July's S*^t Goin' On begins with the sartorial, and goes down hill from there. Matt Drudge found an old picture of a young Vichy John Kerry vying with John Lennon for the era's worst hair. Now Kerry can pay for his $80 trips to Christophe's hair salon with ill-gotten ketchup profits, but even that's not enough to get him to adopt a post-'70s "do." Because Kerry and John "the Breck Girl" Edwards (as he is known to many of his hometown Tarheels) are setting the pace for the Dems, they should be begging the well-trimmed Wesley Clark to run. Gen. Clark, a former NATO commander, is the only visible Dem who could argue with Dubya about defense matters without drawing laughter from the audience. But Clark's phone won't ring because the maple-flavored McGovern, Howard Dean, continues to pull the Dems farther to port.
Much of the news is not as good. Our half-fast approach to establishing democracy in Iraq is taking wrong turns, and while the Dems pound on Dubya for the misstatement in the State of the Union Address, all is not well at Air Force, USA.
A little over a year ago, my view of the Air Force Academy was enormously positive, and justifiably so. That was before the sexual abuse problem came to light, and before Air Force Secretary James Roche began his preemptive surrender to the feministas.
Roche has made the most of every opportunity to sell the Academy down the river. Soon after the problem came to light, Roche fired the top officers at the Academy before any of the investigations were completed. Next, he ordered the "Bring Me Men" sign taken down. That sign -- taken from "The Coming American" written by Sam Foss in 1894 -- was about character, not gender. That was something all of the past and present female cadets I've spoken to understood. Roche didn't care.
Roche's latest disgraceful act was to order that former Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Dallagher be stripped of one of his three stars on retirement. I've met Dallagher, spoken with him, and seen him with the officers and cadets. He is a leader who cares about his people and their values. Roche's demotion of him is a cowardly and unjustified punishment of a man whose only evident fault is that he didn't flog anyone publicly enough or fast enough to suit Barbara Boxer. Left to his own devices, I'm confident Dallagher would have punished those who deserved it, and made it clear that leadership and justice go hand-in-glove in the military. Which is the last thing the feministas and their fellow-travelers such as Roche can allow.
By his actions, Roche has demonstrated that the civilian leadership has no confidence in the military's ability to deal justly with problems such as these. He is also telling us that the young officers who have graduated from the Academy in the past few years should be viewed with suspicion, and are unworthy of trust. That is untrue, and a libel on the entire Air Force. Of course, Roche's sellout won't stop the feminist assault on the Academy or the rest of the military. Its culture is anathema to them. As much as Democracy is anathema to some of those who we are now inviting to help form the next government of Iraq.
The new "governing council" of Iraq includes Adnan Pachachi. Former foreign minister Pachachi has -- over the past thirty years or so -- been a font of anti-Americanism and rabid nationalism. He has delivered himself of opinions that make him unfit for any role in the new Iraq. He has said repeatedly that Kuwait is a renegade province of Iraq, not entitled to independence, and now refers to Bush administration hawks as a "Zionist lobby." The real reason is that the State Department courted him to please the Saudis, and with their encouragement.
Including Pachachi in this council -- which means he and his ilk will likely have a place in the resulting government -- gives the radical Islamists what they want most, and cannot have unless we give it to them: power in the new Iraq. If you're not convinced, look at Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a Shiite cleric who is another member of the interim council, and the representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. Which is another branch of "terrorists R us" with continued ties to the mullahs of Iran. If the U.N. were doing this, we'd be shouting to the heavens. Why, then, are we doing it ourselves? Maybe the president is distracted by the never-ending debate over one line in his State of the Union speech. For the first time since before the Afghanistan campaign, the administration is in disarray.
In that line Mr. Bush said that Brit intelligence reported that Saddam was trying to buy uranium in Africa. The statement has now been disavowed, and Big Dog Don Rumsfeld said it shouldn't have been in the speech. George Tenet has taken responsibility for the line staying in. Condoleezza Rice -- who has that nasty streak of integrity -- said that what the president said was true, and that if he said it again today, it would still be true. (Can we please get rid of Colin Powell and put Dr. Rice in that job? Please?) But the Dem/media feeding frenzy -- trying to label Dubya a liar, and disprove the justification for the war -- plods on.
When Tim Russert asked Sen. Bob Graham on Sunday's Meet the Press if Graham would drop the Senate half of his dual candidacy to make his bid for the Dem vice presidential nomination more credible, Graham refused to answer. Again and again -- five times by my count -- Graham refused to answer the same question. But he said that the president hides too much, and that Americans have to guess about the basis for the president's decisions.
Graham's criticism of Dubya's openness is odd: almost as odd as Graham himself. Graham is a guy who maniacally -- there's no other word for it -- keeps detailed secret notebooks about everything he does, to the level of recording for posterity startling facts that he brewed coffee and dressed in a gray suit that morning. Do we really want a president who is so obsessive about his own actions that he take notes on what he ate for breakfast? (I'd vote for Captain Queeg before I'd vote for Graham. At least we know the strawberries really were missing.)
What the president said was both completely true and incorrect. Or is it? To this day, the Brit intelligence agencies still insist that Saddam was buying uranium in several African nations. And, to this day, the CIA disagrees. Such disagreements between intelligence analysts happen rarely: only about ten times a day. All of this won't discredit Dubya or his policies. But the issue won't go away until the Dems find something else they figure they can use to attack Mr. Bush's veracity. At least he won't be tried in Belgium for war crimes.
That toy nation's toy prime minister -- Guy Verhofstadt -- announced that the Belgian law allowing any idiot to bring war crimes charges against anyone for anything will be cut back to limit it to cases involving Belgium. Big Dog's suggestion that we move NATO from a place where American generals and politicians could be arrested for political show trials apparently got Belgium's attention. We should move NATO anyway. Brussels is bleak. The guys who serve at NATO HQ deserve better weather, food, and a friendlier place to live. And more good news comes from Norfolk.
On Saturday, Nancy Reagan said, "I have only one line, so 'man the ship and bring her to life.'" At that word, thousands of sailors and aviators streamed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan -- forever more "the Gipper" -- and another 98,000 tons of diplomacy joined the fleet. The Gipper's diplomatic tools include about 80 aircraft, and the usual contingents of Teufel Hunden and SEALs aboard. God bless her and all who sail on her.