- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Gibson's last stand?
President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, joined Mel Gibson for a very early sneak peek read, last fall of the much-anticipated Hollywood film "We Were Soldiers," which opens Friday.
John Meroney, Washington-based associate editor of the American Enterprise, reveals that Mr. Rove and Mr. Gibson, star of the film, sat together several months ago in the private Washington screening room of Motion Picture Association Chairman Jack Valenti to watch Hollywood's version of the first major engagement of the Vietnam war when 450 U.S. soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers in Ia Drang Valley.
Joining Mr. Rove and Mr. Gibson for the private screening were retired Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (played by Mr. Gibson), who commanded the 7th Cavalry and wrote the book the movie is based upon, and Joe Galloway, the UPI correspondent assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry.
Also on hand for the Washington screening was the picture's writer and director, Randall Wallace (scriptwriter for the Mel Gibson blockbuster "Braveheart.")
Without giving too much away, Mr. Meroney reveals one scene in the March issue of the magazine in which Mr. Gibson, preparing to depart for Southeast Asia, learns that his regiment number is seven.
"The Seventh?" Mr. Gibson asks. "The same regiment as … Custer?"
"Ultimately, and this news won't spoil the filmfl" promises Mr. Meroney, "Gibson and his troops fare better than the general and his soldiers did at Little Big Horn. But that's not to say they have an easy go of it."
In fact, the war's initial engagement turned out to be one of the bloodiest.

Military apology
The U.S. military has dropped tons of correspondence on Inside the Beltway after reading our item yesterday on threats made against Hollywood actress Cindy Williams for something she never wrote.
To recap, Cindy Williams, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, opined in an article in The Washington Post two years ago that higher pay for underpaid soldiers won't fix the U.S. military's problems. The article was eventually posted on the Internet, and since then Miss Williams, the actress who calls herself a patriotic American who would fight in the military if she could has been bombarded with angry mail.
We'll allow a major in the U.S. Air Force, a female officer who asks not to be identified, to speak for the ranks: "I just read your item about Cindy Williams being maligned for supposedly being against military pay raises. I received that hoax from a family member, who received it from a friend, who received it … (you get the idea).
"But when I read it, a couple of things didn't add up … so I did what every e-mail user should do when they receive 'true' stories, petitions, etc.: I checked the Urban Legends Reference Page (www.snopes2.com), typed 'Cindy Williams' in the search box, and discovered the truth that it was a Cindy Williams from MIT …
"If I knew how to get in touch with Miss Williams," says the Air Force major, "I would apologize on behalf of the ignorant military who didn't do their research before flaming her with angry e-mails or letters."

Thou shalt co-sponsor
On behalf of a far higher authority, the "Ten Commandments Defense Act" will soon be introduced in Congress.
Rep. Robert Aderholt, Alabama Republican, will set forth the act, allowing states the power to decide whether or not to display the Ten Commandments on or within publicly owned buildings.
The amendment, we're told, will use the First and Tenth Amendments as its base (i.e., those powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states). In other words, it would become a states' rights issue.
At the heart of the debate is whether Congress has equal and independent authority to interpret the Constitution, or does the Supreme Court have the only say in a case in which the Congress interprets the Tenth Amendment as leaving a matter up to the states?
The bill, says Mr. Aderholt, would take a significant step toward allowing states to advance religious freedoms previously restricted by the judicial branch. The Ten Commandments act, he says, does not violate the establishment clause of the Constitution.
The Ten Commandments "do not represent one single religion in fact, they are tenets of Judaism, Islam and Christianity," says language in the act.
"Moses is the only historical figure in the House chambers not in silhouette; instead, he faces forward, looking down on the Speaker's chair," the act points out. "As the conduit of the Ten Commandments, he, in a sense, presides over the law-making process. His influence and the law of the Commandments have been recognized throughout the history of our country."

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