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Jack Kelly

SARKO AT YORKTOWN

How do you say "Ronald Reagan" in French?  Many in Europe's establishment fear it might be "Nicolas Sarkozy." Mr. Sarkozy was elected president of France last Sunday (5/6) by a comfortable margin (53-47 percent) over the Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royale.  Voter turnout was an eye-popping 85 percent. "Sarko" is not your typical French politician.  He had a picture taken of himself shaking hands with President Bush, something some of the GOP candidates for president are leery of doing. It's a welcome change from recent, and not so recent, history.  There would have been no United States of America were it not for the French.  When Lord Cornwallis marched his troops out of Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781 to surrender to General Washington, he did so because a French fleet prevented the evacuation of the British.    The army to which Cornwallis surrendered had nearly as many French soldiers in it as Americans. Things have gone downhill since then. 

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A HIDDEN COLLEGE TREASURE

The experience FBI Director Robert Mueller had two weeks ago when he tried to give a speech at Harvard seems typical of many colleges campuses these days. "Mueller, who was set to speak before a full crowd managed by tight security detail, had just begun his prepared remarks when the first protestor interrupted with screams," reported the Harvard Crimson. Yet recently I went to a college campus to hear a controversial speaker on a hot button topic in a lecture hall packed with students. The speaker (my friend Ralph Peters) had no security, and needed none. No attempt was made to disrupt his remarks.  The questions the students asked were polite, respectful, and intelligent, indicating both a familiarity with the topic and a desire to learn more about it. Obviously, I wasn't at Harvard - or, say, at Columbia, where the administration let off with wrist slaps students who physically assaulted a speaker last semester.

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TENET’S WHINE

Washington memoirs tend to be self serving, but ex-CIA Director George Tenet's At the Center of the Storm is remarkable even for the genre.    Michael Scheuer, the first head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, said the book "seems designed to rehabilitate Tenet in his first home, the Democratic Party."  Mr. Tenet's reputation is in need of rehabilitation because it was he who assured President Bush the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk."  And there was that 9/11 thing the CIA missed on his watch. None of this was his fault, Mr. Tenet assures us.  It was the neocons who screwed up Iraq.  Intelligence collection and analysis about 9/11 would have been better if President Clinton hadn't slashed his budget.  Book stores should serve cheese with this whine.

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BUMBLING DEMS

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demonstrating they are not ready for prime time.  This could cloud what looks now like rosy Democratic electoral prospects next year. Democrats in Congress have sent to the president a supplemental appropriations bill calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq beginning in October, which they know he will veto, raising substantially the already high profile of the issue. It's remarkable that Democrats, as a matter of policy, are siding with America's enemies in time of war.  It didn't work so well for them when they did that during the Civil War.  And it is questionable political strategy to make a swift retreat from Iraq the centerpiece of their legislative agenda.  But more remarkable is how clumsily Democrats are executing the strategy they've chosen.

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THE MEDIA IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY SICK

For the sake of a few dollars more, NBC has brought closer the day of the next public mass killing in America. "This was a sick business tonight, going on the air with this," acknowledged NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams of his network's decision to air portions of the "multimedia manifesto" Cho Seung-Hui mailed NBC in the interval between his murder sprees on the Virginia Tech campus. It was indeed a sick business decision.  Mass killings inspire copycats. "School campuses in at least 10 states were locked down or evacuated in the aftermath of a Virginia Tech student's shooting rampage," the AP reported Wednesday. NBC is not alone in its guilt.  Every news organization which rebroadcast portions of the video, or newspapers (like mine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for which I write a column) which published still photographs of Mr. Cho posing with his weapons is complicit. We say we do this to protect "the people's right to know."  The real reason, of course, is we hope the titillation will increase our number of viewers or readers. But as we fatten our bottom lines, we send a message to every sociopathic loser: Wanna be famous?  Go kill a lot of people.  We'll put your face and your story and your alleged grievances into every home in America.

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FEELING SAFER AND BEING SAFER

Both supporters and opponents of gun control are shoe-horning the tragedy at Virginia Tech into their pre-established templates.  Both have ammunition. On the one hand, Mr. Cho was able to purchase the firearms he used in the murder spree -- Glock 19 and Walther P-22 handguns -- lawfully at a local gun shop. On the other, the Virginia Tech campus is a "gun free zone," where students, faculty and staff are forbidden to have firearms, even if they have concealed carry permits.  Mr. Cho lived in a dorm on campus, where he stored his weapons and ammunition.  The school's policy banning guns wasn't very effective in Mr. Cho's case. A fundamental difference between supporters and opponents of gun control is their attitude toward personal responsibility.  Liberals tend to offer excuses for the perpetrators of violent acts (he was poor; his mother drank; his daddy beat him), and to assume that potential victims have no right to play a role in their own defense. Those who think the law abiding should be permitted to carry firearms argue that if some of the students, faculty, or staff had been armed, they could have cut Mr. Cho's murder spree short.

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HEROES AND MISERABLE CREATURES

Danny Dietz understood these words of British philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873): "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing that is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept free by the exertions of other men better than himself." Linda Cuesta and Emily Fuchs are among the "miserable creatures" to whom Mill was referring.  They're trying to keep the city of Littleton, Colorado from erecting a statue in honor of Danny Dietz, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. Petty Officer Dietz was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest decoration for valor, because, though badly wounded, he fought on to permit his team mates to escape from an ambush.  Ms. Cuesta and Ms. Fuchs are among a small group of parents who want to keep his home town from honoring Petty Officer Dietz because the statue depicts him with his weapon.

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BRITISH AND RUTGERS WUSSIES

The 15 British sailors and marines held hostage by Iran, and the members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team both have achieved the highest status contemporary liberalism offers: victimhood. Writing in 1852 about the "emperor" Napoleon III (son of Napoleon's younger brother, who ruled France from 1848 to 1870), Karl Marx said history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.  The British hostage crisis moved seamlessly from the one to the other. Just like the Imus-Rutgers crisis.

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BEYOND COWARDICE

Patricia Hewitt, Health Secretary in Tony Blair's cabinet, was upset by pictures broadcast from Iran of the 15 captive British sailors and marines, reported Christopher Booker of the Sunday Telegraph. "It was deplorable that the woman hostage should be shown smoking," Ms. Hewitt said.  "This sends completely the wrong message to our young people." When liberals cower when petty thugs make threats (which is pretty much whenever petty thugs make threats), conservatives,  understandably, suspect them of cowardice.  But Ms. Hewitt's bizarre response to her country's humiliation suggest something else is at work. The most remarkable aspect of this most recent Iranian hostage crisis is the lengths to which so many prominent people in the West have gone to make excuses for inexcusable Iranian behavior.

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THE DREAM OF HILLARY VS. GORE

Insight magazine reports that Al Gore is contemplating running for president...as the nominee of the Green Party. Both he and Ralph Nader are evidently convinced that Hillary Clinton will get the Democrat nomination, and Mr. Nader is urging Mr. Gore to take her on under the Green banner. There is little love lost between Mr. Gore and the Clintons, and if you're living in a fantasy world (as Mr. Gore largely has been since his shattering defeat), there are two good reasons to convince yourself you could win as a third party candidate, or accomplish something important even if you didn't.

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DITZES IN THE ARCTIC

Two female explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, planned a trek across the Arctic Ocean earlier this month to highlight the dangers of global warming.  They had to call the expedition off because it was too cold. "One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times," Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition, told the Associated Press. "They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," Ms. Atwood acknowledged.  "One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability," she said. Uh, Ms. Atwood, one thing people who haven't drunk the Kool Aid can predict is that it'll be mighty cold in the Arctic in winter. (Jack Wheeler, who has been to the North Pole 21 times, told me he fell out of his chair laughing at this news item.  "What ditzes," he observed.) The Jim Jones of this Kool Aid testified on Capitol Hill last Wednesday. 

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HYPOCRISY IS WINNING

To its enemies, the most endearing quality of the Bush administration must be the frequency with which the Bushies act as if they've done something wrong, even when they haven't. President Bush caused himself no end of grief when he apologized for saying in his 2003 state of the union address "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," even though every word of it was true.  That blunder may have been topped by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at his news conference last Wednesday.  The "senior Justice Department official" who told reporters Mr. Gonzales' performance was "disastrous" was being kind.

Only President Bush, with his apparently boundless enthusiasm for mediocrities (Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job), imagined that Mr. Gonzales was a good choice to be attorney general, and he has lived down to the expectations most held for him. 

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THE MOONBAT ALBATROSS

These are good times for moonbats, hard times for wingnuts.  This bodes ill for Democratic prospects in 2008. "Moonbat" is a term popularized by the Web logger Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) to describe people on the extreme left.  "Wingnut" is a term coined by liberals to describe those on the extreme right. Most of us learn by the third grade the difference between addition and subtraction.  But both moonbats and wingnuts think a majority can be built by driving away everyone who doesn't agree with them totally on everything. Little better illustrates the rising influence of moonbats than the on again, off again efforts by Democratic leaders in Congress to hamstring the war effort in Iraq by imposing crippling conditions on the defense appropriations bill.

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KICKING RUDY’S TIRES

Rudy Giuliani is casting a long shadow over the Democratic as well as the Republican presidential races.  Opinion polls indicate the former New York mayor has a large lead not only among likely GOP voters, but in match ups with the leading Democratic contenders as well. It defies conventional wisdom that a candidate who is pro-choice on abortion and pro-gay rights could be a serious contender for the Republican nomination.  But two events have stood the conventional wisdom on its head. For most conservatives, winning the war on terror is the paramount issue, because nothing else matters much if we lose.  Mr. Giuliani arguably has the best credentials on the paramount issue. 

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A HILARIOUS INCONVENIENCE

It doesn't take much to be the funniest moment in an Academy Awards show that Washington Post television critic Tom Shales described as "alternately a bore and a horror."  But I thought it hilarious when Algore won the Oscar for best documentary for "An Inconvenient Truth." Documentaries ought to bear some relationship to reality.  "An Inconvenient Truth" is a cheesy propaganda film. Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, who is to climate science what Tom Brady is to football, has described it as "shrill alarmism." "You'd think that a science-based, call to action film from a guy who flunked out of divinity school...would be received with a certain amount of skepticism, but in officially atheist Hollywood, Albert Arnold Algore Jr. is the second coming of Moses, Maimonides, Martin Luther, all rolled into one," wrote "David Kahane," a nom de plume for a screenwriter in Hollywood.

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BUSH AND THE COPPERHEADS

What if we win in Iraq?  If the thought makes you break out in a cold sweat, you could be a Democrat candidate for president. American history has a grave lesson for the Democrats.  They need to be reminded that their Democrat Party clamored for a U.S. defeat during the Civil War.  Back then, the leaders of their party called themselves "Peace Democrats," who urged Union soldiers to desert and hated Abraham Lincoln as much as their political descendants hate George Bush today.  They were confident of capturing the White House in 1864. Then Sherman captured Atlanta two months before the 1864 elections.  The "Copperheads," as the Republicans called the Democrats after a venomous snake, got creamed by the voters who thought victory was nigh.  And it was: at Appomattox five months later (April 9, 1865). President Bush may have his Atlanta before the primaries begin.

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A KAFKA PROSECUTION

Scooter Libby must feel as if he were a character in a Seinfeld episode written by Franz Kafka. Seinfeld was the fabulously successful  1990s sitcom "about nothing."  In Kafka's novels, his protagonists are trapped in situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical. The fate of Mr. Libby, who used to be chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is now in the hands of the jury.  He is charged by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald with having lied about something that isn't a crime, because his memory of an event differs from that of journalists, whose memories also are faulty. Cross examination revealed that virtually every prosecution witness has serious memory problems.  But only Mr. Libby's memory is on trial.

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TRUTH, CONSENSUS, AND INTELLIGENCE FAILURES

The Mother of All Corrections issued by the Washington Post Saturday (2/10) illustrates what is wrong with our intelligence agencies, and -- especially -- with news coverage of them. The inspector general of the Department of Defense had been asked by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee (and now, alas, its chairman), to determine whether the intelligence analysis on Iraq done by the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans under then Under Secretary Douglas Feith violated the law. On Feb. 8, acting Inspector General Thomas Gimble issued his report.  Washington Post reporters Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith wrote a story about it, which appeared on the front page of last Friday's paper.  They managed to confuse the IG report with a press release sent out by Sen. Levin over two years ago.

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HANGING UP ON ALGORE

To say the earth is as warm as its ever been since the invention of the thermometer isn't as scary as alarmists think.  The mercury thermometer was invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714. That was in the middle of the Little Ice Age (AD 1350-1900). Of course temperatures are warmer now than they were then.  Dr. Bob Carter, a paleoclimate researcher at James Cook University in Australia, notes that for most of the last six million years, average global temperatures were as much as five degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. As each new piece of evidence weakens their argument, global warming alarmists try to shut off debate. They claim a consensus which does not exist.  The National Registry of Environmental Professionals took a survey last November, which indicated two thirds of its members think global warming is a serious problem.  That means a third do not. So much for consensus. Skeptics are, global warming alarmists say, a "fringe" who are paid by CO2-spewing corporations to express doubt.  But numbered among the skeptics are some of the world's most renowned climatologists, such as Richard Lindzen of MIT and Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia.  All have better credentials than does the divinity school dropout who invented the Internet and from whom alarmists take their cues.

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PARIAH JOHN: TRAITOR IN VIETNAM, NOW TRAITOR IN IRAQ

On January 20, Iranian agents kidnapped five US soldiers in Karbala, Iraq.  They killed one immediately. The bodies of the four other Americans were found later. President Bush's subsequent decision to permit U.S. troops to kill Iranians who are trying to kill them came shortly after the Karbala attack, which in earlier times would have been recognized by one and all for the act of war that it was. But as evidence mounted over the weekend of Iranian involvement in the terror in Iraq, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, describing his country as an "international pariah" for fighting it. Sen. Kerry followed to the podium former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami, whose speech he praised.  Sen. Kerry's remarks were front page news in Iranian newspapers. In the "War Crimes" museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), there is a photo of Sen. Kerry greeting the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist party.  Perhaps Sen. Kerry is angling for similar recognition in Tehran.

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GLO-BULL WARMING

For the last two weeks the weather in Pittsburgh has been typical for January -- it's snowed almost every day.  And for the first time this winter I've heard complaints about the weather at work.  I heard none during our unseasonably warm December. I note this to put in perspective the latest scare report on global warming from the United Nations:  Hypothetical piled upon hypothetical,  based on computer models which cannot duplicate the actual climate of the present or the recent past. Alarmists attribute warming to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  But CO2 accounts for only about 0.03 percent of the earth's atmosphere, and less than 10 percent of the greenhouse effect.  Only about 14 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from burning fossil fuels. That means all of Algore's hysteria, all the economy-destroying restrictions of the Kyoto Treaty, are about stopping carbon emissions responsible for 1.4% of the greenhouse effect.

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THE SURGE IS ALREADY SUCCEEDING

Three interesting things have happened since President Bush announced plans to "surge" U.S. troops. First, al Qaeda appears to be retreating from Baghdad.  Second, the radical cleric Moqtada al Sadr is retreating.  Third, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is retreating from his support of al Sadr. And the surge has barely begun.  Yet the Democrats say it has to fail.

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EATING THE FBI’S LUNCH

The FBI's bumbling in the war on terror, and the tendency of the FBI to promote the bumblers, has made it one of our weakest links in the chain of agencies tasked with protecting America's security. Foreign spies have been eating the FBI's lunch for years.  Katrina Leung, for example, was permitted to pass along critical national secrets for years after she'd confessed to being a spy for Red China because the two FBI agents who were supposed to be monitoring her were sleeping with her.  Neither of those agents was punished. The ghastly reality is that, for many senior people in the FBI, their careers come first, the reputation of the FBI second.  The security of the United States is a distant third.

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CRYSTAL GAIL MANGUM

[One of the most infuriating aspects to the Duke Rape Case is the media's refusal to disclose the name of the woman involved.  She is only identified as "the accuser," while the real victims in the case, the Duke lacrosse players, have had their names and pictures broadcast to every inhabitant of the planet. Not in this article.  The woman's name is Crystal Gail Mangum.  Google her name and you will get 16,000 hits.  There is even a Wikipedia entry on her.  So we are hereby happy to end the journalistic conspiracy and insert her name along with "accuser." ---JW] CBS's "Sixty Minutes" broadcast Sunday (1/14) showed many people the gross abuse of prosecutorial power in the Duke rape case. Durham district attorney Michael Nifong indicted three Duke University lacrosse players last April after a stripper who performed at a team party claimed she had been raped. The accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum, picked the three defendants from a photo lineup consisting only of lacrosse players, a violation of police procedures.  (Clearly innocent people are supposed to be mixed in with suspects.) Liberals rushed to condemn the Duke lacrosse players because they loved the narrative: rich white guys abuse poor black woman.  Some furious backtracking is taking place as evidence of their innocence mounts.  A new verb, to "nifong," has been coined.  It's a synonym for "to frame."

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THE COST OF DEFEAT

Debate over the new strategy for Iraq mostly has been between those who regard it as a "last chance" for victory, and those who think the war already is irretrievably lost.  About this, two observations: The first is that we have a much lower threshold for what constitutes defeat than our grandparents did.  In the summer of 1942, the Japanese were planning to invade Australia, and German tanks were parked at the Eiffel Tower.  But few then said we should throw in the towel. Our parents and grandparents realized the fascists we were fighting then were really nasty guys; that living in a world in which they were dominant would be intolerable.  They realized our country had great strengths, and our enemies had weaknesses.  If our strengths could be mobilized, and their weaknesses exploited, victory would be ours. We did mobilize our strengths.  Half our gross domestic product was devoted to the war effort. Things sure are different now.

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THE NEXT WAR FOR OIL

On Christmas day this week, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report which indicates Iranian oil production is about to plunge. Iran currently earns about $50 billion a year in oil exports.  Oil profits account for about 65 percent of Iranian government revenues.  But Iranian oil exports could decline by half within five years, and virtually disappear within ten, said the report's author Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The effect on Iran would be catastrophic. Thanks to mismanagement by the mullahs, and corruption on a scale so vast as to make even an Iraqi blush, Iran's economy is already a basket case.  Here's an example:  Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers, has to import 35% of its gasoline.  The fools haven't built new refineries and can't operate efficiently the ones they have.  So they have to import refined gasoline for their cars. Get ready for the next War For Oil in the Middle East.

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PRESIDENT BUSH AND CAPTAIN PATRIQUIN

Sir Thomas Gresham noted that: "bad money drives out good." A kind of Gresham's Law applies in politics and journalism. Bad advice drives out good.  The recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (composed of 10 famous people who know next to nothing about either the military or the Middle East) received enormous attention from the news media.  But the report last week from people who actually know what they're talking about received little. Aside from the surreal recommendation that we ask our enemies, Iran and Syria, for help in quelling the violence they are largely responsible for fomenting, the ISG recommended, essentially, that we do more of what hasn't worked very well.  President Bush has been asking a lot of people what he should do next in Iraq.  But he should have consulted with Travis Patriquin.

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AN UNSERIOUS LIBERAL ELITE

I panned the puerile recommendations of the Iraq Study Group in an earlier column, and will not re-plow that ground here.  But the mere existence of the ISG tells us some unpleasant things about ourselves that we ought to know, but evidently don't. First, there is the speed with which Congress palmed off its responsibility to conduct oversight of Executive  Branch policies to a private panel of has-beens.  It's time our lawmakers paid more attention to their responsibilities, and less to their privileges. Then there is the glee with which many in the Washington establishment -- particularly in journalism -- greeted the (glaringly obvious) finding that things are not going well in Iraq suggests an elite so insulated and out of touch that it sees no ill consequences flowing to themselves from a defeat being inflicted upon their country.  The appropriate response of serious people would have been concern, perhaps anger.  But an elite that sees a big setback in the war against Islamofascism chiefly in terms of its impact on domestic politics is not comprised of serious people.

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JAMES BAKER AND PARIS HILTON

President Kennedy once hosted a dinner for Nobel Prize winners.  At the dinner he reportedly said: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined here alone." After reviewing the report of the Iraq Study Group, released Wednesday, New York Post editorial page editor John Podhoretz declared: "The nation's capital hasn't seen such concentrated wisdom in one place since Paris Hilton dined alone at the Hooters on Connecticut Avenue." T. F. Boggs, an Army sergeant recently returned from his second tour in Iraq, said the recommendations were a "joke" that "could only have come from a group of old people who have been stuck in Washington for too long."

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IS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A LEGITIMATE NEWS SOURCE?

In a story that attracted international attention, the Associated Press reported Nov. 24 that:

Shia militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene, Iraqi Police Capt. Jamil Hussein said. The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaying of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing an unknown number of Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer said this sensational story was a trigger for the network's decision to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a civil war.  But two difficulties have emerged with the it: First, both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government say they can find no evidence the incident reported by Capt. Hussein ever occurred. Second, Jamil Hussein may not even exist.  He may be an invention of the Associated Press.  The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior says it has no police captain named Jamil Hussein.

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WE CAN RUN BUT WE CANNOT HIDE

Americans voted as they did in the midterm elections in large part because they are tired of the war in Iraq.  But to slightly paraphrase one of the founders of the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky: "You may not be interested in the war, but the war is interested in you."  A major part of our problem in Iraq is that we think our problem is Iraq.  It's much bigger than that. We are at war with Islamic extremism, which is by no means restricted by the borders of Iraq.  Many in the Democrat Party think we can quit the war in Iraq at little cost to ourselves, as we did in Vietnam 30 years ago.  But this is a war that will follow us home. Our enemies hate us because we are not like them, and they will go on trying to kill us unless we become like them, whether we are in Iraq or not.  They cannot be appeased.  We can destroy them, or let ourselves be destroyed by them.  There are no other choices.

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THE DEMOCRAT’S TIMETABLE TO DEFEAT

Nancy Pelosi has yet formally to become Speaker of the House, but she already is taking steps which could cut short her tenure - the first being her support of the extraordinarily corrupt Jack Murtha in his bid for majority leader over the current number two Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer. Mr. Murtha is known to most Americans as the chief tenor in the Cut & Run chorus. Ms. Pelosi said in her endorsement letter that she was backing Mr. Murtha because of his stand on Iraq. Exit polling indicated corruption was even more on the minds of voters than was Iraq.  Understandably so, because four GOP lawmakers were forced to resign because of ethical lapses.  But the current Democratic advantage on this issue is likely to diminish if voters come to believe that Ms. Pelosi's primary interest in corruption is to change its beneficiaries.

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SHOULD WE THANK TOM DELAY FOR THE DEBACLE OF NOVEMBER 7?

Dick Tuck was a Democratic political consultant whose pranks bedeviled Richard Nixon in the 1950s.  Mr. Tuck helped many clients to victory, but he got creamed in his lone bid for elective office, for the California state senate in 1964.  His defeat permitted him to make the most memorable concession speech in history: "The people have spoken...the bastards." Many conservatives share Mr. Tuck's sentiments in the wake of Tuesday's debacle.  How could an electorate whose judgment we praised in 2004 go so far off the rails in just two years? The truth is, they didn't.  The Republicans lost because they deserved to lose.  And we have Tom DeLay to thank for it.

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SANTORUM 2008

Some of the Republicans likely to lose Tuesday -- like Rep. Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania's 10th district -- deserve to.  But when the public gets in a "throw the bums out" mood, some who get thrown out aren't bums. On July 26, 1945, less than two months after Germany's surrender, a British electorate weary of the demands of greatness replaced Winston Churchill as prime minister with  Clement Attlee, and Britain's swift decline as a world power began. The three GOP senators thought to be in the deepest kimchee are Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.  The republic would miss Mr. DeWine only a little, and Mr. Chafee not at all. Rick Santorum is another story.

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WHY IS MOOKIE STILL ALIVE?

Why is the Moqtada al Sadr - nicknamed "Mookie" by our troops - still alive? That this question can still be asked illustrates why things are going south for the U.S. in Iraq. The Moqtada al Sadr is a creature of Iran, which funds his militia.  Twice before (in April and August of 2004) he ordered uprisings against U.S. troops.  At the time, there was a warrant out for his arrest for the murder of (the genuinely moderate) Shia cleric Ayatollah Abdul Majid al Khoei, who was gunned down by Mahdi army members in April, 2003. "Mookie" al Sadr has the blood of dozens of Americans, and thousands of Iraqis, on his hands.  There is evidence he has been coordinating with al Qaeda.  Yet al Sadr is not dead.  He is not in prison.  He is in the government.  And people wonder why U.S. policy in Iraq is failing.

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WHY IS NORTH KOREA OUR PROBLEM?

As the U.S. takes the lead in formulating the international response to North Korea's (apparently fizzled) nuclear test, there is a question which ought to be asked: Why is this our problem? In 1950, this was easy to answer.  The fledgling democracy in South Korea was too weak to protect itself.  North Korea was then an agent of an international Communist conspiracy.  But that was more than half a century ago.  The Soviet Union has collapsed.  North Korea remains Stalinist, has a formidable military, and still dreams of conquering the South.  But its objectives are peninsular, not global, and it has little likelihood of obtaining them, even without American intervention. That's because South Korea now  has a formidable military, which could be made much more formidable if the South Koreans chose to do so.  South Korea today has more than twice the population of North Korea, 24 times the national wealth. So why can't the South Koreans take care of the problem themselves?

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IF ONLY DEMOCRATS HATED KIM JONG IL AS MUCH AS GEORGE BUSH

If Democrats went after America's enemies with the relentless ruthlessness with which they attack Republicans, the Axis of Evil would be toast. No sooner had North Korea made its (either botched or faked) nuclear bomb test last weekend than Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Hillary Clinton were blaming it on "the failed policies of the Bush administration." Democrats tend to view foreign policy crises through the narrow prism of their impact on domestic politics.  But the villain here isn't Bill Clinton or George Bush.  It's Kim Jong Il.  And what's important here is not which party controls the House of Representatives.  It's whether we can prevent a second Korean War. The Democrats are behaving as if the cost of another Korean War with thousands of American soldiers dead is the price they'd willingly pay to gain control of the House.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES DESERVES A HORSEWHIPPING

The New York Times who, along with the Washington Post did stories last Sunday on a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) issued in April deserves a horsewhipping. The NIE represents the collective judgment of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.  The stories insinuated the intelligence chiefs had concluded the war in Iraq was a mistake.  "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat," said the headline in the New York Times.  "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight," said the headline in the Washington Post. "We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," the NIE said. The Times and the Post reported only the first half of that sentence.

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THE BLOOD ON JOHN MCCAIN’S HANDS

Do you think Al Qaeda terrorists are planning another attack on the United States? You'd have to have a two-digit IQ to believe they aren't.  Yet if Senate Democrats and a handful of renegade Republicans have their way, we will never learn the details of what is being planned through interrogating captured al Qaeda suspects. Thanks to the Supreme Court's breathtaking overreach in the Hamdan case this summer, which extended Geneva Convention protections to terrorists (who clearly are not entitled to them), our ability to obtain information from captured terrorists is in jeopardy. John McCain and the other senators who are blocking efforts to clarify the law argue that permitting the CIA to use the coercive techniques described above would open the door to other countries torturing U.S. prisoners.  They argue further that any attempt to "amend" Article 3 would bring worldwide condemnation of the U.S. The first argument is ludicrous; the second irrelevant.

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THE FRAUD OF THE RED CROSS AMBULANCE

His face swathed in bandages, Kassem Shalan had a chilling tale to tell the journalists who gathered around his bedside in the Jebel Amil hospital, where he was being treated for minor shrapnel wounds. As he was loading patients into his ambulance from another in the village of Qana, Lebanon, on July 23, both were attacked by an Israeli Apache helicopter:  "There was a boom, a big fire, and I was thrown backwards," Mr. Shalan told Time magazine. Curiously, he then told Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent for the Australian newspaper, a very different story.  Mr. Shalan said he was driving the ambulance when it was struck by the Israeli missile, and was "spared more serious injuries by the armored vest he was wearing and the driver's canopy that protected him from a direct hit." "He remembers nothing after the flash and bang of the missile then the crunch of the crash as his ambulance veered off the road," Mr. Chulov said then.

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