The Note

While the Washington Post reports the increasing number of attacks in Iraq is leading Ambassador Bremer to now back the creation of "an Iraqi-led paramilitary force composed of former employees of the country's security services and members of political party militias" which would "pursue resistance fighters who have eluded American troops." LINK

The Washington Post 's Milbank and Ricks team up again to sift through a we-implore-you-to-read ABC News- Washington Post poll numbers showing the public isn't so sure Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terror. And the dynamic twosome captures GOP Congressman (and longtime Cheney friend) Jim Leach calling the administration's thinking on Iraq "one of the most misguided assumptions in the history of United States strategic thinking." LINK

Meanwhile one Gary Hart of Kittredge, Colo., writes to the New York Times editorial page to dare and take issue with Bill Safire, saying it is not a question of democracy versus terrorism but "internationalism versus unilateralism." LINK

Dems take some hits from an unusual quarters today as Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon calls many "commonly heard" Democratic criticisms of current Iraq policy neither substantive nor fair. LINK

Lots on the intelligence front as Congressman Porter Goss sits down with the New York Times to call for more Arabic speakers in the CIA and to say American intelligence "capabilities were not what they should have been" in the run-up to the Iraq war. LINK

Meanwhile, ABC News has obtained a copy of a memo from the staff of Senator Rockefeller saying these Dems "have an important role to play in revealing the misleading — if not flagrantly dishonest methods and motives — of senior Administration officials who made the case for unilateral, preemptive" and outlining an approach that offers "the best prospect for exposing the administration's dubious motives."

Our favorite part of the plan as outlined in the memo: "Prepare to launch an Independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the Majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the administration's use of intelligence at any time but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year either: A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report … B) Once we identify solid leads the Majority does not want to pursue …

"The Los Angeles Times picks up on the memo and Notes its tone "could be embarrassing to Democrats and provides new ammunition for Republican complaints that Democrats are seeking to use the inquiry for political gain." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Mounting casualties in Iraq could pose political problems for President Bush, New York Times ' Bumiller writes. "The quandary for Mr. Bush, administration officials say, is in finding a balance: expressing sympathy for fallen soldiers without drawing more attention to the casualties by commenting daily on every new death." LINK

The Boston Globe 's Wayne Washington also looks at the White House approach to casualties in Iraq, as "officials have made it clear that they have no interest in addressing individual acts of violence, but will continue to remind Americans that the deaths they hear and read about are sacrifices necessary to keep America safe from terrorism." LINK

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