- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 27, 2004

Quote of the week

“If we acted like this 200 years ago when British soldiers burned the White House, we would now talk funny and play more soccer.”

Kentucky Republican congressional nominee Tom Buford, reacting to former Vice President Al Gore’s comments this week that Iraq poses “no threat whatsoever to us.”

Call Domino’s

We wrote this week about several prominent Washington journalists “lending their names” in support of pro-choice women for political office: from Time senior writer Margaret Carlson and Eleanor Clift of Newsweek to syndicated columnist Helen Thomas and Mark Plotkin of WTOP radio.

The Women’s Campaign Fund now can scratch Mr. Plotkin from its dinner reservation list.

“Mark will not be attending one of those [nine fund-raising] dinners,” Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, said after reading our column. “Apparently [others] don’t have a problem with that, but we do.

“WTOP Radio has a policy that none of our news people — including Mark, who is both a political analyst and a commentator — will participate in political or partisan events, support candidates or causes, contribute to candidates or causes, take sides or do anything that even appears to be partisan or one-sided.”

Post pick

No news is good news at The Washington Post, where it was its director of corporate communications, Rima Calderon — not a reporter, thankfully — who donated $250 to the John Kerry for President Committee, Federal Election Commission records reveal.

“I don’t work for The Washington Post, I work for The Washington Post Company. It’s the corporate holding company,” Ms. Calderon explains to Inside the Beltway in a telephone interview.

Stalwart supporters

No wonder Sen. John Kerry decided this week that he won’t delay acceptance of his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention, a tactic that would have allowed him to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash from private donors until such time he did accept.

An unnamed group of “leading Democrats,” we’ve learned, has agreed to match — dollar for dollar — every contribution received by the Democratic National Committee in its current fund-raising drive on behalf of the Massachusetts Democrat.

Homeland defense

A Canadian journalist for the London Observer dyed his hair black, obtained a fake Iraqi ID, and left for Fallujah in the back seat of an Iraqi doctor’s car.

Patrick Graham pretended to be the doctor’s mentally ill brother, able only to mutter his pretend Iraqi name should anybody ask. Several did, sometimes at gunpoint.

It was “like slipping into a shark tank,” Mr. Graham writes in a Harper’s article titled “Beyond Fallujah: A year with the Iraqi resistance.”

A resistance made up not of foreign fighters or al Qaeda terrorists. The Iraqis he lived among don’t care for Osama bin Laden. As one observed, Osama is “not a good Muslim.” They dislike Saddam Hussein even more, as all “good” Muslims should “hate” him.

So why are these “holy” Iraqis battling — and frequently killing — American troops?

“When we see the U.S. soldiers in our cities with guns, it is a challenge to us,” says an Iraqi resistance fighter named Mohammed, a well-spoken member of his community and “a bit of a Texan,” writes Mr. Graham, who once was invited into Iraqi homes and family celebrations.

“America wants to show its power, to be a cowboy,” Mohammed says. “[President] Bush wants to win the next election — that is why he is lying to the American people saying the resistance is al Qaeda. … I don’t know a lot about political relations in the world, but if you look at history — Vietnam, Iraq itself, Egypt and Algeria — countries always rebel against occupation.

“The world must know that this is an honorable resistance and has nothing to do with the old regime,” he says. “Even if Saddam Hussein dies, we will continue to fight to throw out the American forces. We take our power from our history, not from one person.”

Later, the Canadian found himself standing beside Mohammed as he prepared for five separate attacks against U.S. targets.

“Did you see the ‘Braveheart?’” the Iraqi asked of the Mel Gibson movie. “[The Scottish] throw out the British and the corrupt nobles. It is about hope. The people in the movie want freedom, and so do we.”

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

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