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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

OSAMA THE MOVIE

The race is on to create the first silver-screen version of Osama bin Laden's surprise demise. Agents already are hearing pitches for projects, says the Hollywood Reporter, granting an edge to director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the team behind the Oscar-winning film "The Hurt Locker." Mr. Boal, who has considerable contacts in the military, "began picking up chatter that the hunt for bin Laden had been re-activated," a source tells the insider publication. Yes, the team has lined up healthy funding, has a built-in ending and could start filming in summer.

"It's going to be an action film about the tactical victory that this pursuit resulted in ...sort of a good-news 'Black Hawk Down,' " the source predicts.

THE LEFT SPEAKS

"All the death in Iraq was not caused by bin Laden. The death in Iraq was caused by George W. Bush. Five thousand Americans, tens of thousands permanently damaged and shot to pieces, a million Iraqis dead - that wasn't bin Laden. That was George Bush. So when does Seal Unit 6, or whatever it's called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden. Wasn't he, or am I wrong here?" talk-radio host Mike Malloy recently asked his listeners.

"You're wrong here. Will the Secret Service be paying a visit to Malloy's studio for a little talk about inciting assassins?" asks Tim Graham, director of analysis for the Media Research Center.

"If any American with a patriotic pulse listened, they would have been shocked," he observes.

IMMINENT ATTACK

Feeling reassured about the death of Osama bin Laden but bracing for a possible retaliation attack on U.S. soil? More than half of the American public say we're safer in the aftermath, but almost two-thirds appear to anticipate the worst.

"Fifty-four percent believe bin Laden's death will make the U.S. safer from terrorism, nearly double the 28 percent who fear it will make it less safe," says Gallup poll analyst Lydia Saad. "Despite this optimism about the broad impact of bin Laden's death on U.S. national security, more Americans believe an act of terrorism is imminent than have said so at any time since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. Overall, 62 percent think an act of terrorism is either 'very' or 'somewhat likely' to occur in the U.S. in the next several weeks, with 17 percent considering it very likely."

AND IN SUMMATION

"The temptation to wash our hands of failed states and the pathological cultures that underlie them will have even more appeal to both Left and Right, and the strains on our economy make it seem like good business sense. But the fight against al-Qaeda is not over, and it is far from our only enemy. September 11 thrust the United States into a generation-long conflict: It is our Thirty Years', perhaps our Hundred Years' War," says a National Review editorial.

"Bin Laden's death is a welcome antidote to self-hatred and funk. America remembers its own and defends itself. She goes not abroad, as John Quincy Adams once said, in search of monsters to destroy. But when they come in search of us, we will destroy them - one by one by one."

GAS ATTACK

Yes, somebody is actually determined to do something about $4 per gallon gas. We'll find out Thursday when members of the Republican Study Committee will "unveil legislation that will provide consumers relief from high gas prices," a source says. Going before the microphone at 12:30 p.m.: the committee's chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, plus Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, Robert E. Latta of Ohio and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.

WHAT TO WEAR

"Credit where credit is due: The U.S. military got bin Laden."

Motto on a new T-shirt from the National Republican Trust PAC, described by creators as an "antidote" for the opposing T-shirt, "It took Obama to get Osama," now sold by a private vendor near the White House.

DEFINING "AMERICANISM"

Amid all the noise and confusion, the Hudson Institute, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and National Affairs will assemble 10 thoughtful conservatives to get to the heart of things.

They'll discuss "True Americanism: What It Is and Why It Matters," deemed a viable topic as diversity at home and globalization increase. The group includes Daniel Henninger, the Wall Street Journal's deputy editorial page editor; columnist Charles Krauthammer, Harvard University professor Harvey Mansfield and Fox News contributor Juan Williams.

"These distinguished thinkers will provide substance and context to a subject that may have lost its meaning over the years," said Michael W. Grebe, president and CEO of the Bradley Foundation.

The discussion takes place in Washington on Wednesday; watch it online here: www.hudson.org/watchlive. The panel takes its inspiration from a new anthology, "What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song," edited by fellow panelists Amy and Leon Kass and Diana Schaub.

POLL DU JOUR

• 86 percent of Americans approve President Obama's decision to authorize the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

• 79 percent are following news reports about the death of the terrorist leader.

• 75 percent say there was no need for Navy SEALs to "try harder" to capture rather than kill bin Laden so he could be brought to trial.

• 14 percent say the special forces should have tried harder to capture him, 11 percent are not sure.

• 65 percent give Mr. Obama "good or excellent" marks for his handling of the hunt for bin Laden.

• 86 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of unaffiliated adults agree.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted May 2 and 3.

Rumors, hearsay, the absolute truth to jharper@washingtontimes .com.

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