- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Rather blunt
"If he was a real American, he would have shot him."
Radio talk-show host Don Imus, suggesting yesterday that CBS News anchor Dan Rather missed a patriotic opportunity while conducting a rare interview this week with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Troop review
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner has just returned from the Middle East, where he conducted a troop review of U.S. men and women who could soon find themselves positioned along the front lines in Iraq.
To say he was impressed is an understatement.
"I've never seen a better trained, a higher morale, and a stronger commitment to support a president of the United States," said Mr. Warner, Virginia Republican.
"When we talked to them face to face and looked into their eyes, it was a sobering experience for all of us, because it could be that if diplomacy fails, they will be in the forefront of the use of force."
While President Bush has been the target of hostile protests at home and abroad and had his judgment questioned by some Democratic presidential hopefuls the U.S. military has unwavering and overwhelming confidence in the commander in chief, the senator says.
"They said to me, when I asked them, they're proud of this president, they're ready to accept his orders," he said. "They made clear to me that the decisions the president's made in the past are sound; the decisions he's making today are sound, and whatever decision he must make in the future, they have confidence in him, together with the other world leaders."

Left-wing hawks
The New Republic has a new look.
"I think it's a bit of a throwback to magazines of an earlier design clean and simple, elegant but understated," magazine editor Peter Beinart says of the new classic book and journal design. "Let the stories of the magazine speak for themselves."
And unlike other liberal magazines, they're speaking volumes.
"So let France veto whatever resolution Great Britain and the United States present to the Security Council," Martin Peretz writes this week, beneath the headline "United We Fall."
"Then even Kofi Annan will have to admit that it was not the Americans who brought the United Nations to its most humiliating nadir.
"France will have cast the vote that finally clarifies its own powerlessness," he predicts. "And the United Nations will linger on but, with time and the development of new alliances among responsible states, go the way of the League [of Nations]. The death of another illusion."
Left-wing hawks circling Iraq, Mr. Beinart?
"We have an unusual profile on war," he tells Inside the Beltway. "We're a liberal magazine that believes in this war. That's an unusual position to be in, but an interesting one."
The New Republic, unlike other liberal voices, is providing safe haven for Democrats who support President Bush against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"We're trying to help create a safe space in the party," the editor explains, "that you can be liberal in this party and be a hawk."
"What's interesting about the magazine editorially is that it's fighting the same battle primarily within the Democratic Party as it was in the 1980s," he adds. "The party then, like now, did not know what it believed in the Democrats needed to be tough on national security and they needed to get away from identity politics. The magazine was very tough on Jesse Jackson, for instance.
"Now we're in a very important place and very much the same debate, where we are taking the party to task for not being tough enough and coherent enough on the war in Iraq and against terrorism," he says.
"We've also become the primary voice arguing that the Democratic Party should shun [2004 presidential candidate] Al Sharpton and not give him a platform. There are clearly echoes from the magazine two decades ago … And I think we are positioning ourselves as one of the most interesting voices on the liberal end of the spectrum."

Illusory obstacles
Laughter is the best medicine, so during these times of stress and uncertainty, why not laugh at what ails us?
Privacy International, a privacy-watchdog group based in London, is on a quest to find the world's most "stupid" terrorism-related security measures. To be considered absurd, the measure should be one or more of the following: pointless, intrusive, illusory, annoying or self-serving.
The contest was started in light of numerous security initiatives that have "absolutely no genuine security benefit," says group director Simon Davies.
Washington, D.C., of course, leads this nation in security and anti-terrorism apparatus. And while in no way, shape or form are we suggesting that such security measures are pointless, perhaps there's an example or two either in the nation's capital or elsewhere around the country that could be worthy of this contest.
Send worthy nominations, if any, either to the e-mail address below or to John McCaslin, c/o The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C., 20002. We'll be sure to forward the best submissions to Mr. Davies.
Winners will be announced at the 13th annual Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in New York on April 3.


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