- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Risky affairs

Uncle Sam is advertising for a Washington-area public relations firm to initiate outreach to disgruntled Iraqi citizens because “anti-coalition forces have sown doubt, fear and distrust in a significant portion of the Iraqi population.”

“The U.S. government is soliciting proposals for an ‘aggressive’ and comprehensive PR and advertising push in Iraq to convey military and diplomatic goals to Iraqis and gain their support,” reports odwyerpr.com, the online version of Jack O’Dwyer’s newsletter.

The contract is through the Baghdad-based Multi National Corps-Iraq, or MNC-I, as the U.S. military entity is known. MNC-I is charged jointly with offensive operations against insurgents and economic development and stability efforts.

According to O’Dwyer’s Newsletter, a PR firm is needed because “recent polls suggest support for the [U.S.-led] coalition is falling and more and more Iraqis are questioning coalition resolve, intentions and effectiveness.”

The unprecedented contract, which could be awarded by Oct. 1, says PR tasks include outreach to warring segments of Iraqi society, including Kurds, Sunnis, Shia, and former Iraqi military — by no means a walk in the park.

MNC-I goes so far as to state that “the remains of PR people will be handled the same as U.S. soldiers, and shipped to Kuwait,” Mr. O’Dwyer writes. “The PR firm must coordinate the movement of the remains back to the U.S., and is responsible for notification of next of kin.”

Uncle Sam will provide office space, supplies and e-mail service, along with living space, health care and dining facilities for the firm’s employees.

Morris vs. Moore

Former Clinton aide Dick Morris will take center stage at the National Press Club Thursday to help launch “FahrenHype 9/11,” a patriotic version of the controversial film “Fahrenheit 9/11” produced by liberal activist Michael Moore.

“The producers of ‘FahrenHype 9/11’ decided to make a film that challenges Moore’s assertions and gives the viewer a true, nonpartisan look at the war in Iraq and the very real dangers we face in a post-9/11 world,” a film insider tells Inside the Beltway.

“The film also examines the explosive charge that France, one of the countries leading the charge against the war in the United Nations, was to receive drilling rights in some of Iraq’s oil fields if the situation could be resolved peacefully,” he says.

The film also provides a voice to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, who Mr. Moore chose to ignore.

Bennett bounce

Former education secretary and best-selling author Bill Bennett has talked his way into a successful new broadcast career. We’re told his talk-radio show, “Morning in America,” has just been signed by its 100th station, making it the nation’s fastest-growing morning program.

The show airs for three hours each morning on top radio stations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta, among other markets, including XM Satellite Radio at Channel 166.

Democratic twist

A group calling itself “Democrats for Lisa Marie” held a fund-raiser aboard a Potomac River boat Sunday, throwing their support behind Republican congressional candidate Lisa Marie Cheney in her bid to unseat seven-term Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat.

“Basically, we are a group of disgruntled Democrats who are no longer willing to support Jim Moran,” said Jonathan Marks, the group’s organizer. Mrs. Cheney is not related to Vice President Dick Cheney.

“By no means are we abandoning the Democratic Party,” he said of the 50 or so attendees. “We are simply following our good consciences by withdrawing our support for Jim Moran. His public record of reckless behavior is not only an embarrassment to the voters in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, it is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. That is why the Democratic House leadership stripped him of his leadership post.”

Most recently, Mr. Moran stated: “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.”

He added that “the leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.”

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

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