Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 1:45 PM

First, of course, to Syria.

Republican Senator John McCain has announced his support of our intervening in Syria; read the New York Times ("times" twoand the Washington Post, both of which describe lawmakers' opinions about intervention. Charles Lane suggests in his Post column that Syria presents an opportunity for bipartisanship. We'll see about that.

President Obama's decision to request Congressional approval for military engagement has spurred French President Hollande to do the same, writes the Washington Post.

The French government has released an intelligence dossier indicating that chemical weapons were deployed by the Assad government (although, it seems, links to dossier unfortunately are now broken).  Assad himself maintained yesterday that proof of chemical weapons use hasn't been produced. The Wall Street Journal notes that the U.S. has not armed Syrian rebels---yet---despite a White House authorization to do so in June.

Israel says it conducted a joint missile test with the U.S.  Russia detected the missiles' firing, apparently; the operation was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea.

Sam Dagher reports on the Syrian government's preparations for a U.S.-led offensive. That's in the Journal.

Russia remains unconvinced that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons. David Herszenhorn report for the Times.

A disapproving Journal editorial page says that the president's decision to seek Congressional approval risks his and the United States' credibility in the world.  But the Times gives the president two thumbs up for going to the first branch of government before taking action.

Kimberly Strassel of the Journal poses what she sees as the "only question" Republicans in Congress should consider: "Will they send a message to the world's despots that America will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction?" If no, "they risk complicity in this president's failed foreign policy."

Get the political science perspective on the Syria issue over at the Monkeycage.  There you can read "Presidential Power and Congressional Cower" by Andrew Rudalevige.  The latter argues that Congress shouldn't get credit for the president's decision to go to them first (h/t Jonathan Bernstein). And Katrina van den Heuvel urges careful thinking among members of Congress and the public in her Post column.

Attention is being paid to U.S. efforts to re-engage with Iran. Robert Worth writes in the Times about recent engagement between a senior envoy at the U.N. and Iran's new foreign minister.

Katrin Bennhold writes in the Times about a British court decision related to the U.K.'s seizure of hard drives and memory sticks from David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, this summer. The Brits said the materials may contain the identities of intelligence officers, and the court permitted the government to analyze the data.

The latest documents leaked from the Snowden collection detail U.S surveillance on Brazil and Mexico's presidents. Brazil's response has been one of anger, says the Times.

Wikileaks will file a criminal complaint in Sweden alleging that files taken by Chelsea Manning were illegally seized by the U.S. government. Forbes has additional information.

A trio of Post reporters highlight the American intelligence community's intense focus---as reflected in leaked U.S. intelligence documents---on Pakistan's WMD inventory.

The Times's  Tim Arango explores efforts in Iraq to help its people understand the country's history with sectarian violence.  Among other things, the campaign involves releasing documentaries about the deeds of the Baath party, and building a museum to commemorate victims of the Hussein regime.

A federal judge in Kansas denied a government search warrant request for access to individuals' email and chat logs because it was not particular and "reasonable in nature of breadth." Somini Sengupta reports at the Times.

Online trading exchange Tradehill, which is the #2 bitcoin exchange in the world, halted trading over the weekend to deal with "banking and regulatory issues," it said.

As Congress readies itself to resume debate on the federal budget and the debt ceiling, former SecDef and DCIA Leon Panetta writes in the Post to remind us of the harmful effects of sequestration on our military and national defense.

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