- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Congress or courage?

Navy Lt. Jason Nichols is an information specialist stationed in Baghdad. He’s also founder of the Web site AppealForCourage.org, where he has posted his personal thoughts about the recent proposals by Democrats — now, it appears, with the backing of certain Republicans — to abandon the all-but “lost” war in Iraq and bring U.S. troops home.

Therein lies the problem, he says.

“The American public is not tired of the war; they are tired of believing that they are losing,” Lt. Nichols opines. “They are tired of the daily drumbeat of pessimism and defeat promoted daily by our media and by some in our Congress.

“They don’t understand that building a democracy is a slow process that takes years, that victory in Iraq will be more like the fall of communism than like VE Day in 1945. Like it or not, it is incumbent upon us in the military to correct this misrepresentation of our efforts. We have a duty to convince the American public why we must stay and finish the mission.”

“There is no doubt that we can create a stable democracy in Iraq — if we have courage enough to do so.”

Fading ribbons

Number of magnetic “Support Our Troops” ribbons sold by the leading manufacturer in 2004: 4,000,000. Number sold last year: 48,000

Harper’s Index, May 2007

Minus the mostest

“Does anybody realize there’s a war going on out there in the desert sands of Iraq and the rough mountains of Afghanistan? Apparently not, or Congress would be taking care of our troops,” reacts Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican.

The congressman quotes Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a respected cavalry leader who said about winning: “Get there firstest with the mostest.”

Lending her Hand

Popular Washington jewelry and accessories designer Ann Hand is getting into the White House campaign spirit with a new line of crystal-laden candidate pins — and on silverplate settings, no less.

Ms. Hand has designed shimmering pins for each of the candidates, including “Hillary 2008,” “Edwards 2008,” “Obama 2008,” “McCain 2008,” and “Giuliani 2008.”

“We don’t have one for Fred Thompson yet,” the designer told Inside the Beltway yesterday, but if and when the former Tennessee Republican senator and actor announces his candidacy, she will have a pin designed and ready to wear “within two weeks.”

Otherwise, she looks forward to gauging the popularity of each candidate through individual pin sales.

“We’ll be doing our own rhinestone poll,” she says. “We have the pins in our windows in both stores [Georgetown and Palisades], and they’re already proving quite popular.”

For nearly 20 years, Ms. Hand has designed pins worn by first ladies, Cabinet members, ambassadors, senators and congresswomen. She’s also designed the official pin worn by spouses of the House of Representatives, brooches for all of the armed services, even cufflinks and power ties for the men of Washington.

Locked out

So, Rep. Julia Carson, Indiana Democrat, what’s your excuse for missing last Thursday’s roll-call vote in the House?

“I was unable to vote on Roll No. 300 because the Capitol Hill police would not let my vehicle enter the grounds due to a security ‘event’ regarding the escort of a foreign dignitary,” the congresswoman complained to the speaker of the House.

Reagan within

The National Archives is so intrigued by the newly released personal diaries of Ronald Reagan that plans are in the works for a panel discussion with Reagan historian David Brinkley, former Reagan counselor and Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III, former Reagan chief of staff Fred Ryan, former White House head usher Gary Walters, former Reagan personal assistant Jim Kuhn and ABC newsman Sam Donaldson.

The half-dozen men, who knew many sides of Mr. Reagan, will join discussion leader and Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein at 7 p.m. on June 6 in the William G. McGowan Theater.

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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