- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

'Satan's slaves'

Editors of the San Francisco-based Internet journal Salon.com are upset by criticism of Salon Executive Editor Gary Kamiya's antiwar essay, which was excerpted in this column last week.

"[T]he organs of the right-wing press in the U.S. from The Washington Times to Newsmax to Rush Limbaugh to Bill O'Reilly ripped out a small chunk of Kamiya's article and began circulating it to the faithful," Salon declared in an editorial Wednesday.

In his article two weeks ago, Mr. Kamiya wrote of the war in Iraq: "I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. … Wishing for things to go wrong is the logical corollary of the postulate that the better things go for Bush, the worse they will go for America and the rest of the world."

Mr. O'Reilly, among others, took offense at that "small chunk." Mr. Kamiya was invited to appear on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." Mr. Kamiya declined, but countered with an offer to debate Mr. O'Reilly by e-mail.

Salon used the opportunity to accuse Mr. Kamiya's critics of "mind control":

"[T]he real agenda of conservative media's overbearing pundits … is to drive everyone who disagrees with them out of the public arena. They're not interested in open debate; their goal is to intimidate and silence. If you dare oppose the war, if you dare even admit any ambivalence about it, then you should be gagged and expatriated. In the current climate of mind control, you can't even admit to having entertained thoughts that are not 'appropriate,' even if you end up rejecting them."

One Salon reader e-mailed this column to express support for Mr. Kamiya: "I saw your so-called reprint of the Kamiya article. Like all of Satan's slaves you misrepresented him."


Sahhaf fan club

Count President Bush among the fans of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the former Iraqi information minister whose improbable wartime proclamations provoked ridicule.

"He's my man. He was great," Mr. Bush said of Mr. Sahhaf in an interview yesterday with NBC's Tom Brokaw. "Somebody accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic."

Mr. Bush said he had made a point of watching Mr. Sahhaf during the war: "Somebody would say, he's getting ready to speak and I'd pop out of a meeting or turn and watch the TV."

The beret-wearing Mr. Sahhaf, nicknamed "Baghdad Bob," became famous for denying that U.S. "infidels" had entered the Iraqi capital, and making such statements as "My feelings, as usual, we will slaughter them all," and "Our initial assessment is that they will all die."


Ban to continue

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich said yesterday he will not lift the three-year execution ban in Illinois even if the Legislature passes bills aimed at improving the death-penalty system. He said the changes don't go far enough, the Associated Press Reports.

"I don't feel any artificial pressure to lift the moratorium," said Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat. "I'd like to one day be in a position to do that, if I thought the position was foolproof. But I don't believe a series of reforms that the Legislature will pass, most of which I support, will do enough to have me feel that the system won't make those kinds of mistakes."

Former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, halted executions after several death-row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted. At the end of his term in January, Mr. Ryan commuted the sentences of all 167 prisoners on death row. Most of the inmates now face life in prison without parole.


Wedding bells

Rudolph W. Giuliani will wed his companion, Judith Nathan, on May 24 in the former New York mayor's old home, Gracie Mansion.

The news was announced yesterday by Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel. His successor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, will perform the ceremony.

Mr. Giuliani, 58, proposed to Mrs. Nathan, a former nurse, during a November business trip to Paris five months after he finalized his divorce from his second wife, Donna Hanover, after 20 years of marriage.


Double standard

"The liberal media are once again displaying a blatant double standard in covering the remarks of liberal and conservative politicians," L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said in a prepared statement yesterday.

"In December, Sen. Patty Murray, then the leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, compared Osama bin Laden favorably to the United States, saying he allegedly built hospitals and day care centers in the Third World, and 'We have not done that.' The national media, print and television, almost completely ignored it. In 2001, Sen. Robert Byrd, the former Democratic majority leader, said, 'There are white niggers, I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time' on 'Fox News Sunday,' and nobody held a will-he-survive vigil over that," Mr. Bozell said.

"But now, the media are breathing hot and heavy with reports that Sen. Rick Santorum should have to sacrifice his leadership post for being critical of homosexual behavior. With this, the media show not only liberal bias, but contempt for free speech and open debate on crucial social issues. This isn't Saddam Hussein's Baghdad. This isn't a George Orwell novel. This is still a democracy, and legislators ought to be free to talk about the law without the media acting as publicity agents for gay groups as they try to pick off conservative Republican leaders.

"Gay-left pressure groups like the Human Rights Campaign have shown that they believe that traditional religious values are obscene and should not be expressed by any public official. In other words, they are censors, out to blacklist any conservative who dares condemn homosexual behavior. They are trying to impose a religious test for public office, and the media are aiding this campaign at their request. For the media, homosexuality isn't a desirable topic for public debate. It's a topic that comes up only when it's time to tell conservatives to shut up."


Love the sinner

"Sen. Rick Santorum is wondering what he has to do to get a little support from the Catholic Church," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.spectator.org.

"The Pennsylvania senator, currently embroiled in a controversy over his recent comments about homosexual behavior, conveyed basic Catholic theology in his reasons for abhorring homosexual acts. But in the full transcript of his interview with the Associated Press, he says on at least three occasions that he has no issues or problems with homosexuals.

" 'All Rick was doing was reinforcing basic Catholic teaching on homosexuality, love the sinner, hate the sin,' says a Santorum supporter in the Senate leadership. 'Somebody has to get out in front of this for him with the gay groups, because he can't do it by himself.'

"Already the Democratic National Committee has brought out a fund-raising letter built around Santorum's comments."


Donations investigated

The Justice Department is investigating donations made by employees of a Little Rock, Ark., law firm to Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign, according to law enforcement sources.

An employee of the firm, law clerk Michelle D. Abu-Halmeh, told The Washington Post last week that her boss, prominent trial lawyer C. Tab Turner, asked people to support Mr. Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, and assured them they would be reimbursed.

Campaign donors are not allowed to funnel donations through someone else under federal law.

Mr. Turner's attorney, Edward Dowd of St. Louis, said his client would cooperate with authorities.

"Mr. Turner learned about the campaign rules due to the media's calls to his office," Mr. Dowd said.

Law-enforcement sources told the Associated Press that they opened the probe after seeing media reports. They stressed that they are investigating the contributions, not any wrongdoing by Edwards' campaign.


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