Tuesday, November 23, 2004

French regulation

“So, would somebody like to explain exactly how this one got through the staffing process?” asks our military insider, who forwards the newly issued — upon order of the secretary of the Air Force, dated Oct. 27 — Air Force Policy Directive of regulations.

He draws attention to line four of page 13, which explains how two-letter codes for geographical entries specified in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Standardization Agreement shall appear whenever e-mailing — “(i.e., FR = France will be displayed Freedom Fries, France, and will read freedom.fries.FR@scott.af.mil).”

Obviously, somebody updating Air Force regulations hasn’t forgiven the French government for its unwillingness to participate in the U.S.-led war against terrorism in Iraq.

Because of France’s position, french fries were dropped from restaurant menus from Capitol Hill to California and replaced with “freedom fries.”

Air Force Secretary James Roche, it so happens, announced his resignation last week.

Paris on the Potomac

Next May through September, the National Archives will present the exhibition “Paris on the Potomac,” spotlighting Americans whose encounters with France have affected diplomatic, political, military or cultural life at pivotal moments in U.S. or world history.

“Diaries, journals, photographs and film from the National Archives illustrates how these individuals felt about Paris or how Paris felt about them,” says a sneak preview of the exhibit sent to Inside the Beltway.

Since he is still serving his first of what will be two terms as president, and his official — and unofficial — correspondence with France remains to be archived for historians, President Bush, at least for this exhibit, will not be providing his thoughts about Paris, or vice versa.

But check back in another four years.

Two shades of black

A group of black leaders is accusing liberal blacks and others of racism after President Bush’s nomination of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for secretary of state.

Members of Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan voice of the black community since 1992, are critical of “self-professed” civil rights leaders who remain silent on current and previous racial attacks on black Bush administration officials.

In addition, they cite political and newspaper cartoonists who have used the national security adviser’s race as a point of ridicule. Singled out were cartoons by Pat Oliphant and Jeff Danziger that Project 21 says accentuate Miss Rice’s black features and rural Southern dialect.

Garry Trudeau, meanwhile, called Miss Rice “Brown Sugar” in his “Doonesbury” comic strip. And last week, Wisconsin-based radio host John “Sly” Sylvester called Miss Rice “Aunt Jemima” and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell “Uncle Tom.”

Mr. Sylvester later stood by his comments, accusing the Bush administration of being “hostile” to minorities.

God forbid

In recent days, a Republican congresswoman has blasted the Pentagon’s “shortsighted” decision to curtail its support of the Boy Scouts of America.

Now, Chris Connelly, chief of staff to Rep. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, tells Inside the Beltway the congresswoman could introduce a bill as early as today related to the Pentagon’s decision.

Earlier, Mrs. Davis sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asking that the Pentagon reconsider its decision to curtail official support for the Scouts. As of press time yesterday, she had not received a sufficient reply.

The Pentagon — which has enjoyed a long relationship with scouting and has enlisted many a Boy Scout in its ranks — curtailed its official support after being targeted by an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit. The ACLU complained that the Boy Scouts require their members to believe in God.

“The Department of Defense should not be manipulated by an extreme group bent on pursuing a political agenda,” says Mrs. Davis, who notes that over the last 30 years the Pentagon has hosted Scouts on its installations, provided equipment, transportation and other services for both national and international events, such as the Boy Scout Jamboree.

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

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