- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Not the Hyatt

The State Department has “evicted” the U.S. military from housing the two shared at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, according to a memo obtained by this column yesterday.

What gives?

“So that State employees may avoid … sharing a trailer,” says one none-too-pleased insider at the Baghdad compound, who previously worked on Capitol Hill. ?They will now enjoy their enlarged quarters at the expense of mostly military personnel in the Project and Contracting Office (PCO).”

In a memo dated Monday, May 30, Marine Lt. Col. Todd Parker, acting chief of staff for the PCO, wrote to office personnel in Baghdad: “Yesterday, the State Department issued PCO what effectively is an ‘eviction notice’ from the Palace Trailers. The Chief of Mission requires the trailers currently occupied by PCO for additional incoming State Department personnel … .

“In order to meet the Chief of Mission’s priorities, we will be moving personnel from the Riverside trailers first and then progressing through the remainder of the Palace billeting on a trailer camp by trailer camp basis.”

And where will the military bunk down?

Col. Parker’s memo says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction is nearing completion on “much-awaited” PCO compound housing, while “separate subcontractors are installing furniture, draperies and refrigerators in each room at this time.

“Our first move-in of personnel is scheduled for later today, and we plan to have everyone moved by June 22nd,” the memo states. “Having inspected each of the 600 rooms myself, I can accurately state that they are all exactly the same (with the exception of the design on the shower curtain).”

That said, the acting chief of staff concludes, “do not expect Hyatt quality accommodations. The workmanship is adequate, but not up to the standard to which Americans are accustomed.”

What feminism?

A new book detailing the purported sexual improprieties of former President Bill Clinton charges that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, played a major role in threatening and intimidating her husband’s accusers.

Candice E. Jackson, a lawyer and author of “Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine,” tells Cybercast News Service’s senior Washington writer Marc Morano that “Hillary’s involvement is just as devastating and just as important in all this.”

“[Mrs. Clinton] was right there in the inner circle taking a lead in giving these women zero credibility, in attacking them in the public and through the press and in participating in all of these scare tactics, like hiring private investigators to threaten them and follow them,” the author says.

Ms. Jackson says the former first lady is “either as misogynistic as her husband or she is simply willing to conspire to mistreat women if that’s what it takes to preserve their political careers.”

Describing herself as a “libertarian feminist,” the author says the Clintons “have really gotten away with a political reputation of being defenders of women’s rights and women’s issues.”

“To me that really says a lot about the state of feminism in this country.”

‘Ugly place’

Former Clinton strategist James Carville and fellow Democracy Corps co-chairman Stanley Greenberg describe Americans as now being “bewildered” about the consequences of re-electing President Bush.

“Just six months after the election, a large majority of the country thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction,” the pair states upon releasing their new Democracy Corps survey of 1,013 likely voters.

“[T]here is no evidence yet that voters are turning to the Democrats,” Mr. Carville and Mr. Greenburg acknowledge. However, “there is pervasive evidence” that Americans are questioning Republican priorities on Iraq and Social Security, economic policies, “and their whole use of power.”

On the latter point, the pair opines that since the presidential election, “Washington has become a very ugly place — as the voters see it from afar.”

Seventy percent of those surveyed say partisan bickering has gotten worse in recent years.

Asked at his Rose Garden press conference yesterday about the current atmosphere in Congress and “do you worry that you might be losing a bit of momentum,” Mr. Bush replied: “Well, I’m — my attitude toward Congress is — will be reflected on whether or not they’re capable of getting anything done.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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