Beliefnet
God's Politics

the latest news on the Iraq war, Israel-Palestine, Obama and the election, the Pope in Turkey, and select op-eds

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Iraq–cost. Wars wearing down military gear at cost of about $2 billion a month – “About $2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps equipment … is wearing out or being destroyed every month in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Controversy over Pentagon’s war-spending plan – “The Pentagon is preparing an emergency spending proposal that could be larger and broader than any since the Sept. 11 attacks, covering not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but extending to other military operations connected to the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.”

Iraq-Summit. Bush to Press Iraqi Premier On Security – “President Bush signaled plans to both reassure and pressure Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over deteriorating conditions in Iraq, as the White House prepared for an unusual summit Wednesday in Jordan.” Deeper Crisis, Less U.S. Sway in Iraq– “American fortunes in Iraq are ever more dependent on feuding Iraqis who seem, at times, almost heedless to American appeals.” Bush Adviser´s Memo Cites Doubts About Iraqi Leader– “A classified memorandum by President Bush’s national security adviser expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq …” Text of U.S. Security Adviser’s Iraq Memo

Iraq-Gates. Gates Warns Against Leaving Iraq ‘in Chaos’ Robert M. Gates, President Bush’s nominee to become the next secretary of defense, said he opposes a swift pullout from Iraq, arguing in written testimony submitted yesterday to Congress that “leaving Iraq in chaos would have dangerous consequences both in the region and globally for many years to come.” In Statement, Defense Choice Criticizes Iraq Planning In his first detailed public statement since his nomination as defense secretary, Gates criticized the Pentagon as failing to prepare adequately for securing Iraq after the invasion in 2003.

Iraq-Gingrich. Gingrich calls Iraq war a ‘failure’ – “Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told a New Hampshire audience yesterday that unless the Bush administration admits that the war in Iraq is a “failure,” it will never develop a strategy to leave the country successfully.”

Iraq-violence. U.S. Military Predicts Rising Violence in Iraq “BAGHDAD – Parliament voted unanimously Tuesday to keep Iraq under a state of emergency for 30 more days, as a U.S. military spokesman said he expects violence to escalate over the next few weeks in response to Thursday’s bombings in Sadr City.” Bush Declines to Call Situation in Iraq Civil War– “On the eve of a high-profile trip to Jordan to meet Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, President Bush on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that Iraq had descended into civil war, blamed Al Qaeda for the latest wave of sectarian violence…” Bush: GIs will finish mission – “Amid escalating sectarian violence and mounting calls for a change in strategy, President Bush stood fast Tuesday behind his vow not to pull U.S. military forces out of Iraq, while promising to remain flexible in his meetings this week with the Iraqi prime minister.”

Iraq-regional conference. Annan Seeks Summit Outside Iraq to Reconcile Factions– “The U.N. Security Council unanimously extended the mandate for the 160,000-strong U.S.-led coalition in Iraq for an additional 12 months yesterday, as Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed an international conference at a venue outside the war-torn country to forge reconciliation among Iraq’s political parties.” Bush firm on Iran, Syria talks – “As pressure mounts for the United States to seek direct talks on Iraq with Iran and Syria, President Bush appeared to rule out any change in his administration’s policy toward those Iraqi neighbors.” Top Iran leader vows to aid Iraq – “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, assured Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that Iran will do what it can to help its neighbor quell a spiral of violence…”

Israel-Palestine. Rice joins latest push toward Mideast peace – “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put Washington’s heft behind new Mideast peace overtures on Tuesday, scheduling an unexpected meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.”

Politics. Obama reaches out in key 2008 states – “As Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) nears a decision on a White House bid, he is taking steps to reach out to potential supporters in important states in the nominating process, including headlining a Dec. 10 rally in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.”

Pope in Turkey. In Turkey, Pope Reaches Out to Islam – “Pope Benedict XVI, beginning the most politically precarious journey of his papacy, called Tuesday for an “authentic dialogue between Christians and Muslims” to help stanch terrorism and conflicts around the globe.”

Op-Eds.

Days late dollars short (Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe) – “… just to be at the federal poverty line for a single-parent family of three requires a minimum wage of $8 an hour. So $7.25 is already a decade late and about a dollar short. Kennedy says the new Congress will hike the minimum wage and “raise it and raise it.” If it does not, it will be another promise that becomes a broken egg.”

Civil words over a civil war in Iraq – (Clarence Page,Chicago Tribune) – “NBC is the first major TV network to call the war in Iraq a “civil war” instead of an insurgency. With that, a new front has opened over what words best describe the war that Americans are most worried about.”

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