Molly Moore and Robin Wright have that story. The U.S. has started an intense diplomatic effort to keep the Turks inside their own borders, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing hard for a resolution to go after Kurdish rebels based in Iraq. Fears of an invasion sent oil prices shooting up, closing at $84/barrel, while U.S. military officials said there would be "disastrous consequences" if Turkey invaded. The combination of 13 dead Turkish soldiers last weekend and the passage of a House non-binding resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide has led the region to this point. "This is not only about a resolution," said Egemen Bagis, a member of the Turkish parliament and a foreign policy adviser to Erdogan. "We're fed up with the PKK -- it is a clear and present danger for us. This insult over the genocide claims is the last straw." Public sentiment is turning ever more hostile to the U.S. in Turkey, in part because there's a sentiment that Washington has tied Ankara's hands when it comes to dealing with the PKK. And while the reporting duo never really get into what the diplomatic push is, the story doesn't underplay the seriousness of the situation. An invasion could flip the table and all bets are off. Definitely a must-read.
Elizabeth Bumiller writes a front-pager for the Times on the soul-searching going on at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the intellectual center of the U.S. Army. At a school for officers here, young commanders mix it up over who bore the most fault for the screw-up of Iraq: former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld or the generals who went along with his lack of a plan for the immediate post-invasion period? It's institutionalized second-guessing that is alien to many of the Army culture, but it's a fascinating read to get an idea of how the captains, majors and lt. colonels are feeling and thinking about the war. "You spend your whole career worrying about the safety of soldiers -- let's do the training right so no one gets injured, let's make sure no one gets killed, and then you deploy and you're attending memorial services for 19-year-olds," said Maj. Niave Knell, 37, who worked in Baghdad to set up an Iraqi highway patrol. "And you have to think about what you did."
The Post's Anne Hull comes back to the failure of the White House to stand by the veterans disabled in the Iraq war, with a heartbreaking lead about a veteran's wife begging the electricity company to keep the power on. After revelations about the treatment of outpatient soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, President George W. Bush appointed a panel that came back with bold recommendations to fix the nation's veterans system. Little has been done. For the wives of injured and disabled veterans, the burden of war is now theirs. "As thousands of war-wounded lug their discharge papers and pill bottles home, more than a quarter are returning with PTSD and brain trauma. Compensation for these invisible injuries is more difficult and the social isolation more profound, especially in rural communities where pastures outnumber mental health providers. Troy (Turner)'s one-year war has become his wife's endless one," writes Hull. Their story is one of teeth-gnashing frustration at bureaucracy and a strapped system, and it's a tragedy. Read this story if you care at all about veterans.
Alissa J. Rubin has a story for the Times about the plight of the Yazidis, that persecuted sect that has been targeted by al Qaeda in Iraq. Like Muslims, they're celebrating a major religious festival this weekend, but their shrine in northern Iraq is nearly empty, thanks to the fear permeating the Yazidis' ranks. Nearly 15 percent of this ancient sect's population of 500,000 has fled Iraq, escaping the violence visited on them by their Arab and Kurdish neighbors who want them to convert to Islam. But it's AQI that has inflicted the greatest threat: In August, a massive suicide bomb attack killed close to 500 people in their territory. Now, because of the ever-present threat, they can't practice their faith.
New York Times
John F. Burns writes an ode to his Iraqi feline friends, the dozens he had in Baghdad, and the ultimate trip out to England -- which some Iraqis at Baghdad International asked if they could take, too. It's an odd piece, but a human one, telling of one of those habits many would call quirky -- caring for kittens in the middle of a war zone -- but are absolutely necessary for maintaining one's soul.
Christian Davenport reports on National Guard members and Reservists who are finding the job market difficult as employers are leery of hiring someone they worry will be shipped off to Iraq. "There is a huge stigma" attached to reservists and service members in general, said Dan Caulfield, executive director of HireAHero.org, a California-based nonprofit agency that helps veterans find jobs. One of the mantras passed from soldier to soldier is: "Don't mention you're in the Guard and Reserve," he said. "That is becoming fairly common."
Jim Golby, an Army captain on his second tour of duty in Iraq, writes of the Iraqi Business and Industrial Zone his men are working on outside Tikrit. He write this essay, he said, because he wanted to draw attention to some of the good news in Iraq. His efforts are included in that good news, he says. It doesn't sound like much, frankly. A few dozen jobs and some job training in craftsman skills. And I'm sorry to say it's a typical essay from a young captain who is desperate to feel his men's efforts are making a difference. As he admits, he's focused on his area of operations, and sees Iraqis lining up for scarce jobs as a symbol of hope. Well, what are they supposed to do? People don't curl up in the fetal position when things get bad. They keep going.
The Post runs an editorial lauding the evidence of a drop in violence that can no longer be disputed, the editorial board says. "It's looking more and more as though those in and outside of Congress who last month were assailing Gen. Petraeus's credibility and insisting that there was no letup in Iraq's bloodshed were -- to put it simply -- wrong."
Regular op-edder David Ignatius writes on the growing awareness of the importance of dignity in the State Department and how it can help America's standing around the world. In short, the United States needs to respect local cultures and traditions more, and speak of universal human dignity rather than universal human values or democracy. Doing otherwise comes off as arrogant, he writes.
Sandra McElwaine interviews Amelia Templeton, who saved up money to go to Syria and Jordan to work with Iraqi refugees there after her time at Swarthmore College. She's now working for Lifeline for Iraqi Refugees at Human Rights First, advocating for the 2.2 million refugees and displaced people.
Christian Science Monitor
No Sunday edition.
No Sunday edition.
Wall Street Journal
No Sunday edition.