Victor Victorious

Victor Victorious

Victor Victorious

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Nov. 30 2004 3:37 AM

Victor Victorious

The New York Times leads with a leaked Red Cross report concluding that U.S. tactics at Gitmo include treatment that is "tantamount to torture." The report, which was based on a visit in June, also says some doctors were helping plan interrogations, "a flagrant violation of medical ethics." The interrogation techniques seen during the visit were "more refined and repressive" than previously noticed, the report states, and included "solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions ... and some beatings." (The report doesn't further quantify "some.")The Wall Street Journal worldwide news box and the  Los Angeles Timeslead with outgoing Ukrainian President Leniod Kuchma calling for new elections. That's a big concession to pro-democracy demonstrators and a knock at his chosen successor, Victor Yanukovych, who himself offered hedged support to limited recasting of votes.

The Washington Postleads with the U.N. endorsing the Europeans' deal for Iran to suspend its nuclear program. U.N. inspectors have installed monitoring equipment and will theoretically know darn quick if Iran reneges. The U.S. wasn't involved in the deal and "expressed reservations" about it. But the Post says the U.S. could ultimately stand to benefit since if and when the agreement fails, the administration could tell other countries "told ya so" and have a much better shot at getting sanctions. USA Todayleads with the Supreme Court declining to hear a challenge to Massachusetts' sanction of same-sex marriages.

Advertisement

President Kuchma warned, or maybe just acknowledged, that if the protests continue in Kiev, Ukraine's financial system "will fold up like a house of cards." There are still plenty of details to work out about a revote, including whether it would be countrywide and what kind of protections there would be against fraud. In other bad signs for the pro-government Yanukovych: His campaign manager quit and called for a full re-election, and Ukraine's defense minister said he's opposed to using force against the protestors, saying, "Those who make such statements need to think about their words."

The NYT says inside that President Bush's recent statements about Ukraine have been more delicate than the full-throated criticism Secretary of State Powell offered. The paper adds that while most of their public statements have called for democracy to prevail, "privately, administration officials have been in regular contact with Russian and Ukrainian officials to push for compromise." (Kuchma offered the revote concession right after he spoke to Powell.)

Somewhere between seven ( WP, USAT, and the Journal) and 12 Iraqis (NYT) were killed by a suicide car bomber who hit a police station west of the capital. Two GIs were killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, and the military announced two Marines were killed in fighting over the weekend. Thirteen Marines were wounded by a mortar attack south of Baghdad. The WP says nine people were killed by a U.S. airstrike near Fallujah.

Over the weekend, insurgents raided a police station in Samara, looting the armory. The Post says they faced "no resistance."The security chief to Najaf's governor was arrested, on suspicion of being a guerrilla and planning the assassination of his boss.And the British embassy has banned employees from traveling on the road from Baghdad's airport, where attacks are rising. An AP report in the Journal calls that stretch of highway "one of the most dangerous routes in Iraq."

A front-page NYT piece overviews the Iraqi security forces, saying they're "foundering," "riddled with problems," and mostly useless. For those few police who still show up at work in Mosul, one American official said, "[A]ll they're doing is looking out the window and making sure the bad guys aren't coming to get them." The handful of units that are performing relatively well are mostly Kurdish, and their use can exacerbate ethnic tensions. (None of this is new; it's just been percolating in the backwaters at the Times.) Meanwhile, a similar piece inside the LAT is slightly more optimistic.

The Post fronts a study showing what the paper says is the first hard evidence that stress makes you age faster or, as the study found, causes the "shriveling of the tips of the bundles of genes inside cells."

The WP off-leads and others front President Bush nominating Kellogg chief Carlos Gutierrez as secretary of commerce. Gutierrez was born in Cuba and started out selling cereal out of his van. According to the Post, "Bush aides" see his "background in sales as a crucial credential, since Bush has used his economic team primarily to promote the White House agenda rather than to make policy." The paper also notes that some people appear to be turning down offers to be part of the new economic team. "Why would you want to take a job where you have no influence?" asked one conservative economist. "What's the point?" Meanwhile, Gutierrez immediately began reflecting on deep policy issues, noting at yesterday's unveiling that his experience indicates the president's "ownership society" is "real, and I know it's tangible."

Eric Umansky, previously the "Today's Papers" columnist for Slate, is currently a Gordon Grey Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism.