Robin Wright and Thomas Ricks offer a must-read examining the "four factors" that "forced" this latest "overhaul" of Iraq policy: the security risk, the "failure of the Iraqi Governing Council to act, the Dec. 15 U.N. deadline for an Iraqi plan of action and the U.S. elections just a year away." Notes the duo, "for an administration loath to concede it has made mistakes, redirecting U.S. policy is an open admission that the situation has reached a crisis point." LINK
We urge you to read the Hagel quotes here, too.
The International Crisis Group latest report on "Iraq' Constitutional Challenge" reads thusly: "In an atmosphere of heightened violence and instability, Iraq urgently requires a new political formula. The U.S. Administration, increasingly alarmed at the turn of events, is considering a range of options. This will be its second chance to get it right; there may not be a third." LINK
Lots of warnings from today's editorial pages: Andrew Rosenthal warns the president in a New York Times editorial to head this Vietnam lesson: "You cannot hide casualties. Indeed, trying to do so probably does more to undermine public confidence than any display of a flag-draped coffin." LINK
The Washington Post 's ed board praises the administration's recent "pragmatic response" to the reality of Iraq before writing that "timetables are being accelerated to the point that it's fair to ask whether underlying goals are being compromised." LINK
The Wall Street Journal pish-poshes those other ed boards, writing the U.S. is now following the Pentagon plan it should have implemented much earlier: "A provisional government defended by a large Iraqi security force in addition to U.S. troops. The State Department attempt to re-create the Philadelphia of 1787 in Baghdad, and to provide a perfectly level playing field between exiles and indigenous Iraqis, has proven to be a costly failure."
Meanwhile, over on the intel beat … The New York Times follows the Washington Post in Noting Democratic criticism of the September 11 Commission's document deal with the White House, which allows the White House to "edit the documents before they were released to the commission's representatives." LINK
The Wall Street Journal picks up on an AP report that "relatives of people who perished" in the September 11 attacks are echoing the Democratic criticism that the commission "accepted too many conditions in striking a deal with the White House over access to secret intelligence documents."
More "partisan sniping" on the Senate Intel Committee as committee Dems send a letter to Chairman Pat Roberts responding to his response to their leaked memo. Work that isn't getting done during the committee members' stay on the Aisle of Rancor includes "negotiations with the House over next year's intelligence budget and oversight of developments in trouble spots like Iran and North Korea." LINK
House of Labor:
In our effort to bring you next week's story's this Friday morning, ABC's Gayle Tzemach reports:
The House of Labor's Civil War enters a new battleground next week as two unions who have yet to don a uniform near decisions on whether and how they will step into the nomination fray.