John Fund on Bobby Jindal's win in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal can't hold down a job: That's the joke circulating around Louisiana today about the election of Mr. Jindal, a son of immigrants from India, as governor. Mr. Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican congressman from the New Orleans suburbs, won 54% of the vote in Saturday's election, avoiding the need for a runoff next month. When he takes office in January he will be the nation's youngest governor. But he has already held a glittering array of other positions of responsibility in his short career. As an undergraduate he worked as an intern for Rep. Jim McCrery, now the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. Then he became a Rhodes Scholar, got a master's degree, and did a stint at McKinsey & Co. Gov. Mike Foster appointed him head of the state's $4 billion health-care system at age 24. He went on to serve as director of a national commission on Medicare at 26, became president of the University of Louisiana system at 27, and a U.S. assistant secretary of health and human services at 29. Four years ago, at age 32 ,he narrowly lost a race for governor to Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who dismissed his calls for reform of the state's creaking bureaucracy as unnecessary. The next year Mr. Jindal won his congressional seat, but he never really stopped campaigning for governor. In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans, and Gov. Blanco's response was so inadequate that she was effectively forced to retire. ... Michael Barone says 2008 is going to be different. Things are not working out as Democratic congressional leaders expected. For the first eight months of this year, they struggled to find some way to shut down the American military effort in Iraq. They took it for granted that we were stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, with continuous high casualties and very little to show for them. They pressed hard to get the Republican votes they needed to block a filibuster in the Senate and were cheered when some Republicans, like John Warner, seemed to lean their way. They worked hard over the August recess to pressure Republican House members to break ranks and vote with them. But the Republicans mostly held fast. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell skillfully parried their thrusts in the Senate. House Minority Leader John Boehner persuaded most House Republicans to hang on. Then, over the summer, the news out of Iraq started to get better. ... Power Line with a couple of good posts. Claudia Rosett comments on Kofi's new job. Anne Bayefsky tells us what UN membership is worth. ... The UN, we are told, is an essential institution because of its unique inclusivity. The argument goes that the goals and values of democracies on the world scene are dependent on their doing business with dictators as equals. One state, one vote. Regardless of the numbers of real people being subdued in various ways back home. Regardless of the financial contribution made by each member state to the world organization. Regardless of the extent to which the founding principles and purposes of the UN are flaunted by the member state every day of the week. ... Ralph Peters speculates about the Israeli raid in Syria. ON Sept. 6, Israel struck a remote target in eastern Syria. The story didn't really break for weeks, and details are still emerging - but the consensus view is that Israeli aircraft attacked a secret nuclear facility. There's much more to it than that. The echoes of that strike resound far beyond the Middle East. Tel Aviv isn't showing any leg when it comes to exactly who did what to whom. Airstrikes may have been synchronized with commando action on the ground. We don't know, and, for now, secrets are being kept. The circumstantial evidence is strong, though, that the terror-affiliated regime in Damascus had embarked on a nuclear-weapons program - with the help of the North Koreans (who, simultaneously, have been teasing us with suggestions that they'll dismantle their own nuke effort if we pay them lavish tribute). My own suspicion is that rent-an-expert Pakistanis were involved, too - with or without the blessing of Islamabad's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, an organization with often contradictory and always dubious loyalties. ... Jonathan Gurwitz has more on Pelosi as Sec. of State. The last time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did her best impersonation of a secretary of state, her amateur performance was merely reckless. This time it is dangerous. Pelosi's April visit to Syria should have demonstrated a fundamental about diplomacy — words matter. Pelosi created an international tempest by claiming to bear a message for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, one stating his country was prepared to engage in peace talks with its longtime enemy without preconditions. That would have marked a significant departure from six decades of Israeli practice. Olmert did not make such a departure, which forced the Israeli Foreign Ministry to issue a clarification that contradicted Pelosi's supposed communique. ... ... Congress should go on record about the atrocities that claimed 1.5 million Armenian lives. Historical amnesia about the systematic slaughter of Armenians has encouraged many of the genocidal movements that followed. But after nine decades and with a war in Iraq, now is not the time to put U.S.-Turkish relations to a test. Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell sent Pelosi a letter last month warning her the resolution would endanger U.S. national security interests. A real secretary of state would already know that. Roger Simon with germane comments on new Redford flick. WSJ Bayou Boy Wonder Louisiana elects a reform governor. What's next? by John Fund Bobby Jindal can't hold down a job: That's the joke circulating around Louisiana today about the election of Mr. Jindal, a son of immigrants from India, as governor. Mr. Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican congressman from the New Orleans suburbs, won 54% of the vote in Saturday's election, avoiding the need for a runoff next month. When he takes office in January he will be the nation's youngest governor. But he has already held a glittering array of other positions of responsibility in his short career. As an undergraduate he worked as an intern for Rep. Jim McCrery, now the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. Then he became a Rhodes Scholar, got a master's degree, and did a stint at McKinsey & Co. Gov. Mike Foster appointed him head of the state's $4 billion health-care system at age 24. He went on to serve as director of a national commission on Medicare at 26, became president of the University of Louisiana system at 27, and a U.S. assistant secretary of health and human services at 29. Four years ago, at age 32 ,he narrowly lost a race for governor to Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who dismissed his calls for reform of the state's creaking bureaucracy as unnecessary. The next year Mr. Jindal won his congressional seat, but he never really stopped campaigning for governor. In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans, and Gov. Blanco's response was so inadequate that she was effectively forced to retire. Mr. Jindal jumped into this year's campaign promising to shake up a state government whose antigrowth policies have prompted Forbes magazine to rank Louisiana 49th out of 50 states as a place to do business. Even before Katrina, it was the only Southern state with more people moving out than in. The "bright flight" of the state's most promising young people became the most important symbolic issue of the race. Mr. Jindal applied the political lessons he learned from his 2003 loss. Back then, it was generally conceded that he lost some northern Louisiana parishes in part because he failed to campaign enough there to dispel lingering concerns about his ethnicity (he is Indian-American). This time he visited northern Louisiana 77 times, and it paid off. He carried Rapides Parish (Alexandria) with 54% of the vote, up from 44% four years ago. One reason Mr. Jindal was able to win votes across ethnic and demographic lines is that while he treats his Indian background as an overall plus, he won't trade on it. He has in the past left the space for "race" on government documents blank. "I'm against all quotas, all set-asides," he says. "America is the greatest. We got ahead by hard work. We shouldn't respond to every problem with a government program. Here, anyone can succeed." Mr. Jindal is full of ideas for how to improve government. He plans to use his health-care expertise to help the uninsured obtain health insurance. The way to do that, he says, is to work with the three- fourths of the uninsured who have jobs. He proposes insurance pools in which small businesses can join together to get lower-cost premiums and giving the private sector a greater role in provision of health care for the poor. He plans tax cuts and an expansion of school choice. Part of his philosophy is that the federal government can't be Louisiana's salvation. "New Orleans has suffered from the trauma of three crises," he told The Wall Street Journal last year. "First was Katrina, second was the levees breaking, and the third has been a case study in bureaucracy and red tape at its very worst." Bureaucracy busting is Mr. Jindal's specialty, and he has already announced he will call the Legislature into special session shortly after he is sworn in and demand an up-or-down vote on his anticorruption agenda, which has 31 points. "Ethics reform is the linchpin for change," he told supporters Saturday night. But while he prepares to take office with high hopes and good wishes, there are some sobering obstacles that could impede his agenda. Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes. That means that some power brokers will have real incentives to preserve the status quo. In 2004, the agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office described Louisiana's public corruption as "epidemic, endemic and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt." Political analysts in the state recall that Democrat Buddy Roemer (who later became a Republican) was elected as a reform governor in 1987. But he was quickly sidetracked and marginalized by the legislature. He was defeated for re-election in 1991 after Jack Kent, the owner of a company called Marine Shale, spent $500,000 of his own money to attack Mr. Roemer in response to the state government declaring his firm was a polluter. Mr. Roemer's failure to alter the state's mores provides some guidance for Mr. Jindal. While he won outright election on Saturday, many races for the state legislature will be decided in runoffs next month. With legislative term limits kicking in for the first time this year, many of those runoffs will be in open districts where reform candidates will square off against those more are skeptical of change. If Mr. Jindal wants to be a successful governor, he would be wise not to rest on his laurels but instead to pour his time and energy into making sure a Legislature is elected that will pay more than lip service to his bold proposals. Real Clear Politics We're Not in 2006 Anymore by Michael Barone Things are not working out as Democratic congressional leaders expected. For the first eight months of this year, they struggled to find some way to shut down the American military effort in Iraq. They took it for granted that we were stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, with continuous high casualties and very little to show for them. They pressed hard to get the Republican votes they needed to block a filibuster in the Senate and were cheered when some Republicans, like John Warner, seemed to lean their way. They worked hard over the August recess to pressure Republican House members to break ranks and vote with them. But the Republicans mostly held fast. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell skillfully parried their thrusts in the Senate. House Minority Leader John Boehner persuaded most House Republicans to hang on. Then, over the summer, the news out of Iraq started to get better. Mainstream media types tend to think that, while rising casualties from Iraq are legitimate news, falling casualties are not. But even so the word got out: The surge strategy was producing results. Anbar province, given up for lost in 2006, turned peaceful and cooperative in 2007. U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties were down. Brookings scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, no fans of the administration's conduct of the war, announced on July 30 (in the pages of The New York Times, no less) that this was "a war we might just win." The congressional Democrats got ready for one more push in September. But the testimony of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker cut the ground from under their feet. Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who declared last spring that the war was lost) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi seem to have thrown in the towel. The Democratic Congress will not use its power to appropriate to end the surge or to bring the soldiers home. That leaves the left wing of the party angry at its leaders and the party split on the war, much as it was in 2002, when about half of congressional Democrats voted to authorize military action. The Democrats here suffered from a lack of imagination. They could not imagine that the United States military could perform more effectively in 2007 than it did in 2005 and 2006. George W. Bush seems to have had a similar lack of imagination until the November 2006 elections woke him up. But he chose a new commander and a new strategy, and things have changed. Democratic leaders have acted on the assumption that the status quo of November 2006 would persist indefinitely. The Democrats have found themselves on the defensive on other issues, as well. Last week, the House Democrats were forced to delay a vote on their version of the revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which among other things would have prohibited surveillance of communications between suspected terrorists abroad and persons in the United States without a court warrant. The House Democrats were responsive to left-wingers' theoretical concerns about abusive surveillance and unconcerned that most voters don't want the National Security Agency to hang up when Osama bin Laden calls the United States. In any case, they were undercut when Senate Democrats agreed to a revision that did not contain that provision and others unacceptable to the Bush administration. The House Democratic leadership also backed down last week from its determination to bring a resolution condemning the Turkish government's massacre of Armenians in 1915-16. The Turkish government took umbrage at this, and its parliament voted to authorize military action in Iraq's Kurdish provinces against anti-Turkish Kurdish guerrillas -- a nightmare scenario in the one part of Iraq that has been consistently peaceful and pro-American since 2003. Senior House Democrats like John Murtha and Ike Skelton said the resolution was a bad idea, and Nancy Pelosi reversed herself (as Speaker Dennis Hastert did on the same issue in 2000, at the request of Bill Clinton). Democrats are coming face to face with the fact that there's a war on -- and that Americans prefer success to failure. If the choice is between stalemate and withdrawal, as it seemed to be in November 2006, they may favor withdrawal; but if the choice is between victory and withdrawal, they don't want to quit -- or to undermine the effort. Last week, Democrat Niki Tsongas won a special election with only 51 percent of the vote, in a Massachusetts district where John Kerry won 57 percent in 2004 and would have run much better in 2006. History doesn't stand still -- we're not in 2006 anymore. Power Line Hillary: Still Unelectable? Throughout her career in public life, Hillary Clinton has been plagued by high disapproval ratings. In recent months, there have been some indications that hostility to Mrs. Clinton is fading, but this Zogby poll raises again the question of her electability. The question asked was, "Whom would you NEVER vote for as President of the U.S.?" Here are the results: Clinton: 50% Kucinich: 49% Gravel: 47% Paul: 47% Brownback: 47% Tancredo: 46% McCain: 45% Hunter: 44% Giuliani: 43% Romney: 42% Edwards: 42% Thompson: 41% Dodd: 41% Biden: 40% Obama: 37% Huckabee: 35% Richardson: 34% Some of these results should be taken with a grain of salt. The reality is that in today's political climate, every Presidential candidate begins with at least 35% to 40% of the population who will never vote for him or her. I, for example, would never vote for a Democrat for President; it really doesn't matter whom they nominate. This question becomes important when there is something about a candidate that repels some voters who would normally be expected to vote for that candidate. When that happens, alienating even a small percentage of expected supporters is very important. This is where Hillary could have a serious problem. In the Zogby poll, 59% of those 65 years old and over said they would never vote for her. That suggests a much worse showing in that demographic than any Democrat would normally expect. Polls, especially at this stage, are of limited significance, even where, like this Zogby poll, they sample a considerable number of likely voters (here, 9,718). But the persistently large number of people who seem to be put off by Hillary must be worrisome to her campaign. One other point emerges from this survey: note that Mitt Romney fares rather well. Since just about the only thing that most people know about Romney is that he is a Mormon, his supporters will take heart from the fact that he seems not to be ruled out by any more likely voters than his rivals. William Katz: Learning from The Tonight Show, part 3 Bill Katz's most recent post was "The importance of 1960." His first two contributions to Power Line were "Learning from The Tonight Show" and "Learning from The Tonight Show, part 2." This morning he returns to the subject of The Tonight Show: I began this series by writing about The Tonight Show, where I was a talent coordinator during the Carson years. Two deaths in the last week bring me back to that time. It may seem odd to be recalling a TV show in the midst of all the grim news we face. However, there's an old saying that Americans have two businesses, their own and show business. So, allow me to take a few moments out from advising world leaders. I hope you like these stories. Joey Bishop has died at 89. He was our guest host many times, sharing that work with others like Bob Newhart, Jerry Lewis, Della Reese, and Joan Rivers. The obits noted that he had a poker face, was a charter member of Frank Sinatra's "rat pack," but was less flamboyant than the others. The obits were correct. Bishop had a quietness, even a shyness at times, that seemed out of place in a world of flashing marquees. You could easily see him selling toasters, or as assistant manager of a mid-price clothing store. Joey often brought his brother Mel with him. Just before the taping, Mel would pull out a comb and fix Joey's hair. No one was direct enough to ask whether Mel was an employee, or just liked to help his brother, but there was something touching about it. Mel, though, never appeared on camera. Joey could miss details. Once, during a monologue, he mentioned Band-Aids. Fine product, but one of our sponsors was Curad, so saying Band-Aids was like saying "Merry Christmas" to Osama bin Laden. The producer had a mild fit, and the tape had to be edited. Joey was given a sponsor list. On another night, Joey showed that his quietness wasn't an act. During a commercial break he walked down front to talk to the audience. For some reason, a very tasteless man threw a coin at his feet, one of the most demeaning things you can do to an entertainer. Joey just looked at it, and calmly said, "Please don't do that." He never raised his voice or berated the guy, but the message got through. With some other comedians, there might have been blood. The Tonight Show office was always flooded with stars. There were times when we felt like asking them to take a number and sit down. Some guests, though, were special. No, they weren't always the most famous or glittering. They were usually the performers we staff members knew from our own youth. Imagine going to your first teenage party, hearing recordings of the hottest singer around, and then, years later, having that person walk into your office. There is no feeling quite like it. It happened with me several times -- once with Teresa Brewer, who also passed on last week. Teresa Brewer was a top singer of the early fifties. You could pass any juke box and hear her sing, "I don't want a ricochet romance, I don't want a ricochet love," or "Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon..." (For the young, a nickelodeon and a juke box were basically the same. They were floor-standing iPods with things called speakers, allowing you to hear music without earphones. You put a nickel in, and the machine played a record. A record was...oh, never mind. It's like a CD with a heart and soul.) Everyone knew Teresa Brewer's tangy, bubbly voice. She came into my office one day when, after raising four children, she was getting back to her career. It's wonderful when performers live up to their image, and she did. Teresa was everything a young kid would imagine her to be - warm, outgoing, a real human, with a smile that could melt anything Al Gore worries about. She liked to talk about her children rather than the music business. There were times during our meeting that I couldn't believe it was her. Was this that voice I heard on the car radio before I was old enough to drive the Buick? Teresa never made it back to the top, but she did have a satisfying second career singing jazz and staying irresistible. Oh, by the way, The Tonight Show was based in New York when I spoke with her, and was about to move to L.A. I left the show, not wanting to move west, and they never did have her on. On the subject of genuine, real humans, our producer assigned me to interview Frankie Avalon. I mightily resisted. I mean, this guy did beach movies and I was, well, a more intellectual type. I'd been an editor at The New York Times. I knew that Stravinsky wasn't a deli owner. I didn't fully accept rock 'n roll. Someone in high school had to explain this fellow Presley to me, and I still don’t fully understand. I was not the beach-movie type.But, I had to do it, so I reluctantly made a lunch date with Frankie, something millions of teenaged girls would have loved. I never had a better time. I'd expected some overblown teen idol who needed cue cards to live, but instead found an intelligent man, my own age, who had absolutely no pretensions. We just had a quiet lunch discussing our era, and I realized that this guy had performed live for 50,000 people. In fact, he told me that he often had fears during his outdoor concerts, fears that something tragic would happen in the audience as kids surged forward or squeezed into tight spaces. Frankie's music career faded, but he entered other businesses and raised eight kids. Meeting him was a cautionary tale in the danger of pre-judging. I'll remember him not from the beaches, but as a guy I would have wanted as a friend. Lorna Luft came in one day. She was Judy Garland's "other" daughter, step-sister to Liza Minnelli. Judy Garland was, of course, someone we seemed to know from birth. Who didn't remember Dorothy? Lorna was starting out as a singer, a very good one indeed, and was trying to get on The Tonight Show. She and Liza were completely different. Liza was loud and theatrical, Lorna was quiet, even ladylike. We spent the afternoon talking about "mama," alias Judy, who had died three years earlier. Lorna's best story: Judy would dress up in a disguise, put on a wig and dark glasses, find one of those retro movie theaters, and take her kids to see Judy Garland movies. I just wonder how many people saw those movies sitting right next to Judy Garland, and not realizing it. The story rang true. Judy had been known for being both very funny, and a great mother. Of course, sadly, she'd also been known as emotionally distraught. A friend in the NBC music department told me she would come into his office, grab his hand, and not let go. But we will always have Dorothy. I'll close with another recent death that recalled my time at The Tonight Show. Jane Wyman died in September. I described my interview with her in this space some months ago. She was an articulate and tasteful woman. She was also the only woman in our history to be the former wife of a president. Yet, she never exploited her marriage to Ronald Reagan, never wrote the gossip book, for which she could have gotten millions, and remained discreet to the end, something rare, and which deserves eternal praise. ADDENDUM: Remembering Jane Wyman's class and style forces us to examine lesser behavior, some of it created by our popular culture. With that in mind, I hope you'll pick up Diana West's The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization. Diana is being attacked, of course, by the usual suspects. I mean, we mere citizens must not be judgmental. But she proves her premise, that we're becoming a childlike society, with all the dangers that implies. Something has gone wrong, and hers is an excellent analysis of just what it is. Claudia Rosett's Blog Kofi's Candy Box Life is like a box of chocolates. Except if you are Kofi Annan, instead of Forrest Gump, it’s a very very expensive box of extra-fancy Swiss chocolates — and you probably have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get. Kofi’s new candy box is a foundation launched this week called the Global Humanitarian Forum, and —a familiar theme — there’s lots of talk about “mission” but no upfront disclosure about money. Gone are the hints put out last year by Annan’s old UN executive office that when he stepped down as Secretary-General he would head back to Ghana, set up a foundation devoted to farming and girls’ education and spend his twilight years modestly mixing it up with the common folk. This new foundation is housed in Geneva, which seems to be Annan’s main base these days. And the board is crammed with members of his old UN circle, including Lakhdar Brahimi (who while working as a UN envoy for Annan referred to Israel as the “poison” of the Middle East); and Catherine Bertini (who ran the UN Management Department under Annan from 2003-2005, but somehow failed to do anything about the rampant corruption in the procurement department — leaving it to her successor, Christopher Burnham, to try to clean up the swamp); Jan Egeland (who in the immediate aftermath of the Asian tsunami pointed to the UN’s sugar-daddy American taxpayers as “stingy,” promised full transparency for the tide of money that rolled in, and never fully accounted for where all that money actually went). The board also includes former IMF chief Michel Camdessus (who ran the IMF while it was bailing out big banks and big business in the late 1990s, at the expense of genuinely impoverished people hit with drastic currency devaluations in the developing world); and James Wolfensohn (who ran the World Bank during the years in which it was incubating so much of the corruption its officials are still trying to cover up). Annan during his decade running the UN was constantly calling for the rest of us to pour money into the organization, while he expanded UN operations on every front from Oil-for-Food to development aid to programs to raise private money and leverage public funds for more uses than apparently even he was able to keep track of. But now that he has retired from the UN, he’s not busy pouring all the resources he can muster into those UN programs he told the rest of us we must support. Instead, he’s got a foundation in Geneva, embellished with former UN credentials. Go figure. Contentions The Price of UN Membership Anne Bayefsky As noted yesterday on contentions, Libya was elected on October 16, 2007 to the UN Security Council, a position it will assume in January. Last month Syria was elected Vice-Chair of the General Conference of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. These goings-on at the UN have been presented not only as perfectly normal but as laudable. While they have provoked strong reaction in some people, they should not come as a surprise. The UN, we are told, is an essential institution because of its unique inclusivity. The argument goes that the goals and values of democracies on the world scene are dependent on their doing business with dictators as equals. One state, one vote. Regardless of the numbers of real people being subdued in various ways back home. Regardless of the financial contribution made by each member state to the world organization. Regardless of the extent to which the founding principles and purposes of the UN are flaunted by the member state every day of the week. So Libya and Syria join a long list of dictatorships, despotisms, and human-rights violators in UN leadership positions—positions that entail responsibilities diametrically opposed to their incumbents’ qualifications. Here are only a few of today’s UN authority figures: • UN Security Council: Libya • International Atomic Energy Agency General Committee, Vice-President: Syria • UN Disarmament Commission, Vice-Chairman: Iran. Rapporteur: Syria • Committee on Information: China, Kazakhstan • UN Program of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination, and Wider Appreciation of International Law Advisory Committee: Iran, Lebanon, Sudan • Commission for Social Development: North Korea • Commission on the Status of Women: Qatar, Togo, United Arab Emirates • Commission on Sustainable Development: Sudan • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Libya, Russia • UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Vice-President: Myanmar • UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Board: China • UN Development Program Executive Board: Algeria, Kazakhstan • General Assembly Vice-Presidents: Egypt, Turkmenistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo • General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, Vice-Chairman: Syria • Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Seyed Mohammad Hashemi of Iran • Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Member: Saied Rajaie Khorasani of Iran • UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) Governing Council: Zimbabwe • UN High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee: Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan • International Labor Organization Governing Body: Saudi Arabia • World Food Program Executive Board: Sudan, Zimbabwe In short, membership in the UN has no price tag, although, as this list suggests, Israel-bashing and anti-Americanism are its all-but universal currency. NY Post NUKE NIGHTMARE by Ralph Peters ON Sept. 6, Israel struck a remote target in eastern Syria. The story didn't really break for weeks, and details are still emerging - but the consensus view is that Israeli aircraft attacked a secret nuclear facility. There's much more to it than that. The echoes of that strike resound far beyond the Middle East. Tel Aviv isn't showing any leg when it comes to exactly who did what to whom. Airstrikes may have been synchronized with commando action on the ground. We don't know, and, for now, secrets are being kept. The circumstantial evidence is strong, though, that the terror-affiliated regime in Damascus had embarked on a nuclear-weapons program - with the help of the North Koreans (who, simultaneously, have been teasing us with suggestions that they'll dismantle their own nuke effort if we pay them lavish tribute). My own suspicion is that rent-an-expert Pakistanis were involved, too - with or without the blessing of Islamabad's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, an organization with often contradictory and always dubious loyalties. Caught out and humiliated by the Israeli raid, the Syrians are bulldozing the site to bury the evidence. Straightforward enough, so far. But now consider the factors beyond the obvious Israeli concerns over Speaker Nancy Pelosi's buddy (a k a President Bashar Assad) and his quest for weapons to destroy the Jewish state: * The Syrian reactor was at a very early stage, but neither Israel nor the United States called Damascus out before the world community. This reflects exasperation with the United Nations' unwillingness to do anything meaningful to stop rogue states from acquiring nukes. Instead of complaining, the Israelis just hit the target. * Israel also acted because its military (especially its air force) is still smarting from its embarrassment during last year's confrontation with Hezbollah. The IDF needed to renew its image as supremely capable - and the raid sent a no-nonsense message that Israel's back in form. * The biggest question is how much Washington knew about the attack in advance: Was it a joint plan with plausible denial built in or only a matter of shared intelligence - or did Tel Aviv wait to tip off Washington at the last minute (the minimum requirement)? * Even excluding the nuke issue, Israel had to get Syria's attention. Since its Hezbollah client "won" last year's war, the Assad regime has continued to assassinate Lebanese politicians, to re-arm Hezbollah (while providing start-up funds to alternative terror groups), to encourage Hamas, and to facilitate the passage of terrorists and weapons into Iraq, further destabilizing the region. * The attack also put Iran on notice that neither Israel nor the United States means to tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue regimes in the Middle East. This was, to a great extent, an attack on a proxy target. Whether Iran's leaders are capable of rational analysis is another matter. * As a number of military analysts have pointed out, if Israeli aircraft were able to operate with impunity deep inside Syria, which fields state-of-the-art, Russian-supplied air defenses, it suggests a startling breakthrough in crippling an enemy's surveillance system and his command-and-control mechanisms. Other states, such as Iran, that splurged on made-in-Russia air-defense systems must be panicking - while the Kremlin's generals have some explaining to do to Czar Vladimir. * If the Israelis did, indeed, employ next-level military technology, the obvious question is: Why tip off your enemies that you've got new, paradigm-shifting tools just to blow up a cluster of buildings under construction, when any serious threat remained years - probably a decade - away? There's a gaping hole in the logic - unless that, too, was a signal to Tehran. * North Korea's involvement is a serious embarrassment for the Bush administration, which needs a geostrategic win. The White House has counted on marking down a no-nukes deal with Pyongyang as a major achievement. The administration's refusal to recognize that the North Koreans just don't honor agreements doesn't reflect naivete but political desperation. * Most worrisome of all, Syria's quest for nuclear weapons (a very expensive proposition, in more ways than one) confirms the spread of the world's most dangerous fad - the obsession among anti- Western regimes with getting nuclear weapons. It signals that players such as Iran and Syria have realized the limits of terrorism: While terror is a painful inconvenience to Israel, America and other civilized countries, sponsoring it doesn't produce decisive results. This doesn't mean that such regimes will abandon terrorism, which they find seductive and useful. Rather, it indicates that their visions of the future have taken on an apocalyptic hue - you can talk about deterrence value all through the poker game, but nukes aren't defensive weapons. The killed-in-the-cradle Syrian nuke program tells us (that fad again) that nukes are viewed as the only possible equalizer in a face-off with superior Western militaries. It indicates an emotional belief in nuclear weapons as a solution to the Middle East's self-inflicted problems. The bottom line? We should be even more worried about Islamist terrorists seeking nukes than we already were. Yes, nukes are very difficult to transport, arm and use. But keep an eye on Pakistan, where a multisided civil war is only a well-aimed bullet or two away. On Sept. 6, Israel did the right thing by defying the lawyers crippling our civilization and striking a terrorist state's nuclear program before it could gain the de facto protection of the United Nations and its satellite organizations. Unfortunately, that attack was only a beginning, not an end. Iran in December 2008? Ralph Peters' latest book is "Wars of Blood and Faith." Jewish World Review Timing is everything, and Pelosi's got nothing by Jonathan Gurwitz The last time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did her best impersonation of a secretary of state, her amateur performance was merely reckless. This time it is dangerous. Pelosi's April visit to Syria should have demonstrated a fundamental about diplomacy — words matter. Pelosi created an international tempest by claiming to bear a message for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, one stating his country was prepared to engage in peace talks with its longtime enemy without preconditions. That would have marked a significant departure from six decades of Israeli practice. Olmert did not make such a departure, which forced the Israeli Foreign Ministry to issue a clarification that contradicted Pelosi's supposed communique. Pelosi also declared that the road to peace in Lebanon, which Syrian Baathists regard as a vassal state, runs through Damascus. Farid Ghadry, president of the Reform Party of Syria, blasted Pelosi's carelessness, writing, "Assad is viewing her trip as a green light to take over Lebanon the same way Saddam viewed (U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April) Glaspie's lack of interference as a green light to invade Kuwait." Unlike Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who prefaced the dialogue with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a harsh rebuke of his government's repressive policies, Pelosi's photo- op notably glossed over Assad's totalitarian tendencies and his regime's routine violation of human rights. This month, 92 years after the fact, Pelosi felt the time had come for American lawmakers to finally issue a definitive statement about the first state-sponsored mass murder of the 20th century. When the Armenian genocide issue came up in 2000, one of its most forceful opponents was California Democrat Tom Lantos. The Fresno Bee reports Lantos warned against offending Turkey, telling colleagues that "there is a long list of reasons why our NATO ally at this point should not be humiliated." Some of those reasons were related to U.S. enforcement of a U.N. no-fly zone in northern Iraq — no access to U.S. bases in Turkey, no no-fly zone. President Clinton felt the security imperatives in Iraq outweighed the political significance of a congressional declaration in Washington. So he appealed to members of his own party, including Lantos, to delay the genocide resolution and, ultimately, to GOP House Speaker Denny Hastert to kill it. Now that the United States has 168,000 military personnel in Iraq, it's a different story on Capitol Hill. Lantos, as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, dismisses Turkish sensitivity. "The Turkish-American relationship is infinitely more valuable to Turkey than it is to the United States," he said recently on CNN. President Bush appealed to Congress to put the welfare of American military personnel first. Most military air cargo headed for Iraq passes through Turkey's Incirlik air base, including new MRAP — mine-resistant, ambush-protected — vehicles that are finally providing a measure of protection against deadly IED attacks. No Incirlik, no MRAPs, or at least their delivery to the war zone will be delayed. Contrary to Lantos' assertion, more Americans will die if the United States loses access to bases in Turkey. Yet unlike her predecessor as speaker, Pelosi pushed forward with the genocide resolution, in spite of the known consequences. Assuming the guise of secretary of state again, she said it was part of her mandate to reassert America's moral authority. By end of week, cooler heads appeared to be prevailing. Congress should go on record about the atrocities that claimed 1.5 million Armenian lives. Historical amnesia about the systematic slaughter of Armenians has encouraged many of the genocidal movements that followed. But after nine decades and with a war in Iraq, now is not the time to put U.S.-Turkish relations to a test. Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell sent Pelosi a letter last month warning her the resolution would endanger U.S. national security interests. A real secretary of state would already know that. Roger L. Simon The Redford Reduction I haven't seen Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs yet, few have evidently, but that hasn't stopped Roger Friedman, who hasn't seen it either, from writing in its behalf as a brilliant and subtle anti-war film of sorts. Apparently the Republican owner of the Washington Redksins saw it and liked it and sent word to Friedman. One graph of Friedman's article caught my eye: It [the film] also brings up, ever so gently, comparisons with the Vietnam War. Through Streep, Redford and Carnahan get their message in loud and clear. "World War II lasted less than five years," Streep says to a grinning â€” but not buffoonish â€” Cruise when discussing the length of the Iraq mission so far. Hmmm... so the length of the Iraq War as opposed to WWII is supposed to be proof of the dubiousness of the current enterprise. Well, how about this? The total number of casualties in World War II were approximately 72,000,000, at least a hundred times Iraq, where attempts have been made consistently to lower the number of deaths. If we had decided to win the Iraq War by doing to Baghdad what we did to Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc., would will still be in that war now? I would strongly doubt it. This comparison to WWII, often made by the anti-war crowd, strikes me as particularly invidious. The quotes from Redford at Harvard at the end of the article are also banal and predictable, but that it is to be expected. News Biscuit Dolphins ‘planning to move into our houses after global warming’ Dolphins and porpoises are already planning to move into human homes after they are submerged by seawater it has been revealed this week. Marine biologists studying cetecean communications claim they have observed dolphins discussing which homes they will occupy and whether they might change the layout a little. ‘People have been amazed to see friendly dolphins popping their head close to the shore in bustling coastal fishing villages,’ said Professor Karl Ingerson. ‘They think they are coming up to say hello to the local humans. Actually they are checking out their houses and deciding which one they are going to nab.’ Rising sea levels are expected to claim thousands of coastal towns and villages over the next few decades, forcing millions of humans to flee inland. It had been presumed that these areas would be gradually occupied by marine life in an unplanned and chaotic migration. ‘In fact, they’ve already got the whole thing worked out’ explained Professor Ingerson. ‘There are even dolphin equivalents of underwater estate agents who are telling other marine mammals about the most desirable areas and the need to move quickly to avoid disappointment.
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