Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saturday Papers

- Bric-a-BRAC: All the papers lead this morning with the Pentagon's announcement yesterday of planned base closures and "realignments" in all fifty states, which will result in a "net loss of 10,782 military positions and 18,223 civilian positions; 2,818 contractor posts would be added." The closures are designed to save more than $5 billion in annual military expenditures, or $48 billion over the next twenty years. The Washington Post has multiple stories: the local angle, "the rationale", and the legislative response. The New York Times follows suit, with a main contextual piece by Eric Schmitt [highly recommended for information on how the process works from here], a profile of the impact on Portsmouth, Maine [where the naval shipyard is slated for closure], and the obligatory local angle article. The Washington Times has this by Bill Gertz. The LA Times analyzes the proposed closures, noting that the plan would result in an overall shift military troop strength out of the Northeast and Midwest and into the South. Richard Simon's piece on the "next battle" is excellent. And of course, the local angle.

Since we will hear much more of this in the next few months I'm not going to spend too much time on it this morning, only to say that it will be a battle of epic proportions. The places to watch most closely: Mississippi, South Dakota, Maine, and Connecticut - major bases are slated for closure in each, and you can bet that their congressional delegations will be fighting tooth and nail to keep them up and running.

- Uzbek Violence: The LA Times reports on a deadly clash between government troops and protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijon, after armed civilians broke into a prison and released several thousdand inmates, including, 23 suspected Islamic extremists. The Associated Press has filed a report this morning [carried on the New York Times website] reporting that more than 200 people were killed in the fighting, and that "thousands of refugees" were fleeing to the country's borders. The Washington Post has an older wire story. CBS' headline this morning: "US Ally Fires On Its People."

- Anti-American Protests: Carlotta Gall in the New York Times writes that Muslims around the world, from Gaza to Indonesia, are joining Afghani protests "over the reported desecration of a Koran by American interrogators at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba." In Afghanistan, riots have been ongoing for several days, resulting in at least 16 deaths. Gall reports peaceful protests in Pakistan, as well as Jakarta and the Gaza Strip. This all stems from a Newsweek report that "interrogators at Guantánamo Bay had flushed a Koran down the toilet in an effort to upset detainees." The White House said Friday that the Pentagon was "investigating" the incident, with spokesman Scott McClellan adding "We will not tolerate any disrespect for the holy Koran." The Washington Post also covers the Afghan riots.

- Bush Hearts John Bolton: "The White House on Friday renewed its defense of John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice for ambassador to the United Nations, urging the Senate to confirm him quickly even as leading Democrats vowed to stall the vote until the State Department turned over certain classified documents," reports Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times. Will they never learn? And from the Washington Post, word that the battle over finding out just whose conversations John Bolton was monitoring may fizzle out with a whimper, as the NSA is refusing the provide the names even to the Senate Intelligence Committee. But there's more. The LA Times adds that the State Department Friday refused to send more requested Bolton-related documents to the Senate, a condition Barbara Boxer has made for releasing her procedual 'hold' on the nomination.

More substantive posts to come on the judges fight and some other coverage from this morning.


At 11:44 AM, Blogger EG said...

It would be useful for the media to look into the previous base closings and see how the communities were impacted.

I recall a PBS news report about one base that was slated to be closed and the land turned over to the community. Because of the required cleanup efforts were not completed, the base has not been able to be used by civilians and the base sits vacant.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
EPA: Closed military bases on list of worst toxic sites
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thirty-four military bases shut down since 1988 are on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list of worst toxic waste sites -- most of them for at least 15 years -- and not one is completely cleaned up.

Hard-to-remove contaminants include trichloroethylene, a cleaning solvent linked to cancer, as well as asbestos-tainted soil, radioactive materials and leaded paint.


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