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THE ROVE RED HERRING

Why is special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursuing so zealously the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, since it is all but impossible to prove that the leaker or leakers committed a crime? The Intelligence Identities Protection Act requires that the leaker have learned the identity of a "covert agent" from authorized sources. And it requires that the leak be deliberate. The law defines a "covert agent" as someone working undercover overseas, or who has done so in the last five years. Plame has been manning a desk at CIA headquarters since 1997. So why is Fitzgerald acting like Inspector Jauvert in Les Miserables? The answer may lie in a sentence Walter Pincus of the Washington Post wrote on June 12th, 2003.

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RECRUITMENT: THE ARMY, THE MARINES, AND THE LEFT

What recruiters tell prospective recruits makes a difference, says retired Army Major Donald Sensing, whose son is a Marine lance corporal. Though they have suffered, proportionately, three times the casualties the Army has, the Marines are meeting their recruiting goals. His son chose the Marines over the Army because the Marines appealed directly to his patriotism, while Army recruiters talked of job training and pizza parties. “The problem is the Army’s recruiting strategy with its heavily civilianized marketing influences,” Sensing said. The Marines don’t hide what they’re about. Recruiting is harder because many parents wont let their children talk with Army recruiters, said Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, commander of Recruiting Command. Parental concern for the safety of their sons and daughters is understandable. But there is another group of influencers whose behavior borders on sedition. Any high school or college which denies military recruiters access to campus should lose all of its federal funding immediately. Any high school or college which does not expel students who disrupt recruiters at job fairs should lose all federal funding immediately.

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FROM BAD TO WORSE IN IRAN

According to the Iranian government, former secret policeman Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad defeated former president Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, 62 percent to 37 percent, in a runoff for the presidency last Friday. Turnout was 60 percent, the government said. AP reported the government's figures as if they were true, even though there was a boycott of the election (photographs taken throughout the day showed polling places in urban areas virtually empty), and Rafsanjani claimed massive ballot box stuffing. The blatant manipulation of an already sham election to install a hardline reactionary as president suggests that the Ayatollah Khameini, chief of the Guardian Council, no longer sees a need to put a "reformist" face on the regime. That suggests to me that Iran is very close to -- or already possesses - a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it.

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SHALLOW THROAT

The self-outing of former FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt as "Deep Throat" still leaves the most important questions about Watergate unanswered. Bob Woodward has said Felt was Deep Throat, and he was seen visiting Felt at his Santa Rosa, California home in 1999. What is cloudy is how much of a role Felt played in the Watergate saga. We know of Deep Throat not from the reporting Woodward and Bernstein did for the Washington Post in 1972, but from their book, "All the President's Men." But Woodward's literary agent, David Obst, has said Deep Throat was not mentioned in the original book proposal, and emerged only after Woodward had discussed movie possibilities with Robert Redford. Is Deep Throat a Hollywood invention?

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GOOD NEWS IS BAD NEWS FOR BUSH-HATERS

“I hate to say this to Iraqis, but I pray for chaos and civil war,” Nina from Toronto emailed the BBC. "It's the only way to stop Bush's policies and show that peace can never come through force. If Iraq gets peace, Bush gets credibility. It cannot be allowed to happen." These are miserable days for Nina and others of her ilk. Two British newspapers report that the resistance in Iraq is crumbling. Sharif Ali bin al Hussein, a Sunni Muslim who heads Iraq's main monarchist movement, told the Financial Times that “many insurgents would lay down their arms and join the political process if they receive guarantees for their safety.” Mr. Sharif Ali said the success of Iraq's elections “dealt the insurgents a demoralizing blow, prompting them to consider the need to enter the political process,” the Financial Times reported March 26th. The left-wing Guardian reported March 27th that "the Iraqi resistance has peaked and is turning on itself, according to recent intelligence reports received by Middle Eastern intelligence agencies."

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ITALIAN MORAL STUPIDITY IN IRAQ

Giuliana Sgrena does not lack a sense of self importance. The 56-year-old journalist for the Italian communist newspaper Il Manifesto thinks she knows so many deep dark secrets the U.S. military tried to shut her up permanently. Sgrena went to Iraq to report on the heroic resistance to the American imperialists. Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos rode in the airplane to Baghdad with her. "Be careful not to get kidnapped," Doornbos warned Sgrena. "You don't understand the situation," she responded, according to Doornbos' account in the Nederlands Dagblatt. "The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers. The enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear." She got nabbed on her way back to her hotel. Sgrena told her captors she was on their side, and suggested they kidnap an American soldier instead. But the U.S. government doesn't pay ransoms.

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ALL BUT WON

It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi. Proof of this was provided by Sen. Hillary Clinton. Iraq is functioning quite well, she said in a press conference in Baghdad Feb. 19. The recent rash of suicide attacks is a sign the insurgency is failing, she said. When politicians like her start flocking to Iraq to bask in the light of its success, then you know that the corner has been turned.

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THE FALLUJAH FLY-TRAP

What the liberal press won’t tell you is the astoundingly good news coming out of Iraq now. An example is a series of raids by the Iraqi police in Baghdad last week that netted at least 525 criminals. Since Saddam Hussein emptied his jails of some 70,000 hard-core criminals on the eve of the war, the Iraqi police have a long way to go to restore law and order. But the skill with which the raids were pulled off, and the courage displayed by the cops indicate they are off to a very good start. But best of all is that foreign jihadi terrorists who have come to Iraq in response to al Qaeda's call are giving up and going home.

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THE SHAMEFUL CRITICISM OF RUMSFELD

[I am so glad Jack Kelly wrote this defense of Donald Rumsfeld - and I am so disgusted at the sudden torrent of Republican criticism of him. Donald Rumsfeld is one of the most heroic figures in the world today, and America is fortunate in the extreme to have him as Secretary of Defense. The temerity of Clueless Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, professional jerk Senator John McCain, and Senator Trent “Vacant” Lott, calling for him to resign is squalid and shameful. Secretary Rumsfeld deserves our deepest appreciation, admiration, and support. He certainly has that from the vast majority of American soldiers in Iraq. As evidence, I am appending at the end of Jack Kelly’s column, a letter we received from First Sergeant Timmy Rikard serving in Iraq, and who was present when Rummy spoke to the troops there. Every American needs to read Sgt. Rikard’s letter and understand how the liberal media totally distorts what the troops think of their Secretary - most especially Kristol, McCain, Lott and their ilk.- JW] Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld doesn't lack for critics. But his critics soften lack sound judgment. Rumsfeld long has been a punching bag for Democrats and journalists, who wish we had not gone to war with Iraq at all. Lately they have been joined by right-wingers who want someone to blame because we haven't won yet.

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WINKING — NOT BLINKING — IN FALLUJA

Has the United States blinked in Fallujah? The Arab media, and ours, have portrayed the withdrawal of the Marines from a portion of the city and their replacement with the "Fallujah Protective Army" as a victory for the insurgents. But it isn't a good idea to get SITREPS (situation reports) from a news media that (a) knows next to nothing about military affairs, and (b) has a political interest in reporting bad news from Iraq. What's been reported as a blink is really more of a wink. There has, in fact, been no Marine withdrawal.

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