- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

Trust your commander
As some "experts" project a high number of casualties should U.S. armed forces attack Iraq, we're reminded of similar "grim" forecasts prior to the last military tangle with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.
Take the Los Angeles Times headline of Sept. 5, 1990: "Potential War Casualties put at 100,000." The story beneath it suggested U.S. troops would suffer fewer casualties than Iraq, "but even by conservative projections, around 160 U.S. soldiers a day would come home in body bags once war broke out."
"My projection is that there would be about 10,000 American casualties in 10 days of fighting to occupy Kuwait" and dislodge Iraqi forces, military historian Trevor duPuy was quoted as saying.
"You can win," added Brookings Institution defense analyst Joshua Epstein, "but it will be very bloody and very expensive. A lot of people are going to die."
U.S. News & World Report quoted the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Security Council as estimating the United States would suffer between 20,000 and 30,000 dead and wounded during a Gulf war.
Knight-Ridder Newspapers called on "one of the nation's leading military scholars," who warned up to 18,000 Americans could be killed or wounded during an Iraqi offensive.
And on Nov. 13, 1990, past the headline "Grim Forecast for Gulf War," the Toronto Star wrote: "If war erupts in the Persian Gulf, U.S. forces could suffer more casualties in a few days than they sustained in an average year during the war in Vietnam."
For the record, there were 148 U.S. battle deaths in the entire Gulf war, which was 148 too many.

Army Col. Wilson
Debate rages over whether President Bush should have the consent of Congress before striking Iraq. Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, says it's no time to be arguing.
The congressman, few people know, moonlights. He is a colonel in the Army National Guard, with 29 years of service under his belt.
He warns that debate over an "additional" vote of consent to use military force (Mr. Bush on Sept. 14 already received unanimous consent both in the House and Senate) "would only serve to tip off [Saddam] Hussein to our intelligence reports, military intentions and capabilities putting the lives of our military at further risk."

Splitting logs
As President Bush huddled with congressional leaders on the subject of invading Iraq, his not-so-eager secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, was dispatched to South Africa to defend the U.S. environmental record (of all pressing matters) and efforts to help the poor.
To make matters worse for Mr. Powell, he was heckled repeatedly by protesters during his brief remarks to the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development.
"The United States is taking action to meet environmental challenges, including global climate change," Mr. Powell said over the loud booing from youth activists and environmentalists.
"Shame on Bush," the protesters shouted to a visibly annoyed Mr. Powell. Journalists on hand said the heckling began when the secretary criticized Zimbabwe for pursuing land-reform policies, exacerbating the food crisis and creating starvation.
"Here we've seen a new U.S. State Department emerge," explains Christopher Horner, Washington counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who is in Johannesburg for the summit.
"In the face of charges of 'global apartheid' meant to head off the tough Bush stance on weaning corrupt regimes from our trough, the U.S. stood tall in the saddle and said this is about helping the poor, not buying you new Land Rovers, and the best thing you can do for the poor is allow them to create wealth, specifically through economic and judicial reforms," Mr. Horner tells this column.

Mixing with humans
Being passed around Washington is a list of silly statements reportedly uttered at the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, where delegates took to the podium to condemn the Western world and big business, and offer their two-cents' worth on how to improve everything from water quality to mankind.
A few of our favorites:
"This is my country, so you go first."
South African Minister of Water Affairs Ronnie Kasrils to Sir Richard Jolly, champion of the U.N. Development Report, before the two took turns sitting on a makeshift toilet to highlight an apparent breakthrough in sanitation.
"[World leaders] are embarrassed by the condom, when in fact they should be embarrassed by Nike, because there's more rubber in Nike."
U.N. AIDS ambassador Mechai Viravaidya, also known as "Mr. Condom" in his home country of Thailand.
Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, when pressed about the African Union's decision to nominate Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi to head the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
"For someone who has spent most of her life studying chimpanzees, I find it strange to be here."

Wildlife activist Jane Goodall, named a U.N. messenger for peace.


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