Back from Washington and tonight we'll examine the ramifications and reverberations from yesterday's Iraq Study Group findings. Our reporting will come from David Gregory, Jim Miklaszewski and Dawna Friesen. Jane Arraf will report from the streets of Baghdad. There's an interesting update on the spy story in London (are we all going to end up involved in this in some fashion before this is over?), and Dr. Nancy Snyderman will have an important report on the intersection of autism... and legislation.
THE AFTERGLOW/THE AFTERMATH
Last night before leaving our studios on Capitol Hill in Washington, I literally ran into retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and retired Sen. Chuck Robb. Like many ISG members, they were on a media tour of sorts. We had a very pleasant conversation. I told them I had interviewed the ISG creator Frank Wolf, R-Va., and they explained they'd been unable to find him to ask him how he felt about how it all went. As she did at the news conference, Justice O'Connor said to me, "It really is up to you people (in the media) to take this before the public so the people will pay attention." I told them both that all three broadcast networks had carried the event live, and would anchor from Washington last night, and I related the non-stop cable coverage all day yesterday.
Many who watched the news conference yesterday felt a kind of bipartisan warmth -- a rare event in Washington. Others waited an hour or two before seeming to almost taunt various ISG members -- who as far as I could tell were enormously proud of the outcome, while candid in expressing their frustrations over the limited options. As was said yesterday: There is no magic bullet. Far from it. Some of the recommendations clearly fall in the "fantasy" category, while others are being seriously mulled in various corners of the Capital City.
The most vicious attack on Baker, Hamilton and their eight fellow members was this cover of this morning's New York Post. Both men are depicted as you might imagine, given the headline. The lead of the article reads: "Sound the retreat!" It goes on from there. So much for the afterglow... the warm and fuzzy feeling that some were voicing yesterday about our senior statespeople getting together to try to solve the most pressing issue we currently face.
At very least, as a friend of mine in government said yesterday (who was and remains opposed to the ISG), perhaps something will shake loose. Pull a frozen rope taut, the thinking goes, and the ice will fall, giving way to new flexibility. We'll see.
After going through a few day's worth of postings on this blog, some thoughts: 1) I never thought this reporter or this news organization would be accused of anything close to ignoring the victims of Katrina. Let's keep our eyes on the ball. 2) To the e-mailer who complained that the Iraq Study Group didn't contain any members who were against the war in Iraq, look again. 3) If you're going to e-mail us, please take as much care to write it as we try to, while writing hundreds of words on deadline, each day. Nothing takes the steam out of a blowhard e-mail ("How dare you...") tantrum quite as much as embarrassingly bad writing, sloppy use of the English language, or punctuation errors. Paper letters that get sent here (complaining about our journalism) that contain mistakes get sent back to the sender. If we kept to that same standard where e-mails were concerned, the number of comments we publish would change dramatically. Sloppy e-mailers: you can do better.
It is also clear that yesterday's blog on the public airing of intimate life details via cellphone conversations struck a nerve among our readers, and is probably fodder for a series of stories on this annoying and fairly recent societal development. I believe wheels are already turning to convert it into a television story.
HIGH EMOTION IN HAWAII
I've been lucky in life to have known Tom Brokaw for a long time. Today, the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I watched via satellite from my office as Tom delivered the keynote address, which I believe was the best speech of his life, and that's saying a lot. Tom has already left an indelible mark on our society -- quite apart from his two decades in the chair I now occupy -- having long ago popularized the term "The Greatest Generation" which so perfectly sums up the men and women he paid tribute to at Pearl today. While he accepted their thanks and generous applause, he returned the compliment with great elegance, with soaring words, and with such obvious and great respect for them and for those serving in uniform at this very moment. Tom ended with a sentiment that many in the audience seemed to share: In the event of a national military emergency, some of the very first hands in the air to volunteer -- would be from those who have already served with great distinction. I have asked our Web folks to post the videotape of Tom's speech in this space, in its entirety. Please make time to watch it. Your investment will be richly rewarded. Tom will join us from there tonight for the story of one Pearl Harbor survivor.
We hope you can join us for our Thursday night broadcast.
Editor's note: Click here or on the image to watch Tom Brokaw's speech marking the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.