- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

Losing heads

The French government’s latest reaction to the global war on terrorism is being scrutinized all over again on Capitol Hill, where one congressman is in search of a French general named Lafayette.

“‘Let them eat cake’ is what Marie Antoinette said to the starving French people, showing her ignorance of the world around her,” recalls freshman Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican. “Today it can be used to describe France’s position on handling terror threats.”

The lawmaker was riled by a recent remark by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin that “against terrorism, what we need is not a war. It is, as France has done for many years, a determined fight based on vigilance at all times and effective cooperation with our partners.”

Mr. Poe, a no-nonsense federal judge in his previous life, says what France “fails to consider is we tried that. Madrid’s trains have been attacked. London’s buses and subways have blown up. American embassies were bombed. The USS Cole was attacked, and, of course, there was September 11. …

“What France and free people need is the spirit of Lafayette in this war on terror, not the current ignorance of Marie Antoinette, who was talking all the way to the guillotine and lost her head because she failed to see the real world around her.”

In fairness to the French prime minister, he also warned that the risk of a terrorist attack in France using conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is “real and permanent,” and assured French citizens that he would beef up security, particularly after al Qaeda’s threat in recent days against French interests.

Crowned prisoners

Anybody who thinks that the terror suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay are being physically mistreated will be intrigued to learn that more dollars are being spent on food for the prisoners than for the U.S. troops guarding them.

“[T]he terrorists have gained weight on the nutritious diet,” reveals Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican and member of the Armed Services Committee who twice toured the notorious detention facility.

And apart from their rich diets, the congressman adds, the prisoners’ teeth are sparkling white, and their vision is 20/20 when reading the Koran.

“These detainees received 35 teeth cleanings, 91 filled cavities and 174 pairs of glasses,” he says of the prisoners he encountered on one trip.

Rush for tickets

Coming soon to Washington, live and on stage, the one, the only — Rush Limbaugh.

Chris Berry of WMAL-630 AM fame tells Inside the Beltway that the Washington radio station over which Mr. Limbaugh is heard daily is bringing the popular broadcaster to the Warner Theatre at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 for an “Evening With Rush Limbaugh.”

“Rush has thousands of fans throughout the Washington area,” notes Mr. Berry, WMAL’s president and general manager. “This will be a unique opportunity for them to see him as they never have before, up close and in person.”

The evening is sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. A portion of the proceeds (tickets are $75 and $100, and will be available through Ticketmaster starting tomorrow) will benefit the Fisher House Foundation.

Beat by the clock

The gridiron of Washington’s Gallaudet University hosted a rather lopsided flag football game this week between a U.S. Capitol Police squad and Democrats and Republicans who for once sported the same uniform.

“[I]f it wasn’t for the clock running out, we would have had that big comeback and overcome that score of 35-7,” insists Rep. Rick Renzi, Arizona Republican.

Doing his best to coach the bipartisan bunch while helping to raise $80,000 for the families of law-enforcement officers was none other than Rep. Tom Osborne, a Republican who during a quarter-century as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, garnered an outstanding 255-49-3 record.

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

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