God's Politics

the latest news on Iraq, the United Nations, British nuclear submarines, school integration, politics, congress, the Mideast, and select opinion articles
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Iraq. Maliki challenges `civil war’ label – “Iraq’s besieged prime minister hit back at U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s characterization of the Iraq sectarian conflict as a civil war, accusing him of “burnishing the image” of former President Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime.” Another battle at home for Iraq war veterans – “A 2004 study of combat units found that 17.1 percent of returning Iraq war veterans showed evidence of post-traumatic stress, outstripping the 10.1 percent who reported the problem after seeing combat duty in the 1991 Gulf War.”

Blurring Political Lines in the Military Debate – “General Zinni, a retired marine who once served as the top American military officer in the Middle East, contended that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was vastly overstated and that invading Iraq would be a burdensome distraction from the struggle against Al Qaeda. These days General Zinni is delivering another provocative message: that leaving Iraq quickly would strengthen Iranian influence throughout the Middle East, create a sanctuary for terrorist groups, encourage even more sectarian strife in Iraq and risk turmoil in an oil-rich region.”

United Nations. Bolton quits as UN ambassador – “Ending weeks of speculation about the future of one of the Bush administration’s most polarizing figures, the White House said that UN Ambassador John Bolton will leave that post in the coming weeks.” U.N. Ambassador Bolton Won’t Stay – “President Bush surrendered to congressional foes in his fight to install John R. Bolton as permanent ambassador to the United Nations, a harbinger of how the political world has changed since Democrats captured both houses of Congress.”

British nuclear subs. Blair calls for new nuclear sub fleet – “British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday called for building a multibillion-dollar, new-generation nuclear submarine fleet to counter future threats from “rogue” nuclear states and nuclear terrorism.” Britain needs Trident as it cannot rely on US, says Blair – “Tony Blair has argued that Britain needs to buy a new generation of nuclear weapons because it might not be able to rely on the United States to protect it if it were attacked.” Trident is legally and morally questionable, says church – “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, stopped just short of condemning the decision to spend £20bn upgrading the Trident system, but queried the recommendation on moral, legal and ethical grounds.”

School integration. Justices question school policies– “The Supreme Court justices, hearing arguments on school integration, signaled that they are likely to bar the use of race when assigning students to public schools. Such a ruling could deal a blow to hundreds of school systems across the nation that use racial guidelines to maintain a semblance of classroom integration in cities where neighborhoods are divided along racial lines.” Court Hears Cases on Schools and Race – “Supreme Court deliberations are private, but yesterday’s oral arguments on whether it is constitutional to allow school systems to use race in making school assignments became as much a public debate between the divided justices as a questioning of lawyers.” Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans– “By the time the Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on the student-assignment plans that two urban school systems use to maintain racial integration, the only question was how far the court would go in ruling such plans unconstitutional.”

Politics. Senator explores GOP presidential bid – “Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), a favorite of social conservatives, announced that he was taking the first step toward a 2008 White House run by setting up an exploratory committee.” Why the early field for 2008’s election is the biggest yet – “Twenty-three months before the 2008 presidential election, the jockeying among hopefuls is already fierce. No fewer than two dozen men – and a woman – are running or thinking of running or being urged to run for the top spot. On an almost daily basis, exploratory committees are forming, first trips to New Hampshire are taking place, and Internet campaigns both for and against possible candidates are sprouting up.”

Congress. Black Lawmakers Set to Take Crucial Posts Face Pressure – “The impending Democratic takeover of Congress will elevate more blacks to positions of power in the Capitol than ever: 4 major House committee chairmen, as many as 16 subcommittee chairmen, the third-ranking House Democratic leader and a senator considered a credible candidate for his party’s presidential nomination.”

Mideast. Offering Video, Israel Answers Critics on War– “Israel’s military, which has been accuse
d of abuses in its war against Hezbollah this summer, has declassified photographs, video images and prisoner interrogations to buttress its accusation that Hezbollah systematically fired from civilian neighborhoods in southern Lebanon and took cover in those areas to shield itself from attack.”

Editorial. (Chicago Tribune) Bolton calls it quits – “Yes, he could be a blunt man. But John Bolton surprised many people by pretty effectively working the room at the United Nations, especially on difficult issues such as North Korea, Iran, Lebanon and Darfur.”

Op-Ed. (EJ Dionne, Washington Post) Message From A Megachurch – “American politics took an important turn last week at a church in the foothills of Southern California’s Santa Ana Mountains. When Rick Warren, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors, faced down right-wing pressure and invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak at a gathering at his Saddleback Valley Community Church about the AIDS crisis, he sent a signal: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine.”

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