeda," said Seth Jones, who studies the area for the RAND Corporation, a national security think-tank. "They are the area al Qaeda has based its international and regional operations. It is a very serious threat to the U.S. security," he said.'

oh, yes, this is the same pakistan we are sending US taxpayers dollars to so they can expand their nuclear arsenal... is bush TRYING to kill us all?

Posted by: braindead policy | July 15, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suicide bombers struck twice in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday killing at least 31 people in two separate attacks as the death toll from a weekend of violence continued to mount.

At least 14 died as a joint police-army convoy was hit by two suicide bombers and a roadside bomb early on Sunday as it was traveling through the mountainous region near the Pakistani-Afghani border, an army spokesman told CNN.

In a seperate incident, 17 police officers and new recruits died when a bomber detonated explosives at a police headquarters in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, an officer told The Associated Press.

The attacks came one day after 24 soldiers were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide car bomber crashed into two army vehicles near the Afghan border.

Posted by: hey zouk, more progress! | July 15, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suicide bombers struck twice in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday killing at least 31 people in two separate attacks as the death toll from a weekend of violence continued to mount.

Residents residents examine a bus damaged in Sunday's suicide attack in Swat.

1 of 2

At least 14 died as a joint police-army convoy was hit by two suicide bombers and a roadside bomb early on Sunday as it was traveling through the mountainous region near the Pakistani-Afghani border, an army spokesman told CNN.

In a seperate incident, 17 police officers and new recruits died when a bomber detonated explosives at a police headquarters in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, an officer told The Associated Press.

The attacks came one day after 24 soldiers were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide car bomber crashed into two army vehicles near the Afghan border.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The United States will be involved in Iraq for a long time, says Stephen Hadley, the president's national security advisor - certainly beyond his time in office and the president's term.

"Will we be engaged in Iraq after January 2009?'' Hadley said in an interview with National Public Radio's All Things Considered this evening. "I think the president hopes so."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It's been a slow week in a hot era. I found myself Thursday watching President Bush's news conference and thinking about what it is about him, real or perceived, that makes people who used to smile at the mention of his name now grit their teeth. I mean what it is apart from the huge and obvious issues on which they might disagree with him.

I'm not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome. That phrase suggested that to passionately dislike the president was to be somewhat unhinged. No one thinks that anymore. I received an email before the news conference from as rock-ribbed a Republican as you can find, a Georgia woman (middle-aged, entrepreneurial) who'd previously supported him. She said she'd had it. "I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth." I was startled by her vehemence only because she is, as I said, rock-ribbed.

Posted by: peggy noonan! | July 15, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

His campaign sent out a press release hitting Tancredo in a way intended to undermine him with a critical element of the GOP base: abortion opponents in the "pro-life" movement.

In it, Brownback said that Tancredo "has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Dr. John Tanton, a founder of a major Planned Parenthood network."

Posted by: teehee | July 15, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The federal Government Accounting Office reported the war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers $12 billion monthly.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

ox News' Bill O'Reilly promised his audience "the truth about Iraq" on Thursday, saying that most Americans now feel the war has not been worth the costs, while "the president's argument for sustaining the war is largely theoretical."

O'Reilly turned on his special guest during the segment, White House press secretary Tony Snow, saying, "You can't win ... unless the Iraqi people turn on all the terrorists. And they're not."

O'Reilly said he agreed with the president that defeat in Iraq could harm the US but said that "enough is enough." The populist pundit added that the American people are as exhausted by this war as they ultimately were by Vietnam, and also that "the Iraqi government is incompetent and "the people themselves largely ungrateful."

"The whole thing is tragic and depressing, complicated and dangerous," O'Reilly concluded. "After more than four years, Iraq remains a huge stone around America's neck."

Posted by: jaw dropper | July 15, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

We learned this week that, even though White House counsel Fred Fielding had advised him that the Libby jury had reached a reasonable verdict, the president decided to commute Libby's sentence because if he didn't "it would have caused a fracture with the vice president." So Scooter got off because George Bush was afraid to piss off Dick Cheney. Is the same dynamic driving the president on Iraq? Are the efforts of administration pragmatists like Robert Gates and Condi Rice to shift the White House on the war being thwarted by 43's reluctance to face the wrath of his venomous veep? There's a scary thought: Americans continue to die in Iraq not because Bush is worried withdrawal would embolden al-Qaeda over there but because it would infuriate al-Cheney here at home.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency.

He said 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq come here as suicide bombers. In the last six months, such bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis.

The LA Times' report suggests this reality has left the U.S. in an "awkward position," because the Saudis are ostensibly a key ally in the region, which apparently has been unsuccessful in preventing its citizens from committing acts of terror in Iraq.

Or, put another way, Andrew Sullivan explains, "The Saudis, of course, are among the Bush family's closest friends, so we neither mention nor tackle this. The gulf between the reality in the Middle East and the president's account of it grows wider and wider."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

'Approximately one year ago -- in an August 2006 appearance on the Charlie Rose show -- Bill Kristol acknowledged that Iraq was teetering on the edge of civil war, stating: "It is true that we are at risk of a sectarian civil war there, and I'm extremely worried about that. I don't quarrel about that."

Since Bush adopted his escalation strategy earlier this year, Kristol has turned to defying the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq in order to justify the troop increase. Today, on Fox News Sunday, Kristol argued that the violence in Iraq does not constitute a civil war:

We're not in a civil war. This is just not true. American troops are attacking al Qaeda. They're attacking some elements of the Shi'a militias. They're doing other things, helping with reconciliation. They are not in the middle of a civil war. It's not true.

Watch it:

As sectarian violence has increased, multiple U.S. intelligence sources have acknowledged the civil war. In January, the National Intelligence Estimate said, "the term 'civil war' accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements." In March, the Pentagon for the first time said the violence in Iraq constituted a civil war.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained, "I have characterized it as a civil war even though the administration does not call it that. And the reason I call it a civil war is I think that allows you to see clearly what we're facing. We're facing groups that are now fighting each other: Sunnis vs. Shias, Shias vs. Shias, Shia vs. al-Qaeda. And it is a civil war."

UPDATE: More Bill Kristol delusions. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, he writes "Why Bush Will Be A Winner."

A better title should be
'Why the Post is hemorhaging Readers'

only a paper in the middle of the Beltway Bubble could think Kristol has any credibility whatsoever.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

yeah, roo the saudis were also responsible for 9/11. so what do we do? invade them? hell no. our Great Leader kisses their princes and holds their hands. By the way, guess who owns the most expensive house in America, at 150 million? why it's none other than Prince Bandar, bush's dear friend. The Prince uses the house, '3 or 4 times a year'

thank god we're paying almost 4 bucks a gallon at the pump, so the Prince can continue to live the high life.

Posted by: - | July 15, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP) -- A corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level."

Cpl. Trent D. Thomas faces murder charges after witnesses alleged he shot a 52-year-old Iraqi man.

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

"We were told to crank up the violence level," said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense.

When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: "We beat people, sir."

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamdaniya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the "prince of jihad," and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system.

Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, Missouri, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Lopezromo, who was not part of the squad on its late-night mission, said he saw nothing wrong with what Thomas did.

"I don't see it as an execution, sir," he told the judge. "I see it as killing the enemy."

He said Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency.

Posted by: winning hearts and minds | July 15, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

According to LAT Saudis are overwhelmingly the largest group of foreign terrorists in Iraq (45%) followed by Syrians (15%), Lebanese (15%) and North Africans (10%).

Posted by: roo | July 15, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

McCain appointed buddies to positions of power in his campaign, and then when they squabbled about who was running the show he didn't name a CEO, but told them to just "work it out."

So they did.... many of them resigned.... but not before running his Straight Talk Express into the organizational and financial ditch.

Is there lots of time to still get back on the high road?. Don't think so. This whole mess just reinforces the feeling of many that McCain's time is past.

And, if he can't effectively delegate and put together a well-oiled campaign staff, how can he.....?

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 15, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Conservative candidates just haven't seen the media endlessly repeat their (real or perceived; significant or not) missteps the way they have been repeated about progressives."

Maybe it's time for that to change.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 14, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Republicans claim Al Gore said he invented the Internet? Well, who cares if it's a lie? It's "out there," so reporters have no choice but to repeat it and repeat it until it becomes the essence of the public's view of the man, a vivid distillation of what all reporters dislike about him. Republicans say John Kerry "looks French"? Ha ha, what a witty barb! We'll make sure to mention it in story after story. John Edwards got an expensive haircut?

That certainly is worthy of extended discussion, rumination, and analysis, and once every ounce of blood is squeezed from the stone, we'll just keep it around to bash him over the head with, lest he begin to think for a moment that he can convince anyone he's anything but a fraud and a girly-boy.

But this constant media repetition of "damaging" anecdotes isn't unique to John Edwards. Not even close.

When you do a Nexis search for "AL GORE and INVENTED THE INTERNET" ... well, Nexis throws its hands up in despair. It gives up, declaring, "This search has been interrupted because it will return more than 3,000 results." Media coverage of his presidential campaign (and his post-campaign activities) included the (bogus but purportedly illustrative) anecdote at every available opportunity, no matter how thin the pretext. His decision to wear earth tones (like every other human save, perhaps, Dieter from "Sprockets") was subject to similar treatment. As was John Kerry's statement that he had voted for one version of the Iraq supplemental and against a different version. And Howard Dean's Iowa "scream."

These examples all have a few things in common:

All are, to some degree, inaccurate, unfair, or of minimal significance.

All were (and still are) endlessly repeated by media at every available opportunity, often as though the anecdotes are deeply illustrative of some personal or political failing.

All of the targets in question were Democrats.

That last one is important. Conservative candidates just haven't seen the media endlessly repeat their (real or perceived; significant or not) missteps the way they have been repeated about progressives.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 14, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

According to a U.S. Army investigation, the Iraqi Police assisted a brazen January assault on U.S. troops in the southern city of Karbala -- an attack that a U.S. military spokesman had tried to tie to Iranian operatives earlier this month.

USA Today obtained a copy of the Army's February 27 report. The report found that the Karbala policemen exploited "a level of trust" that U.S. commanders placed with them to provide security for a provincial headquarters where a contingent of soldiers were stationed. In the assault, one of the most sophisticated on U.S. troops to date, gunmen passed themselves off as part of a U.S. security team and entered the compound past police checkpoints, eventually killing five soldiers.

USA Today reports that in advance of the attack, Iraqi police abandoned their stations, as did Iraqi civilian employees of the compound's PX. The gunmen exhibited signs of knowing how U.S. forces would defend themselves under attack, and used that apparent knowledge to pin down and abduct soldiers and officers.

Earlier this month, in a U.S. military briefing for the press, Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, a former White House aide, accused Iranian operatives of the powerful Qods Forces of masterminding the attack and using Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army to pull it off. Nothing in the Army report supports Bergner's contention.

But reporter Laura Rozen notes that Bergner's briefing "failed to mention" the February Army report ascribing complicity to the Iraqi police. It's not difficult to see why -- considering that the U.S.'s long-term strategy in Iraq is to turn security operations over to uniformed Iraqis like the Karbala police.

Posted by: this is insanity | July 14, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

BAGHDAD -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shrugged off U.S. doubts of his government's military and political progress on Saturday, saying Iraqi forces are capable and American troops can leave "any time they want."

One of his top aides, meanwhile, accused the United States of embarrassing the Iraqi government by violating human rights and treating his country like an "experiment in a U.S. lab."

Posted by: ungrateful b*stards | July 14, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -

I sent the letter, on my letterhead, using my name, to the campaign finance office.

I sent it with a small check. I said that there would likely be similar letters from others [Proud, are you there?] because I do not actually know your names!

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 14, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

But McCain himself (and what's left of his campaign) is still painfully cheerful despite his troubles.

Is this where he feels most comfortable? No wonder he can never win a primary...

Posted by: chris | July 14, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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