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IRAN – WHEN?

Months before the liberation of Iraq I wrote that we were about to have our great national debate on the war against the terror masters, and it was going to be the wrong debate. Wrong because it was going to focus obsessively on Iraq, thereby making it impossible to raise the fundamental strategic issues. Alas, that forecast was correct, and we're still stuck in the strategic quagmire we created. Up to our throats. So let's try again to get it right.Like Afghanistan before it, Iraq is only one theater in a regional war. We were attacked by a network of terrorist organizations supported by several countries, of whom the most important were Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. President Bush's original analysis was correct, as was his strategy: We must not distinguish between the terrorists and their national supporters. Hence we need different strategies for different enemies, but we need to defeat all of them.

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A SHAKESPEARIAN MOMENT

So now the fate of our country rides on which George Bush will show up in St. Louis tonight, the one we saw in Coral Gables or the one in Wilkes-Barre. If the latter, GW has the capacity to do Kerry in once and for all. To go for the jugular, he could make the following points:

My opponent keeps using the word “truth.” Well, here’s the truth. Our troops who are putting their lives on the line in fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq cannot trust a man who, when he was in uniform, publicly accused his fellow soldiers of war crimes he knew they did not commit. Senator Kerry owes his fellow Vietnam Veterans an apology for calling them war criminals and I expect to hear it right here tonight. America cannot afford such a man as my opponent as her president. America cannot afford a president who is all style and no substance - tall, big hair, deep voice uttering eloquent phrases that constantly contradict each other. It’s all frosting and no cake, folks. America cannot afford a president who has never owned or managed a business, never met a payroll, doesn’t have the slightest clue of how businesses work, never been an employee of a company and hasn’t a clue of what it’s like to work for a living. America cannot afford a president who has no record of accomplishment in 20 years in the Senate. America cannot afford a president who has never held any executive position and never managed any sort of organization, who has done nothing in his 20 years as a Senator except talk -- talk on the Senate floor, talk in speeches, talk to the press, and vote badly, vote consistently in ways that would damage American security.

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ROOTING FOR OZ

Forgive my prejudice, but I have a special fondness for the Land of Oz - that continent down under populated by the cheeriest, heartiest people on the planet who insist on calling their country Oz-trial-yuh.Here in the US, even though we’re freaking out over our elections a little over three weeks from now, we should take a moment to root for our Ozzie friends who themselves are having an election as I am writing this.

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ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO INSURE A SAFE AND SWIFT REINSTALLATION

One reason I’m spending so much time on this topic is that it’s the most important action you’re likely to take on your computer. Some of what I have to say I only learned after I reformatted my own disk. Once you have everything in place, it’s easy to do it again. Every time your computer accumulates intruders you can’t get rid of without editing the registry according to instructions from Symantec or your anti-virus company’s support site, you can reformat and reinstall in hours. If you’ve installed too many programs which slows your computer down, perhaps uninstalling them leaves debris in your registry. Now that I’ve got the procedure down pat, I plan to reinstall every several months.

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MAD IN MECCA

It was time once again to have a couple of Glen Moranjies on the rocks at the Cosmos Club with my friend Larry. It’s on Massachusetts Avenue in DC, across the river from where Larry works in this very large five-sided building. “You heard what the Vice-President said last night, right?” he asked. Since this was rhetorical, I let him continue. “Sure, his put downs of the Breck Boy were great, but this is the sentence to key in on:

The biggest threat we face today is the possibility of terrorists smuggling a nuclear weapon or a biological agent into one of our own cities and threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
“There is simply no doubt that Cheney is right. The question is what can we possibly do about it?” “What comes up for me,” I replied, “is Bush’s strategy of playing offense, not just defense. His main argument for the war in Iraq - which obviously I agree with - is taking the fight to the enemy, not hunkering down in Fortress America. As he says, ‘We’re fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here’.” Larry gave me a funny look and invited me to go on. “So the question is,” I continued, “how can we go on the offensive against nukes smuggled into our cities? We can blow up Iran’s facilities - and we’d better do that fast. But that’s not the problem here, which is the acquisition of already-existing nukes - say, Russian small atomic demolitions or “suitcase” nukes. If one of these were detonated in downtown New York, it would make September 11 look like a stubbed toe. Maybe there’s a way to play the MAD game with the Moslems.” There was something very self-satisfied about Larry’s smile. “Great Scotch is always the best accompaniment to great conversation. How would we play such a game, Jack?” he asked.

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WHY GEORGE BUSH IS TODAY’S CHURCHILL

Comparing U.S. President George Bush with Winston Churchill may seem a stretch. Yet there's a parallel -- not with Churchill of the war years, when he was the "free" world's most admired leader, but with Churchill of the 1930s when he stood alone, warning about the rise of Nazism. Then, pacifism was rampant in Britain and Europe. Hitler's aggression was rationalized by wishful thinking. Peace at any price. Except for Churchill. He began warning that the Nazis must be stopped when they occupied the Rhineland in 1936. He urged an alliance of Britain, France and the Soviet Union to stop Hitler's expansion. He was called a warmonger, an enemy of peace, reviled in print and in speeches. Few stood with him. History has proven Churchill right.

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LEARNING ISRAEL’S LESSONS

Finally, we’re learning one of Israel’s two best lessons in fighting terrorists. Israel, Sharon in particular, figured out a long time ago, that the enemy wasn’t a phenomenon, it was individuals: terrorists, not “terrorism.” So the solution was to forget about defeating some “ism” and hunt down and kill specific terrorists personally.The latest example took place this Sunday, September 26, when Israeli agents planted a bomb under the driver’s seat of Izz al-Deen Sheik Khalil’s SUV, and blew the senior Hamas leader up to the Moslem Bordello in the Sky.Taking this lesson to heart, US forces have begun targeting specific terrorists in Iraq. On September 22, US fighter jets nailed the “grand mufti” or spiritual leader of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Tawid and Jihad terrorists, Omar Youssef Jumah. Using the nom de guerre Abu Annas al-Shami, Jumah was fond of issuing fatwas proclaiming that Allah approved of beheading infidels. No more fatwas for you, Omar. You’re a good terrorist now.We’re learning at last to give Islamofascists what they want. They say their greatest strength is that they prefer death to life, while our greatest weakness is to love life more than death. If they love death, hey, no problem, happy to oblige.Now it’s time to learn the second great lesson in national security we can learn from Israel.

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TIGERS AND TREASON

Perhaps the most extraordinary summer of my life was when I was 17 years old. It was 1960, and I spent it in the jungles of South Vietnam hunting tigers. I was by myself with a Vietnamese hunting guide named Ngo Van Chi, and I was after one tiger in particular. He was a man-eater. He had killed and eaten so many people - over 20 - that he had a name: Ong Bang Mui, “Mr. Thirty,” the number associated with death. This was in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, inhabited by tribespeople collectively known as Montagnards (mon-tan-yards), French for mountain people. They are Malayo-Polynesian, not Mongoloid Oriental, who first populated these mountains thousands of years ago - long before the Vietnamese came, whether the Tonkinese in the north or the Annamese in the south. The Montagnard people I was with were known as the Co Ho. They had no modern weapons, only spears and cross bows. So when Ong Bang Mui leaped into one of their villages and dragged off a villager to be eaten, they had little defense. They had little defense also from the Communist Viet Cong. The sight of a village in smoking ruins and dead babies stuck onto sharpened poles is a sight one never forgets. The Co Ho and other Montagnard tribes were such peaceful, gentle people. It was impossible for anyone who got to know them, such as I and so many American soldiers, not to develop a deep and abiding fondness for them. They welcomed me into their huts, most always built on stilts, and were always gracious and kind - although I must admit they loved getting me way too drunk on their rice wine.

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SINKING THE CONGRESSIONAL DEMS

It wasn’t too long ago that the DNC folks were giddily predicting Democrat majorities for the House and Senate this November. The darkest gloom has replaced the giddiness. It’s dawned on them that Kerry is singlehandedly sinking their hopes.

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A REAGAN DOCTRINE FOR IRAN

This is the text of a briefing I am giving to Senate and Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill this morning.The Reagan Doctrine was above all a paradigm-shift. We weren’t going to try and outlast the Soviets anymore, we were going after them. We didn’t want peace with them, we didn’t want to get along with them, we wanted them gone, history, da svedanya, adios and goodbye. Support of various anti-Soviet insurgencies was a conscious assault on the structure of the Soviet Empire. The goal wasn’t simply freedom for this or that Soviet colony, but the full collapse of the Empire as a whole, which ultimately meant the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.This strategy… worked. The Reagan Doctrine is the most spectacularly successful geopolitical strategy of modern times. The question now is: where and how can such a strategy be best applied to the War on Islamofascism?I think the “where” is Iran. Iraq is a job for the United States Military. Iran is not -- not in the sense of the 3rd ID taking Tehran. During the Cold War, we needed US and NATO forces in Europe capable of blocking a Soviet invasion, say through the Fulda Gap. But we didn’t need US soldiers to fight in the jungles of Nicaragua or protest in the streets of Prague and Budapest. What we needed - and what we had -- were large numbers of people living in these countries willing to struggle for their own freedom. This is what we need, and this is what we have, today in Iran.The main obstacle in implementing a Reagan Doctrine for Iran is the same we had with implementing a Reagan Doctrine for the Soviets: Squishes in the White House and the State Department. In the 1980s they were Michael Deaver, Dick Darman, Jim Baker, and George Shultz. Today they are Robert Blackwill, Richard Armitage, and the entire Near East Bureau at State.Thus to implement a policy of regime change in Iran, there must be a strategy of regime change in the National Security Council and the State Department.

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