- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

"Remember that the hawk is a bird that can see things from a long way off." Charles Moore in yesterday's Daily Telegraph.

Bush, Clinton and AIDS
The Atlantic editor, Michael Kelly, recently observed that the difference between the Clinton and Bush administrations on AIDS in Africa. The most that Clinton-Gore proposed for tackling the problem in Africa was $225 million in one year. President Bush has upped the ante to $15 billion over the next five years two-thirds of which is new money. In other words, Mr. Bush's AIDS spending represents an increase of 13 times the Clinton administration's commitment.
Isn't this huge news? Actually, not. People who watch spending on research for HIV and AIDS know that, throughout much of the 1990s, the Republican Congress routinely apportioned more money than the Clinton-Gore administration asked for. Mr. Bush's emphasis on domestic HIV is also striking especially his effort to remove obstacles to a new HIV rapid test. He also praised the openly gay director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. "He cares deeply and his care has had he's got a lot of influence, let me put it to you this way, because of his convictions," Mr. Bush recently enthused.
It seems the president really cares about this issue in a way that Mr. Clinton didn't. Why don't more people know this? Because Republicans somehow don't like to boast about actually saving people's lives. They should begin to go on the offensive. As peacenik Buddhist Richard Gere told Hillary Clinton earlier this week, "I'm sorry, Senator Clinton, but your husband did nothing about AIDS for eight years." Why can't conservatives say that? And mean it?

How the Times spins:
You can, I suppose, defend the New York Times' editorial position on Iraq, which is that we should hand over the problem to the Security Council and wait for a Democratic president whose war they could support. But it's hard to defend their attempt to minimize international support for the war. Last week, the biggest news around the world was the European split between France and Germany and all the surrounding nations. That story was allowed to miss a news cycle and then buried. Then yesterday, we have the Times' usually sensible Judith Miller saying the following in an online chat:
"I think that for many Americans, Secretary Powell's presentation will be persuasive. But I doubt that it will be convincing to much of the world, and especially the Europeans who are historically conditioned, given their own horrendous experiences, to oppose war. Arabs will continue to fear that unpredictable side effects of a war against Iraq. So far, only Britain and some 7 other smaller eastern European states firmly side with the U.S.. I don't see that changing because of his presentation, but we'll have to see."
Only Britain and seven other smaller eastern European states? How about Italy, the fourth biggest economy in Europe? How about Spain? And Australia? How about the 10 new countries that signed on to war on Wednesday night? In the E.U. a clear majority of member nations back the United States. And in the Security Council, the vote on Resolution 1441 was unanimous. The Times knows that the only way it can keep Saddam in power is by minimizing foreign support for the coalition to disarm him. So minimize it does.

More poets
Yep, they're organizing. The dreaded march of stanzas, caesuras and iambic pentameters has begun. The Pentagon must be quivering. If you feel like a dose of acute nausea, take a look at the website called "Poetsagainstthewar.org." It contains the usual anti-Bush hysteria. Here's a Sontag Award nominee from W.S. Merwin: "[I]f the reasons for war were many times greater than they have been said to be I would oppose any thing of the kind under such 'leadership'. To arrange a war in order to be re-elected outdoes even the means employed in the last presidential election. Mr. Bush and his plans are a greater danger to the United States than Saddam Hussein."
Well at least we know where he's coming from. But my favorite is a poem from one Marilyn Hacker. It contains verses such as the following:
"('God Bless America' would be blasphemy
if there were a god concerned with humanity.)"

Charming, huh? Or this:
"Jews who learned their comportment from storm-troopers
act out the nightmares that woke their grandmothers;
Jews sit, black-clad, claim peace: their vigil's
not on the whistlestop pol's agenda.

'Our' loss is grave: American, sacralized.
We are dismayed that dead Palestinians,
Kashmiris, Chechens, Guatemalans,
also are mourned with demands for vengeance.

'Our' loss is grave, that is, till a president
in spanking-new non-combatant uniform
mandates a war: then, men and women
dying for oil will be needed heroes.

I'd rather live in France (or live anywhere
there's literate debate in the newspapers).
The English language is my mother
tongue, but it travels. Asylum, exile?"

Asylum, please. Maybe she could join Saddam, if he ends up in, say, Algeria. Not many Jews to disturb her equilibrium there.

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