- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Little talk

The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command in Afghanistan.

“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a [video teleconference],” Gen. Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.

“You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up. “That is correct,” the general replied.

This revelation comes amid the explosive publication of a classified report written by the general that said the war in Afghanistan “will likely result in failure” if more troops are not added next year. Yet, the debate over health care reform continues to dominate Washington’s political discussions. On Monday, the White House announced Mr. Obama would travel to Denmark to lobby the International Olympic Committee to select his hometown of Chicago for the 2016 summer games.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador for the United Nations, said the lack of communication with the general was indicative of Mr. Obama’s misplaced priorities.

“I think it’s very clear, and has been during last year’s campaign and in the eight months the president has been in office that he just doesn’t regard foreign policy and national security as important as domestic issues, like reforming the health care system,” Mr. Bolton told the hosts of The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show Monday morning.

He went on, “If you think there are no threats, then it’s not illogical to pay no attention to the rest of the world. The problem is in [Mr. Obama’s] basic reading of the international environment, where we do continue to face massive threats [from] international terrorists and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, among others.”

Fold race card

Former Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, says it’s “time to put away the race card” in terms of debating the reasons for why Republicans are opposing President Obama’s policies so vehemently.

Mr. Watts, who is black, wrote an editorial for the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday that addressed Democrats who have suggested Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, spoke out against Mr. Obama during his address to Congress on health care because he harbors racist feelings.

“There are people of all colors who believe it is wrong for the government to take over our health care system,” Mr. Watts wrote. “There are people of all colors who believe we will have no choice but to ration health care when we put between 35 million and 40 million more people in the system but yet have the same number of doctors. There are people of all colors who believe we already ration care through Medicare and Medicaid. There are people of every color who believe it is bad economic policy to raise taxes, especially in a weak economy.”

Mr. Watts also lectured those in the media “who loved disgruntled conservatives being disenchanted with Bush, but abhor criticism of President Obama.”

Caning ruling

A Malaysian judge upheld a court ruling Monday that a Muslim woman caught drinking beer be caned in public for violating Shariah law.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, was sentenced to six cane lashes and a 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) fine for consuming alcohol while vacationing in December 2007.

The caning was supposed to be carried out last August, but she was given a temporary reprieve at the last minute after such groups as Amnesty International took up her cause.


“I’m blind but I’m not oblivious. I realize that there are people who don’t want me to run.”

- New York Gov. David A. Paterson, a Democrat, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com

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