- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

Baghdad-Paris axis
Yes, Bill Safire has now gone and said it: one reason the French are resisting the removal of Saddam is because they're neck-deep in contracts with the monster, including contracts that violate the integrity of U.N. resolutions more thoroughly than President Bush and Tony Blair could ever dream of. Ken Timmerman also piled on the evidence in this week's New Republic. But France still insists it's anti-Saddam, horrified by his brutality, and just wants peace. That's not how the Saddamites see it. My quote of the week comes from Saddam's son Uday's newspaper, Babil. It editorialized this week: "It is obvious that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair have lost the round before it starts, while we, along with well-intentioned powers in the world, have won it." Interesting use of the pronoun "we," don't you think?

The ID of 43rd St.
You'd think the condescension toward President Bush couldn't get any worse. But this week, I think I located the perfect exemplum of the New York Times' feelings about the president. It was, alas, in the column of one of the Times' best writers, Tom Friedman. And it was there because the condescension toward the president has to be ratcheted up even further by Times writers who dare to endorse war. Here it is: "Some things are true even if Mr. Bush believes them." Yes, I know it's a joke. But what a revealing one. There is an assumption, especially in liberal Manhattan, that Mr. Bush is always wrong until proven right. Mercifully, we may not have too much longer for that to happen.

First Carter
Now former President Clinton. What's up with ex-prezzies directly undermining their successors at critical moments in foreign diplomacy? Last week, Mr. Clinton joined former President Carter in opposing an immediate war, backing another protracted United Nations wrangle with no guarantee that at the end of it the French and Russians would change their minds. According to The Washington Post, Mr. Clinton told his Democratic audience the following: "What I think you should be for, as Americans, is getting the U.N. to adopt a resolution that is not political on either side that just asks Hans Blix, the arms inspector, an honest, competent man, 'How long will it take you to verify that Iraq has or has not done these five things that are in Prime Minister Blair's resolution?'" In other words, leave American security in the hands of Mr. Blix. Of course, Mr. Clinton has every right to his opinion. But when the United States is involved in critical negotiations with wavering countries on the Security Council, it's surely excessive to publicly undercut the White House. Compare Mr. Clinton's comments to former President Bush's long silence about his successor in the eight years of the Clinton administration. Its the difference between class and tackiness. But then we knew that already, didn't we?

Sontag award nominee
"Quite probably the worst thing about the inevitable and totally unjustifiable war with Iraq is that there's no chance the United States might lose it. America is a young country, and intellectually, emotionally, and physically, it has been exhibiting all the characteristics of an adolescent bully, a pubescent punk who's too big for his britches and too strong for his age. Someday, perhaps, we may grow out of our mindless, pimple-faced arrogance, but in the meantime, it might do us a ton of good to have our butts kicked. Unfortunately, like most of the targets we pick on, Iraq is much too weak to give us the thrashing our continuously overbearing behavior deserves, while Saddam is even less deserving of victory than Bush." novelist Tom Robbins, Seattle Weekly.

BBC world news
Here's an extract from the BBC's Web site summary of the United States. A recent potted history of this country gives summaries of the various eras. Former President Reagan's election presaged "Global Assertiveness." Mr. Clinton's merely ushered in "The Clinton Years." And everything since 2000 is titled, "Democrats Lose." That's how you summarize the stock market crash and 9/11? Well, I guess it's useful to see how Oxbridge lefties really do see recent history. And useful to know that, when you imbibe what they package as "the news."

Poseur alert
"It's time to create a new vocabulary of dissent, one that makes a clear connection between war fever and thug power. There's no more urgent task. The dawgs of war are about to be unleashed. Thousands will die, billions will be spent and most of us will have to do with less. These are the wages of following a leader who is strong but wrong. He's the man; we're his bitches." Richard Goldstein, in the Nation.

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