The U.S. House of Representatives failed on Thursday to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment backed by President Bush to ban gay marriage.
The largely party-line vote in the Republican-led House was 227-186, 49 votes short of what was required for approval.
In July, Democratic-led foes blocked a similar measure in the 100-member Senate where proponents failed to get even a simple majority to lift a procedural hurdle against it.
Backers of the proposed amendment said the twin setbacks helped showcase the issue for the Nov. 2 congressional and presidential elections.
"I welcome the important debate underway across America," Bush said in a brief statement after the House vote.
Bush and other proponents of a constitutional amendment argue that gay marriages devalue traditional marriages, and should be banned for the sake of children.
Tehran, the nation's capital, as well as several other cities have been wracked in recent days with widespread anti-government protests and violent crackdowns by government forces. Buildings have been set ablaze, and exiles are calling for revolution. According to reports on Activistchat.com, a Web site dedicated to freeing Iran from the oppressive rule of the mullahs, numerous protestors have been killed. Ledeen - who has many sources inside Iran and out - reports that the roundups and executions of young men have picked up at a terrific pace. Iran has staged 120 public hangings since March alone, according to the government's own news agency.
The unpopularity of the mullahs, primarily with the younger, Western-oriented generation, is causing panic inside the regime. The appeal of revolutionary theocracy has been bled dry. The Christian Science Monitor reported - some would say "reluctantly reported" - that discontent with the regime and a desire for "change" according to various "polls" equals 90 percent. And we all remember those famous soccer games where Iranian fans chanted "USA! USA!"
Even if this weren't such a powerful human interest story, it would still be appalling how completely the mainstream media have downplayed what could be one of the most important news stories of our lives. If Iran were to throw off the shackles of the mullahocracy in favor of anything like a sane, decent and democratic regime, it would be the most significant advance for freedom and decency since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would be a national security victory of staggering proportions.
So here's why we should all be ashamed we haven't paid more attention to this situation: The only way Iranian regime change will ever come about is if we - Americans, Europeans, the West - want it to. By ignoring the story, the press is in effect lending its support to the corrupt theocrats ruling Iran. One can't help but think this story is particularly inconvenient to those who think no good could ever come, even as a partial result, of the president's foreign policy.
That's especially the case for our enemies and "friends" in the Middle East who are invested in the continuation of tyranny, terrorism and the status quo. It's not that the Iranian Shiite regime is particularly popular with Arabs or Sunnis or its neighbors in general. But the collapse of that theocracy at the hands the Iranian street would deal a crippling blow to Islamists everywhere, proving that what normal Muslims want is freedom, prosperity and normalcy, not righteous totalitarianism.
Moreover, Iran is Al-Qaida's best friend - and probably the Iraqi insurgency's, too. The Iranians have been sowing discord in Iraq since before Saddam's ouster, and an end to their mischief would go a long way toward stabilizing Iraq. It would also have a profound teaching effect on the entire region that democratic change is inevitable and that everyone should get onboard the freedom train.
Four tribes’ chiefs promised to declare a threat to the militants in Fallujah that they should turn themselves to the authorities peacefully or the tribes will fight them. At the same time many citizens in Fallujah stated that they are willing to participate in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile Ayad Allawi gave a statement about a military action in Fallujah to be taken soon.
Rafidain net reported governmental sources saying that four tribes in Baghdad, Ramadi, Tikrit have promised to destroy the terrorism foci in the city of Fallujah after knowing that the American troops are preparing a major assault in the next couple of weeks.
Same sources confirmed that a meeting was held between the chiefs of Al Hamamda tribe in Ramadi, Al Juboor in Tikrit, Al Gareer in Yousufyia and a branch from Al Janabyeen in Latifyiah to discuss situations in Fallujah, the flow of terrorists from outside Iraq into the city and the role of clerics in provoking violence and justifying murder and kidnap in the name of Islam. The chiefs showed determination to end this situation either peacfuly or by force.
Same sources pointed out that thousands of armed men from these tribes are ready to sweep the city of Fallujah, and that they have received letters from many respectable figures in Fallujah including some clerics that plead to the Iraqi tribes to save the citizens of Fallujah from the deteriorating condition under the rule of armed gangs and terrorists.
On the other hand a declaration signed by major political parties and social groups in Fallujah was distributed in the city confirming that the people of Fallujah support strongly holding the elections at the decided time on the condition that it should be honest. The declaration affirmed their support to the IP and ING in their attempts to restore order to the city, yet they said that they will stand against any American attack on their city.
The terrorist movement in Iraq, at times graced with the label of "insurgency," is in no position to impose its will on the nation. With the help of its outside backers, it could, to be sure, continue kidnappings and killings for years.
More than a dozen countries (Colombia, Peru, Malaysia, the Philippines, Algeria, Egypt, etc.) have experienced similar terrorist movements in recent decades. In every case, the terrorists, having pushed the limits of brutality as far as they could, were ultimately defeated.
It took Peru almost a quarter-century to defeat and destroy the vicious Shining Path. At no time, however, did it manage to threaten the basic structures of the nation or, ultimately, to divert its process of democratization. In Colombia, an insurgency that dates back almost 40 years is now facing certain defeat. It took the British almost 12 years to defeat the so-called "insurgency" in Malaya which, despite massive support from China and the U.S.S.R., was doomed from the start.
The ultimate reason for terrorist movements' failure is the same that constitutes their raison d'etre: Individuals and groups choose terrorism because they know they cannot mobilize popular support.
The terrorist hopes to force history in his direction with the help of bombs and guns. He tries to substitute his will for the will of the people. While claiming to fight in the name of the people he is, in fact, excluding the people from the political process if only because "ordinary citizens" are not prepared to die, let alone kill, for abstract ideas.
So the "insurgency" in Iraq is going nowhere fast. It will be as roundly defeated as were its predecessors in so many other countries. The danger for Iraq's future lies elsewhere.
It comes, in part, from Americans who want Iraq to fail because they want President Bush to fail. Some 81 books paint the president as the devil incarnate; Bush-bashing is also the theme of three "documentaries" plus half a dozen Hollywood feature films. Never before in any mature democracy has a political leader aroused so much hatred from his domestic opponents.
Others want Iraq to fail because they want America to fail, with or without Bush. The bitter tone of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he declared the liberation of Iraq "illegal" shows that it is not the future of Iraq but the vilification of the United States that interests him.
Add to this the recent bizarre phrase from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The head of the Figaro press group went to see him about the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq; Raffarin assured him they would soon be freed, reportedly saying, "The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies."
In plain language, this means that, in the struggle in Iraq, Raffarin does not see France on the side of its NATO allies — the U.S., Britain, Italy and Denmark among others — but on the side of the "insurgents."