- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001

Nation building
Rep. Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the International Relations Committee, firmly believes the United States must engage in nation building in Afghanistan if the Taliban regime is toppled.
"That was a mistake we made back when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan," the Illinois Republican said in an interview Saturday on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."
"We made a major effort in helping the mujahideen drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. But once that had been accomplished, we picked up our marbles and went home, not concerning ourselves with the aftermath, the consequences.
"The result," Mr. Hyde said, "is a worse situation or as bad a situation as when the Soviet Union was there namely the Taliban, who are very oppressive and anti-democratic and certainly anti-American."
The chairman said given that experience, "I think we have to be concerned with the aftermath of any battles that we are in, because we need friends in the world, not enemies. And so, we should not make the same mistake we made earlier in Afghanistan."

Smiley-face warfare
"Last week, there was wide airing of a bizarre, wishful-thinking canard that the [anthrax] attacks might have been carried out by some crank 'hate group' from the heartland," Christopher Caldwell writes in the Weekly Standard.
"Unnamed 'investigators' told Brian Ross of ABC that the letters that accompanied the anthrax sent to Tom Daschle and Tom Brokaw showed a 'command of idiomatic English' that pointed to an American nativist crank. (Applying literary criticism to the attacks allowed Ross and others to ignore the attackers' technological sophistication.) Christopher Dodd agreed. 'My gut instinct tells me that these attacks were more a domestic variety,' he said. Yeah. Maybe Newt Gingrich did it.
"This smiley-face minimizing of germ warfare ties our hands, to little psychological end. There will have to be a side to this war on terrorism that involves deporting suspicious illegals and interdicting them at our borders. And yet every effort to take extraordinary wartime measures has come up against some antiquated, pre-September 11 political interest group. The New York Times has reported that, in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggested a six-month moratorium on student visas, which several of the hijackers used to enter the country. In the last decade, 16,000 students from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, and Syria arrived with such visas. Her measure has thus far been blocked by education lobbies specifically, graduate schools that treasure foreign students because they pay full tuition," Mr. Caldwell said.
"Another holdover from peacetime is the noncompliance of Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). There are roughly a hundred international airlines that fly into the United States. Ninety-four of them participate in APIS, which involves wiring a manifest to U.S. authorities, once a flight is in the air, so that passengers' names can be checked against various U.S. government watch lists. Saudi Arabia still refuses to participate, and one of its diplomats explains why. 'At this time, hundreds of Saudi citizens are being detained and questioned with regard to the hijackings,' he says. 'A lot of them are innocent people. That number would probably quadruple.' So Saudi planes continue to offload their uncheckable passengers day after day, with no complaint from the United States. Wouldn't want to offend our ally, after all."

Lesson learned
"Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when it seemed no one wanted to fly, [California] Gov. Gray Davis made the political mistake of considering a private jet for his own security and convenience. These days, lesson learned, the governor is flying commercial a lot," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Davis has been staging an unusual number of media events lately, with the twin goals of calming Californians' jittery nerves and polishing his own image as a leader," reporter Dan Morain writes.
"On Friday, the Democratic governor appeared at the UCLA medical school with state health officials and UCLA physicians, posed with bottles of the antibiotic Cipro and proclaimed in front of a dozen television camera crews that California is well-prepared for a bioterrorist anthrax attack.
"Earlier in the week, Davis toured a water treatment plant in Sacrameto and declared that the water supply is being guarded as never before. He posted a California Highway Patrol training video about safe mail handling on the state Web site, and he stood on a Coast Guard cutter motoring across San Francisco Bay to assure the region that all conceivable steps are being taken to thwart any attacks by sea."

Campus patriots
"You have to look no further than today's Ivy League campuses to see how radically different the student mood is toward the anti-terror war compared with the rabble-rousing Vietnam years," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Instead of lining up for antiwar protests, Yalies and other brainiacs are swarming CIA, FBI, and Secret Service recruiters. The CIA, for example, has seen a jump from 600 applications a week to 600 a day. That's more than 20,000 since Sept. 11. Others are also popular, especially the Secret Service and even the little-known State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where applications have jumped 25 percent," Mr. Bedard said.
"The interest of those writing CIA Director George Tenet and other feds is more patriotism than profit. 'Making money just isn't enough for some,' says the CIA's Anya Guilsher. 'And stock options aren't what they used to be.' Most want to work in Langley, but 100 a week apply for off-campus spy jobs. Federal retirees also have an itch to join the war. Over 6,000 'patriots' have filed resumes with the Office of Personnel Management."

Tax ban expires
The National Taxpayers Union is upset that the Senate, unlike the House, failed to extend the moratorium on Internet taxes. The national prohibition on such taxes expired yesterday.
"For three years the members of the U.S. Senate have known that the Internet tax moratorium would expire on Sunday. There is no excuse for not taking action," Eric V. Schlect, NTU director of congressional affairs, said in a prepared statement Friday.
"While the House recently passed a bill to extend the moratorium for two more years, the Senate chose to do nothing, allowing it to expire and opening a window that could allow a host of new taxes on Internet access and services."
The original Internet tax moratorium was signed into law on Oct. 21, 1998.
"But it's not too late," Mr. Schlect said. "When the Senate reconvenes next week, they can still consider and pass the moratorium recently enacted by the House of Representatives. Otherwise, taxpayers may soon see the cost of using the Internet skyrocket as state governments pounce on yet another area of our economy that they can tax. The National Taxpayers Union and our 335,000 members urge the Senate to take action to ensure the continued growth and vitality of the Internet."

Oh, brother
Democratic political strategist and TV talking head Paul Begala is always on the alert for inappropriate partisanship, as demonstrated by this quote in the liberal American Prospect magazine:
"But there have been cracks in the patriotic veneer, ugly moments in which vicious partisanship has supplanted patriotism. And every one of them has come from the right."
Mr. Begala's remark is featured in the New Republic's "Idiocy watch" this week.

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