Team Bush’s ham-handed campaign to pursuade the American people and the world community that a preemptive war with Iraq is necessary is not working.

The startling results of the latest Fox New Poll show that support for the war has actually declined as President Bush has devoted more and more time to it.

In early September 66% of the American people favored a pre-emptive war with Iraq – even if we have to go it alone.

Three weeks later that number has declined to 58%.


Because the Bush Administration has run an awful public relations campaign. Internal squabbling, repeated leaking and – most of all – shifting rationales for the war have made the American people wary of this war.

The Bush spokesmen have trotted out each and every possible reason why we need this war: Saddam has used chemical and biological weapons on his own people; Saddam is trying to build a nuke; Saddam has WMD (weapons of mass destruction); Saddam is a threat to his neighbors; Saddam harbors Al Qaeda terrorists; Saddam invaded Kuwait 12 years ago; Saddam tried to assassinate a former United States president while visiting a liberated Kuwait.

Yet as each of these justifications has been made during the summer and since Labor Day when the President and the Congress returned to DC, the public – which has always wanted to see Saddam deposed since the premature decision in 1991 by Bush I, Defense Secretary Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Powell to allow Saddam to remain in power – has backed off its desire to send our troops streaming into Iraq.

The more the people think about it the less they like it.

And the more the President tries to convince them, the less convinced they become.

The White House is increasingly frustrated over internal polls that mirror the Fox News poll. Thus, the President’s heart-felt – but ill-advised – admission in Houston Thursday night that Saddam “is the man who tried to kill my dad.”

This ‘personalization’ of the war – coupled with former President Bush’s honest admission last week that “I have hatred in my heart for Saddam” – is a huge political mistake.

In the Muslim world of the Middle East millions of people now see the United States – not as a force for freedom and liberation – but as the tool of a family vendetta against a Muslim country.

This is a public relations disaster.

No wonder most of Europe has backed away from the American position – even though they all agree that Saddam is evil.

What George Bush needs to realize is the ‘selling’ of this war is as important as the fighting of it.

Sold properly the world will agree with us – just as they did after 9/11 and our retaliation against the Taliban.

But sold improperly and the United States looks like the ‘bad guy.’

For those who shrug and dismissively ask, “who cares?” the answer is simple: 9/11 has shown us that the Middle East is a breeding ground for young Muslim men filled with a hopeless rage and willing to vent it by martyring themselves while killing Americans.

An improperly ‘sold’ war against Iraq will only create yet another generation of these young ‘human killing machines’ filled with a rage against America.

G.W. Bush often says he is trying to emulate Ronald Reagan. But Old Dutch knew public relations better than any American president – ever.

He was able to take an equally skeptical France and Germany twenty years ago and get them onboard for the controversial deployment of intermediate missiles aimed at the Soviet Union. President Reagan was able to convince those people to do something they were afraid of – and it worked.

Why? Because he knew how to ‘sell’ it!

G.W. Bush has fumbled and sputtered – and, frankly, gotten ahead of himself – and finds that he now is ‘leading’ the American people to a conclusion he does not favor: waiting for the UN.

The lesson: a clear focus based only on facts – with much less hype and much less talk and bragging - is the only way to lead the American people toward war.


No new articles have been published in two weeks due to a technical error in the blogging company. I have written pieces during this time - and, if you want to read them, they are to be found at www.newsmax.com.

Hopefully this technical glitch will soon be solved! Thank you for your patience!


We are right in the midst of the so-called political “silly season” – that eight week post-Labor Day lead-up to Election Day when everything any politician does has to be viewed through a political prism.

A few observations:

1) Senator Bob Smith – heartily endorsed in this space in August – indeed lost his primary to Representative John Sununu. Why did Smith lose – especially since he had twice as much money in the bank for the primary? The answer must be that Smith’s 1999 departure from the GOP to run for President as an Independent– blasting his party for “abandoning conservative principles” – and then meekly returning just weeks later when a juicy committee chairmanship was dangled in his face – made Smith the laughingstock of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Bob Smith is a good man – and was a damn good Senator. But many Granite State Republicans were ‘embarrassed’ by Smith’s national ambitions. They were the ones – including former Senator Warren Rudman – who urged young Sununu to give up his safe House seat and challenge Smith.

OK, that’s over and done with. For those of you who generously sent donations to Bob Smith because of my on-line letter, thank you! Now we have to rally to Congressman Sununu’s side and help him win this vital seat. He is, by the way, ahead by nine points over left-wing Governor Jeane Shaheen, a Hillary clone. We must keep that seat.

2) Of course the tight race to get control of the US Senate is the key overall race this fall. The House is staying in Republican hands – for certain. But lingering behind the scenes is another key race: governorships that may impact the 2004 presidential race. Specifically, the Big States – California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan. As of today, the Democrats feel they may keep California, re-take Michigan and Pennsylvania, and make Republican Governors in Florida (Jeb Bush) and New York (Pataki) sweat – and spend money.

These states are crucial in the 2004 Electoral College count.

Of course California – which went heavily for Gore in 2000 – is the Big Enchilada. Governor Gray Davis is very beatable but his GOP opponent, Bill Simon, Jr., has run a weak campaign so far. But he is still ‘in’ the race; anything could still happen.

The Democrats have their eye on an even more ‘sexy’ taget: Jeb Bush. They feel that if they could knock one Bush off this year, then in 2004 the older brother will also be vulnerable.

Keep your eye on these Governorships – especially Florida. That is the Democrats’ Biggest Race this year.

3) Fox’s announcement that its FX cable channel is going to stage an American Idol-type television contest to pick a new Presidential candidate in 2004 is a total joke.

Politics is serious business. It should not be reduced to some phony contest. War, death, safety and security are serious topics that shouldn’t be MTV’d into sophomoric television.

Prediction: this show will go nowhere. FX is difficult to find and there won’t be enough audience for it to be a big hit. Sure, the media will give it some attention – but let us not demean serious political work by making a game show out of it.


With the looming war against Iraq dividing the United States from the rest of the world – including many long-time allies like Canada – is there an alternative from the all-out ground invasion that guarantees Saddam’s removal and certain American casualties?

Yes, there is.

Team Bush is constantly shifting the reasons for a war.

One day it is ‘regime change’ in Baghdad.

Then it is because Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

Then it is because Iraq harbors terrorists.

The only rationale that could possibly justify a pre-emptive invasion – and the certain shedding of American blood – is if Saddam has WMD and is about to use them against Americans or American interests.

The Presidential decision to order a combat mission is, indeed, certain to result in American soldiers dying. That is a decision that is the single most important any President can make.

The question needs to framed this way: is it worth the lives of our American soldiers to bring about ‘regime change’?

My answer: no.

Why not?

Because Saddam minus his WMD is no threat to Americans or American interests.

Here is a simple – and less controversial plan:

Tonight – or as soon as possible – the United States and England should radically expand the already-ongoing bombing campaign inside Iraq. (Yes, you do realize that we are constantly hitting Iraqi radar facilities every time the Iraqis ‘light up’ a Coalition plane in the two No-Fly Zones in Iraq.)

So, instead of confining these bombing missions to Iraqi violations of the No-Fly Zone rules, we should immediately attack each and every Presidential site – there are 300 of them – and every site where we think Saddam has ever developed, stored or removed WMD.

That probably means over 600 sites in total.

All should be hit at once – and as simultaneously as possible to prevent him from moving WMD materials.

Using Cruise missiles and Stealth bombers this mission can happen with minimal risk to US pilots and servicemen.

The result of this attack will be the neutering of Saddam’s ability to hit Americans and American interests.

No, it will not bring about ‘regime change.’ But it really isn’t America’s business to be picking governments we like or dislike and “changing” them.

Once we begin doing that, there are literally dozens of governments we would want to “change.”

But this bombing plan averts a ground invasion certain to result not only in American deaths but also cause Saddam to unleash all his WMD is one final fury.

Why not simply eliminate – or at least greatly reduce -Saddam’s WMD?

Sure, he’ll still be in power for a while longer. But his ability to threaten us or our allies will be greatly reduced for years to come. And the charade of UN inspections won’t be necessary as there won’t be any sites to inspect!

This ‘neutering’ plan is far more preferable than an all-out US invasion – and the consequent problems certain to come from the post-war administration of a Moslem country.


Six weeks. Not one suicide bombing inside Israel.

Now – two within 24 hours.


Why is it beginning again?

Because – as predicted in this space 3 days ago – Saddam Hussein wants to distract the world, especially Western Europe, from the increasingly poisonous Washington-Baghdad confrontation. And he learned last spring that renewed violence in Israel and subsequent Israeli retaliation makes for great television pictures of dead Jews and Israeli soldiers chasing young Arabs.

You can bet that Monday evening’s letter from Iraq to the United Nations ‘accepting’ no precondition-inspections was a mere ploy to buy time while Saddam’s minions squirrel away their mobile labs and nuke materials. But, to ensure, even more time, Saddam’s agents are again launching these suicide bombers into Israeli crowds – designed to provide pictures of civilian carnage.

How else to explain this sudden renewal of the bombings?

Especially when there has been genuine progress in talks between Israeli leaders and Palestinians? And also at a time when some courageous Palestinian leaders have begun to back away from Yasser Arafat.

Now the question is this: when and if Israeli retaliates, will that put the Israeli-Palestinian Problem on the world’s front burner again – or have we seen this story once too often?

Meanwhile, the United Nations is clearly trying to put the brakes on President Bush’s desire to launch a pre-emptive war on Iraq. The latest news is that the UN wants to give Saddam one year for inspections.

This is going to drive Team Bush up the wall! Which may be the intent.

But the Bush Administration is going to have a tough time ‘going it alone.’ If it looks like the UN is conducting ‘real’ inspections, then most people prefer to wait.

It’s reminiscent of World War II Red Cross ‘inspections’ of German POW camps. The Germans would create a ‘model’ POW camp – clean, healthy-looking US and Allied prisoners, well dressed with good blankets on the beds. As soon as the inspectors left, everything was removed – and any POW’s who tried to signal the Red Cross that it was all a canard would get the hell beaten out of them.

Inspections are a sham.

But, somehow, G.W. Bush lost hold of this debate and has allowed inspections to be the crucial item.

Rummy is trying to reshape the debate into ‘disarmament,’ but it’s a little too late. The issue has become the no-advance-notice inspections. If you study what these are, they are a total joke. Saddam has 300 ‘Presidential Sites,’ which are off-limits to these UN inspectors. He can stash his labs and materials there and appear clean! And the UN will let him!

It is a mess – and soon it may be pushed off the front page by further atrocities inside civil centers of Israel.


The announcement that Iraq will allow the UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq – with “no pre-conditions” – is, of course, a total charade orchestrated by Saddam.

Here is what he will now do:

While buying time with this announcement, Saddam wants to get the world’s focus off him and onto some other “story.” He learned this past spring that violence inside Israel and on the West Bank took the heat off him. He even publicly announced that he was paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Why? Because he knew that the entire Arab world cares more about hurting Israel than about displacing Saddam.

So by fomenting trouble elsewhere in the Middle East he took the focus off his own malfeasance.

You can bet that right this very minute Saddam is exploring an even more horrendous Palestinian attack on Israel – with no trace back to Baghdad - again to divert American and world focus off Iraq.

Don’t be surprised to see Saddam – using Palestinian ‘cut-outs’ – use biological weapons in heavily populated Israeli locations – to really gum things up.

Also, look for an unexpected Saddam move toward his former archenemy: Iran.

Iran, you say?

Let us remember that in the Gulf War, Saddam flew his entire Air Force to Iran and parked it in the Iranian mountains. Who would have thunk it, eh?

War enemies for most of the 1980’s, Iran and Iraq suddenly drew closer when the Great Satan came into the region.

Last week the Iranian government announced some level of support for Baghdad in light of President Bush’s UN speech.

Don’t be surprised to see an “alliance of convenience” if war becomes imminent. Don’t be shocked if Saddam cedes “temporary sovereignty” over his oil fields to Iran – in return for safe harbor for himself and close allies inside Iran.

Nothing - absolutely nothing - should surprise us when it comes to Saddam.

Before we get to that stage, though, Saddam will buy more time. He will stall and delay and jerk around gullible UN diplomats – i.e. wimps – and when the inspectors arrive in Iraq they are not going to go where they want. Period. We know that. The question is: how mad will the UN then get? Mad enough to authorize war?

Or will Saddam have by then launched some new atrocity that once again allows him to survive?


Here are a few questions that need to be answered before we remove Saddam’s regime from power. And, please, understand something: this columnist was the first published writer after the 9/11 attacks to pin the blame not on Osama, but on Saddam. You can go to my Newsmax archives and check it out. Saddam, the clever sociopath, has always used ‘cut-outs’ to do his dirty dealing. He used Osama’s suicidal followers to carry out his wishes.

So I bring nothing but deep skepticism about the Iraqi role in all acts of international terrorism – especially both the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

Still, there are some odd happenings that need to be explained before American blood is shed.

1) If Saddam’s regime is such a threat to us, then why not a word about this from the Bush Administration in 2001? Not a mention before 9/11 – and nothing after it either. Al Qaeda was the sole focus.

2) How could Iraq suddenly be such a threat in mid-summer/early fall of 2002 but not six months earlier?

3) Why has Team Bush gone out of its way to de-link Saddam from Osama? Why the repeated ‘discrediting’ of the Czech intelligence (BIS) report that Mohammed Atta visited Prague five months before 9/11 and secretly met with an Iraqi agent?

4) What is our real intent here – weapons control or ‘regime change’? Why has Team Bush sent such mixed messages?

5) Even GOP senators – after intelligence briefings by CIA and Donald Rumsfeld – have been so disappointed with the quality of information on Iraq that they have personally complained to President Bush. What exactly do we know about Iraq? Does the CIA have anything solid that has suddenly elevated Iraq above all the other Axis of Evil states as a dire threat?

6) Is there another reason for this imminent war? Is this all a diversion of some sort? To get our minds off the faltering economy and the Enronitis infecting corporate America? Or, perhaps, to rally the political forces for the November elections? Or to hide some other problem? Remember the photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton supposedly dancing lovingly in their bathing suits on the beach in Jamaica? That was leaked just before the Monica story came out to set us up for what was certain to come. Is this new Iraq Campaign a similar pre-emptive PR move?

7) Are we ready for Saddam – desperate like a cornered rat – to unleash these weapons because we have provoked him? Will we have brought about the very result we fear?

8) What are we going to do to Russia? They have supplied tons of military equipment to Baghdad – in direct violation of UN sanctions - and no one has said anything about it? Does Bush still think Vladimir Putin has a ‘soul’?

9) Why did former President George Bush this week tell Associated Press he thinks “CIA Director George Tenet is doing a great job”? What does Tenet – a Clinton appointee – have on the Bushes?

10) Why is Tenet still in his job? What kind of intelligence failure is big and bad enough to warrant a head to roll in the CIA and the FBI?


To all my loyal and wonderful readers, please excuse the rambling nature of today's column. The 9/11 ceremonies – coupled with a late night watching primary returns –
have caused me to write a piece covering several unrelated topics:

1) End of the 'Kennedy Mystique.' Yesterday's primary defeat for Mark Shriver, Sen. Teddy Kennedy's nephew and the son of R. Sargent Shriver, in a Democratic
congressional primary in Maryland tops off a very bad year for the once-unbeatable Kennedy clan. Andrew Cuomo, married to Kerry Kennedy, RFK's daughter, blew himself
out of the water in New York running for governor. He had traded heavily on his Kennedy connection.

And up in their home base of Boston, two Kennedys had to
not run at all. RFK's son Max dropped out of a congressional run because he was such a poor candidate. And his older brother Joe, the former congressman,
had to drop out of the governor's race because of the fallout from another brother's philandering with an underage babysitter.

Finally, RFK's oldest child, Maryland's Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is in peril as she runs for governor. In what should be a sure-fire 'lock,' she is struggling
as a weak and shallow candidate in a solidly Democrat state. Look for Republican Bob Ehrlich to upset her in November.

So the once-vaunted 'Kennedy Mystique' seems to have died a death of overindulgence, laziness, drugs and decadence.

2) Today's 9/11 ceremonies are wonderfully well done. But we all need to keep one thing in mind: We have not yet won this war – not by a long shot! Al Qaeda is
alive and well – and still able to disseminate its message. That means someone somewhere is still running things.

Unless and until we wipe out that someone, we have not yet won this war. Not by a long shot.

We should take our grief from 9/11 – and our anger at what the enemy did – and use that as a reminder that we have to wipe them all out before they kill more Americans.

3) Iraq: As predicted here last week, the Bush-Blair coalition has no choice but to try to use the United Nations to provide the legality for an invasion of Iraq. Beginning
tomorrow, President Bush will have to convince skeptical so-called allies to go along with our new Pre-emptive Invasion Doctrine (PID).

The problem with PID is that, once we do it, other nations can and will do the same thing. Red China can invade Taiwan, citing some ridiculous reason – and we won't have
a leg to stand on. Same with Russia, Iran, Syria and Pakistan.

Why not simply a series of cruise missile strikes on all Iraqi military and scientific sites coupled with a proper embargo of Iraq? No U.S. troops lost or gassed. No invasion.
Just a surgical 'cancer bombardment' backed up with a noose tightening to keep out all secret military shipments through Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

That should prevent Saddam from completing his nuke program. And it will cripple his economy even more, too.

What he does to his own people is, frankly, not our problem.

Please, let's remember that we Republicans – and G.W. Bush especially – in the 2000 race made a big point of being against 'nation building' and having our fingers in too
many pies.

Now we are going to take on the huge task of taking over Iraq and trying to run that place?

No thanks!

Let's just contain and starve the Saddam Cancer. That's the best treatment plan we can design.

4) Thank God we are alive – one year after this horror. Now, "let's roll" over all al Qaeda agents and cells everywhere.


With polls showing American public opinion declining for a pre-emptive invasion Iraq, George W. Bush needs to do something neither he nor his father liked to do: sell a policy through public communication.

Unlike his so-called political model – Ronald Reagan – G.W. Bush is often an uninspiring speaker who lacks focus, too often stumbles mid-sentence and tries to get away with a canned ‘photo op’ one-liner.

However, his post-9/11 speech to Congress was excellent.

He is now going to need a series of similar speeches – to the United Nations, to the American people and to Congress – in order to convince a growing group of skeptics to do something new: a pre-emptive war which will certainly cause the very result we condemn: Saddam using chemical and biological ‘weapons of mass destruction.’

Here is the problem:

The Administration simply does not have hard intelligence that Saddam is suddenly a threat to us. Yes, Saddam has these awful weapons – and can probably launch them toward Israel. But hitting the USA from 12,000 miles is a different story.

Let’s face it: our intelligence gathering is atrocious.

The CIA is a joke.

And all they do is hide behind the ago-old dodge: National Security.

That is a convenient way for them to hide their errors.

Yesterday, when briefing Members of Congress – including pro-war Republican conservatives - neither Bush nor Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had any hard intelligence! None!

No wonder they can’t sell this new war to our allies!

The New York Times today reports : “Yet so far the body language of administration officials suggests the new evidence is scant, and by all accounts Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld offered little new evidence at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill this afternoon.”

Here is what Team Bush ought to do:

1) Get on the same page. Get a policy – and stick with it! These guys are winging it every day – with Cheney saying one thing and Powell the exact opposite. And then they lamely claim they are in agreement.

2) This confusion is a sign of an administration in total disarray and a President not in charge.

3) No wonder the economy and the markets are sluggish. What confidence does Washington inspire with such mixed messages flying through the air?

4) Our policy probably ought to be to let Saddam hang himself. Let the United Nations cut a new deal with Saddam to allow inspectors back in. Then, when Saddam plays his usual ‘stall while we move our stuff’ game, the UN will have proof of his perfidy. Then it will not be so tough to get allies to help us.

5) Getting allies – even Canada, a staunch friend – on board is vital for a number of reasons. The American people – polls show – are uneasy about a go-it-alone strategy.

6) Instead of a ground invasion, why don’t we consider ‘taking out’ all his suspected bunkers, chemical labs and ‘presidential palaces’ with our excellent and highly accurate precision bombing capability? We are even more accurate today than we were during the Gulf War – and that was damn good.

7) Israel back in 1982 in one quick air strike knocked out Saddam’s nuclear plant about to go online. Such a pre-emptive air strike ought to be the model we consider here. The American people would support that overwhelmingly.

8) The problem with a ground invasion is the thought of American boys dying. The key question for a President and for each and every American citizen to consider: is ‘regime change’ in Baghdad worth the life of my son?

9) Most American people do not believe it is worth American lives – not if we can reduce the threat of his weapons by high tech bombing to wipe out his labs and factories.