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The latest news on Iraq war-fifth anniversary, Iran, climate change, Iraq-poll of Iraqi opinion, Iraq aniversary-vigils, Immigration, Darfur, Episcopal Church, climate change, history, and select op-eds.

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Iraq war-fifth anniversary. Bush Implores Nation, Congress To Show ‘Courage and Resolve’ – “President Bush asked skeptical Americans for additional patience as the Iraq war entered its fifth year, saying that the United States can be victorious, but “only if we have the courage and resolve to see it through.” Bush again urges U.S. to be patient about Iraq – “As the war in Iraq enters its fifth year, President Bush called anew for patience as beefed-up U.S. forces try to secure Baghdad. But the president faced increasing difficulty on Capitol Hill, where a proposal to set a timeline for withdrawing U.S. forces is gaining momentum.” A call for patience, resolve – “President Bush, confronting congressional demands for timelines to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, began the fifth year of the war seeking from wary Americans what he has sought many times before: patience.” War Bill Includes Tempting Projects – “House Democratic leaders are offering billions in federal funds for lawmakers’ pet projects large and small to secure enough votes this week to pass an Iraq funding bill that would end the war next year.”

Iraq-poll of Iraqi opinion. Democracy’s support sinks – “Four years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the once-strong support among Iraqis for building a unified and democratic nation has eroded in the face of increasing violence and sectarian strife.” Iraq’s fault lines easily traced in opinions on its plight, fate – “The idea of dividing Iraq into more independent regions or even separate states – one dominated by Shiite Arabs, another by Sunni Arabs and a third by Kurds – has been debated by policymakers and rejected by the White House.” Poll Shows Dramatic Decline in How Iraqis View Lives, Future – “More than six in 10 Iraqis now say that their lives are going badly — double the percentage who said so in late 2005 — and about half say that increasing U.S. forces in the country will make the security situation worse, according to a poll of more than 2,200 Iraqis conducted for ABC News and other media organizations.” DOCUMENTS: Complete poll(.pdf document)

Iraq anniversary-vigils. On 4th Anniversary of War, a Day of Vigils and Protests – “Opponents of the war in Iraq and people paying tribute to Americans and Iraqis who have died in the conflict gathered across the country in cities large and small on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war. More than 37,000 people in all 50 states took part in some 1,188 vigils, according to the grass-roots organization MoveOn.org.” Fake dead, blood make argument against war – “On the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, there were modest anti-war demonstrations in cities from coast to coast. Statements large and small were made across the Chicago area…. At [Rahm] Emanuel’s office on Irving Park Road, the non-profit Christian Peacemaker Teams staged an act of civil disobedience against the war that ended with three arrests for misdemeanor criminal trespass.”

Iran. Russia Gives Iran Ultimatum on Enrichment “Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran’s nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council,” Iranian leader gets visa to address U.N. – “The United States has approved a visa so that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can address the United Nations Security Council before it votes on additional sanctions over his country’s nuclear program, the State Department said.”

Immigration. As immigration raids rise, human toll decried – “When Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a meatpacking plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Dec. 16, arresting 99 workers who could not prove they were in the country legally, then-governor Tom Vilsack was livid.” G.O.P. Candidates Confront Immigration Politics Immigration – “an issue that has divided Republicans in Washington, is reverberating across the party’s presidential campaign field, causing particular complications for Senator John McCain of Arizona.”

Darfur. Darfur crisis has activist ‘angry all the time’ – “Slaughter in Sudan has consumed Massachusetts man. He is frustrated that more isn’t being done and urges outside intervention to stop rampant suffering.”

Episcopal church. Money Looms in Episcopalian Rift With Anglicans– “As leaders of the Anglican Communion hold meeting after m
eeting to debate severing ties with the Episcopal Church in the United States for consecrating an openly gay bishop, one of the unspoken complications is just who has been paying the bills. The truth is, the Episcopal Church bankrolls much of the Communion’s operations.”

Climate change. Material Shows Weakening of Climate Reports – “A House committee released documents Monday that showed hundreds of instances in which a White House official who was previously an oil industry lobbyist edited government climate reports to play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming or play down evidence of such a role.” Congressional hearing heats up over changes to climate reports – “Government scientists, armed with copies of heavily edited reports, charged Monday that the Bush administration and its political appointees had soft-pedaled their findings on climate change.” Bush appointees ‘watered down greenhouse science’ – “The Bush administration ran a systematic campaign to play down the dangers of climate change, demanding hundreds of politically motivated changes to scientific reports and muzzling a pre-eminent expert on global warming, Congress was told yesterday.”

History. Communist Party USA Gives Its History to N.Y.U.– “The cache contains decades of party history including founding documents, secret code words, stacks of personal letters, smuggled directives from Moscow, Lenin buttons, photographs and stern commands about how good party members should behave (no charity work, for instance, to distract them from their revolutionary duties). By offering such an inside view, the archives have the potential to revise assumptions on both the left and the right about one of the most contentious subjects in American history, in addition to filling out the story of progressive politics, the labor movement and the civil rights struggles.”

Op-Eds.

Morning in America (E.J. Dionne, Washington Post) – “To understand how much the Iraq war has transformed the way most Americans think about foreign policy, consider what passed for shrewd analysis four years ago. The words on the “in” list included “unilateral,” “bold,” “robust,” “transformative” and “sole remaining superpower.” The words on the “out” list included “multilateral,” “nuance,” “patience,” “diplomacy,” “allies,” “history” and “prudence.” Today, the “in” and “out” lists would be almost exactly reversed.”

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