Jewish World Review July 28, 2003/ 28 Tamuz, 5763

Wesley Pruden

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To hell and gone with the Dems | The dispatch of Saddam Hussein's sons to hell (unless Ol' Scratch turned them away to preserve standards) offers a grim preview of what we can expect in the '04 presidential campaign. Even Bill Clinton is covering his eyes.

Some of the embittered Democrats can't bear it that George W. is getting a lift, just when he needs it most, with the deaths of Uday and Qusai. Suddenly the war in Iraq and by extension the larger war on Islamist terror is back in razor-sharp focus.

John Kerry, the French-looking pursuer of Howard Dean, and Dick Gephardt, the subject earlier of an all-points bulletin by the Missing Persons Bureau, had just delivered themselves of cranky critiques of George W.'s stewardship of the war when the news rumbled in from Baghdad that Saddam's evil sons had been slain in a shootout with American troops. Timing, alas, is everything.

By the looks of the boys in the post-mortem photographs, released yesterday to reassure frightened Iraqis that they are in fact still dead, the virgins who awaited them in Islamist paradise have very little to look forward to. Uday and Qusai arrived in paradise via a connecting flight from Paris with faces that only embittered Democrats, trembling at the prospect of four more years of George W., could appreciate.

Here's a typical flight of fantasy from one of the Web sites where Democrats who were unable to raise the bus fare home from Florida go to cry with each other: "Doesn't a part of you wish that Queasy and Duh-day were alive? I'll admit that they're scum and rightfully so, but anything that lands as even more humiliation on W's grotesque shriveled face is that much better. It's sad, really, that as despicable as they are, Saddam's family seems to be the lesser of two evils when you compare them to the wretched little [unimaginative epithet] occupying the White House and destroying America in the process ... ."

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But it's not just the loons and hayseeds marooned in cyberspace without their meds. Some of the loons live among us. Here's Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, a bulb about as bright as it gets in the modern Democratic Party, telling Fox News: "We have a law on the books that the United States should not be assassinating anybody. When you personalize a war and when you're saying that you're killing someone's kids, then they in turn would think that they kill somebody. How can you get so much satisfaction out of the fact that two bums have been killed? We got bums all over the world and some in the United States. I personally don't get any satisfaction that it takes, you know, 200,000 troops, 250,000 troops, to knock off two bums."

You might expect a distinguished member of Congress, even one fretting about Saddam's "kids," to have a greater command of basic facts, such as (1) there is no law against political assassination, merely an executive order, signed by Gerald Ford, and subject to repeal with the stroke of George W.'s pen, (2) these were not assassinations, but the kind of killings that are perfectly legitimate in a war, and (3) the elimination of the Hussein "kids" required only a squad of soldiers. Far fewer, in fact, than the number of constituted officers who went after the James gang or Bonnie and Clyde, with no disrespect intended to the James gang or to Bonnie or even Clyde. The Allies landed at Omaha Beach in 1944 without a search warrant, if the Hon. Mr. Rangel seeks another tangent to fly off on.

This is mindless hip-hop that frightens the shrewder Democrats, who understand that it's lethal, but not to George W. and his Republicans. Firing up the base is important, and every pol understands that candidates pander to the fringes in the primary stage of the campaign, but voters hardly have to be reminded that the suicide urge that Democrats have to keep in permanent restraint is the urge to fall on the swords of the nation's enemies. Nobody in Poughkeepsie, Topeka or Boise is eager to take the trouble to figure out whether George W. should have cited British intelligence, or whether Saddam wanted to eat his Niger yellowcake and have it, too. They do understand that it was a lot of ado about not very much. Bill Clinton, of all people, is clear about that, even if a lot of his old constituents aren't: "We should be pulling for America on this," he told CNN's Larry King the other night. "... You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in a while. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think."

Good advice, particularly on the eve of an election year, from the man who knows more than almost anyone about maintaining political viability within the system.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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