- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

Go ahead, caller

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger made a surprise appearance yesterday on C-SPAN, weighing in on the precarious state of world affairs during the open-phone segment of “Washington Journal.”

“You’re on the air. Go ahead, Republican,” said the program host.

“Yes, I was in the first Bush administration …”

“Is that Lawrence Eagleburger?” the surprised host asked.

“Yes, sir. I’d like to make three quick comments,” Mr. Eagleburger continued.

One of the comments was to caution those who are quick to criticize the Israeli military response in Lebanon. Mr. Eagleburger said Israel is “surrounded by states who say they want to destroy” it.

And he warned that if the United States and its allies “don’t do something about Iran and its building of nuclear weapons, and North Korea and its building of nuclear weapons, there’s going to come a time about 10 years from now when Americans are going to look back and say, ‘What in the devil were we doing sitting there watching this develop?’ ”

As soon as the former secretary hung up the phone, the C-SPAN host stated for the record: “That was not set up. He called on his own.”

Fighting words

“To all the Republicans who sit in their air-conditioned offices and talk of the courage it takes for them to keep young kids in harm’s way, I say enough. [And White House aide] Karl Rove talking about ‘cutting and running’ while he sits on his big, fat backside saying ‘stay the course,’ I say enough. That’s not a plan.”

Or so Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote in a Democratic Party fundraising letter this week.

Pass the worm

Building a massive fence along the U.S.-Mexican border will be the subject of a hearing Thursday in the House, which passed a bill last year calling for the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the porous border.

President Bush, who once said better fences make bitter neighbors, came around this spring to say he would support 370 miles of fencing, but no more.

“We don’t think you fence off the entire border,” White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters.

Meanwhile, we learned yesterday that as more and more Mexicans — illegal or otherwise — continue to flood into the United States, the demand for indigenous Mexican food and beverages is increasing to the point that it has become a “booming” industry, both for suppliers in Mexico and distributors in this country.

According to the firm Market Research, the Mexican food industry in the United States is estimated at $52 billion and growing, with seven in 10 surveyed households using Mexican food and ingredients.

Supporting J.D.

One of the biggest proponents of fencing out illegal aliens is Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, who reported yesterday that his re-election campaign war chest has surpassed $1 million in contributions.

Mr. Hayworth says his state and constituents are tired of being “ground zero” in the illegal alien crisis. In Arizona, he says, there are 6,000 to 6,500 attempted border crossings every night, of which 4,000 to 4,500 are successful.

The congressman was driven to write a book on illegal border crossing, which he presented earlier this year to President Bush after his visit to the state. It proposes not only building a massive fence along the border, but also halting the U.S. practice of granting citizenship to American-born children of illegal aliens.

Failing schools

Congress today will take the first step toward rescuing children who are trapped in persistently underperforming schools.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, California Republican, will introduce legislation to establish America’s Opportunity Scholarships, which would give states and school districts the ability to provide money to low-income children to attend private schools or else receive intensive, sustained tutoring.

Jumping ship

The number of black Republican candidates seeking major national or statewide offices in the United States in 2006, according to the National Black Republican Association: 43.

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

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