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CONDI TAKES RUSSIA TO THE WOODSHED

This Monday, March 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Washington to discuss the Middle East. Today, March 3, a high-ranking delegation of Hamas will visit Moscow at President Vladimir Putin's invitation, to meet with Lavrov. A coincidence?  Hardly.   

Russia aggressively courts Iran and Hamas.  Last week, Russia negotiated in Tehran on establishing a uranium-enrichment joint venture, which will supply nuclear reactor fuel to the Islamic Republic.

A nuclear-armed Iran, allied with and armed by Russia and China will become a regional challenger hostile to the US, its interests, and its allies in the region.

This is why, during Mr. Lavrov's visit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will inform her Russian counterpart that Moscow's actions in the Middle East are jeopardizing its presidency of the group of eight (G-8) leading industrial nations, its position in the Middle East Quartet, and its international role.

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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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A STIMULUS THAT DOESN’T STIMULATE

I've been opposed to Barack Hussein Obama's plans for a $775 billion "stimulus" package for three main reasons: First, the stated purpose of the stimulus is to encourage consumer spending; that is to say, to do more of what got us into financial trouble in the first place.  We've been living large on money borrowed chiefly from the Chinese.  That gravy train has lurched to a halt.  We need to live within our means.  That means saving money and paying down debt -- the opposite of what the designers of the stimulus package want us to do.  Second, because about 60 percent of the stimulus package is a grab bag of spending on government construction projects, it cannot achieve the stated goal of boosting the economy in the short term, because it takes too long for the money to trickle in.  Economist Bruce Bartlett published in the New York Times in January of last year a chart which indicated that in all eight post World War II recessions prior to this one, the government stimulus didn't take effect until after the recession ended.  Third...

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YES, VIRGINIA, HOLLYWOOD REALLY DOES HATE AMERICA

During the last few weeks some movies have come out that are, in effect, a plea for the case of terrorists. Steven Spielberg's "Munich" is one of them. (A little known fact is that there was a 1986 TV movie, ‘Sword of Gideon,' based on the same book, Vengeance, that Spielberg borrowed from freely.)

In "Munich," the murders of the 11 Israeli Olympians are treated as, well, sort of understandable, given the feelings and anxieties of the Palestinians who committed the terrorist act.

Forgive me for not finding the current explanation for treating terrorists with kid gloves very convincing. Instead, I suspect that what is going on is precisely a tad too much sympathy with terrorists. Why? Among other reasons that come to mind I would place on top the fact that terrorists are all thoroughly anti-American.

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FALLUJAH DELENDA EST

In the Senate of Ancient Rome, Marcus Porcius Cato - 234-149 BC, subsequently known as Cato the Elder to distinguish him from his great-grandson Cato the Younger - became famous for concluding every single speech he gave, no matter what the subject, with the exhortation: Carthago delenda est. Carthage must be destroyed.Today, we need Senators and Congressmen to conclude every speech they give with the exhortation: Fallujah delenda est. Fallujah must be destroyed.

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THE ARAB DOGS THAT AREN’T BARKING ABOUT GAZA

European foreign ministers were startled Jan. 6 when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told them Hamas must not be permitted to win the conflict in Gaza.  That's not what they expected to hear from an Arab leader. Israel's invasion of Gaza has prompted denunciations from the usual suspects.  But as fictional detective Sherlock Holmes noted in solving the mystery of the disappearance of the race horse Silver Blaze, what's most interesting are the dogs that aren't barking. Moonbats in Europe and America are agitated, but protests against Israel in Sunni Moslem countries have been muted.  In the West Bank, there's barely been a peep of protest. This is because Sunni Moslem leaders view the terror group Hamas as a proxy for Iran.  And though Sunni Moslem rulers don't like Jews any more today than they did before, they don't fear Israel.  But they do fear Shia Iran.

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ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING WON WORLD WAR II

As a former intelligence officer who spent 23 years at the CIA, I am an intelligence history buff.  So it is that the current media frenzy over "illegal NSA telephone taps" has an interesting precedent.

The New York Times and the Democrat Party are waging a campaign against Bush Administration electronic surveillance (misnamed "taps," by the way) of Al Qaeda communications with its contacts here in America.  Their goal is for the Democrats to gain control of Congress this November, and impeach President Bush for the "crime" of "domestic spying."

Let's ask the New York Times editors if they would have President Roosevelt impeached for crimes that resulted in America's winning World War II?

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WHY DOES KARL ROVE WANT TO LOSE CALIFORNIA?

That’s the question conservative California Republicans are angrily demanding an answer to. Because there is no doubt in their minds that Karl Rove, the guy who runs GW’s election campaigns, is behaving as if he intentionally wants his boss to lose the Golden State in November.

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LEON AT LANGLEY??

There are, I suspect, quite a few jobs in government for which having no experience is not a liability.  But few would list CIA director among them.  Which is why Barack Obama's pick of Leon Panetta is causing so much consternation. A former congressman, Mr. Panetta, 70, served as budget director and then as chief of staff in the Clinton administration.  But he's never spent a day in the intelligence community. If you think it dangerous, at a time when we are engaged in two wars, to have a novice at the CIA, then you're likely appalled by the Panetta nomination. But if you think of the CIA as a rogue, dysfunctional agency that needs to be reined in, you may think Mr. Obama's choice is inspired. Because I think the CIA requires wholesale reform, I think better of the Panetta nomination than do most others.  But I have two huge concerns.

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A JURISPRUDENCE OF PREVENTION

Next week a vastly important book will be published: Preemption, A Knife That Cuts Both Ways by Alan Dershowitz. Yes, that Alan Dershowitz: the hyper-liberal Harvard Law School professor.

Yet it is only for the lack of his legal scholarship that there is nary a sentence in the book that I - a very conservative editor of The Washington Times and former press secretary to Newt Gingrich - couldn't have written.    

The premise of his book is that in this age of terror, there is a potential need for such devices as profiling, preventive detention, anticipatory mass inoculation, prior restraint of dangerous speech, targeted extrajudicial executions of terrorists and preemptive military action, including full-scale preventive war.

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