- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

Those cold feet
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Clinton should have done more to fight terrorism years ago. And Mr. Gingrich regrets not taking the president to task.
"In retrospect, I wish I had been much more consistent in holding President Clinton's feet to the fire on this issue," he told the Hill newspaper.
"There was a greater failure to wage a systematic campaign against terrorism at a time when it was obvious that we knew it was real," Mr. Gingrich said, citing the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole last fall.
The Georgia Republican said Mr. Clinton clearly understood the terrorist threat but didn't act on it. It was a "pathetically weak, ineffective ability to focus and stay focused," Mr. Gingrich said, adding the Sept. 11 attacks "probably would have had less chance to succeed if we had been serious about combating terrorism during that administration."
Such "lack of leadership" left a cleanup job for the current administration. Under President George Bush, "it was pretty clear we were a serious country, and then you saw it just erode for eight years," he said.

And a big P.S.
These days, former President Bill Clinton has plenty to say about terrorism and Osama bin Laden, apparently.
"He's very scary. He's smart, he's rich, he's ruthless, he's bold, with a very definite political agenda," Mr. Clinton said at a forum Tuesday, breaking a code of silence that he and other former presidents had adopted in past weeks to preserve national unity.
The terrorists "want us to be afraid of them. They want us to be afraid of the future," he continued, noting that his administration had thwarted 15 terrorist efforts and that bin Laden's agenda targeted Saudi Arabia's monarchy, Israel, other Arab nations and the U.S. presence in the Middle East.
"Make no mistake about it. This conflict represents a fundamental struggle that will go on for the next few years and will define the soul of the 21st century," Mr. Clinton concluded.

Keeps on ticking
A sharp-eyed FBI source has noted that Osama bin Laden wears a $65 Timex Ironman Triathlon watch on his right wrist in his recent videotaped message, seen this week by a global audience.
"The arrogant terror chief apparently isn't so disgusted by our country that he refuses to parade around with one of its best-known products," the New York Post observed.
"Bin Laden is supporting a wholeheartedly American company founded in 1857 Alas, we may never know the true story behind the watch," the Post said. "Bin Laden was on the run yesterday, and calls to Timex execs were not returned."

Reilly's voice
President Bush's pick to head Voice of America, Robert Reilly, intends to broadcast "accurate, objective, and comprehensive news" even as critics try to derail him as he faces a federally appointed Broadcasting Board of Governors today.
"The controversy over Reilly is a new variation on an old theme: Liberals always beat up on conservatives put in positions to shape global opinion of the United States. Reaganites working at Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the 1980s came under their scrutiny," write National Review's John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru.
"The very purpose of VOA is to project a positive image of the United States to the world. Part of this involves reporting 'accurate, objective, and comprehensive news' because freedom of the press is an American value worth promoting in places like Kabul. But running VOA also requires a patriotic self-confidence that parts of the Left seem unable to summon even now.
"The phony controversy over Reilly should not be allowed to obscure the importance of revamping our public diplomacy. This includes everything from student-exchange programs to the messages put on the wrappers of food dropped on Afghanistan last night. It also includes VOA.
"The essential rationale for American involvement in the Balkans, after all, has been saving Muslim lives. This should work to our advantage on the streets of Islamabad and yet it seems not to matter at all. Do the flag-burners there even know?"

Precious life
Today, former President Ronald Reagan will have lived longer than any other U.S. president: 33,120 days, eclipsing the record held by our second president, John Adams. Mr. Reagan was born on Feb. 6, 1911.
"Time passes so quickly," former first lady Nancy Reagan said yesterday. "These days, especially, we should remember how precious life is and how important it is to cherish every moment."

Chatty Ted
America is a great nation because we have "so many different kinds of people. If you hated everybody who wasn't like you, you'd hate everybody," Ted Turner said yesterday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The former kingpin of CNN compared the United States to Israel, where he said Jews and Palestinians are like "the Hatfields and McCoys." Once known as "Captain Outrageous" in 1999 he told a Polish joke about the pope and suggested the pontiff "get a life" Mr. Turner seemed a somewhat mellow fellow.
"I come from a country that was conquered so I know how the Japanese and Germans feel," the Georgia native said, referring to the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War. Later he noted "Americans in general are about 15 percent poorer as a result of [the Sept. 11] attack."
"I am strongly pro-choice," said Mr. Turner, a father of five. "As crowded as the world is, we don't need to be forcing people to have children that don't want to." He also believes "military action should never be taken without [approval by the U.N.] Security Council."
And he got quite a bargain once. "I stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom and I didn't give Clinton hardly anything," Mr. Turner observed. "I think it might have had something to do with me being married to Jane Fonda at the time."

Chatty Gary
He has opened a campaign office, and we know he now is serving on a House anti-terrorism committee. But will he run? Guess so. Maybe. A coy Rep. Gary A. Condit said yesterday he is gathering petition signatures to start a re-election campaign, but he stopped short of announcing a bid.
"It helps build grass-roots support," the California Democrat explained while attending fellow Californian Rep. Nancy Pelosi's celebration following her election as Democratic whip.
He did not ignore reporters' questions as he has since Chandra Levy's disappearance last spring. "He talked. A little," the Associated Press observed.

Bad dog, no biscuit
Look out. Labor unions and independent groups sympathetic with anti-war efforts sparked by President Bush's campaign against Osama bin Laden will come under attack this week in the House as lawmakers seek to cut off their federal grants, U.S. News & World Report notes at its Washington Whispers Web site (www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/whisphome.htm).
Republican sources say "an amendment to block grants to the groups will be offered to the appropriation bill for the Labor and Health and Human Services departments up for consideration" as early as today. A new analysis of federal grants to groups involved in the anti-war effort identifies several unions, including the United Auto Workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Service Employees International Union. A Heritage Foundation analysis from census documents also found grants to independent groups that have blasted Mr. Bush's war on terrorism.
"Should tax dollars be going to groups that protest the war? I don't think so," says an architect of the plan to end the grants.

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