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THE BEAT OF VICTORY IN IRAQ

The last days on earth of Abu Osama al Tunisi apparently were filled with anxiety: "We are desperate for your help," he said in a letter to al Qaeda chieftains. A copy of the letter was found by U.S. troops sifting through the rubble of the building in Musayb, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, where on Sept. 25 Mr. al Tunisi had been meeting with two local al Qaeda operatives when an F-16 cut their discussion short. Mr. al Tunisi was responsible for bringing foreign al Qaeda recruits into Iraq and placing them in operational cells, U.S. military spokesmen said.  That effort suffered a major blow when "Muthanna," the al Qaeda emir for the Iraq-Syrian border region, was killed in early September. Al Tunisi and Muthanna were among 28 local, city or regional al Qaeda leaders killed or captured in September.  Two other very big shots nailed last month were Muhammad al Afari, who was responsible for the bloody attack on the Kurdish Yazidi sect in August, and Abu Taghrid, who ran a car bomb network. Al Tunisi wasn't alone in calling for help.  "Al Qaeda has lost half its leadership over the summer, and American intelligence collectors have amassed a huge number of desperate messages from al Qaeda leaders and operatives," reports StrategyPage. The beat of victory goes on.

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WHY CHINA NEEDS TAIWAN TO SURVIVE

2008 is looming large on the world stage, and not just for us here in America-land. Yes, the year looks likely to see the most exciting presidential race in US history, one between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Condoleeza Rice, which Condi will win. (You can get a “Rice2008” bumper sticker at Rice2008 or T-shirt at AmericansForRice )And yes, the race will electrify the world and gain its rapt attention. Somehow, however, lots of folks in other places will also focus on events of far more personal importance to them - particularly in China and Taiwan. 2008 is the year of Communist China’s coming-out party, when it hosts the Beijing Olympics. The Chicoms intend to use the 2008 Beijing Olympics as did the Nazis in the 1936 Berlin Olympics - as a glorification of their rule and a demand that the world provide it with the prestige it so desperately craves.2008 is also the year of the next presidential election in Taiwan. After two terms, President Chen Shui-bian cannot run for re-election. How those contending to succeed him will conduct their campaigns may determine the survival of Taiwan - and of China. One campaign may prove critical, that of current Taiwan Prime Minister Frank Hsieh.

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CASTRO AND MRS. BLANCO

[Cuban-born writer Humberto Fontova has just published Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant ] It gets old. It really, really gets old. I refer to all the moralizing and humbug by U.S. political and business hucksters when they visit Cuba. Take Louisiana's own Democratic governor, Kathleen Blanco, on her visit to Castroland last week. If the woman had simply told us: "Look, Cuban-Americans, there ain't enough of you voting in Louisiana to make any difference to me. Worse, all you Cubans are Republicans and didn't vote for me or contribute to my campaign anyway. I owe you people nothing." How refreshing it might have been! But no. She insists on warbling about the "strictly business" aspects of the visit and how this "builds bridges with the Cuban people," and how this "positions Louisiana for dealing with Cuba after the transition," etc., etc. The best came when she rationalized her luncheon with the mass murderer himself. She did it, said her spokesperson, "out of respect for the Cuban president." Mrs. Blanco, I realize you're very busy with state business, but in case you haven't heard: There have been no "presidential" elections in Cuba for the past 46 years, ma'am.

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ARE SENATE DEMOCRATS HIGH ON ANTI-SMART DRUGS?

"Maybe he was just high on his drugs again," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.  "But that shouldn't be an excuse." That sounds suspiciously like the sort of personal attack Democrats claim to decry.  And Sen. Harkin was just one of an impressive number of big foot Democrats to take to the Senate floor last Monday (10/01) to calumniate conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. It's odd enough to have the Senate Majority Leader, his deputy, and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, among others, take up the Senate's time to attack a radio talk show host, instead of, say, working on the appropriations bills that were supposed to have been enacted into law before the new fiscal year began Oct. 1st.  But there was something odder still about Monday's performance.

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THE PRESIDENT CAN DO BETTER

From the moment President Bush set his war policy after the 9-11 attacks, our country has been divided into two factions. The first faction supports the President because it believes he’s doing the right thing, while the second faction opposes the President because it believes he’s doing the wrong thing. Now a third faction has emerged, comprised of those who believe the President is doing the right thing - but that he isn’t doing it very well.

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ROSCOE AND ROBERTS

Silent screams. Night sweats. Quiet desperation. The whispered dread of impending doom. Liberals are suffering all of these anxieties over soon-to-be Justice John Roberts - at least the smart ones are who know the stakes. Those stakes go far beyond Roe v. Wade. Smart liberals know the entire gigantic edifice of Federal bureaucratic control over our lives, which they have been painstakingly building since the 1930s, has as its foundation one thin reed of six Constitutional words tortured beyond recognition. Invest those words with normal recognizable meaning, and thousands of Federal laws and regulations are defunct. This is the conservatives’ and the libertarians’ dream, and the liberals’ nightmare. What keeps making the liberals sit bolt upright in bed is knowing there is nothing they can do to prevent their nightmare from coming true. To understand why, we need to talk about a farmer named Roscoe Filburn from Montgomery County, Ohio, who grew 23 acres of wheat back in the 1930s.

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SHOULD RUDY DONATE TO NEWT’S CAMPAIGN?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hasn't been getting as much attention as he likes lately.  So he's told a few folks he'll run for president if he can raise $30 million by the end of November. My advice to Newt is to buy lottery tickets.  But wealthy supporters of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should consider helping Mr. Gingrich out. We have in effect semifinal matches between Mr. Giuliani and Sen. McCain for the more moderate GOP vote, and between Mr. Romney and Mr. Thompson for the more conservative vote.  A Gingrich candidacy would split the conservative vote in the early primaries further. Since I'm for Rudy, that's reason enough for me to be excited about a Gingrich candidacy.  But I have a less cynical reason.

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CHINA ARMAGEDDON

What do you suppose the reaction would be in the American, Chinese, and world press if a Major General in the US Army gave an official briefing at the Pentagon and stated:“If the Chinese attack Taiwan, we will have to respond with nuclear weapons. We Americans would then have to prepare ourselves for the destruction of all our cities east of Kansas City. Of course, the Chinese will have to accept that hundreds of Chinese cities will be destroyed by us.”Can you imagine the media feeding frenzy? Can you imagine the reaction at the White House? The general would be instantly cashiered and sent to a mental hospital for psychiatric treatment, while everyone in the Administration made every possible effort to repair the damage.So why didn’t this happen when a Major General in the Red Chinese People’s Liberation Army - who is also the Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the Chinese National Defense University - said exactly this in reverse on July 15 in Beijing?

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THE HIJACKING OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL

For many families of the 3,000 American citizens murdered on September 11, 2001, the worst that could happen would be for their loved ones' sacrifice and loss to be forgotten. To ensure that didn't happen, federal, state and local authorities have put millions of tax dollars toward a memorial on the site of Ground Zero -- where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood in Lower Manhattan. Incredible as it may seem, those charged with translating that laudable commitment into reality have come up with plans that could surpass even the September 11 families' worst fears: A scheme for the design and use of the Ground Zero complex that threatens, at best, to obscure and, at worst, to defame the memory of those lost on that day.

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“AL QAEDA IS THE ENEMY OF ALLAH”

Last Thursday (9/13) al Qaeda killed with a roadside bomb Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the founder and leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the coalition of Sunni tribes that banded together to fight al Qaeda.  He, more than any person save Gen. David Petraeus, is responsible for the dramatic turnaround in Iraq. The political "leadership" in Iraq has ranged from poor to frightful, in large part because Saddam Hussein ruthlessly murdered anyone who might one day oppose him.  But Sheikh Abu Risha rose far above mediocrity.  "It is an Iraqi national disaster," Iraq's national security adviser, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, said at Sheikh Abu Risha's funeral Friday.  "What Abu Risha did for Iraq, no single man has done in the country's history." By murdering the Lion of Anbar, al Qaeda hopes to fragment the Anbar Salvation Council, weaken Sunni efforts to fight the terror group, and to foment strife between Sunni and Shia. It could work out that way.  But the murder of Sheikh Abu Risha also may backfire.  More than 1,500 mourners attended his funeral.  Mourners chanted "We will take our revenge," and "There is no God but Allah and al Qaeda is the enemy of Allah," the BBC reported.

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