Sunday, March 16, 2008

Head held high

"I don't know about you, but I'm excited about the year 2008. I intend to finish strong, with my head held high." - President Bush

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Bankers say last week’s near-collapse of one of the most feared and influential US brokerage firms could not have come at a worse time for a sector battered by bad news and huge losses.

The S&P 500 index of financial stocks has already lost one fifth of its value this year and shares in many investment and commercial banks, such as Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers have shouldered even bigger losses

With Bear now on life support in the form of emergency funding from the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan – and likely to be bought or liquidated in the next few days – the hunt is on for the next piece to fall in Wall Street’s shaky domino line.

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"When I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people," Bush said. "And I understand the mentality of our candidates. And there's no question in my mind, with your help, 2008 is going to be a great year."

"The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency, it is the right decision at this point in my presidency and it will forever be the right decision," he told religious broadcasters earlier this month. President Bush

WASHINGTON — It was a decision that only President Bush had the power to make: At about 9 a.m. on March 19, 2003, in the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing of the White House, he gave the "execute order" to begin Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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Pope: Enough With Slaughters in Iraq
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI issued one of his strongest appeals for peace in Iraq on Sunday, days after the body of the kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found near the northern city of Mosu
"At the same time, I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for the past five years have borne the consequences of a war that provoked the breakup of their civil and social life," Benedict said
The Vatican strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In its aftermath, Benedict has frequently criticized attacks against Iraqi Christians by Islamic extremists. Last year, he urged President Bush to keep the safety of Iraqi Christians in mind
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"The winner of the 2008 elections will command U.S. forces still at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and against elusive terrorists with a deadly reach. The U.S. economy will remain burdened. ... America's moral leadership and decision-making competence will continue to be questioned," begins a study of foreign-policy choices for the next president, which a Georgetown University task force released last month.

Oil prices are at an all-time high, the dollar at new lows against the euro. Surveys find the United States' popularity and respect slipping in every part of the globe except Africa. A poll of 3,400 active and retired U.S. military officers by Foreign Policy magazine found that 88 percent agreed with the statement that "The war in Iraq has stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin."

Because of the invasion of Iraq, "America's strategic position in the world has worsened," said Josef Joffe, the editor and publisher of Die Zeit, a German weekly that's sympathetic to United States. "From a coldly realist perspective, Iraq was the wrong war against the wrong foe at the wrong time."
The removal of Saddam Hussein strengthened Iran and "by entangling itself in an interminable civil war, the U.S. has lost power to spare," Joffe said.

"Since 9/11, the United States has been exporting fear and anger rather than the more traditional values of hope and optimism. Suspicions of American power have run deep," Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under Bush, and Joseph Nye, a Pentagon official under President Clinton, wrote in a December report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Entire article here

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