- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Invading 'ih-rock'

The Council on American Islamic Relations has been stuck in high gear since September 11, its aim to dispel beliefs that might exist among Americans that all Muslims are terrorists or, now, snipers.

In addition, the council, like most Americans, is hoping for a quick and peaceful settlement to the Iraq crisis. For as the Muslims argue, if you can't pronounce Iraq, you shouldn't invade it.

As war drums grow louder, the council is distributing a diatribe written by G. Jefferson Price III, editor of the Perspective section of the Baltimore Sun, warning that ignorance of such pronunciations could lead the United States into another Vietnam or Lebanon.

"If the United States actually is going to invade Iraq and occupy it for a while, at least people in charge of this idea might start pronouncing it correctly," says Mr. Price. "It's not 'eye-rack' as the leaders of the Washington cabal advocating invasion and occupation tend to pronounce it. It's 'ih-rock.'

The editor says failure to pronounce properly the names of places where the United States has sent troops and tried to take charge is symptomatic of historical failures going back at least as far as Vietnam.

"In Vietnam, the pronunciations always seemed to have a sort of U.S. Southern twang to them. This may have been because President Johnson was a Texan," Mr. Price suggests. "Vietnamese places sounded like music scores, body parts or automobile parts: 'Kan-toe,' 'My Toe,' and 'Cam-ran.'"

And the 1980s were no better, he adds, when the twang was inflicted on Lebanon by U.S. military advisers, many veterans of Vietnam.

"So, Choueifat, a suburb of Beirut overlooking the airport where the main Marine contingent was stationed, was called something like 'chewy fat.'"

Israeli-trained cops

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is joining a prestigious club whose membership so far includes Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former Rep. Jack Kemp, ex-Sen. Connie Mack, and Sens. Max Cleland, Daniel K. Inouye, Joseph I. Lieberman, Ted Stevens and John W. Warner.

Word is that Mr. Wolfowitz will be honored Nov. 18 with the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award, awarded each year by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs to a leader sharing the late senator's belief in the importance of maintaining a strong U.S. defense capability and a strong U.S.-Israeli military partnership.

We might point out that the Washington-based institute recently arranged for police chiefs and deputies from major U.S. cities to huddle with their counterparts in Israel to learn tips on countering potential terrorist attacks on civilian populations.

Big brother

A dismal 17 percent of eligible U.S. voters cast ballots in the most recent primaries. But that's not to say something should be done about the low turnout.

"Voting turnout in the U.S. is low only when compared to European nations, many of which have compulsory voting or other methods to force people to the polls," argues John Samples, director of the Center for Representative Government.

He says the vague belief there's a disconnect between non-voters and the government "has led policy-makers to ease registration requirements and this has played havoc with the registration rolls, leading to wasted money, needless political conflict and potential voter fraud."

"Americans have the right to vote," he says. "They also have the right not to vote. 'Experts' should stop their paternalistic lecturing of citizens."

Patriotic preacher

"It was with great enthusiasm that I received the report this morning that you signed to volunteer for the Republican Party of San Diego County," Ron Nehring, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, writes to the Rev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs (pronounced more-coke-less), an ordained pastor of the United Methodist Church who hopes to unseat California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter.

"I'm sure you can understand. It's not every day that a Democrat nominee for U.S. Congress signs up to volunteer for the Republican Party."

The minister-candidate or more likely somebody clowning around actually signed up Mr. Moore-Kochlacs to serve as the "Republican Precinct Representative" for his neighborhood.

A member of the powerful House Armed Services Committee seeking his 12th term in office, Mr. Hunter is considered a shoo-in for re-election. However, to provide the good preacher (he's married to a fellow Methodist minister) an equal pulpit, here's his campaign's theme:

"We in the United States need a new, exciting and mature patriotic vision. A vision of social, regional, national, international, and ecological interdependence and cooperation that calls out of us our best selves. This is what I plan to bring back to the office. An enthusiasm that has been missing for 22 years."

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