Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq, the White House, Iran, Palestine, India, health insurance, poverty, crime, and select editorials and op-eds.
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Iraq. Pentagon Cites Success Of Anti-U.S. Forces in Iraq – “The Pentagon said yesterday that violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record and acknowledged that anti-U.S. fighters have achieved a “strategic success” by unleashing a spiral of sectarian killings by Sunni and Shiite death squads that threatens Iraq’s political institutions.” Attacks in Iraq at Record High, Pentagon Says– “A Pentagon assessment of security conditions in Iraq concluded that attacks against American and Iraqi targets had surged this summer and autumn to their highest level, and called violence by Shiite militants the most significant threat in Baghdad.” Sadr army is called top threat in Iraq – “Armed militiamen affiliated with radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr pose the gravest danger to the security and stability of Iraq, surpassing Sunni Arab insurgents and Al Qaeda terrorists.”

White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops “The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.” Gates warns of `calamity’ if U.S. fails in Iraq – “Robert Gates assumed the helm at the Pentagon on Monday, warning in his first public remarks as defense secretary that failure in Iraq would be a “calamity” that would haunt the United States for years.”

Iran. Elections deal blow to Iran’s president – “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suffered an embarrassing blow in local council races, according to partial election results Monday, in voting viewed as a sign of public discontent with his hard-line stance.”

Palestine. Hamas-Fatah clashes flare after truce – “New clashes broke out late Monday between the main Palestinian political groups, Fatah and Hamas, despite a tentative cease-fire that brought less than a day of relative calm to the Gaza Strip.”

India. Bush signs India nuclear deal – “With goals of ending India’s nuclear “isolation” and easing world oil supplies, President Bush signed legislation Monday that will enable American companies to assist in the expansion of Indian civilian nuclear power generation.” Bush Approves Deal With India for Nuclear Sales– “In return for access to American technology, India must now open its nuclear program to international inspection.”

Health insurance. Health care debate to heat up in 2007 – “Many observers, such as Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation, expect Congress to focus on Medicare, prescription drug costs and safety, as well as efforts to cover the uninsured. All debate will play out against the background of the 2008 presidential election, with both parties working to lay claim to what they expect will be popular issues with voters.”

Poverty. Bloomberg Plans New Office to Help New York’s Poor– “The city is planning to spend an extra $150 million a year in public and private money on the core priority of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s second term: combating poverty that is hidden beneath New York’s vast wealth. The office would operate in part like a philanthropic foundation and in part like a venture capital company.”

Crime. Violent Crime Is Up For 2nd Straight Year – “A surge in violent crime that began last year accelerated in the first half of 2006, the FBI reported yesterday, providing the clearest signal yet that the historic drop in the U.S. crime rate has ended and is being reversed.”

Editorial Subcontinental missiles (Los Angeles Times) – “A U.S. nuclear deal with India will complicate Washington’s strategy elsewhere – such as North Korea. PRESIDENT BUSH signed legislation Monday to provide nuclear technology to India, a deal that critics say could do more harm than good to U.S. interests. They’re wrong. It already is complicating U.S. strategy in Asia and elsewhere.”

Op-Ed. ‘The Real America,’ Redefined (E.J. Dionne, Washington Post) – “2006 is looking more and more like one of history’s hinge years, a moment when old ideas are cast aside, new leaders emerge and old leaders decide to speak in new ways. The changes in politics and culture are visible in the many sudden and outright reversals of the conventional wisdom.”

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