Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on civil rights, the Carter Center, California’s governor, ethics, stem cell research, Iran-the raid on Iranian consulate, Iraq- public opposition, and the military.

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Full news summary:

Iraq-Congress. In both parties, doubts cloud Bush’s Iraq plan – “A day after President Bush implored the nation to support his new Iraq strategy, his top aides met a storm of criticism from congressional Democrats and Republicans,” Congress blisters Bush’s war plan – “Nearly all Democrats and no small chorus of Republicans gave an icy reception to President Bush’s plan for a dramatic increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, revealing an ever-broadening chasm over the war.” Several in GOP hit Bush ‘blunder’ – “Republican leaders on Capitol Hill staunchly back President Bush’s proposal to boost troop levels in Iraq but support among the party’s rank and file may be crumbling.” Bush’s Iraq Plan Meets Skepticism On Capitol Hill – “President Bush’s proposal to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq encountered strong bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill, and his top national security advisers, dispatched to defend the strategy, were greeted with a skepticism not seen from Congress over the past six years.” Bush’s Plan for Iraq Runs Into Opposition in Congress A day after the president set out a new strategy for bringing stability to Iraq, the White House found few allies on either side of the aisle.”

Iraq. In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment– “Iraq’sShiite-led government offered only a grudging endorsement on Thursday of President Bush’s proposal to deploy more than 20,000 additional troops in an effort to curb sectarian violence and regain control of Baghdad.” For US troops, new duties, more danger – “Whether the plan outlined by President Bush will eventually succeed – and administration officials and supporters, as well as critics, say the odds are tough – the year ahead is likely to be “bloody and violent,”

Iraq-public opposition. Poll suggest US opposition to troop ‘surge’ – “Seventy percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, according to a new poll that provides a blunt response to President Bush’s plan to bolster military forces there.” Antiwar demonstrators protest call for troop ‘surge’ – “In 30-degree weather, nearly 200 protesters packed the corner of Tremont and Park streets in downtown Boston in an “emergency rally” to stop President Bush from sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.” War Protesters’ Chorus: Bring U.S. Troops Home: Opponents of Bush’s Plan for Iraq Hold Vigil – “… an orderly, hour-long candlelight vigil at Lafayette Square across from the White House, one of many protests held across the country last night to voice opposition to President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more troops in an effort to stabilize Iraq, a country wracked by violence and questions about its future.” Protesters: Bush is giving insurgents more targets – “Activists angered by President Bush’s proposal to send more troops to Iraq staged anti-war demonstrations in several major cities Thursday, protesting that the buildup will cause more bloodshed and give insurgents new American targets.”

Military. Bush Speaks and Base Is Subdued– “President Bush came to this Georgia military base looking for a friendly audience to sell his new Iraq strategy. But his lunchtime talk received a restrained response from soldiers who clapped politely but showed little of the wild enthusiasm that they ordinarily shower on the commander in chief.”

Iran. Bush’s new Iraq strategy stokes regional fears – “Arab fears that the violence plaguing Iraq could destabilize the entire region intensified after President Bush unveiled a new strategy for Iraq that for many appeared to contain no new solutions to the deepening sectarian crisis there.” Rice won’t rule out military actions on Iran – “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to rule out cross-border US military action against Iran,” ‘Shadow’ of Iran growing, spy czar says – “Iran has exploited the war in Iraq and a proxy fight with Israel to emerge as a more powerful and confident foe of the United States and is casting a growing “shadow” of influence across the Middle East, the nation’s top intelligence official testified Thursday.”

Raid on Iranian consulate. G.I.’s in Iraq Raid Iranians’ Offices– “American troops backed by attack helicopters and armored vehicles raided an Iranian diplomatic office in the dead of night early Thursday and detained as many as six of the Iranians working inside.” The US moves to confront Iran and Syria – “Close to the same hour Wednesday night that President Bush vowed to disrupt the “flow of support” from Iran and Syria to “terrorists and insurgents” in Iraq, US forces raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq, arresting five diplomats and staff and taking computers and files.” U.S. Troops Raid 2 Iranian Targets in Iraq, Detain 5 People– “U.S. troops launched two raids on Iranian targets in Iraq, following through on President Bush’s vow to confront and break up Tehran’s networks inside Iraq.” Bush’s tough tactics are a ‘declaration of war’ on Iran – “A leading UK-based Iran specialist, Ali Ansari, said the incident was an “extreme provocation”. Dr Ansari said that Mr Bush’s speech on future Iraq strategy amounted to “a declaration of war” on Iran.”

Stem cell research. Stem Cell Bill Sails Through the House – “The House voted overwhelmingly to broaden federal support for embryonic stem cell research, stepping up a confrontation with President Bush over a thorny scientific and ethical issue that Democrats hope to capitalize on in the next election.” Passions aflame as stem cell bill passes – “Following an emotional day of debate in which lawmakers invoked their own medical tragedies and those of families, friends and constituents, the House voted to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research.”

Ethics. Democrats in Senate Fail to Block Bill on Ethics – “After campaigning for months on a promise to tighten ethics rules, Senate Democratic leaders tried unsuccessfully to block a measure that would shine a light on the shadowy practice of earmarking federal money for lawmakers’ pet projects.”

Civil rights. Civil rights for a new generation – “Civil rights groups, beset by aging or stagnant membership, are recasting their messages to appeal to young people. They’re putting up discussion boards on youth-oriented websites and talking about jobs, education, housing, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.”

Carter Center. Carter Center Advisers Quit to Protest Book – “Fourteen of the city’s business and civic leaders resigned from the Carter Center’s advisory board to protest former President Jimmy Carter’s recent criticisms of Israel and American Jewish political power.” Carter Center Advisers Resign Over New Book – “The resignations were the latest episode in an escalating controversy over the book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” published in late November.”

California governor.As States Innovate, Schwarzenegger Blurs Lines– “Mr. Schwarzenegger’s recent leadership is also the largest example of a growing movement in which state leaders are crossing party lines to get things done. While partisan polarization limits activity in Washington, D.C., state governments are addressing issues the federal government has not tackled.”

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