Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) said yesterday that he believes top officials in the Bush administration — “maybe even including the vice president” — have “privately concluded they have lost Iraq and are simply trying to postpone disaster so the next president will ‘be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof,’ in a chaotic withdrawal reminiscent of Vietnam.”
The expected replacement of Gen. John Abizaid with Navy Admiral William Fallon to oversee the Iraq war “reflects a greater emphasis on countering Iranian power, a mission that relies heavily on naval forces and combat airpower to project American influence in the Persian Gulf,” the New York Times report.
In its first legislative act, the 110th Congress voted 430–1 yesterday to approve “the broadest ethics and lobbying revision since the Watergate era.” Today, the House will vote on a package to end anonymous sponsorship of earmarks.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman “fired the head of the department’s nuclear weapons program on Thursday, citing a series of security failures at national laboratories, including the discovery of a computer device containing thousands of classified documents in the home of a former worker during a drug raid by the police.”
Yesterday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) not only introduced himself to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), but also asked him out for coffee. “By reaching out to Congressman Goode I’m not trying to be accepted, I’m trying to build bridges. In this world there are too many misunderstandings. I want to put a human face on things,” explained Ellison.
With Zalmay Khalilzad headed to the United Nations, President Bush plans to appoint career diplomat Ryan Crocker to be U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Crocker is currently U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, and is “among the State Department’s most respected voices in the Middle East,” the New York Times reports.
“New Orleans repeats mistakes as it rebuilds. … [W]hile new federal guidelines call for raising houses to reduce the damage of future floods, most returning homeowners do not have to comply or are finding ways around the costly requirement, according to city officials.”
And finally: Yesterday, Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) ascension to Majority Leader was almost overshadowed by former President Bill Clinton’s quest for a bathroom. Minutes before Reid was to be sworn in, Clinton “sauntered into the Senate press gallery in search of a urinal. Reporters swarmed, some abandoning their seats in the chamber. … ‘They told me the closest restroom was in the press gallery,’ Clinton explained.”
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