- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2004

Running scared

For the benefit of the increasing number of Americans who’ve grown weary of war — who insist that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would not be surrendering to terrorism — permit us to revisit the public sentiments of Osama bin Laden since the September 11 terrorist attacks:

• October 2001: “America has been hit by Allah at its most vulnerable point, destroying its most prestigious buildings. I swear by God that America and those who dream of America won’t dream of having security.”

• December 2001: “We calculated in advance how many of the enemy would be killed based on the position of the [World Trade] tower.”

• January 2002: “The battle has moved inside America, we will continue this battle until victory or until we meet God.”

• February 2003: “All those who cooperate with the Americans against Iraq are hostile to Islam. We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy. These attacks have scared Americans and Israelis like never before.”

• May 2004: “We of the al Qaeda organization are committed to giving a prize of ten thousand grams of gold to whoever kills [U.S. envoy to Iraq L. Paul] Bremer or his deputy or the commander of the U.S. forces or his deputy in Iraq. … There will be no sovereignty in Iraq as long as a single crusader soldier remains on its soil and so long as Iraq does not follow Islam in all of its affairs.”

Help wanted

A Washington Post classified ad published several days this week: “Summer Jobs to defeat Bush $300-$500/week. Grassroots Campaigns is hiring staff for the [Democratic National Committee’s] Washington-area fundraising effort. … Call Jill at 202-543-8040.”

No imagination

“Surely they could have found some way to blame the scandal on same-sex marriage, Bill Clinton or activist judges. Blaming every horrible thing that happens on MTV is so ‘80s.”

— Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, reacting to a mailing from the Family Research Council that “when you mix young people who grew up on a steady diet of MTV and pornography with a prison environment, you get the abuse at [Iraq’s] Abu Ghraib.”

Soap box

Freshman Rep. Rahm Emanuel, one of President Clinton’s top White House advisers from 1993 to 1999, isn’t impressed with accomplishments of his first Congress.

In a 42-day period since April 1, the Illinois Democrat points out, the House has been in session 12 days.

“What has Congress done?” he asks. “We have named eight post offices, recognized the Garden Club of America, recognized the importance of music education, and authorized the use of the Capitol grounds for the Soap Box Derby.

“That is what Congress has done in the last 42 days, 12 days working.”

Mr. Emanuel was chosen by his fellow Democratic freshmen as Democratic whip for their class. He also serves as a vice chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Shoot first

The director of the Federal Air Marshal Service is opposing a bill to speed up the arming of commercial airline pilots to protect the cockpit from hijackers.

But one of the lead sponsors says Thomas Quinn’s concerns, voiced in an internal memo, are “ridiculous.”

Among Mr. Quinn’s concerns: The “pilot receives no training in interview techniques.”

Reacts Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican: “We are not proposing they interview the terrorists as they storm the cockpit, let’s get serious.”

Another of Mr. Quinn’s concerns: The “pilot receives no training in the laws of search and seizure.”

Mr. Wilson?

“There won’t be a search and seizure until after the shooting has occurred,” he says. “Then law enforcement can come in and search the hijacker who has been stopped from hijacking the plane.”

Political gamble

Which presidential candidate are gamblers putting their money on in November?

Casino Fortune, the world’s oldest Internet casino, has launched an online presidential poll among America’s gamblers.

After 47,016 votes, John Kerry leads George W. Bush by a narrow margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.

According to industry analysts, 5 million Americans gamble online.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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