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The New Republic is one of the founding bastions of American liberalism, founded in 1914.  For months now, its youthful editors have been standing by a story of their "Baghdad Diarist" alleging revolting behavior by our soldiers in Iraq. The allegations were shown to be false, no witnesses were found, still the editors stood their ground.  Then they had a telephone conversation with their Diarist, one Pvt. Beauchamp, who refused in the conversation to confirm his story. The phone conversation took place on Sept. 6 and was taped.  When it was leaked this week, New Republic readers discovered that the editors, having never told them about the conversation, had been lying to them all along.  There goes the credibility of yet another liberal bastion.



Saudi Arabia is a pre-eminent example of how God’s sense of humor is unfathomable to mere human beings. A tribe of primitive desert nomads who believe in an atavistic religion seize control of a vast sandy wasteland under which, completely unknown to them, contains more of the critical substance upon which modern civilization depends than anywhere else on earth. This makes the nomads impossibly rich without doing anything to earn their wealth, which they proceed to spend billions of disseminating around the world their religion which is dedicated to destroying the civilization that gave them their wealth. So now God is patiently waiting for us to get the joke and figure a way out of it.



A private Israeli intelligence service reports that Al Qaeda is shifting more than 1,000 of its operatives from Iraq for terror offensives in Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.The countries it named as targeted were Britain, Italy, France, Denmark, Russia -- with the UK and Italy at the top of the list; and in the Middle East, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Note the US is not on the list. One reason is that, except in liberal news reports, the war in Iraq has been going poorly for Al Qaeda.



It's getting harder to write negative stories about the situation in Iraq, but Jay Price and Qasim Zein of the McClatchy Newspapers did their best: "A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery (in Najaf) by at least one third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds," they wrote Oct. 16. Nostalgia for the bad old days was also evident in the decision of the Washington Post to publish Tuesday (10/16) an op-ed signed by 12 former U.S. Army captains deploring the situation in Iraq.  The Post neglected to mention that none of them have been in Iraq since Gen. Petraeus took command and we started winning this war. Perhaps the Post chose veterans whose information is old and stale because those serving in Iraq now might not say what the editors of the Washington Post would like to have you hear.



Communist China, the People’s Republic of China or PRC, never tires of denouncing Taiwan as a “renegade province” that belongs to it, and bitterly complaining that any attempt by any country anywhere in the world to treat Taiwan as a sovereign independent nation is a gross interference in China’s “internal affairs.” This claim is about to be publicly exposed as baseless - for it turns out that as a matter of international law, Taiwan is legally an overseas possession of the United States of America.



More than 400 people have been killed in Iraq in the last two weeks, including at least five U.S. Marines taking part in Operation Matador in western Iraq. A reader wants to know if, in light of this upsurge in violence, I still believe, as I wrote on March 1, that the war in Iraq was All But Won . My answer is emphatically yes. The insurgency is now dominated by al Qaeda. The news media describes this as ominous, as they describe every development in Iraq as ominous. But the opposite is true. Al Qaeda is coming to the fore through subtraction. Many of the "former regime elements" who dominated the insurgency are giving up. The Marines say the insurgents they're fighting in Operation Matador are almost all foreigners, and that they're well trained, well armed, and fighting like cornered rats. That's because they are.



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.



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.



[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.



"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.