- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2003

Yes, it’s that time again — the time of year you’ve all been waiting for. Ollie Claus made his list, checked it twice and, believe me, he knows who’s been naughty and nice. And unlike in Finland where the elves have been laid off for Christmas, the elves at this “North” pole worked hard all year.

We put our heads together and came up with just the right gifts, but instead of enlisting the help of Rudolph and the other reindeer, I’ve a Marine helicopter squadron to help me make the rounds.

Without further delay, here are a sample of the gifts Ollie Claus picked for 2003:

• For Howard Dean and Maddy Albright, I give each a copy of Sidney “Grassy Knoll” Blumenthal’s 1976 work “Government by Gunplay: Assassination Conspiracy Theories from Dallas to Today.” This book is chock full of “interesting theories,” as Mr. Dean might say. In it are essays such as “A New Look at the Zapruder Film”; “From Dallas to Watergate”; and “Richard Nixon and Organized Crime.” To rise to the top in today’s Democrat Party, such paranoid prose is required reading, and Howard Dean — who looks more fit to govern Jonestown than the United States — has. Of course, I was careful to buy these books at underground bookstores in Greenwich Village — after all, if John Ashcroft had caught the elves checking them out of the library, he’d have sent men in white jackets to the North Pole to get them.

• Oh [expletive deleted]. What the [expletive deleted] Wesley Clark and John Kerry get? Of course, several bars of fine French-milled soap to wash out their dirty mouths. Despite their pathetic performances at the polls, Messrs. Clark and Kerry are neck and neck in the profanity primary. In Mr. Kerry’s defense, I suppose I too would be reduced to cursing and confusion if I were trailing Al Sharpton in the polls. In fact, Mr. Kerry’s use of profanity to “Rolling Stone” interviewers is probably nothing compared to what his wife Teresa Heinz and his CPA and banker said to him when he unveiled his plan to mortgage the house for his failing candidacy. Since Mr. Kerry was a sailor, let me give him a word of advice regarding his campaign that he might understand: Abandon ship.

• As for Wesley Clark — get real, Wesley, you’re not going to “beat the [expletive deleted]” out of anyone, least of all President George W. Bush. If you do as well in the primaries as West Point’s football team did this year, you’ll be lucky.

• Poor Al Gore. The guy just can’t get it right. His bold effort at making an early endorsement in the presidential sweepstakes led him to the most antiwar radical whose views mirror his own. And less than a week after Mr. Gore endorsed Howard Dean’s pessimistic pronouncements on Iraq, the 4th Infantry Division dragged Saddam out of a rathole. Al Gore needs to understand why liberating the Iraqi people is important to America’s security, so I direct to him a copy of my latest book, “War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Besides, the former vice president, whose own books are the literary equivalent of the Edsel, should have a book from at least one best-selling author in his personal library.

• I also have 535 calculators for all the members Congress. Hopefully somebody on Capitol Hill will add up all the wasteful, pork barrel spending that is going on. Unfortunately for the American people, the bills always come due after Christmas.

• To the “Blame America First” Hollywood crowd like Barbra Streisand, the Dixie Chicks, Jeannie Garafolo, and others, I recommend the lyrics of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” to remind you that the blessings of liberty are worth defending and celebrating.

• To the Iraqi people, I give copies of America’s Founding documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. You have a historic opportunity to rebuild your nation and stand as an example to all the countries in the Middle East that politics is about the rule of law rather than the Middle East’s zero-sum game of winner-take-all.

• For Ba’athists and terrorists who remain at large, I give the words of Ronald Reagan as a reminder: “You can run, but you can’t hide.” Here’s hoping this message will be delivered to a rathole near you.

• For the Marines of HMM 268, with whom I was embedded for Fox News last spring in Iraq: “Semper Fidelis.” You have my deepest affection and admiration. Your skill and bravery are without parallel in the world today.

• To all American servicemembers: You have the love and affection of the American people. You never waver in your courage and duty. No matter how sophisticated military technology will become, it’s the resolve of individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who decide the success or failure of battle. This Christmas, I pray for you and your families: dona nobis pacem.

Oliver North is the honorary chairman and founder of Freedom Alliance and a nationally syndicated columnist.

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