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January 12, 2004
11:00pm EST

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Monday, January 5, 2004 3:06 p.m. EST

Saddam's 'Sex Therapist'
Back in April, the Boston Globe reports, a "sex therapist" called Susan Block, wrote a lurid pro-Saddam essay (warning: link contains adult material) in which she likened the liberation of Iraq to rape:

The supreme victory for the rapist is proof that his victim "enjoyed" it. Though he may force his way into her property, demolish her home, murder her loved ones, pillage her belongings, though he may terrify and humiliate her, beat and batter her, break her bones and tear her flesh, spill her blood, wound her organs and lay waste to her very soul, if, in the midst of the rape, between tears and shrieks of agony, if his victim should, for a moment, for some reason, any reason, if she should smile, or, better yet, orgasm [sic], the rapist is redeemed; he is even (in his mind) heroic.

This is why, when the Anglo-American rape of Iraq began, we so desperately searched the Iraqi faces on our televisions for a smile.

Block's imagery is particularly twisted given that Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime actually used rape as a tool of political control. But whatever, she's just another harmless left-wing nut case, right?

Unfortunately, wrong. The Globe reports that Yeni Safak, an Islamist newspaper in Turkey, cited Block's essay in a "report" that claimed American soldiers had raped more than 4,000 Iraqi women. The rumor seems to have incited at least one terrorist attack in Istanbul:

Nurullah Kuncak says his father, Ilyas Kuncak, was boiling about the rumored rapes just before he killed himself delivering the huge car bomb that devasted [sic] the Turkish headquarters of HSBC bank last month, killing a dozen people and wounding scores more.

''Didn't you see, the American soldiers raped Iraqi women,'' Nurullah said in a recent interview. ''My father talked to me about it. . . . Thousands of rapes are in the records. Can you imagine how many are still secret?''

Since Sept. 11, "Why do they hate us?" has been a stock question of the anti-American left. One reason they hate us is because of the diligent efforts of homegrown haters like Susan Block.

The Spirit of '76
"Afghans approved a new constitution on Sunday, embracing a deal shaped in three weeks of rancorous debate as a chance to cement a fragile peace and push ahead with reconstruction two years after a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban regime," the Associated Press reports from Kabul. Think about this. Here is a country from which, 28 months ago, terrorists launched a brutal attack against American civilians. How does America respond? By bringing democracy to a nation that has suffered through a quarter century of communism, civil war and moonbat Muslim rule.

Similarly, the New York Times reports that "the Bush administration has decided to let the Kurdish region remain semi-autonomous as part of a newly sovereign Iraq despite warnings from Iraq's neighbors and many Iraqis not to divide the country into ethnic states." A stateless people, oppressed in every country they inhabit (Iran, Syria and Turkey as well as Iraq), finally has a hope for self-rule, thanks to the U.S. acting to protect its own national security.

In the 20th century, of course, America also liberated Europe from the Nazis, Asia from the Japanese and (in a more roundabout way) Russia and Eastern Europe from communism--not to mention finally making good on its own promise of equal citizenship. The U.S. may not be perfect, but it's hard to think of any greater force for good in human history.

Embedded in Reuterville
One U.S. soldier died when a helicopter went down Friday, the Associated Press reports:

Soon after the helicopter crashed on Friday, the military said attackers posing as journalists fired assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at American paratroopers guarding the burning aircraft.

But there was confusion since Reuters news agency reported that its team at the scene was fired at by U.S. troops and three were later detained by the military.

Hmm, could it be that the guys at Reuters are getting a little too close to the story?

Weasel Watch
"Some 300 female supporters of Islamic Jihad marched Monday through the streets of Gaza City protesting a French proposal to bar Muslim women from wearing headscarves in state schools," the Associated Press reports. A related story comes from al-Jazeera:

Thousands of Muslim worshippers shouted "death to France" during Friday prayers in Tehran after a sermon denounced a French plan to ban the hijab in schools.

Ayat Allah Ahmad Jannati called on Islamic countries to "threaten France with cancelling contracts and to reconsider their relations with France" over the issue. . . .

Jannati assured worshippers that all that was necessary was "a roar from Muslims, and the French would back off."

Could it be that even little girls are too formidable a foe for the French?

Dean Goes Job Hunting
Why did God give Howard Dean a mouth? So he'd have someplace to put his foot. The foaming-at-the-mouth front-runner continues to say idiotic things about religion, as Reuters reports:

He said a trip to Israel in December 2002, when he had already been to Iowa a couple of times looking into a possible presidential bid, had a particularly dramatic effect on him.

"If you know much about the Bible--which I do--to see and be in the place where Christ was and understand the intimate history of what was going on 2000 years ago is an exceptional experience," he said.

Asked to name his favorite book in the New Testament, Dean cited Job--which is in the Old Testament.

In a Republican debate back in 1999, George W. Bush was asked to name his favorite "political philosopher or thinker." He answered: "Christ, because he changed my heart," then elaborated: "When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that's what happened to me."

One might complain that Bush didn't answer the question, since Jesus Christ was not in fact a political philosopher. Then again, if you watch any of these debates, you'll see the candidates almost always dodge the question and say what they want to say. And Bush's nonanswer answer was pretty smart, for it deftly accomplished what Dean is now trying to do: let Christian voters know he's one of them.

Dean has talked an awful lot about how he plans to talk about his faith, but on the rare occasions when he actually does talk about his faith, you get the impression that he thinks Jesus really was a political philosopher. On Christmas Day the Boston Globe quoted Dean as explaining why he left the Episcopal Church to become a Congregationalist: "I didn't think [opposing the bike path] was very Godlike and thought it was hypocritical of me to be a member of such an institution."

Today's Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, quotes Dean as asking a group of voters: "Don't you think Jerry Falwell reminds you a lot more of the Pharisees than he does of the teachings of Jesus? And don't you think this campaign ought to be about evicting the money changers from the temple?" One wonders what George Soros thinks of the latter idea.

The contrast between the Bush and Dean approaches to religion is instructive. To Bush, religion is a source of personal strength and guidance. To Dean, by contrast, it dictates policy: God told me to build a bike path. Dean has criticized his Democratic opponents as "Bush lite," but he seems to be Pat Robertson lite.

What Would Pat Robertson Do Without God?
"Pat Robertson: God Says Bush Will Win in 2004"--headline, FoxNews.com, Jan. 2

Yeah, Right
A long New York Times magazine article on Democratic foreign policy contains this quote from Howard Dean:

"The line of attack [on President Bush] is not Iraq, though there'll be some of that. The line of attack will be more, 'What have you done to make us feel safer?' I'm going to outflank him to the right on homeland security, on weapons of mass destruction and on the Saudis,'' whom Dean promises to publicly flay as a major source of terrorism. ''Our model is to get around the president's right, as John Kennedy did to Nixon.''

Will this approach work? Well, ponder this question: Whom would Osama bin Laden rather have in the White House, George W. Bush or Howard Dean?

One man who doesn't buy Dean's JFK analogy is George McGovern, the 1972 antiwar candidate. "McGovern recently said that he is a big fan of Howard Dean, whose campaign reminds him very much of his own," the Times reports. Meanwhile, Time's Joe Klein likens Dean to another candidate who tried to get to Nixon's right:

Watching Dean on the stump these past few weeks, I tried to remember the last Democratic politician who was so joyously vituperative. . . . I realized that he reminded me of George Wallace--a liberal version, to be sure, and without the theatrical racism. But Wallace was about a lot more than racism. He was about the inanities of Washington, the "pointy-headed intellectuals who can't park their bicycles straight." He was a little guy too, with the same chestiness, the same rolled-up sleeves as Dean. He was congenitally pugnacious, a former boxer (Dean was a wrestler). He claimed to provide a voice for the voiceless--albeit a set of alienated Americans very different from Dean's affluent Net surfers. Wallace voters were, well, white guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. And he was a formidable national candidate.

We'd say if Dean gets the nomination, he has a pretty good chance of exceeding the 13.5% of the popular vote Wallace got as the American Independent Party's nominee in 1968. Matching Wallace's 46 electoral votes may be a taller order.

Hey, here's an idea for how Dean could get to Bush's right. On a Web site called BrandChannel.com, one Viejo Hytti, a goofy-looking Finnish consultant, argues that the president is actually antibusiness:

Looking at the top ten brands, the images of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, Disney and Ford are strongly rooted in American heritage. For some of them, country of origin, is the strongest single factor affecting the brand image and brand value. . . . We've seen many cases already where American brands have been injured by politics, such as Mecca Cola against Coca-Cola, Chinese competitors against Microsoft, and McDonald's struggle with social responsibility. If the Bush Administration continues its foreign politics strategy, I can guarantee there will be more difficulties for US companies and brands to maintain their market share in foreign markets.

May we suggest this Dean slogan: Iraqi lives aren't worth a single point of Coke's market share!

The Terrorists Have Won, and So Has Dean
"Dean Cites Terror Alert as Vindication"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 2

And We're Throwing Our Own Surprise Birthday Party
"Dean to Make Surprise Visit to N.H."--headline, Boston Globe, Jan. 5

The New Republican
Election Day is still 10 months off, but Republicans have already picked up a Texas House seat as a result of a GOP gerrymander that replaced the old Democratic gerrymander. Eighty-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall, a conservative who was first elected to the House as a Democrat in 1980, has filed to run in the Republican primary. "I think I can get re-elected much easier if I run as a Republican," the Associated Press quotes Hall as saying.

Party-switching from Democrat to Republican has been fairly common in recent decades; among those who've made the switch, as an outdated CNN list notes, are former and current senators Strom Thurmond (S.C.), Phil Gramm (Texas), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colo.) and representatives Bob Stump (Ariz.), Nathan Deal (Ga.), Billy Tauzin (La.) and Virgil Goode (Va.), though Goode was an independent for a time before he became a Republican.

GOP-to-Dem switches are far rarer; the only one CNN lists is Rep. Michael Forbes of New York, who jumped in 1999, then lost a primary to a candidate who in turn lost the 2000 general election to a Republican--though the Democrats picked up the seat in 2002.

The U.S. Senate Web site, meanwhile, has a list of senators who've switched parties since 1890. (Gramm doesn't appear because he actually made the change while in the House.) Interestingly, not a single senator went directly from the Republican to the Democratic party, though two (Henry Teller of Colorado and Fred DuBois of Idaho, around a century ago) became "Silver Republicans" and then Democrats, and one (Wayne Morse of Oregon, at midcentury) became an independent and then a Dem. And of course the last senator to switch parties was Vermont's Jim Jeffords, who became an independent and started voting with the Democrats even more than he did as a nominal Republican.

By the Way
Over the weekend the Washington Post published a groundbreaking story on John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who turns out to have served in Vietnam. "The Vietnam War was the defining event in Kerry's life," the Post informs us, although the paper reports that "he does not dwell on it"--which makes the paper's scoop all the more impressive.

No, Most of Us Are Born in Hospitals
"Not everybody's born on a level playing field. You've got to help lift people up and give them a chance, and that's what affirmative action does. And it's not just about race; it's also about sex."--Wesley Clark, quoted by the Associated Press, June 5

This Just In
"Daschle Unlikely to Run for President"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 2

What Would Lebanon Do Without Famous Clairvoyants?
"Famous Clairvoyant Predicts Gloomy Year for Lebanon"--headline, Daily Star (Beirut), Jan. 3

What Would We Do Without Researchers?
"Researcher Links Obesity, Food Portions"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 3

They Were Expecting Miami Beach?
"Photos From Mars Show Rocky Landscape"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 4

Rush to Judgment
In the Los Angeles Times, Ann Louise Bardach names the "Moron Top 10 of 2003." No. 4 is Rush Limbaugh:

For years, liberals have said Rush Limbaugh's daily radio show sounded like the ravings of a drug addict. In October, they were shocked to learn they were right. It turned out that the talk show king had been vacuuming up some 30 OxyContins a day, a drug known on the street as "hillbilly heroin." Previously, Limbaugh had condemned drug addicts as "defining deviancy down" and urging that we finally "be rid of them!" Finally, a lucid moment of self-reflection.

You'd think someone in the business of naming morons would make an effort not to look like one herself. It was the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, not Limbaugh, who coined the phrase "defining deviancy down."

The Palm Beach Post reports that Limbaugh "says prosecutors are unfairly targeting him with a prescription fraud charge known as 'doctor shopping' because he is a famous political conservative":

In fact, a records search by the Clerk of Courts Office revealed only one case in the past five years in which Palm Beach County prosecutors charged a defendant with illegally acquiring overlapping prescriptions. . . .

Doctor shopping, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, is duping at least two doctors into prescribing the same controlled substance in a 30-day period.

Limbaugh, who hasn't actually been charged yet, isn't the only Rush with legal problems in Florida. The Associated Press reports that the guitarist for the Canadian rock band that shares the radio host's Christian name "skirmished with sheriff's deputies, spat blood on one and was arrested on New Year's Eve after his son refused to leave the stage at a fancy hotel, authorities said":

Deputies said they had to use a stun gun on 50-year-old Alex Zivojinovich--known on stage as Alex Lifeson--for what they described as drunken, violent behavior at the Naples Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Let that be a lesson in what happens when you can learn to resist anything but temptation.

Happy New Year
The vast majority of Americans are happy, according to a new Gallup poll. The survey finds that a 55% majority describe themselves as "very happy"--the highest total since Gallup started asking the question in 1956. Another 40% say they're "fairly happy," and only 4% say "not too happy." One percent have "no opinion."

It appears, however, as though 7% of Americans are hopeful yet discontent. That's the percentage who described themselves as "somewhat dissatisfied." Fifty-eight percent said they were "very satisfied" and 30% "somewhat satisfied." Only 4% are "very dissatisfied," and they try and they try and they try and they try.

(Elizabeth Crowley helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to Michael Segal, Jerome Marcus, Derek Ayame, Barak Moore, Naftali Friedman, Alex Makowski, Zev Safran, Rosanne Klass, Yehuda Hilewitz, Dave Hauck, Tom Linehan, Tom Keller, Michael Nunnelley, Thomas Crimmins, William Demas, Doug Levene, Paul Hartwick, Chris Stetsko, Scott Garland, Gadi Niram, Joel Goldberg, Rick Richman, Steve Roberts, Roger Heinig, David Flanagan, George Bushwaller, Thomas Dillon, Abe Beyda, Peter Melvoin, Jack Connelly, Michael Rydelnik, Jeff Fuller, Paul Ruschmann, Alex Robson, Patrick Baker, Roger Johnson, Evan Graham, Dan Friedman, Kevin Brouillette, C.E. Dobkin, Nick Ianuzzi and Jim Orheim. If you have a tip, write us at opinionjournal@wsj.com, and please include the URL.)

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