The Common Good

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Press Items
U.S. "intelligence collection and reporting requirements on human rights abuses [in Honduras] were subordinated to higher priorities," the CIA working group reported, according to a summary released to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2001, before confirmation hearings on Negroponte's nomination to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.
It's Wallis's critique of the secular left as well as the religious right that makes this such an important book. After toiling as an anti-poverty crusader and magazine editor for many years, Wallis hit his stride in the 2004 campaign by challenging the religious conservative monopoly on political God-talk. Now there is a debate over the nature and role of the religious left, and <i>God's Politics </i>is a seminal contribution to the timely discussion.
But, in one of the greatest ironies of the U.S. intervention, Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base - and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door. It is the last thing the administration expected from its costly Iraq policy - $300 billion and counting, U.S. and regional analysts say.
The movement, which took root throughout Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, focused on helping the poor and oppressed, even if that meant confronting political powers.
If the proportion of funds for religious groups has increased because the overall pie has shrunk, "that isn't a fulfillment of the president's original compassionate-conservative promises, it is a rejection."
"Our determination," Kennedy added, "finds confirmation in the stark reality that the United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty."
Iraqi police, jailers and intelligence agents, many of them holding the same jobs they had under Hussein, are "committing systematic torture and other abuses" of detainees, Human Rights Watch said in a report to be released Tuesday.
When Senate Democrats met at the Kennedy Center on Jan. 5 as Congress convened, they invited as their main speaker the Rev. Jim Wallis, a liberal minister who has been urging Democrats to speak more openly about religion. "They gave more time to this than any other issue," Wallis said in an interview.
Jim Wallis, for example, editor of Sojourners magazine and a tireless leader in progressive Christian activism, has passionately pleaded for the secular left not to prematurely pluck discussion of faith from the vocabulary of Democrats.