- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sign of times?

Thanks to W. O’Rourke for sending us this bumper sticker from Washington, D.C.:

“Nations Cower … Millions Flee Before It … I Fly a Cessna 150, the Mighty Airplane that Brings Cities to Their Knees! Fear Me … 2 Seats, 26 Gallons of Gas, 100 HP and 90 Knots of Screaming Terror!”

No tiger draft

The Iraq war, we observed recently, hasn’t been any kinder to animals.

Since the war began in April 2003, hundreds of animals at the Baghdad Zoo, once the largest in the Middle East, have been injured, killed, stolen, eaten or let loose. Many escaped after mortar blasts damaged their cages, including a bear that reportedly mauled and partially ate three persons, and four lions fatally shot by U.S. troops.

On April 5, we reported that a Colorado veterinarian, previously posted at the zoo by the U.S. military, had applied for a permit to send a replacement tiger from the United States to Baghdad — an idea People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) labeled “madness.”

“This tiger isn’t a volunteer, and sending him to a decrepit zoo in the middle of a war zone is thoughtless, cruel and dangerous,” said PETA captive exotic-animal specialist Lisa Wathne.

The tiger, or so it was proposed, would replace a rare Bengal tiger that was fatally shot by a U.S. soldier at the zoo in September 2003. Zoo manager Adil Salman Mousa said the tiger had injured another soldier who was trying to feed it through an inner set of cage bars.

“The tiger bit his finger off and clawed his arm. So his colleague took a gun and shot the tiger,” Mr. Mousa told Reuters, adding that the group of soldiers was having a beer party at the zoo after it had closed.

Now, Inside the Beltway has learned that the Pentagon, specifically the U.S. Army, took notice of the veterinarian’s application to ship the replacement tiger to Baghdad.

In a letter sent to Miss Wathne in recent days, Army spokeswoman Maureen Ramsey writes that after the military’s consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she is “pleased to report the permit submitted by Dr. Leon S. Barringer to export a male captive-bred generic tiger to the Baghdad zoo in Iraq has been denied.”

Sam’s failure

During his gubernatorial campaign, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised voters that every time he traveled to Washington he would fight for reimbursement for his state’s costs of incarcerating “criminal aliens.”

After all, he reasoned, such aliens are Uncle Sam’s responsibility because he “failed” to prevent their entry into the country in the first place.

This week, Mr. Schwarzenegger was back on Capitol Hill, and, as promised, he was discussing with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert the outrageous cost of incarcerating aliens.

“Each year, we are asked to bear the increasing cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes here in California,” the Republican governor said. “It is the federal government’s responsibility to secure our nation’s borders and the federal government’s responsibility to reimburse our state when they fail that duty.”

California spends more than $700 million per year locking up illegals.

Framing Mitchell

A “true statesmen,” remarked Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, at this week’s unveiling of a portrait of former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell in the old Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Mitchell’s decision to remain active in public life after his retirement from the Senate in 1994, she opined, led to “perhaps his most difficult assignment: the negotiated peace mission he chaired in Northern Ireland … bringing together parties that had been violently at odds for decades.”

Jewish drawl

We hadn’t realized the historic bond between the Jewish population and the state of South Carolina until the House this week passed a resolution introduced by a Southern congressman honoring the 57th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, relates these little-known facts: South Carolina was home to the largest Jewish population in North America at the time of the American Revolution; its provincial constitution was the first to recognize Judaism as being equal to Christianity; the first election of a Jew to public office in North America was in South Carolina; and the first Jewish fatality of the American Revolution was a patriot from South Carolina.

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

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