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Secret, Scary Plans (english)
by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Email: billbell01 (nospam) msn.com
28 Feb 2003
Secret, Scary Plans
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Secret, Scary Plans
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Some of the most secret and scariest work under way in the
Pentagon these days is the planning for a possible military
strike against nuclear sites in North Korea.
Officials say that so far these are no more than
contingency plans. They cover a range of military options
from surgical cruise missile strikes to sledgehammer
bombing, and there is even talk of using tactical nuclear
weapons to neutralize hardened artillery positions aimed at
Seoul, the South Korean capital.
There's nothing wrong with planning, or with brandishing a
stick to get Kim Jong Il's attention. But several factions
in the administration are serious about a military strike
if diplomacy fails, and since the White House is unwilling
to try diplomacy in any meaningful way, it probably will
fail. The upshot is a growing possibility that President
Bush could reluctantly order such a strike this summer,
risking another Korean war.
The sources of information for this column will be as
mystifying as the underlying U.S. policy itself, for few
will discuss these issues on the record. But it seems those
interested in the military option - consisting primarily of
raptors clustered around Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and
in the National Security Council - have until recently been
slapped down by President Bush himself.
Recently Mr. Bush seems to have become more hawkish. He is
said to have been furious when Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage (one of the few senior Bush aides who know
anything about Korea) told Congress that the U.S. would
have to talk to North Korea.
So the White House has hardened its position further,
swatting away its old willingness to engage North Korea
bilaterally within a multilateral setting. Now the
administration has dropped the bilateral reference and is
willing to talk to North Korea only in a multilateral
framework that doesn't exist. The old approach had a
snowball's chance in purgatory; now it's less than that.
"We haven't exhausted diplomacy," one senior player noted.
"We haven't begun diplomacy. . . . We could have a slippery
slope to a Korean war. I don't think that's too alarmist at
Other experts I respect are less worried. James Lilley, an
old Korea hand and former ambassador to Seoul and Beijing,
says my concerns are "much too alarmist." He says the State
Department controls Korea policy and realizes that "the
military option is almost nonexistent."
Maybe. But meanwhile, North Korea is cranking out
provocations and plutonium. This week it started up a small
reactor in Yongbyon. More worrying, America's spooks
detected on-and-off activity at a steam plant at Yongbyon,
which may mean that the North is preparing to start up a
neighboring reprocessing plant capable of turning out
enough plutonium for five nuclear weapons by summer. Look
for reprocessing to begin soon, perhaps the day bombs first
fall on Iraq.
Dick Cheney and his camp worry, not unreasonably, that the
greatest risk of all would be to allow North Korea to churn
out nuclear warheads like hotcakes off a griddle. In a few
years North Korea will be able to produce about 60 nuclear
weapons annually, and fissile material is so compact that
it could easily be sold and smuggled to Iraq, Iran, Libya,
Syria and Al Qaeda.
The hawk faction believes that the U.S. as a last resort
could make a surgical strike, even without South Korean
consent, and that Kim Jong Il would not commit suicide by
retaliating. The hawks may well be right.
Then again, they may be wrong. And if they're wrong, it
would be quite a mistake.
The North has 13,000 artillery pieces and could fire some
400,000 shells in the first hour of an attack, many with
sarin and anthrax, on the 21 million people in the "kill
box" - as some in the U.S. military describe the Seoul
metropolitan area. The Pentagon has calculated that another
Korean war could kill a million people.
So if the military option is too scary to contemplate, and
if allowing North Korea to proliferate is absolutely
unacceptable, what's left? Precisely the option that every
country in the region is pressing on us: negotiating with
Ironically, the gravity of the situation isn't yet fully
understood in either South Korea or Japan, partly because
they do not think this administration would be crazy enough
to consider a military strike against North Korea. They're
Barksdale B-52s head out as part of anti-terror effort
The Associated Press
2/27/03 12:25 PM
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- Two B-52s roared out of Barksdale Air Force Base early Thursday as part of the U.S. anti-terrorism effort.
The bomber crews were unavailable for comment before the planes zipped off of the runway in the morning mist at about 7 a.m.
Details of the mission were not released but officials said the crews were headed to one of three locations: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; Royal Air Force Fairford, England; or Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. From these locations, bombers can react to crises in Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq.
Meanwhile, about 100 reservists from the 917th Wing were put on 24-hour alert for deployment. They could leave any day, officials with the Wing said.
Members of the group, which supports both the B-52 and A-10, remain confident about what lies ahead, said one technical sergeant who asked not to be identified for security reasons. For some, this is their third deployment since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
------ On-cycle story from The (Shreveport) Times
Boyd Fallwell wrote:
Greetings, I support President Bush all the way as he knows what is coming if we do not act now and destroy the forces of evil which are at our doorstep. President Bush is protecting Americans by his actions, even protecting those who are cowardly and protest the efforts to protect America from certian death of weapons of mass destruction. We are already at war since 911 and will not hold back. We shall prevail. if there were no 911, American forces would not be on Saddams doorstep waiting to strike. America will act soon. Forget the French and German support, who needs the ungratful. Read these articles below which tell it all... Major Chapalin Boyd Fallwell Blind to evil
TO THE EDITOR:
Having listened to much of the recent anti-war rhetoric, I recall, in part, a speech by Brian Shul, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. He said, "We know the enemy is at our front door, and isn't it interesting those who cry loudest and most often for their rights, are the least willing to defend them? These are the weak and cowardly who, when faced with danger, will cower and hide, counting on better men than themselves to make and keep them free ... These are those who want no part of war, but rush to bask in the security of its victory."Have we not learned all it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to stand idle? Are we really so blind that in the face of terrorism we equate nonmilitary action with peaceful consequences? Do we stop at only words to defend our beliefs? For if our beliefs don't guide our actions, why have them?
To all who protect and serve our nation and to all the families, friends and organizations who support us, thank you!
David W. Evans, Warr Acres French have short memoriesTO THE EDITOR:
After viewing another American flag burning on TV, this time in France, I decided I could no longer just sit and do nothing. So I bought a miniature French flag, drew a swastika in the center of the tri-color and mailed it with a letter to the French ambassador in Washington, D.C. I reminded the French that without America's help over 50 years ago their flag could have the swastika today.What are the French teaching their children about World War II? Do they not know that thousands of Americans died to liberate France and Europe from the Nazis? Do they not care?
History is repeating itself, only this time it's Saddam Hussein. And the French (and others) are asking for more time for inspections. Saddam has now refused to destroy his weapons of mass destruction. When these countries are attacked by Saddam, I'm sure they will plead for our help. Maybe we will say, "Let's give him more time (maybe 12 more years) and perhaps he will just go away!"
How about it, Americans? Let's bombard the French embassy with miniature "white flags of surrender."
Jerry C. Tate, City
Vive la boycott!
TO THE EDITOR:
French President Jacques Chirac's stupidity and greed pertaining to his efforts to project and conceal questionable French business dealings with Iraq is exceeded only by his arrogance. All Americans should boycott anything to do with France. They just might come around to appreciate what we did for them in World War I and World War II, not to mention the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II.
R.M. McVay, City
Major Boyd Fallwell
US Army Volunteer Reserve - Chaplain Corps
Veterans of America Honor Guard
2828 S.W. 53rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK. 73119
Ph. 405-681-4263 Mobile 405-834-4690 mailto:Chaplain (at) honorguard.org
Click for story
By Representative J. D. Hayworth
Of all the arguments the so-called "antiwar" groups trot out, the two most slanderous are that we should not confront Saddam Hussein because Iraqi civilians, especially children, will die and that the coming war with Iraq will be fought to control its oil.
Both these have in common an assumption of depravity on the part of the president — the first that he is callous to the suffering of civilians and the second that he is out to enrich his friends in the oil industry. If anyone is depraved on both these counts, however, it is Saddam Hussein and those who oppose his ouster.
Tom Andrews, head of the group Win Without War, is a case in point. He recently argued against military action to disarm Saddam, saying, "I believe we will be responsible for the death of Iraqi children if we go in with a preemptive strike when it's not necessary."
The fact is: innocent Iraqi children and other civilians are right now dying every day at the hands of Saddam Hussein, who uses murder, torture, and rape as instruments of internal security.
Since the end of the Gulf War, it is estimated that 200,000 to 225,000 Iraqis (135,000-150,000 of them children) have died as a result of the internal uprising to overthrow Saddam after the Gulf War and Saddam's manipulation of U.N.-imposed economic sanctions.
Furthermore, over the last 20 years, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people have permanently disappeared into Iraq's prisons, while hundreds of thousands of others have been left physically and mentally broken, the victims of torture.
Note that most of this slaughter occurred while Iraq was under an intense inspection regime. So tightening the current inspections, as Andrews and other appeasers advocate, will do nothing to stop the reign of terror.
Since the Gulf War itself resulted in 1,000-5,000 civilian casualties — a fraction of the number Saddam has killed since then — a war to disarm and oust Saddam would surely save more innocent Iraqi lives, including children, than anything the antiwar crowd proposes.
Indeed, in Thursday's Daily Telegraph of London, dove-turned-hawk Julius Strauss quotes one Assos Hardi, the editor of a liberal newspaper in northern Iraq, saying, "How many people do you think will die if America attacks Saddam? It will probably be less than the number of people he kills in a single month."
An equally squalid accusation, favored especially by Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, is that President Bush wants war in order to control Iraq's oil as a reward to his friends in the oil industry, summed up in the bumper sticker slogan "No blood for oil."
When Kucinich made this claim on a recent Meet the Press, Richard Perle immediately called it what it is — a lie. If we wanted Iraq's oil, the easiest and cheapest way to get it would be to lift the economic sanctions and buy it.
In reality, the "No blood for oil" placards carried by anti-American street protestors should be directed at Saddam, who has spilled rivers of blood in his quest to control as much oil as he can.
Have Dean, Kucinich, and the rest forgotten that Saddam invaded Iran to gain access to the oil in its southwest province of Khuzestan? If successful, he would have controlled 20 percent of the world's oil consumption, and with it maybe more wealth and power than Saudi Arabia.
Saddam also invaded Kuwait partly to gain access to its oil. Adding Kuwait would have almost doubled the size of Iraq's oil reserves, again giving Saddam economic power to rival Saudi Arabia. Can anyone doubt that given the chance Saddam would invade Kuwait again?
If anyone is in it for the oil it is Saddam, who has spilled the blood of millions in the process. Why? Because more oil means more money and more money means more political and military power, with which Saddam can blackmail the region and the world and realize his megalomaniac dream of becoming the supreme leader of all Arabs.
It is pathetic that so many members of the antiwar movement have transferred to President Bush attitudes and actions for which Saddam is already guilty. It exposes the nature of the movement for what it is — partisan and intellectually dishonest.
— The Honorable J. D. Hayworth is a congressman from Arizona.
Dan Rather - Easier On Dictators Than Democratically Elected Americans
By Tim Graham
February 27, 2003
Dan Rather's big interview with Saddam Hussein Wednesday night was not an exercise in social responsibility. It was a commercial opportunity, no more dignified than Martin Bashir exploiting Michael Jackson. It didn't put the American people first. It put Dan Rather first. On last night's shows alone, Rather was softer than ABC's Barbara Walters was with Robert Blake and CBS's Troy Roberts was with "preppy killer" Robert Chambers. These men were at worst small-time killers. Saddam Hussein is a mass murderer, a man who has children killed in front of their parents as a torture tactic. Rather called him "President Hussein" and "Mr. President," and sat cooperatively as he declared that he had won 100 percent of the last election. "100 percent," Rather repeated, with a tone that sounded like "you don't say."
In the days leading up to the Dan's big "get," the liberal media seemed to rally around the anchorman, refusing to acknowledge a potentially damaging first impression: The interview was providing aid and comfort to the enemy, as if Edward R. Murrow would have jumped at interviewing Hitler; it would also provide aid and comfort to the antiwar rabble here and abroad, a political boost to the forces arrayed against Saddam's disarmament.
The objections to Rather's interview shouldn't be restricted to that simple formula. Yes, Saddam did use it to project his ridiculous claims on the American people — he loves Allah, freedom, and humanity. Yes, it did probably embolden that strange minority who feels Saddam is a put-upon fall guy for American imperialism. Yes, it could be seen as a contributing factor if President Bush's push for war takes a punch in the polls. But this interview actually reflects a trend in American journalism at least as old as the Vietnam War: solicitous, respectful treatment of despotic regimes opposing America.
It's not just the dictators themselves, but their mouthpieces as well. They're not spin artists for savage regimes. They're diplomats with gravitas. As with the oily Vladimir Pozners and Alejandro Bendanas before him, Saddam's stooge/spokesman Tariq Aziz has been quite ubiquitous on American television. Catch him on Good Morning America between the celebrity movie plugs. On February 11, Diane Sawyer interviewed Aziz in a very sympathetic tone, asking if he had a gun in his home to protect his family and sounding relieved when he said "yes, of course." (All the better to shoot American invaders.) She added this poor-thing question: "Just before you go to sleep at night, how afraid are you?"
The liberal media may suggest this is balance against the gung-ho patriots singing "God Bless America" in D.C., but it's not balance. It's a sick imbalance against democratic institutions, the only institutions under which full-throated freedom of journalistic _expression thrives. Instead of demonstrating any respect for that notion, the media elite pound and punish the democratically elected, and politely call dictators like Saddam "Mr. President."
So Dan Rather was merely the lucky one, the one who got the historic two-shot and left the toughness in New York. Rather was right when he insisted that almost any reporter would take that interview offer. But wasn't softening it a condition for getting it? It should be said that Rather was not selected because he was tough. Obtaining the second interview ought to prove the first interview was a failure, if toughness was the goal.
Reporters love cynically breaking down the way legislation moves or doesn't move through Congress, and love questioning the sincerity and coherence of White House military-diplomatic moves. Few will make an issue of the sausage making at CBS. Media "reporters" like the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz left out nagging details like Rather's help from Ramsey Clark. (Credit AP's David Bauder for reporting Clark put in a "good word" with Saddam even as he leads a campaign to have George W. Bush impeached.) CBS tried to explain, with the embarrassment it deserved, that it had to submit to Iraqi cameras, Iraqi translators, and wait patiently for Iraqi minders to review their tape and send it along. More comical was Rather's story that Saddam's men drove him around Baghdad for two and a half hours before taking him to the interview site. These are clearly not conditions CBS would accept from the president or any other democratically elected leader. Dictators get more respect just because they're dictators, and it's the end of sweeps.
When NBC's Tom Brokaw secured special access to the Bush White House for a primetime special next to its fictional West Wing, it drew the usual hoots from reporters who slammed it as a softball platform for Team Bush. But no one in the media establishment is throwing those brickbats at CBS. They all avoid the obvious contrast: whether Dan is too soft on this lie-a-minute despot, compared to Dan roughing up the pols at home. He took pride in sticking it to Nixon as a White House correspondent. How can we forget anchorman Rather roughing up Bush 41 in 1988, angrily sniping about Iran-Contra: "You've made us hypocrites in the face of the world!"
By contrast, Rather gave Saddam five minutes or more devoted to his bizarre proposal for a debate with President Bush. Rather called it "surprising" and "new," and CBS plugged it relentlessly. But the tape from August 29, 1990 quickly revealed that CBS reported then that Saddam Hussein was offering to debate George Bush or Margaret Thatcher. This interview wasn't about journalistic integrity, it was about showmanship and self-promotion.
In this show, Rather came up short on any moral showboating, a common tactic in American interviews. He asked dispassionately if Saddam agreed with the September 11 attacks. He also asked if Osama bin Laden has made him irrelevant on the "Arab street." Nice career move, killing 3,000 Americans? This, from the man who suggested he had found true evil as he welcomed the Republican Congress in 1995 with sentences like "The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor." Last night, Newt Gingrich must have sputtered as Saddam just spoke his piece about how he loves peace and humanity without any disobedient rebuttal from Dan.
The media elite ought to come out of this interview at least asking themselves if they would have been as soft a touch as Rather. Not every question was to Saddam's liking. But a journalist who pictured himself as a toughie would not ask "What's the most important thing you want the American people to understand at this juncture of history?" That's a platform, not a question. I would hope another journalist might care more than Rather did about the reaction of his countrymen, especially the parents who lost sons and daughters to this tyrant twelve years ago. I would hope another journalist would vow to hold Saddam accountable before the free press at every broken phony line he gave me as the war proceeds. Rather couldn't even remember the phony debate line he swallowed last time.
— Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center.
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NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
Contains latest scientific information on occupational exposure standards
This Pocket Guide is the latest printing of scientific information on industrial hygiene for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals. The NIOSH Pocket Guide is a handy spiral-bound 8-1/2 x 4-3/4” field manual. The guide continues to be an important reference for first responders to safety and disaster situations.
Life-saving guidance presents key information for 677 chemicals or substance groupings that are found in the work environment and is presented in tabular form to provide a quick, convenient source of general industrial hygiene practices.
For more information or to order your copy of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, go to NTIS web page at http://www.ntis.gov/products/bestsellers/nioshguide.asp
Fuel Cell Vehicles: Race to a New Automotive Future
This new report released by the Office of Technology Policy at the Department of Commerce, details the many challenges to the widespread adoption of fuel cells, both technological and infrastructure-related. It also presents a snapshot of current policies and activities around the world that seek to address these challenges.
For more information on Fuel Cell Vehicles and a list of other reports about hydrogen power, go to NTIS web page at http://www.ntis.gov/products/pages/fuelcell.asp
From: omega (at) stic.net
Subject: Feb 25 Lonsberry Column
A HEART ISN'T JUST AN ORGAN
I guess the straw that broke the camel's back was the donation.
The donation they didn't make.
Two grieving American families gave up hearts and lungs and they wouldn't give up anything.
Because their attorney thought it might hurt the lawsuit.
The family of Jesica Santillan, that 17-year-old Mexican girl who died over the weekend in North Carolina. A nation's act of charity was thrown back in its teeth and instead of thank yous it's going to be subpoenas.
She was born with a heart defect, down near Guadalajara. Her family couldn't afford medical care there so it hired a smuggler to bring them all to the United States. One more coyote with one more van full of illegals.
And the expectation somebody else would pay for it.
So a foundation was set up, and donations were collected and collected and collected. And after three years on the waiting list a suitable combination of lungs and a heart were found.
Only, as everyone now knows, they weren't suitable. They were the wrong blood type. A double check wasn't double checked and a mistake got through uncaught.
Which made a nation sick to its stomach.
The lovely pictures of Jesica, all in white for her quincianerra, put beside new pictures of her with half-open eyelids on a hospital bed with a blue hose down her throat.
She was a heartbreaking figure.
And we understood in a way her parents sneaking into the country, reasoning that we, too, would go anywhere or do anything to try and save our child.
But sympathy was quickly displaced by bitterness as her mother lashed out, demanding prison terms for the doctors who had made the mistake.
Doctors and others who, by the way, had spent three years caring for Jesica, often with a waive of personal fees.
But there was a mistake. An inexcusable mistake. But a forgivable mistake. Made not by people who didn't care, but by people who cared completely. Made by people who fought heroically to keep this poor teen-ager alive.
And a wait that took three years the first time took less than 10 days the second time as Jesica was put atop a national priority list.
That's how caring this country is. That's how compassionate our medical system is.
Two hearts and four lungs.
That means two families, probably the parents of someone young and whose
organs were small enough to fit in Jesica's petite chest. Two tragedies and two discussions about organ donation and two sets of forms signed through teary eyes.
And yet there was no miracle.
The death sentence to which Jesica was born could not be commuted. She died innocently, her family's dream of a normal life for her never coming true.
Which is numbingly sad.
Except that grief has again turned to anger and spite.
The doctors asked about organ donation, and the organ bank had an interest, and the family said no. The family that had for three years played the sympathy card in search of cash and organs had suddenly reversed its position on the issue of organ donation.
When they were asking of others, it was a good idea. But when it was they who were being asked, it was a bad idea. They were willing to take, but not to give. To expect others to be sympathetic to them, but to extend no such sympathy to others.
That's where they lost me.
And it got worse when I found out why.
Their lawyer told them not to. Their lawyer wanted the remains intact for autopsy so there wouldn't be any questions during the lawsuit.
It came down to a choice between giving Jesica's organs to help save another young person and putting the bow on a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
And the money won.
Two families gave their loved ones' organs, two people on the waiting list are still on the waiting list, and Jesica's corneas and kidneys died with her.
And they're looking for a big payday.
Which leaves me with just one question: If they're still illegals, can we finally deport them?
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2003
Notes from the Pentagon.
From: udorn2 (at) earthlink.net
February 28, 2003
Notes from the Pentagon.
Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough
Morale is low in the Iraqi army and many soldiers are preparing white flags of surrender, we are told by someone in northern Iraq who recently interviewed two defectors from Saddam Hussein's army.
One was a captain who defected from the 5th Mechanized Division of the 1st Corps, based near the northern city of Kirkuk. The captain told our informant that the heavy division was only 35 percent combat-effective. The captain said morale was so low that younger soldiers are speaking openly about surrendering — before the first shot has been fired.
A second soldier, a senior noncommissioned officer, defected from the same division's 34th Brigade, based south of the northern city of Mosul.
This soldier said that of the 28 tanks in his care, only six were working. The others were broken down or otherwise in need of repair.
"He said the whole division was at about 25 percent effectiveness and most soldiers were hiding their white flags," said our source, who spoke recently to both defectors.
Intelligence sources in northern Iraq, where both CIA Special Operations Group officers and Army Special Forces are active, said there have been dozens of defectors in the past several weeks. There also are reports that Saddam's henchmen have issued orders to commanders to shoot any deserters they can catch.
The poor state of Saddam's regular army recalls that of some units in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, when Iraqi soldiers were so eager to surrender that some gave up to an Italian film crew that was covering the war.
We hear that Thomas W. O'Connell is the pick to become the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict (SOIC). Now an employee of defense contractor Raytheon Co., Mr. O'Connell is a former special operations commando and CIA analyst.
He declined to comment yesterday through a Raytheon spokesman.
The Pentagon last year tried to get rid of the SOIC post, but the move was rejected by lawmakers who want special operations to have an advocate in the Pentagon. Our sources say the Pentagon now plans to ask Congress to give it more flexibility in deciding what duties the assistant secretary performs.
It's official. The law of the land. CINC is no more.
A message went out of the Pentagon on Feb. 20 from Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs chairman, telling the commands to stop using "commander in chief" or CINC, to describe four-star regional military commanders.
From now on, commanders such as Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, will be known as "commander." They will appear in acronyms as CDR. The deputy commander will appear as DCDR.
The message accomplishes Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's goal of ending any confusion between the president, who constitutionally is the commander in chief, and regional commanders.
"The secretary of defense signed a memorandum stating that the title 'commander in chief' shall be used only to connote or indicate the president of the United States of America," the Myers message states. "The memorandum also discontinued use of the acronym 'CINC' for military commanders and provided a list of new titles to be used."
Gen. Myers offers further instruction:
"The abbreviation 'CDR' will be used to replace the acronym 'CINC' and DCDR will replace 'DCINC.' To avoid confusion and associate 'CDR' with the appropriate echelon, the following writing conventions will be adopted in all joint publications, messages and general correspondence. When referring to the commander of a combatant command, 'CDR' will be used in conjunction with the organizational name. Example, commander, U.S. European Command, will be referred to as CDRUSEUCOM. When referring to the collective group formerly known as 'CINCS,' the term 'Combatant Commanders' will be used ... All organizational messaging addresses must be updated not later than 28 February 2003."
The pretrial hearing for Air Force Majs. Harry Schmidt and William Umbach may be over, but that has not stopped the defense attorneys and prosecutors from continuing the fight.
Air Force Col. John Odom, the lead government attorney, has accused Charles Gittins, Maj. Schmidt's defense attorney, of submitting a final written argument to the judge that contains classified information. The two pilots are charged with manslaughter for mistakenly bombing Canadians in Afghanistan in April, killing four soldiers.
Mr. Gittins vehemently denies his brief contains any secret data. He says Col. Odom went so far as to have authorities search the laptops of attorneys for Air Force defendants. He said one defense counsel is now under investigation.
"It's intimidation because we were more effective in our brief than they expected," Mr. Gittins tells us.
Col. Odom sent an e-mail to military lawyers that said, in part, "If you have a printed-out version of the briefs, they should be appropriately secured, since they contain classified information (classified 'Secret') which has been distributed in an inappropriate manner. Obviously, any release of the briefs to news media for any purpose by any counsel would constitute a federal offense."
Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, in a daily message report, told officers Monday that commanders are the key to the military criminal-justice system.
"Taking the commander out of the system is a formula for battlefield defeat," the "Aim Points" message says.
"Commanders have unique insight into their people and what is needed to maintain high morale and effectiveness; this unique insight makes the UCMJ different from the civilian criminal-justice system by vesting commanders with broad authority over disciplinary matters."
Rummy's press party
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld often delights in poking his finger in the eyes of news reporters, challenging the premises of their questions or correcting their English.
The defense secretary buried the hatchet, at least for one night Saturday. He hosted an exclusive, off-the-record gathering of his favorite Pentagon reporters at his home in Washington for cocktails and snacks.
His perceived enemies were not invited, including us and Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks. Most of the other regular Pentagon scribes attended the soiree, along with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke, who set the invite list.
Mrs. Clarke could not be reached for comment.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was asked on PBS Feb. 20 whether U.S. forces are now ready to carry out a presidential order to invade Iraq. He responded by saying: "Yes, we are at a point where, if the president makes that decision, the Department of Defense is prepared and has the capabilities and the strategy to do that."
Four days later, Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of any U.S. invasion of Iraq, told the Associated Press' Robert Burns: "There may come a day when [Mr. Rumsfeld] asks me: 'Are you satisfied that you have enough?' And I will tell you truthfully he has not asked me that question."