- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004

Goss OK’d for CIA

The Senate yesterday approved President Bush’s choice to head the CIA, Rep. Porter J. Goss, over protests from some Democrats who said he has too many Republican ties for a job that requires independence.

The nomination of the Florida congressman, who had planned to retire after eight terms, was confirmed by a vote of 77-17.

Mr. Goss, 65, was a CIA and Army intelligence officer during the 1960s. He will lead an intelligence community that has faced intense criticism for failures prior to the September 11 attacks and for its prewar estimates on Iraq, the Associated Press reports.

During six hours of debate, West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the senior Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, questioned whether Mr. Goss would be politically objective.

Mr. Rockefeller cited Mr. Goss’s assertion that Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry promoted “deep and devastating” intelligence-budget cuts in the 1990s.

“Not surprisingly, one thing missing from Representative Goss’s records are any public statements on intelligence critical of members of his own party or the administration,” Mr. Rockefeller said.

Although Mr. Goss has promised not to be a partisan Republican as CIA director, Mr. Rockefeller said, “I must vote on his record. I cannot vote on his promise.”

Senate intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, rejected suggestions that Mr. Goss is too political and said he would be an appropriate intelligence chief during a tumultuous time.

Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Goss in August to replace former CIA Director George J. Tenet, who caught many by surprise in June when he announced that he would resign after seven years in two administrations.

Carter’s critique

Former President Jimmy Carter said yesterday that the apparent open-ended presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has contributed to the wave of hostage-takings and other bloodshed.

“A lot of political analysts have said that one of the main reasons the Bush-Cheney administration went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base there,” Mr. Carter said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I think this arouses a great deal of unnecessary opposition.”

Mr. Carter’s remarks came as the family of fellow Georgian Jack Hensley learned that the contractor had been beheaded by his captors in Iraq. He was the second American hostage killed there by Islamic extremists in as many days.

“As much as any president in history, I was afflicted psychologically and politically by the holding of American hostages,” Mr. Carter said. “So my heart goes out to all those who are involved in a similar crisis, particularly the Hensley family.”

Mr. Carter said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry needs to focus his campaign on Iraq and terrorism to defeat President Bush in November.

“The overwhelming issue in this country is the Iraqi war and the war against terrorism and who can address those problems more wisely and more honestly,” Mr. Carter said. “I think that’s the issue that Kerry has to pursue, because, in my opinion, President Bush has not been honest with the American people and has certainly failed in almost everything he professes to be doing in Iraq and in Afghanistan, unfortunately.”

Like old times

A leading critic of Sen. John Kerry says that the Democratic presidential nominee’s latest speech denouncing the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq was “virtually identical” to the speech he delivered as an anti-war protester before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee 33 years ago, CNSNews.com reports.

Mr. Kerry on April 22, 1971, voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War in a speech before the committee led by Democratic Sen. William Fulbright of Arkansas. On Monday, Mr. Kerry talked about the present-day war in Iraq in a speech at New York University.

“It’s basically the same throw-your-hands-up, ask-the-international-community-to-come-in-and-surrender speech that he gave before, in 1971,” said Jerome Corsi, co-author of the best-selling book “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.”

“On Monday, Kerry said it was basically a civil war in Iraq, just like he said about Vietnam in 1971,” Mr. Corsi told reporter Marc Morano. “Kerry said we need an international solution in Vietnam [in 1971], and he said we need an international solution in Iraq.”

Mr. Corsi added: “Kerry said we didn’t have a strategy for getting out of Vietnam. Today, he said we don’t have a strategy for getting out of Iraq.”

But the similarities do not end there, he said.

“When he talked to the Fulbright committee, the only thing he basically suggested regarding the Vietnam War is, we get out of there and hand it over to someone else. He wouldn’t acknowledge it was a war against communism, just like he is not acknowledging that the [Iraq war] is a war against terrorism,” Mr. Corsi said.

Out of the ‘Cabin’

The Abe Lincoln Black Republican Caucus, a group of young urban black homosexual Republicans, voted yesterday to endorse President Bush.

The group was co-founded by Don Sneed, a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual organization that loudly declined to back Mr. Bush, citing his support for a constitutional amendment to bar homosexual “marriage.”

“We think that the Republican tent is inclusive and there is room for differences, but one does not pick up their marbles and go home if there are a few points of disagreement,” spokesman Anthony Falls said in a press release.

“The ALBRC does not support marriage for gays, yet we do support and call for recognition of domestic partnerships,” he said.

The Muslim vote

American Muslim voters overwhelmingly support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry over President Bush, according to a new American Muslim Poll conducted by Zogby International for Georgetown University’s Muslims in the American Public Square project.

By a margin of 76 percent to 7 percent, Muslims back the Democratic ticket over Mr. Bush.

“This contrasts sharply with the 2000 election, when Bush garnered 42 percent of the Muslim vote versus 31 percent for Democrat Al Gore,” said Zahid Bukhari, director of Project MAPS.

Ha-ha

Comedian Bill Maher, who has gotten himself in trouble before, apparently thinks beheadings are funny.

“Oh, I tell you, things are getting bad over there [in Iraq],” Mr. Maher said during his monologue for the Sept. 17 episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.

“On Wednesday, for example, three severed heads were found by the side of the road outside of Baghdad. Hey, memo to the Iraqi people: severed-head pickup is Tuesday. Look, if you want to sleep late, roll them out on Monday night. …”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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