- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Settle the quarrel

The Washington press corps continues to pepper the White House with questions several days after an emotional speech by Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Oregon Republican, in which he said he “cannot support” the Iraq war any longer.

Mr. Smith, if you hadn’t heard, said he is at “the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs, day after day.”

“That is absurd,” he said. “It may even be criminal.”

After pointing out this week that people on both sides of the Iraq issue are going to continue to have disagreements, White House spokesman Tony Snow said, “We dispute the ‘criminal’ part, obviously, and at the same time, understand the senator’s concern.”

Mr. Snow was pressed further about Mr. Smith’s remarks.

“He’s saying what the president is doing is immoral,” one reporter said.

“Well, then we disagree,” Mr. Snow said.

“You’re just going to blow it off?” the reporter asked. “A Republican senator is saying the president’s policy may be criminal and it’s immoral, and you’re just saying we just disagree?”

“And what would you like me to say?” Mr. Snow answered. “Should I do duels at 10 paces?”

Antler mounts

Speaking of dueling pistols, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are each recipients of Christmas cards from well-known Washington gun lobbyist John M. Snyder.

Suffice it to say, the Yuletide greeting does not depict Baby Jesus in His manger.

Rather it shows an armed sleigh-borne Santa Claus, pistols in each hand, zeroing in on missiles marked “Iran” and “North Korea.” The card includes Psalm 35:3: “Lift up your sword and war ax against those who pursue me.”

“What better gift could Santa bring peaceful citizens than protection against those who would destroy our culture, freedom and way of life?” asks Mr. Snyder, a former associate editor of the American Rifleman and public-affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Flyovers

The curiosity of our good friend Alan Caruba, founder of the National Anxiety Center, is aroused by discussion surrounding the birth of a Mexican child, born to Mexican parents, on a Mexican airliner, above American soil.

“Lawyers assert that the child is technically American, having been born over the territorial area of the United States of America,” Mr. Caruba observes. “I live in New Jersey where, for decades now, we have been home to large flocks of ‘Canada geese.’

“However, many of these flocks have taken up permanent residence in New Jersey and have given birth to many ‘Canada geese’ who in turn poop all over New Jersey without regard to either sanitary or environmental regulations. Frequently aggressive, they have been known to chase small children and dogs from ‘their’ favorite parks and other areas.”

Not that Mr. Caruba wants to claim these pesky birds, but he argues: “If a Mexican newborn child can be accorded all the rights and privileges of being an American citizen merely for flying over our great nation, surely these ‘Canada’ geese should be accorded a more proper identification as ‘American’ geese.”

Disappearing acts

Out with the old, in with the new.

So Inside the Beltway reader John Lockwood discovered when carefully stepping through the halls of power in the Longworth House Office Building.

“I began noticing all sorts of stuff piled up in the corridors — desks, chairs, cardboard boxes full of anything. Defeated incumbents packing up?” he asks. “And then my theory was confirmed by a poster on the wall, giving courses for departing members in how to cope with it all: ‘Sic transit gloria mundi.’ ”

That is a Latin phrase meaning, “Thus passes the glory of the world,” although it’s more commonly interpreted to mean “Fame is fleeting.”

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

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