- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2001

A turn to religion
"In the week since terrorists struck America, the most surprising public appearance hasn't been made by a political leader, or a grieving celebrity or a foreign dignitary," Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald F. Seib writes.
"The most striking appearance on the national stage has been made by God," Mr. Seib said.
"Just one year after a presidential campaign in which the question of whether religious beliefs should be mingled with public life was heatedly debated, Americans have accepted virtually without question a very public turn to religion by their nation and its leaders in a time of grief.
"And just months after President Bush stirred controversy by launching an attempt to lower the wall separating government programs and religious charities, the president's shining moment in the crisis came last Friday, when he gave a moving address to an ecumenical national prayer service. Although some eyebrows were raised when Mr. Bush delivered a threat to terrorists from the pulpit, there was no escaping the fact that the first public gathering of the nation's full political leadership after terrorists struck came not in the halls of Congress, but in a cathedral.
"The most remarkable thing about this development is how unremarkable it has been. Howls of protest aren't being heard. There is no suggestion of a constitutional crisis. The nation seems relieved by the turn to religion. All told, it's clear that America can handle more religion in public life than cynics and critics contend."

Honoring America
"When Clinton was sending troops to the border of Kosovo and I had just turned 18, I said I would head to Mexico if Uncle Sam came for me," Russell Morse writes at www.salon.com.
"When I saw footage of the World Trade Center crumbling on Tuesday, I decided I would go to war if they wanted me. I went from flag burner to flag waver in a matter of minutes," said the 20-year-old, who is a writer for Pacific News Service.

Blaming America
Not even last week's brutal terrorist assault can dislodge the "blame America" mentality in some precincts of The Washington Post.
Columnist Courtland Milloy, in an open letter to his 11-year-old son published yesterday, had this to say:
"You ask why America was attacked. I don't want to say anything that might sound like an excuse for terrorism; God knows if your plane had been hijacked and crashed by terrorists, I'd want to bring all of those responsible to justice myself.
"But much of what we have heard and read about bad people out to destroy our good American way of life is too simplistic.
"I believe there are psychopaths throughout the world who are exploiting the suffering of the poor suffering that Americans too often ignore.
"Terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seek to mitigate this suffering by sponsoring opportunities for 'bliss in the hereafter.' Meanwhile, they get the perverse pleasure of watching the powerful squirm.
"Of course, America is not squirming, and somebody is going to pay. But don't lose sight of the suffering, which is systemic and deeply rooted in colonialism, racism, religious bigotry and greed."
So there you have it: Those who murdered more than 5,000 Americans were merely misguided social activists responding in part to U.S. neglect.
Appallingly, Mr. Milloy's editors were so impressed by that argument that they ran his column across the top of the Metro section, rather than its usual placement down the left-hand column.

Judicial woes
"Want to see how last week's terrorist attacks are affecting everything in Washington? Just look at the Bush administration's ongoing struggle to place judges on the federal bench," Byron York writes.
"According to the Justice Department, there are 108 vacancies on the federal courts. There are 53 Bush judicial nominations pending before the Senate. And four judges have actually been confirmed. Republicans had hoped perhaps naively that slow-moving Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy might allow a significant number of nominations to go through this fall. But now, with members of Congress focused on issues like antiterrorism, airline bailouts, and economic stimulus and anxious to finish their work and head home there's little chance that will happen," Mr. York said in a column at National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"The rush to adjourn might deprive Republicans of a key weapon in the battle over judges. During the Clinton years, when Senate Democrats were in the minority, they were adept at holding up appropriations bills while demanding that Republicans approve the president's judicial nominations. It usually worked. This fall, minority Republicans had been planning to do the same thing as Congress worked its way through the 13 spending bills that must be passed to keep government departments running. But now, with all the other issues to consider, there is talk that, rather than debate each bill separately, Congress might combine all or most of them into an omnibus spending measure. That would mean greatly reduced bargaining power for Republicans. 'If that happens, we lose leverage,' says one aide. 'It's really bad.'"

Not guilty
The Media Research Center, which is always on alert for liberal bias, says ABC anchorman Peter Jennings is getting a bad rap in some quarters.
"Amid the horrible pictures and beyond-belief carnage [on Sept. 11], some ABC viewers thought they heard Peter Jennings take a couple of cheap shots at President Bush, and they let us know about it," the media watchdog group's Rich Noyes wrote yesterday in a Media Reality Check at www.mrc.org.
"Jennings was on the air for 17 hours, from shortly after 9 a.m. EDT through 2 a.m. the next day. Media Research Center analysts reviewed tapes of the entire awful day, and found no insults or disrespectful comments by the ABC anchor, although he did fret about why the president had not returned to Washington in the middle of the day," Mr. Noyes said.

Hateful words
Pundit Andrew Sullivan reports that left-wing fillmmaker and TV personality Michael Moore wrote the following words on his Web site on Sept. 11: "Many families have been devastated tonight. This is just not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, D.C. and the planes' destination of California these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!"
Mr. Moore has since deleted that message from his site, www.michaelmoore.com, Mr. Sullivan noted at www.andrewsullivan.com.

Hatch's song
Moved by the carnage of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has set out to compose "Americans United," a song about last week's events.
The Utah Republican started his latest work on Monday, scrawling the lyrics on a yellow legal pad, the Associated Press reports.
"The whole terrorist attack has had him thinking about what has happened and he's had a couple ideas about the song that he might dedicate to what has happened," said Hatch spokesman Chris Rosche.
Mr. Hatch has written dozens of religious and patriotic tunes and has seven compact discs. He frequently collaborates with Janice Kapp Perry, a Utah composer who puts Mr. Hatch's lyrics to music. Professional musicians perform the songs on the recordings.
Earlier this year, one of Mr. Hatch's songs "America Rocks" was used in the movie "Rat Race."

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