In this ongoing war inside Iraq once again, the entire issue of captured soldiers and hostages has turned out to be a crucial tactic for the enemy. Let me explain:

In all wars, the capturing of enemy soldiers and holding them for negotiating purposes is a tried and true part of the play book. Going all the way back to the Greek and Roman Wars, POWs served an important role.

In the last century, Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Red China and North Vietnam all held and exploited American POWs.

But it was the arrival of live satellite television that elevated the prisoner/hostage issue to new heights. The first instance was Iran, November 4, 1979. The seizing of the American Embassy and the capture of 52 American hostages changed everything - from the balance of power in the Middle East to the outcome of the 1980 American presidential election.

Ironically, it was exactly one year to the day - November 4, 1980 - that Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan - in great part due to Carter’s inept handling of the hostage crisis.

Of course, on Inauguration Day, Ayatollah Khomeini released the hostages instead of facing the wrath of Reagan, who had called the Iranians “barbarians’ during the 1980 campaign.

Jump ahead to the present mess in Iraq: the issue of ‘prisoners’ is dominant - on both sides. The still-expanding prisoner abuse scandal is, as General Norman Schwarzkopf said yesterday on MSNBC, “One of the worst things to happen to our policy. It will, in my view, set us back 20 years in the Middle East.”

This prisoner-abuse scandal has given a new impetus to the bad guys to use similarly rough tactics on American soldiers. The apparent execution of Keith Maupin and the threatened beheading of a Muslim Marine are yet further examples.

And the widespread seizing of other hostages - Japanese, Koreans, Turkish - has also been enhanced by world-wide satellite TV coverage.

The recent beheadings - Nick Berg, Paul Johnson and the young, pleading-for-his-life South Korean translator - are all emailed worldwide and are available for millions to see within minutes.

What a PR weapon for Al Qaeda and Radical Islam!

They can reach the world - through our own technology - and recruit more crazed-with-hate young Muslims to their cause.

All with a video camera, a laptop, a knife - and a new victim.

This level of barbarity is not new; just the seeing of it daily on TV is new.

And we better get used to it because they will keep doing it.

Our recourse?

1) Put more emphasis on getting Osama Bin Laden - now!

2) Get the world community to join us in pressuring Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to close all Madrassas (schools that teach Radical Islam) ASAP! These joints are nothing but boot camps for future terrorists. Until we address this cancer head-on we are fooling ourselves. Radical Islam is today’s Naziism, today’s Soviet Communism. Why are we so afraid to attack it? Why not rename the War on Terror the War on Radical Islam?

This is NOT a war on all of Islam, just this particular sect which is out to wipe out Western and Christian values. We certainly have the right - especially after 9/11 - to attack back and try to destroy it.

And now - thanks to home videos of POWs and hostages being exploited and executed - every American can see and hear the evil of our enemy.


At the suggestion of a few loyal and wonderful readers, it is time to update and review some past topics discussed in this space:

1) Scott Speicher: After much hope last year when Baghdad fell, this case has fallen off the radar screen. Why?

Is it because he indeed never did survive his January, 1991 shoot-down - as the USG always insisted - or it is because he was later killed - or is he still alive?

The problem with this case is that the USG lied so often in the past about missing soldiers and the USG also lied so much in order to ‘goose’ the nation into going to war in Iraq. Did they also lie about supposedly ‘new’ intel that proved Scott was still alive and being held by Saddam’s son?

Did this new intel come from the now-discredited Ahmed Chalabi?

Or is much of Chalabi’s intelligence still good and accurate?

What of British intelligence that also claimed to know that Scott was alive and being held in an underground facility under Salman Pak? And some other European nation also had intel on this.

What of the US Senators who received classified briefings which showed new intel?

Even the Clinton Administration, in its final month, re-classified Speicher as MIA instead of KIA based on new intelligence. What was it?

All of this - and I mean all of it - should now be made public. Let us decide if Scott is alive - and if we have been lied to.

And if he could still be alive - any where, including Syria, Iran or some other Islamic nation - let’s go get him.

2) Polling: The most startling aspect of this week’s ABC NEWS-Washington Post poll is the question - “Who is more honest and trustworthy?” The findings? John Kerry beat G.W. Bush 52% to 39%.

In other words, President Bush’s has lost much of his strong suit: the appearance of being a straight-shooter who told it as it was.

This finding is devastating to the President’s re-election campaign.

When an incumbent president is no longer believed, he probably is not going to be re-elected. I say ‘probably’ because perhaps Bob Dole was deemed more ‘honest and trustworthy’ than Bill Clinton and Clinton still won; I do not have that polling history.

Maybe if Iraq is calm and the economy is perceived as improving, Bush can win despite this awful number.

But if Iraq continues to spiral into chaos, then Bush’s trustworthiness will suffer anyway and he may get thrashed in November.

3) War on Terror: This should be called the War Against Radical Islam. But the same ABC News-Washington Post poll showed that for the first time John Kerry defeats G.W. Bush - albeit narrowly 48%-47% - on the question “Who can best run the War on Terror?”

In all polls up until now, this had been the President’s strongest advantage over any opponent. It was his bedrock.

But if he has now ceded even this category to Kerry, of all people, then the President’s campaign is in dire trouble.

3) A Hidden Scandal: I have previously predicted - wrongly so far - of another huge, national scandal involving both political parties that was soon to break into the public.

So far it has not.

Will it?

Only God knows for sure.

But if and when it does, it will change the political landscape. And if it comes out before the November presidential election, it will also greatly impact the race.

It is huge. It involves both parties. It has nothing to do with sex. It involves the biggest cover-up in our political history.

And it is a total disgrace.

Pray that the truth comes out - and soon.

Next: more updates.


Years after Watergate - and his own time in a federal prison - Nixon White House aide John Ehrlichman was asked what kind of people run for President of the United States.

Without hesitating, he replied, “Only an abnormal mutant would even want to run for president.”

He meant that the process of getting to the White House is so arduous and intrusive that no one can have any life at all if they truly devote themselves to the goal of becoming president.

The last two weeks demonstrate how right - and how wrong - Ehrlichman was:

The Ronald Reagan funeral showed what a giant man he was. Was he an ‘abnormal mutant’? No! True, his love affair with Nancy was not normal by today’s standards and he did seem a little distant to all who knew him and worked with him. But he was totally balanced with an ego in check and a sense of bigger purpose.

Old Dutch went into politics to do something. His mission was to try to take away some of the power of the federal government in our lives and, of course, to back down the Soviet Union.

Ronnie never - ever - changed. He had his beliefs and fought for them - even when they were unpopular. Ronnie didn’t change from the 1964 Goldwater debacle to the 1980 Reagan Revolution; the times did.

By 1980, the nation was ready for Reagan.

And, heady with power, did Reagan change?


Did he abuse his power in any way?


He just spent his eight years trying to serve the nation he so loved. Period.

Now let us contrast this with the ongoing-Bill Clinton media campaign to sell his memoirs:

We now see the real Clinton: self-indulgent, self-absorbed, un-disciplined. In other words, he is a total mess of a human being.

He is almost admitting this in his interviews and promotions for this book.

Enormously intelligent and talented as a politician in the tv era, Clinton indeed is an abnormal mutant who rose to the Oval Office not to do something, but to be a somebody.

His insecurity fueled his energy and drive to be president. But for what? What did he do? What did he stand for?

OK, he did go along with GOP spending and taxing restraint and welfare reform. Good for him.

But he really stood for nothing in a decade of prosperity brought on by the Reagan Era tax cuts (which he vehemently opposed in the 1980's as Governor of Arkansas). President Clinton tried in 1993 to undo that progress with a massive tax increase mis-labeled as a ‘stimulus’ but after Hillary botched health care, the GOP took over Congress.

From that day on, the Clinton presidency was devoted to its own preservation - while Clinton himself was devoted to self-indulgent sex all because he “could.”

What a contrast between Reagan and Clinton: one went into politics to do something; the other went in just to be a somebody.

A good lesson for both parties: beware ‘abnormal mutants.’

John Kerry is a total abnormal mutant who even married two rich women for access to Big Bucks to finance his lifestyle and campaigns.

Like Clinton, Kerry is a mess of a man. Humorless, honorless and totally focused only on winning the Oval Office, he may very well succeed. He just wants to be a somebody; what he will do and stand for is of no importance to him.

And if he does win?

Watch out; he will be an awful leader for this country.


My latest column - SO HELP US GOD - was based on an anonymous email circulating on the Internet about a WWII-age couple visiting the newly-opened World War II Memorial in DC.

The email was a fraud - and I fell for it!!!!

It was - and is - my fault. I should have gone to the Memorial and looked at the inscriptions with my own eyes before writing the column.

My deepest apologies.

Speaking of “getting snookered,” the Saudi Government sure has snookered our government for generations. We now see what a hotbed of radical Islam Saudi Arabia really is.

The kidnapping of Paul Johnson Jr. and the video of his threatened execution is yet another attempt to drive the United States away from the Saudis. And let’s face it: if they didn’t have the worlds’ largest oil reserves, we would already have left the region.

The failure of Ryadh to protect Americans will undoubtedly lead to a pull-back of American support for the Saudi Government - exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants!

This has been his aim since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Desert Shield build-up of 500,000 American and Coalition troops. Osama then approached his pals and family connections in the Saudi Royal Family and presented a plan to protect the Kingdom from Iraqi invasion - without American ‘infidel’ troops encamped on ‘Holy land’.

The Saudi Royals rejected the plan.

Osama then left Saudi Arabia for the last time and launched a long-range plan to overthrow the Royal Family and turn Saudia Arabia into the capital of Radical Islam. Thus his use of 15 Saudi suicide hijackers for the 9/11 attacks.

So far Washington DC has not taken the bait and cooled relations with Saudi Arabia.

Obviously oil is a big part of the reason.

The mistake we are making, though, is to be prepared for the unexpected: a Royal Family collapse and a Saudi reversal away from us including a cutoff of oil sales to the West.

We are clearly not ready for the devastating impact this could have on us and on the industrialized, oil-dependent West.

Just today Al Qaeda has attacked more oil pipelines in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and killed an Iraqi oil executive in northern Iraq. It is a day-by-day, drip-drip-drip destabilization of the region.

Clearly the instability has just begun.

We must move to fuel cell technology with the urgency and speed of the Manhattan Project and the space-race-beat-the-Soviets-to-the-moon mentality.

Not a 20-year plan that assuages a few environmentalists; this Project Independence needs to be implemented today - with the goal of having every new car, bus and truck using hydrogen fuel cells within two years.

We will be lucky if things in the volatile Middle East remain even remotely stable for two more years; we should have done this years ago right after the 9/11 attacks when the American people were ready and willing to do anything to preserve our freedom.

Things are beginning to spin out of control in the Middle East. The wise move for our country - and for the West - is to be prepared to disengage completely if and when things spiral into total and complete mayhem.

It is the height of political and moral malpractice to not be ready for all possibilities.


On December 8, 1941 - the day after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor - President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his “Day in Infamy” speech to the Congress to declare war on Japan and Germany.

The penultimate sentence of this historic speech was: “With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of
our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.”

Two weeks ago this nation celebrated the long-overdue opening in Washington of the World War II Memorial. Over 200,000 WWII vets journeyed to DC to receive their due for what they have done to save this nation. The President spoke; former presidents Bush and Clinton attended. It was - to put it mildly - a big deal.

The Memorial is divided in half: one side is the European Conflict and the other is dedicated to the Pacific Conflict.

The designers of the WWII Memorial decided to inscribe some of the war’s memorable quotations and speeches into the granite. Obviously, FDR’s Day in Infamy speech is the centerpiece of the Pacific side of the Memorial because it was precipitated by the Pearl Harbor attack.

You can imagine the shock when the first of the public saw this speech - and realized something was amiss!

A well-educated patriotic woman and her husband stood there and reverently read through the speech. Here - from an email - is what happened:

“On the Pacific side of the memorial, a group gathered to read the words President Roosevelt used to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor:
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941-- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked."
One woman read the words aloud: " With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph."

But as she read, she was suddenly angry.
"Wait a minute," she said. "They left out the end of the quote. They left out the most important part. Roosevelt said 'so help us God."

"You're probably right," her husband said. "We're not supposed to say things like that now."

"I know I'm right," she insisted. "I remember the speech." The two shook their heads sadly and walked away.

Listening to their conversation, I thought to myself, "Well, it has been 50 years. She's probably forgotten."

But she was right.

I went home and pulled out the book my book club is reading. It's "Flags of Our Fathers" by James Bradley. It's all about Iwo Jima. I haven't gotten too far in the book. It's tough to read because it's a graphic description of the battles in the Pacific.

But right there it was on page 58. Roosevelt's speech to the nation. It ends "so help us God."

The people who edited out that part of the speech when they engraved it on the memorial could have fooled me. I was born after the war. But they couldn't fool the people who were there. Roosevelt's words are engraved on their hearts.”

So what happened?

The designers and builders of the World War II Memorial succumbed to Political Correctness!

What a disgrace this is!

To edit out FDR’s words from a historic speech is tantamount to what tyrants and autocrats do: change and omit events in their recountings of history to suit themselves. The Soviets and Saddam are recent examples of brutal leaders ‘altering’ history to suit themselves.

Where does General PX Kelly and the other folks who built and now run this Memorial get off with applying today’s anti-God, left-wing PC agenda to the facts of WWII?

(Please note that these same PC sycophants removed FDR’s trademark cigarette-holder, too. Guess smoking, too, is so ‘out’ these days that we cannot show the President as he truly was.)

Pressure needs to be applied on those who run the Memorial - including Senator Bob Dole - to correct these deliberate omissions as soon as possible. To fail to do so makes a sham of the entire Memorial.

Political Correctness is bad enough, but we do not now need it literally changing history.


When CBS News broke the story - immediately confirmed by the White House - that President Bush is “consulting” with a criminal defense attorney, the entire scope of the Valerie Plame/CIA leak investigation fundamentally changed.

This investigation is now on the front burner inside the DC Beltway - and may very well play a central role in this year’s presidential campaign.

While it is way, way too early to talk of Watergate analogies, it is already clear that this story will radically expand. When a president retains a criminal lawyer, it is a serious matter.

The White House has tried to play this down by parsing their words. Instead of claiming that he has hired the lawyer, they said he is “consulting” a lawyer and, if called to the Grand Jury, he would then hire him. In fact, the minute Mr. Bush first talked to this lawyer, Jim Sharp, attorney-client privilege kicked in and for all intents and purposes he is now Mr. Bush’s lawyer.

In the eyes of many, when a president hires a criminal lawyer it is a serious matter.

President Nixon hired James St. Claire to defend him during the Watergate matter. Bill Clinton hired Bob Bennett for the Paula Jones case and subsequent matters.

Let us explore some of the ramifications of this potentially explosive story:

1) Who leaked this to CBS News?

CBS News had it before anyone else which suggests the White House did not intend it to be disclosed. Rather, someone inside - either the White House or the investigation itself - leaked it.

Could it be someone in the White House, afraid of being made a scapegoat for the illegal leak of Plame’s name, “threw the snake” on Bush to deflect attention away from him or her?

Or did the leaker do it to let others know that Bush himself is in trouble?

2) What signal does this send?

For White House staffers - none of whom make a lot of money - they, too, may have hired expensive criminal lawyers. As in other White Houses under siege, this places huge pressure on these staffers - and some of them break and begin to cooperate with the federal authorities.

Mr. Bush hiring this lawyer also must mean that they have good reason to believe that Special Counsel Fitzgerald indeed is going to want to question the President.

Politically, if a President of the United States is asked or subpoened to a Grand Jury, that is big political news. To some, it also connotes guilt.

If Mr. Fitzgerald - brought in after Attorney General Ashcroft recused himself - did not yet know that the president had a lawyer, he does now. And he may read that as the president being worried over something he had previously denied any involvement in.

3) Where does this go from here?

Maybe nowhere. Maybe this just goes away.

Or maybe it grows into a bigger story than anyone had anticipated.

Because Fitzgerald seems so dogged and has had a Grand Jury working for five months, this may also become a major political story - even potentially a scandal.

Already NBC’s Tim Russert and a TIME MAGAZINE writer have been subpoened about their conversations with White House officials. Both have indicated that they will resist.

Valerie Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson claims that three high level White House aides were involved in the smearing of his wife: Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams and Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby.

Here is the key question for President Bush: could these three men - or any of them - have leaked Plame’s name to DC reporters without the President knowing about it?

In this super-controlled-from-the-top White House, with its MBA crispness, could an orchestrated campaign to tear down an administration critic - Wilson - be conducted without someone at the top - Bush, Cheney, Chief of Staff Card or Rove - knowing about it?

4) November 2004:

If this story grows in intensity, it is certain to become a political issue in this year’s campaign.

Please remember the devastating effect Cap Weinberger’s Friday-before-the-election indictment had on the first President Bush’s re-election campaign in 1992. That announcement from the Special Prosecutor took the wind out of the Bush sails with just four days to go.

With five months left before Election Day, this Plame Leak Investigation has the potential to become a huge issue.


More and more people are now asking, “What would happen if there is another attack...another 9/11...before the November election?”

They are wondering if such an attack would have a similar political effect as the Madrid bombing did just scant days before their recent national election.

Let us recall that the devastating Madrid bombing was a simultaneous series of remote-controlled suitcase bombs placed on multiple trains and timed to go off during the morning rush hour.

Spain’s 9/11 changed their political landscape but not because of the attack itself so much as because the pro-war Spanish government tried to lay the blame on the Basque Separatist Movement to keep the focus off of Spanish involvement in Iraq.

This dishonest investigation was the real cause for the Spanish government to fall in that election.

Let us examine a possible new attack here and how it might impact our upcoming Presidential election:

1) Could it happen here? Yes, indeed! Let me give an example of how easy Al Qaeda could do a ‘Madrid’-style multiple-train bombing here this year:

In New York City, the famed Pennsylvania Station receives - all at the same time - trains from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), AMTRAK, Metro North, the New Jersey PATH trains and the New York Subway system. That is five different sets of trains all arriving and departing from the same building at the same time. Tens of thousands of people moving in and out of one station at the same time.

By the way, Penn Station is directly underneath Madison Square Garden - the site of this year’s GOP Convention. (Most observers believe security on all trains will be raised for the week of the convention.)

As a regular rider on both the subways and the LIRR, let me assure you that there is absolutely no security whatsoever!

Al Qaeda could easily place cell phone-activated bombs on 10 different trains - all timed to detonate at the same time during the morning rush hour.

The destruction would be enormous and the death toll huge.

And, under present security conditions, there is virtually nothing to stop it!

There is no security on any of these trains whatsoever. Anyone can buy tickets and get on any train.

This same scenario could happen in any number of major cities: Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis and on and on.

Here are some worrisome recent events: two weeks ago the Feds discovered a commercially-purchased motion detector attached to the AMTRAK lines just north of Philadelphia.

And there have also been several reports from the Department of Homeland Security of sightings of foreigners ‘filming’ trains and train tracks in New York.

Could this be in preparation for a Madrid-style attack?

2) Political Effects: does a Madrid-style - i.e. late-in-the-election-cycle - attack help or hurt G.W. Bush?

No one knows for sure what effect an attack would have but opinions vary. Some believe that the American people will “rally to the commander in chief” - as they often do during a national crisis.

Others believe that such an attack will prove that the Bush Team - having three years after 9/11 to prep for an other attack - has failed and thus his rationale for re-election will have been stripped away.

As in Madrid, the immediate handling of the investigation may also become an issue in the race. Any ‘steering’ or ‘manipulating’ of the investigation could tilt the election.

And what of the economic impact of another attack? 9/11 crushed our economy for over two years. And even now, despite glowing economic data, the American people still have a negative view of the economy.

Add onto that yet another blow of national and international proportions and the pessimism and gloom would only expand. Could that hurt the President’s re-election campaign?

Kerry, of course, would attack Bush for “failing to protect us” and for “instigating more terrorism by his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.”

And last week’s terror non-alert - where the Department of Justice hyped the fear of the 7 potential terrorists while the Department of Homeland Security refused to raise the alert level only makes it all look like Team Bush is manipulating the terror issue for political purposes.

Conclusion: A) We are not prepared to prevent a Madrid-style massive simultaneous train attack; and B) such an attack could tilt the election.