CNN’s John Roberts called the situation in Iraq an “absolute mess,” and said the media has “sanitized” their coverage of the violence. “The amount of death that’s on the streets of Baghdad for U.S. forces and for the Iraqi people is at an astronomical level,” Roberts said.
A draft of the Iraq Study Group’s report “urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document.”
Britain’s Defense Secretary said that UK troop levels in Iraq will be “significantly lower by a matter of thousands” at the end of next year. The UK currently has approximately 7,000 troops in Iraq.
Conservative congressional leaders are expected to punt the issue of completing spending bills to next year’s Congress rather than take the time to piece together the legislation, potentially the final act of the Do-Nothing Congress. “It could mean we would adjourn much earlier than most pundits think,” said one conservative Senate aide.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of the foremost social conservatives in the Senate, “is considering whether to stop blocking a judicial nominee over concerns her appearance at a lesbian commitment ceremony betrayed her legal views on gay marriage.” Judge Janet Neff has said she attended the wedding as a friend of one of the two women, a longtime neighbor.
This week, President Bush visits Estonia and attends a two-day NATO summit in Latvia, where he will press “alliance members to increase defense spending.” From Latvia, Bush “heads to Amman, Jordan, for two days of talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.”
The Washington Times reviews Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates’ writings and reports him to “be more cautious and pragmatic than his predecessor, Mr. Rumsfeld, who has transformed the military and aggressively hunted al Qaeda members.”
And finally: The War on Peace Wreaths heats up. “A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.” “The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it,” said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. The homeowner said she won’t take the wreath down until after the holidays.
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