- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2008

Can-do Charlie

“ ’Charlie Wilson’s War,’ the film treatment of how a party-hearty Texas congressman teamed up with other Cold Warriors to humiliate the Soviet Empire and hasten its end, is a box-office success. After the failure of preachy political films, like ‘Lions for Lambs, and ‘Rendition, Hollywood will credit the movie’s appeal, in part, to its witty dialogue and biting humor. Fair enough. But the film offers another lesson, for both Hollywood and Washington: Good things can happen when principle trumps partisanship. …

“Mr. Wilson, 74 … is generous with praise for his comrades-in-skulduggery. ‘We won because there was no partisanship or damaging leaks,’ he emphasizes. But he believes that nothing like the Afghan operation could survive today’s poisonous Washington atmosphere.

“Tom Hanks, who plays Mr. Wilson in the film, has fretted that he, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Mike Nichols will be attacked by the right as ‘a bunch of Democrats who are taking potshots at the war in Iraq., He needn’t worry. Mr. Hanks and his fellow filmmakers have produced a rousing paean to America’s can-do spirit.”

John Fund, writing on “Why ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ Couldn’t Happen Today,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

Anti-reformer

“Jonathan Kozol is back. The leftist education expert has been promoting his latest book — ‘Letters to a Young Teacher’ — preaching his gospel on NPR stations, at radical churches, and at book stores across the country. He is a seductive figure in the pulpit, spreading a message of antagonism to every education reform. Though he claims that American schools are part of a domestic system of apartheid, he campaigns against charter schools, vouchers, testing, and any attempt to circumscribe the power of the teachers’ unions. …

“He is a deeply frustrated man. We live in a prosperous society that rejects his goal of radical social reform, and so Kozol spends his life promoting resentment. Confronted by facts and evidence that stand contrary to his ideals, he seeks to poison the wells of argument by throwing in intellectually dishonest terms like ‘apartheid, and by emphasizing half-baked notions for which there is no consistent evidence. …

“Jonathan Kozol, like so many true believers, is past examining the facts. Ironically, he is an education expert incapable of learning.”

Jonathan Leaf, writing on “The Learning Disabled Education Expert,” in the Dec. 31 issue of the Weekly Standard

Media vs. military

“[A]t the height of the war [in Iraq], there were only 30 journalists for a country the size of California. Right now, there are 17.

“There were more reporters covering ‘Burning Man’ in the Nevada desert than a major conflict that will decide the power structure in the Middle East for decades to come. The media has failed in its responsibility to society, while our military has shined in its efforts. …

“Stepping off a Boeing 767 earlier this week and back onto American soil left me breathless with gratitude to the service of our soldiers, and the man who heroically leads them — Gen. David Petraeus.

“History will record that Gen. Petraeus is the Man of the Year, the decade, and even longer. Too bad Time magazine doesn’t get it.”

— Melanie Morgan, writing on “Boots on the ground: The surge and why we’re winning,” Friday at WorldNetDaily.com

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