- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

Iraq’s no ‘Nam

There has been much hue and cry that Iraq will turn into another Vietnam for the United States — complete with an unwinnable war and discord stateside. Even Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, chimed in on the idea last week.

But Iraq is no Vietnam, according to Sen. John McCain.

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“Vietnam never had a legitimate government in Saigon that the people believed in and trusted. There was superpower engagement in a huge way. We had a problem with the Syrians — but nothing like what the Chinese and Russians were doing for the North Vietnamese. You had basic sanctuary in North Vietnam. The whole situation, I think, was very, very different,” the Arizona Republican told CBS News yesterday.

“And I’d like to point out one additional aspect. When we left Vietnam, there wasn’t a fear that the Vietnamese would come after us. If we fail in Iraq, it will be cataclysmic. You’ll see factionalization and eventual Muslim extremism and terrorist breeding grounds that would, I believe, pose a direct threat to the security of the United States. And I’m very glad that the American people — understandably dissatisfied, understandably frustrated — still, the majority of them don’t think we ought to cut and run,” Mr. McCain said.

Dueling diesels

Maybe she just can’t let Cindy Sheehan drive off with her thunder. Jane Fonda has announced the dates of her new anti-Iraq war bus tour, which was only a nascent rumor in recent weeks.

Miss Fonda plans to tool around the nation aboard a “biodiesel” bus in the company of British politician George Galloway, who was expelled from the Labor Party for pacifist rhetoric, WorldNetDaily.com reported yesterday.

The Brit is quite giddy, calling the upcoming jaunt “fantastic.” And of course he’s also plugging his new book, “Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington” — because he is.

The Fonda tour kicks off in Boston Sept. 13 and ends in a rally in Washington on Sept. 24, and include stops in Chicago and Madison, Wis.

Mrs. Sheehan, meanwhile, will leave her Crawford, Texas, anti-war vigil on Sept. 1 and begin her own cross-country bus trip — which will also wind up in the District on Sept. 24.

Will the ladies meet for a nice club sandwich, say, on the Mall somewhere? Perhaps.

“I’ve decided I’m coming out,” Miss Fonda said. “I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam. I carry a lot of baggage from that.”

Mr. In-Between

Some conservatives — vexed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s new found support for an expansion of President Bush’s embryonic stem-cell policy — are fighting back. Last week, the Center for Reclaiming America, a conservative Christian group, began running TV and radio ads against Mr. Frist in Iowa, a key state should he decide to seek the Republican presidential nomination.

The ads accuse him of supporting the destruction of human life and advise constituents to voice their displeasure.

“We want to register our frustration,” said spokesman Gary Cass. “I’m hoping he will hear from enough constituents in places he considers important to himself that he will reconsider.”

Mr. Frist, Tennessee Republican, recently announced he favors legislation allowing federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research that uses human embryos leftover from in-vitro fertilization clinics — an expansion of Mr. Bush’s 2001 policy. Mr. Cass categorized the belief as “devastating” because it “confused” the pro-life issue.

“To be pro-life means to be consistently pro-life, and the message we’re getting from Mr. Frist is that ‘I’m pro-life and I’m pro-embryonic, stem-cell research’”, said Mr. Cass, who worries it may encourage others to follow suit.

Hubby troubles

And now, a slight diversion: 57 percent of New Yorkers favor Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in her re-election bid, while 33 percent favor Republican challenger Jeanine Pirro according to a Rasmussen poll of 500 New York residents taken Aug. 23.

But which husband gets worse numbers? Both former President Bill Clinton and Al Pirro had extramarital affairs and other dubious entanglements.

The poll found that 45 percent feel Mr. Pirro will cause more problems for his wife than Mr. Clinton will cause for his spouse, while 23 percent think Bill will be the bigger troublemaker, though 24 percent believe neither will be a source of turmoil. Almost three quarters said female candidates should not have to answer for their husband’s high jinks.

And now the truth

There is some good news — yes, good news — from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): Palestinians will finally get an idea about just who paid for new roads, new schools and clean water in their communities.

After a recent survey, the agency discovered that only 5 percent of Palestinians were aware that the American people had funded $1.5 billion worth of their domestic improvements. Most thought USAID was funded by the United Nations or charities because contractors and international agencies “were failing to inform the Palestinians that U.S. funds paid for the improvements,” USAID noted in its newspaper FrontLines.

That perception is about to change. President Bush has approved a new outreach campaign — including billboards, TV and radio spots — to set the record straight. All go straight to the point, emphasizing the phrase, “from the American people,” the paper stated.

Just say pretty please

The Chicago Tribune is demanding civility for Judge John G. Roberts Jr.

Democrats have heaped questionable comments upon the Supreme Court nominee. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont called his views “among the most radical being offered,” while Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts accused him of being “on or beyond the outer fringe.”

But in an editorial yesterday, the paper noted that some are rejecting “scorched-earth tactics, ” citing Sen. Russell D. Feingold’s call to Democrats to reserve judgment.

“But that didn’t stop the liberal People for the American Way from issuing a report making Roberts sound like a cousin of Bull Connor, claiming he has ‘demonstrated hostility to the fundamental rights of liberties and liberties of all Americans,’” the paper noted.

“It’s too early to say Roberts deserves confirmation. The hearings are bound to bring to light information that bears on his suitability for the court. A serious, dignified and open-minded examination of the John Roberts who will emerge from the hearings would be a boon to public understanding, to the reputation of the Senate and to the standing of the Supreme Court.”

The paper added, however, “But that may be asking too much.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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