God's Politics

the latest reports on Iraq and Vietnam, vets in Congress, Korean hostages, India and nukes, religious school funding in Canada, global epidemics, aid to Africa, Hurricane Dean, and select opinion pieces

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Iraq and Vietnam. Bush Declares That ‘Free Iraq’ Is Within ReachPresident Bush delivered a rousing defense of his Iraq policy, telling a group of veterans that “a free Iraq” is within reach and warning that if Americans succumb to “the allure of retreat,” they will witness death and suffering of the sort not seen since the Vietnam War.” Bush sees surge working “President Bush warned lawmakers not to try to “pull the rug” out from under the U.S. military in Iraq just as troops are making progress against insurgents.” President compares Vietnam, Iraq wars “After years of rejecting the comparison, President Bush surprised observers by invoking the “painful and complex” legacy of Vietnam as an example of why the US military must continue fighting in Iraq, declaring that America must not “abandon” Iraqis who are struggling to build a free society.” Bush cites past wars for lessons on Iraq “But his remarks to a VFW convention in Kansas City, Mo., also invited stinging criticism from historians and military analysts who said the analogies evidenced scant understanding of those conflicts’ true lessons.” Bush: ‘no pullout from Iraq’ “Making it clear he will resist congressional pressure next month for an early withdrawal, he signalled that US troops, whom he hailed as the “greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known”, will be in Iraq as long as he is president.” The complete text of the President’s speech.

Analysis: Bush seems likely to prevail with Congress next month on Iraq policy “Bush now seems likely to prevail when Congress resumes wrestling about Iraq in September. Reports of limited military progress in Iraq have stiffened Republicans’ support for Bush’s policy while putting Democrats on the defensive.” News Analysis: Historians Question Bush’s Reading of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq “In reminding Americans that the pullout in 1975 was followed by years of bloody upheaval in Southeast Asia, Mr. Bush argued that Vietnam’s lessons provide a reason for persevering in Iraq, rather than for leaving any time soon. Mr. Bush in essence accused his war critics of amnesia over the exodus of Vietnamese “boat people” refugees and the mass killings in Cambodia that upended the lives of millions of people.”

Vets in Congress. Vets in Congress walk fine line on ending Iraq war “What will it take for the Congress of the United States of America to do the will of the people?” It’s a question on the minds of many voters frustrated with the war – especially those who elected military veterans who said they opposed the conflict. Now these veterans, newly minted as congressmen, are looking such tough crowds in the eye and explaining that withdrawal from Iraq isn’t as simple as all that.”

Iraq-politics. Maliki Scolds His American Critics “Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki strongly rebuked American politicians for threatening to withdraw support from his government, suggesting while on a trip to Syria that he could “find friends elsewhere” if he was abandoned by the United States.” U.S. criticism draws a blunt Iraqi retort “Together with his recent overtures to Iran and Syria, Maliki’s words raised questions about his diplomatic priorities and sensitivity to U.S. concerns about two neighboring countries Washington accuses of supporting terrorism.”

Korean hostages. Koreans beg for hostages’ release “Two South Korean women, held hostage for weeks by the Taliban in Afghanistan, have appealed for the release of the other 19 hostages.”

India and nukes. India tiff over nuclear pact heats up “The political tussle in India over a landmark nuclear cooperation deal with the United States has reached a fevered stage, prompting warnings that the dispute could topple the Indian government and force early elections.”

Canada-Religious school funding. Religious-school funding to be a ‘defining issue’ “Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made it clear that he will campaign vigorously against Opposition Leader John Tory’s promise to fund non-Catholic religious schools, which he said would threaten the stability of the entire public education system.”

WHO-global epidemics. WHO sees new global epidemics “A new killer disease on par with HIV-Aids or ebola is likely to emerge in the next few years and threaten the lives of millions of people worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today. Potentially deadly new diseases are being identified at an “unprecedented rate”, with global epidemics spreading more rapidly than ever,” WHO warns over global epidemic “The WHO urges increased efforts to combat disease outbreaks, and sharing of virus data to help develop vaccines. Without this, it says, there could be devastating impacts on the global economy and international security.”

Aid to Africa. Is Western aid making a difference in Africa? “Outside attention to the continent has fueled thousands of successful programs ranging from eradicating smallpox and reducing infant mortality rates to helping more children go to school and more farmers get microloans. But, despite the aid, the number of poor people in Africa has almost doubled in the past decade.”

Hurricane Dean. Hurricane Dean slams Mexico’s Gulf coast POZA RICA, Mexico (Reuters) – “Hurricane Dean ripped into Mexico’s Gulf coast on Wednesday with screaming winds and torrential rain that killed two people, flooded towns and forced thousands into shelters, but then weakened rapidly.” Dean ravages remote Mennonite village in Mexico SALAMANCA, Mexico – “Though the closest city escaped catastrophic damage from Hurricane Dean, the storm ravaged the livelihoods of a historic people so isolated that the only hint of modernity comes from the jetliners that fly overhead. They are not indigenous Mayas. They are Mennonites, 800 descendants of 16th-century European Protestant reformers, who mostly shun the modern world but boarded buses and found shelter from the storm inside the city of Chetumal.”


How to challenge Iran’s militancy without using arms (Marc Gopin and Gregory Meeks, Christian Science Monitor) “There have been persistent rumors in Washington that President Bush does not want to leave office without “doing something” about Iran. Even more alarming, there have been rumors that Mr. Bush has solicited a green light from Russian President Vladimir Putin for Israel to “do something” about Iran.”


The Saigon syndrome (Guardian) “His view of the US withdrawal from Vietnam, though shared by some Republicans, is bizarre too. It was not withdrawal but intervention in neighbouring Cambodia that led to the killing fields. Anger at American bombing (intended to disrupt North Vietnam’s supply lines) brought down the Cambodian government and triggered the Khmer Rouge’s brutal revolution.”

The misleading Vietnam analogy (Los Angeles Times) “The real lesson of Vietnam is that its civil war was a nationalist struggle that toppled no communist “dominoes” across Asia. Bush’s rhetoric implying an Al Qaeda “domino effect” in the Middle East has the same false ring.”

Veto-proofing kids’ health insurance (Los Angeles Times) “Preventing poor children from seeing a doctor is politically unpopular and deeply immoral, which explains the Bush administration’s attempt to hide its efforts to do precisely that. No one should be fooled by President Bush’s interference with congressional plans to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a worthwhile safety net that has cut the number of uninsured low-income children by nearly a third in a decade.”

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