Meanwhile, in other news . . .

As Washington focused on the fight over Terri Schiavo, there was news on Abu Ghraib, Osama bin Laden and the war in Iraq.

By Tim Grieve
March 25, 2005 12:09AM (UTC)
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With the Supreme Court's decision this morning, the Terri Schiavo case seems to be coming to its conclusion. Even CNN seems ready to move on, switching gears almost instantly today to an excruciating long live feed of police officials offering commendations and reward checks to the woman who helped capture the man who shot up an Atlanta courthouse cops a few weeks ago.

There's real news out there, too, however, and here's some of what got lost while the world watched the Schiavo case unfold:

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Ghost detainees: Remember how the Bush administration insisted that the practice of hiding certain off-the-books detainees at Abu Ghraib was the unauthorized work of a few bad apples? It turns out that wasn't exactly true. As the Washington Post reports today, the CIA's "ghosting" program was widespread and systematic, and at least three senior intelligence officials in Iraq knew about it.

Osama bin Laden: Remember when George W. Bush railed against John Kerry for suggesting that the administration missed a chance to catch Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora? At a campaign stop in Greeley, Colo., in October, Bush said: "Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001 -- and that our military had a chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified and harsh criticism of our military commanders in the field. This is the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking." It turns out that Kerry may have been right. As the Associated Press reports, the Pentagon has now made what appears to be a "definitive statement" that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and evaded capture by U.S. troops there.

Iraq: Remember how the war in Iraq was supposed to last "weeks rather than months"? It turns out that was wrong. As the war enters its third year, the Pentagon is worried about the strain on U.S. military readiness and recruiting levels that are below what they need to be. "What keeps me awake at night is, what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?" Gen. Richard Cody, Army vice chief of staff, told a Senate hearing this week. Meanwhile, the government that was supposed to be formed in Iraq after the elections in January is still a work in progress, and conditions on the streets are still confused enough that five people were killed today in a friendly-fire incident. The report from the Voice of America: "Iraqi police and soldiers mistook each other for insurgents Thursday and engaged in a brief gunbattle that left five of their ranks dead and eight wounded."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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