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The Bush administration has clearly decided to try to "manage" Iraq and "finesse" Iran, hoping to muddle through until the election and then, if victorious, consider its options in the broader theater. The president and his top advisers evidently want to avoid "new adventures" between now and November.But this is a very dangerous strategy, because it leaves the initiative, in Iraq and elsewhere, entirely in the hands of people like Zarqawi and his longtime Iranian sponsors. Indeed, it seems to me that doing nothing is an open invitation to "new adventures" in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States.You don't need classified information to see this; it's right in front of our noses. Yet we refuse to see it. This is what intelligence failures are really about: denial of the most obvious facts about the world. And it's what policy failures are about as well: refusal to take the obvious steps to protect our citizens, our allies, and our national interests.



In the Monday, June 14, 2004 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan wrote a despicable hit piece on her fellow speechwriters in the Reagan White House. It was entitled “The Ben Elliott Story,” supposedly a tribute to the White House Chief Speechwriter told in the context of seeing him at President Reagan’s National Cathedral funeral service - yet it ended up being a nauseating attack on her former colleagues.The people she attacked are my friends, and it so happened that I attended President Reagan’s service with them. That she took this sacred occasion to vindictively smear them is beyond and beneath contempt. I was compelled to write the following letter to The Wall Street Journal:To: Ned Crabb, Letters Editor, Wall St. JournalIt is a sad and bizarre spectacle to see Peggy Noonan immolate her reputation in a gratuitous spasm of spite. As someone who worked closely with the Reagan White House speechwriters for five years - 1983-1988 - I know the source of the resentment. She was never part of the team.



Back in early February, I told you that Ariel Sharon’s purpose in building a Security Fence walling off the “West Bank” was to precipitate a civil war among Palestinian terrorist groups (The Coming Palestinian Civil War, TTP Weekly Report, February 6, 2004). Four months later, we can see Sharon’s strategy is clearly working.In those intervening months, terrorist attacks are way down while the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) has relentlessly hunted terrorists down and either killed or stymied them. Hamas has been decapitated. Arafat, sick and dying, finds his grip on power slipping away. Even senior members of the Palestinian Authority run by Arafat are admitting that it would disintegrate except that it pays salaries to 140,000 workers - which are now in serious arrears.The February essay predicted a dark period of murderous chaos with Palestinian militants killing each other off in a warfare of competing mafias. Thus there are now news reports that militants in the West Bank and Gaza have “created a lawless society in which citizens complain more about the armed gangs than about Israeli soldiers.” Yet there are indications that this could be short-lived.



There is a photograph prominently displayed in the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the "War Crimes Museum") in Saigon (called Ho Chi Minh City by the Communists). The photograph, in a room dedicated to foreign activists who contributed to the Communist victory over America in the Vietnam War, shows Senator John Kerry being greeted by Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.



The most disastrous news to come out of Iraq this week was the demand by the new Iraqi Interim Government for custody of Saddam Hussein. We are reaping the moldy harvest of the American liberal obsession for legalism. All one had to do is see the farce of Slobodan Milosevic’s trial to know what judicial lunacy awaits a similar tribunal travesty for Saddam.Yet this is suddenly the least of our worries. Turning Saddam over to the Iraqis means he will escape from custody. Through bribery or blackmail or force, the Iraqis will either let him escape or be unable to prevent it - which means all the treasure and blood America has spilled to liberate Iraq will have been in vain.



In the last two weeks I received several emails regarding web surfing anonymizers. These critters are portals through which you surf. They are reputed to prevent the sites you visit from identifying your personal computer. In the words of one of the more prominent anonymizers, here’s what they claim:



Today, what would Reagan do? He would appeal for the liberation of women in the Muslim world, he would call for the freedom of Sudanese Christians from slavery and genocide, he would demand that the brainwashing of Palestinian and Iraqi youth to become suicide bombers be stopped.



This past week has seen a good many Reaganaut Reunions here in Washington DC. At several of them, we raised our glasses to toast Gorby - Mikhail Gorbachev. All of the Reagan Doctrine guys loved Gorbachev - but not quite in the same way as did the State Department squishes.Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to burst from nowhere when he became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) and leader of the USSR in March of 1985. The liberal media swooned over the smiling suave telegenic Russian - so smart, so sophisticated, so capable of making a shining success of Soviet Communism! We did everything we could to encourage the swooning press’ delusion - for we knew the truth about Gorby.



In 1989 on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I had a meeting in Prague, Czechoslovakia with a group of Anti-Communists dedicated to ridding their country from Soviet rule. Their leader was Martin Palous, a founder of the Charter 77 democracy movement. He explained that when he and other Czech intellectuals such as Vaclav Havel formed Charter 77 in 1977, they did so against all hope. “To dream of real freedom for our country was unthinkable,” he said. “The best we could ask is some little bit of light, some small increase of breathing space for us to think and talk more freely.” Then the world changed: Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States.



The Bobax worm is the latest threat spreading across the internet. It won’t get as far, because millions more users have downloaded the latest Windows security update. I detailed how to do that in a previous column. On the other hand its more dangerous and will cause more severe damage to your software.