Just one week after President Bush said that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib was the "biggest mistake that's happened" thus far in America's involvement in Iraq, the New York Times reports Prime Minister "Maliki said violence against civilians had become a 'daily phenomenon' by many troops in the American-led coalition who 'do not respect the Iraqi people.'" LINK
And there's this story too.
"The Marine Corps will file criminal charges, including some murder counts, against several enlisted Marines and a Navy corpsman in the fatal shooting of an Iraqi civilian in April, officials close to the investigation said Thursday," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK
The combination of these stories may go some distance to mute any success the Administration had hoped to point to this summer as a new permanent Iraqi government begins to take more responsibility and control.
On "Good Morning America," ABC News' George Stephanopoulos said the "big question" is whether Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can survive. A senior White House official told Stephanopoulos this morning that the President's support for Rumsfeld is "unwavering."
But ABC's chief Washington correspondent thinks Rumsfeld's support on Capitol Hill could "collapse" if these charges continue to grow and if they are seen as going up the chain of command.
Per the Washington Post's Josh White and Thomas Ricks, "Criminal investigators are hoping to exhume the bodies of several Iraqi civilians allegedly gunned down by a group of U.S. Marines last year in the city of Haditha, aiming to recover potentially important forensic evidence." LINK
Politics of immigration:
President Bush plans to take his immigration show on the road again next week -- this time to New Mexico, Texas, and Nebraska. The New York Times has more on his stern warning to Congress that there is no excuse to delay action on immigration reform. LINK
The Los Angeles Times looks at a procedural hurdle that may block the conference committee from beginning its work on immigration anytime soon. The Senate bill calls for payment of back taxes and fees and as most "Schoolhouse Rock" fans know, bills with revenue measures originate in the House. LINK
The Washington Post's Peter Baker saw President Bush's focus on bigger fines for illegal hiring yesterday as part of a campaign to "emphasize his focus on enforcement and to combat the conservative complaint that his immigration proposals add up to amnesty for millions of foreigners violating US immigration law." LINK
G. Robert Hillman of the Dallas Morning News writes that there is a sense in "some political quarters that any reconciliation of the issue will be pushed after the elections to a lame-duck congressional session at the end of the year, if at all." LINK
The AP Notes that President Bush "took on -- albeit gently -- those in the Republican Party who advocate a get-tough-only approach and staunchly oppose either a guest worker program or a path to citizenship." LINK
Bush said: "Listen, I appreciate the members that are acting on deeply felt principles. I understand that. Yet I also believe that the approach they suggest is wrong and unrealistic."