- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

Should America make nice with the Taliban? Uh-h-h, maybe not, says M. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy officer, physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

President Obama’s recent overture to the Taliban not only sends a dangerous message of appeasement to our sworn enemies, but it sends a lethal message of abandonment to all those who have suffered the oppression of the Taliban,” Dr. Jasser says.

“How can a presidential candidate who campaigned on a message of ‘change’ turn around as president and completely abandon those who seek change away from the thugs and theocrats of the Taliban of Afghanistan?”

Dr. Jasser, a Muslim who founded the Phoenix-based group in 2003, draws a line in the sand.

“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Taliban can be trusted or serve as any type of viable ‘partner’ in a negotiation of the future of Afghanistan and global security. They have in fact repeatedly proven to be sworn enemies of freedom and liberty. They will tell the Obama administration what it wants to hear,” he continues.

A quick, feel-good fix won’t work, Dr. Jasser contends.

“Rather than empowering our anti-Islamist Muslim allies in the region who are already underfunded and outmatched, President Obama is giving our ideological allies the signal that the U.S. would rather sit with oppressors and get short-term assurances of stability than sit with real agents of anti-Islamist change.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney took a wider stance, saying it was “disturbing” that Mr. Obama recently declared misgivings about U.S. policy while he was overseas.

“You have to be very careful. The world outside there — both our friends and our foes — will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they’re dealing with a weak president,” Mr. Cheney told Fox News. “The United States provides much of the leadership in the world. We have for a long time. I don’t think we’ve got much to apologize for.”

Future kingpins

So you want Junior to grow up and be, oh, Donald Rumsfeld — or maybe Stephen Chu? There are colleges that cater to such aspirations, according to educational consultant Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a New York college admissions counseling service.

“Here are the top … colleges to attend if you want to be in the president’s Cabinet,” she says.

There’s Harvard University of course, because Harvard has more alumni in Cabinet positions than Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT combined. Then there’s the University of California Berkeley, Yale University, Georgetown University, Indiana University and the University of Denver.

But getting to the presidential Cabinet is not a particularly exacting art. Who you know rather than what you know holds more sway. Ms. Cohen, though, insists these campuses are “specifically tailored for the future politico.”

Quotes of note

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