Start Spreading the Noose
The Washington Post and USA Today lead with the most upbeat appraisal yet of American progress in
Gen. Franks takes the papers through a series of promising developments. In the northern city of Kunduz, beleaguered Taliban forces tried to surrender to U.N officials rather than face capture and possible execution by the Northern Alliance. (Citing a lack of authority, the U.N. delegation declined and the fighting resumed.) And Taliban fighters in Kandahar, a onetime stronghold, seem ready to capitulate: The WP reports that what remains of the Taliban resistance movement is mostly concerned with how best to hand over power to tribal leaders.
Perhaps the most significant development took place in western
The WP lead predicts that
USAT reminds that despite the new door-to-door effort to find him, the chances of capturing Bin Laden remain slim. "Osama has already decided that death will be preferable to being arrested by
So how much longer does the Pentagon expect Bin Laden to remain in
According to the NYT lead, the revised aviation bill allows for a one-year transition period while the federal government hires and trains the nearly 30,000 additional personnel required. The bill includes an option for airlines to opt out of the federal system after three years, provided they are able to demonstrate a satisfactory level of security. President Bush, whose own airport safety proposal called for a more modest federal role, said yesterday that he welcomed the compromise.
The papers front new information from the data recorder aboard American Airlines flight 587 suggesting the plane encountered significant turbulence just seconds before pilots lost control. Though a well-functioning plane would have withstood the jolts, investigators have seized on this evidence of turbulence, calling it a crucial link in the chain of events that severed the tail fin.
According to a front-page NYT report, the Bush administration is concerned that with their common enemy in retreat, the various factions that support the Northern Alliance may be soon to part ways. The piece observes that, to some extent, it's already happening. Local warlords outside the influence of the Northern Alliance have taken control of provinces in both the north and the south. The unanticipated speed of the Taliban retreat has only increased the urgency to fill the power vacuum with some sort of multinational security force. British forces are already on the ground. French and Canadian troops seem sure to follow. But as the paper reminds, these are likely short-term solutions.
A front-page LAT poll finds that over 70 percent of Americans believe the nation is in a recession, up from 50 percent two months ago. But a second story on the LAT front suggests things may, in fact, be returning to normal. After a several-month lull in news of his investigation, the Gary Condit scandal has returned. The congressman disclosed yesterday that several of his documents have been subpoenaed by a grand jury.
David Newman is a contributing editor at Legal Affairs.