- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Well it’s one way to galvanize the press and jolt the public. Several hundred news accounts appeared within an hour of Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s vow to pursue the Islamic State “to the gates of Hell” during an appearance at a New Hampshire shipyard on Wednesday. Mr. Biden’s “hell” moment also attracted adjectives. He was described as “fiery” by Politico, Mediaite, The Daily Caller and the Washington Examiner; “passionate” by Brieitbart News and “apoplectic” by The Week. From start to finish, those few seconds could make a tidy video clip should the vice president decide to run for the White House. The phrase has been similarly employed before however, used with much vigor by Sen. John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign when he vowed to follow Osama bin Laden to “the gates of hell.”

Some ponder the finer points, though.

“Perhaps out of a political desire to seem more full of feck than his boss, Joe Biden declared that in response to the Islamic State beheadings ‘we will follow them to the gates of Hell until they are brought to justice. Because Hell is where they will reside.’ I realize that taking Biden’s language too literally is a shortcut to madness, but I always thought bring to justice meant bring to trial,” points out syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg.

“So which is it? When he says they will reside in Hell, he makes it sound like we will be sending them there. But he also says we’ll be bringing them to justice, which suggests that we will retrieve them. If he had said ‘we will follow them to the ends of the Earth’ that would have made more sense. I mean do we have an extradition treaty with Hell?” Mr. Goldberg asks.

TENDING TO NATO

Celtic Manor, the luxurious Welsh golf retreat that is hosting the NATO summit on Thursday and Friday, has issued an overview of the big doings, and a little more. The resort says it will host 60 heads of state, 180 officials and 4,000 delegates, along with 1,500 reporters, 9,500 police officers, 20,000 protesters, five miles of extra power cables and 7,000 square yards of extra flooring. Among other things, the resort will serve 15,000 meals and coordinate the performances of three military bands. The heads of state, incidentally, each receive a complimentary bottle of Dylan Thomas Whiskey from the local Penderyn Distillery. And why not get in a little plug?


SEE ALSO: Obama: Ukrainian military needs NATO backing


“This week, The Celtic Manor Resort will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain. Next week, you could be enjoying the same luxurious surroundings at this world-class destination,” the resort advises the public in a new ad.

Meanwhile, an early dispatch details President Obama’s arrival at the resort, this from a White House pool report filed by Colleen McCain Nelson of The Wall Street Journal:

“Under gray skies, Marine One touched down at 7:25 p.m. near the Celtic Manor. Fittingly, the landing zone was the driving range of a Ryder Cup golf course.”

HOLA SENOR CHRISTIE

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being prudent during his three-day trade mission to Mexico. Though it may seem an unlikely match, there’s a certain coziness between his state and the border nation: New Jersey exported $2.1 billion in goods to Mexico in 2013; the Garden State also imported $3.4 billion from Mexico. And of interest: Mr. Christie won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote during his 2013 re-election. As Mr. Christie perfects his presidential posture, his travel is paid for by Choose New Jersey, a private development group. He does not plan to make a ceremonial trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, and he’s not speaking any Spanish during his visit, either.

“You have to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. I have never been really good at foreign languages. I tried in high school. I tried in college. And I never had an aptitude for it. I think the worst thing in the world is when politicians try to fake it,” Mr. Christie told a town hall meeting shortly before his trip.

Another potential presidential hopeful is also in a global mood. A mere 48 hours after Mr. Christie return stateside, Texas Gov. Rick Perry departs on his own trade mission, destination China. The “International Business Recruitment Mission” has been organized by Texas One, a privately funded group that promotes the Lone Star State as business-friendly.

MCCONNELL’s ITTY BITTY LEAD

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell holds a delicate four-point edge over his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, this according to a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday afternoon.

“McConnell’s 4-point advantage — 50 percent-46 percent — falls within the survey’s 4-point sampling error, furthering emphasizing how close this Kentucky contest remains,” says CNN analyst Mark Preston. “The outcome of this election may help decide control of the Senate, influence President Obama’s final two years in office and determine the political fate of Kentucky’s longest-serving senator.”

A SOLDIER COMES HOME

Seven decades have passed since U.S. Army Pfc. Bernard Gavrin went missing in action during World War II. On Wednesday, the Defense Department announced that his remains have been identified and returned to his family, and that he will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery next week. Gavrin was 29 and serving in the Pacific when he disappeared July 7, 1944 during an Allied effort to occupy Saipan. Enemy forces staged a “banzai” suicide attack on the 105th Infantry Regiment, killing and wounding 900 soldiers. Gavrin, a native of Brooklyn, was not found; his remains were declared unrecoverable by officials.

In 2011, a private American group uncovered remains from another soldier in the vicinity, prompting Kuentai, a Japanese non-governmental organization also seeking lost troops, to investigate the area. Two years later, they recovered remains and personal effects belonging to Americans from an unmarked burial site in a cave — all since transferred to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. Gavrin was identified through DNA evidence and his dog tag, along with Army Pfc. Richard L. Bean, 24, of Manassas, Virginia. The Brooklyn-born soldier still has a nephew, David Rogers, now 82, who will attend the burial in Arlington with 30 other family members.

“I am completely in awe of where he is going to be buried. Arlington Cemetery is the single most hallowed ground in this country. Beneath its surface contains the who’s who of American history. To think that my uncle will also be buried there is absolutely incredible to me,” Mr. Rogers told the Florida Sun-Sentinel this week.

POLL DU JOUR

46 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; 76 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents agree.

45 percent of Americans overall say the U.S. “must destroy” the Islamic State; 70 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents agree.

44 percent overall disapprove of the way Mr. Obama has handled the fighting between the Syrian government and rebel forces; 70 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents agree.

43 percent overall disapprove of the way Mr. Obama has handled the conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia forces; 73 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents agree.

42 percent overall disapprove of the way Mr. Obama has handled the fighting between the Islamic State and the government of Iraq; 74 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 998 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23-25.

Hubbub and ballyhoo to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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