Friday, February 03, 2006

Charles Krauthammer: The Price Palestinians Must Pay

February 3, 2006
The Washington Post
Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Amid much gnashing of teeth, the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections is being called a disaster. On the contrary. It is deeply clarifying and ultimately cleansing. If the world responds correctly, it will mark a turning point for the better.

The Palestinian people have spoken. According to their apologists, sure, Hamas wants to destroy Israel, wage permanent war and send suicide bombers into discotheques to drive nails into the skulls of young Israelis, but what the Palestinians were really voting for was efficient garbage collection.

It is time to stop infantilizing the Palestinians. As Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said in a news conference four days after the election, ``The Palestinian people have chosen Hamas with its known stances.'' By a landslide, the Palestinian people have chosen these known stances: rejectionism, Islamism, terrorism, rank anti-Semitism, and the destruction of Israel in a romance of blood, death and revolution. Garbage collection on Wednesdays.

Everyone is lamenting the fall of Fatah and the marginalization of its leader Mahmoud Abbas. This is ridiculous. The election exposed what everyone knew and would not admit: Abbas has no constituency. Would it have been better to keep funneling billions of dollars from the EU and a gullible U.S. to the thoroughly corrupt administration of a hapless figurehead? Billions that either end up in Swiss bank accounts or subsidize countless gangs of young men carrying guns?

The current nostalgia for Fatah moderation is absurd. What moderation? Yasser Arafat's 1993 paper recognition of Israel's right to exist was as fraudulent as his famous Oslo side letter renouncing terrorism. He spent the next seven years clandestinely sponsoring terror, then openly launched a four-year terror war, the most vicious in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

With this election, we can no longer hide from the truth: After 60 years, the Palestinian people continue to reject the right of a Jewish state to exist side-by-side with them. Fatah -- secular, worldly and wise -- learned to lie to the West and pretend otherwise. Hamas -- less sophisticated, more literal and more bound by religious obligation to expel the Jews -- is simply more honest.

This election was truth in advertising. Now we know. What to do?

The world must impress upon the Palestinians that there are consequences for their choices. And so long as they choose rejectionism -- the source of a 60-year conflict the Israelis have long been ready to resolve -- the world will not continue to support and subsidize them.

And that means cutting off Hamas completely: no recognition, no negotiation, no aid, nothing.
And not just assistance to a Hamas government, but all assistance. The Bush administration suggests continuing financial support for "humanitarian'' services. This is a serious mistake.

First, because money is fungible. Every dollar we spend for Palestinian social services is a dollar freed up for a Hamas government to purchase rockets, guns and suicide belts for the "Palestinian army'' that Meshal has already declared he intends to build.

Second, because it sends the Palestinians precisely the wrong message. If they were under a dictatorship that imposed rejectionism upon them, there would be a case for helping a disenfranchised Palestinian people. But they just held the most open and honest exercise of democracy in Palestinian history. The Palestinian people chose. However much they love victimhood, they are not victims here. They are actors. And historical actors have to take responsibility.

They want blood and death and romance? They will get nothing. They choose peace and coexistence? Then, as President Bush pledged in June 2002, they will get everything: world recognition, financial assistance, their own state with independence and dignity.

In August 2001, Hamas sent a suicide bomber into a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. He killed 15 innocent Israelis, mutilating many dozens more. A month later, Hamas student activists at al-Najah University in Nablus celebrated the attack with an exhibit, a mockup of the smashed Sbarro shop strewn with blood and fake body parts -- a severed leg, still dressed in jeans; a human hand dangling from the ceiling. The inscription (with a reference to the Qassam military wing of Hamas) read: ``Qassami Pizza is more delicious.''

The correct term for such a mentality is not militance, not extremism, but moral depravity. The world must advise the Palestinian people that if their national will is to embrace Hamas -- its methods and its madness -- then their national will is simply too murderous and, yes, too depraved for the world to countenance, let alone subsidize.

The essential first lesson of any newborn democracy is that national choices have national consequences. A Hamas-led Palestine, cut off entirely, will be forced to entertain second thoughts.

Film Review: Match Point

The Dallas Morning News
Jan. 6, 2006

Woody Allen's triumphant Match Point has been heralded as a return to form. Although Match Point is his best film since 1992's Husbands and Wives, the return-to-form claim is too easily made and not entirely accurate.

All his films, most obviously Crimes and Misdemeanors, deal with the vagaries of right and wrong. But never before has Mr. Allen explored the whims of misfortune in such an elegant fashion. If elegance is not what you seek, be assured that Match Point is, above all, a richly entertaining, dark and ultimately poignant spin on luck both good and bad. The film also reflects on how interchangeable and deceptive good and bad luck can be.

Match Point is the first Allen film not to occur primarily in New York and also one of the few not to have a Woody alter ego among its lead characters. Both changes benefit the movie. The lack of a Woody clone does not, as might be feared, breed detachment from the filmmaker. Instead, writer and director Allen concentrates on writing and directing. The screenplay begins in witty fashion, with hints of dark corners to come. You realize the nature of those oncoming corners but not the detours they entail.

Match Point's locale is London rather than New York, and it's the London of moviegoers' dreams. Mr. Allen makes effective cinematic love to the venerable metropolis, capturing both its energy and its ennui. It's also the London of the dreams of the movie's lead character, Irish tennis pro Chris Wilton.

Played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Chris is the kind of character that the average Woody alter ego would instantly loathe. Employed as tennis coach at a posh club, Chris befriends the enormously wealthy Hewitt family. He says all the right things, knows all the most famous operas and never imposes on anyone. His consistent good nature and humility indicate a passive-aggressive streak that, we learn, can be deceiving.

Tom Hewitt (Matthew Goode) navigates Chris' passage into London aristocracy. Tom's sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer), falls radiantly in love with Chris, and they marry. He becomes accustomed to the family's privileges without losing his dutiful veneer.

His biggest challenge comes in the form of Nola Rice, played by Scarlett Johansson. A struggling American actress, Nola is Tom's fiancée, of whom his haughty mother disapproves. When Tom breaks off their engagement, Nola and Chris begin a lusty affair that affects all major players.
Mr. Allen has always created strong female characters and obtained fascinating performances from the actresses who play them. Match Point is no exception. Ms. Johansson gives a dynamic, feverishly sensual performance as Nola. Provocative, saucy, edgy and vulnerable, she's a mass of conflicting emotions, and Ms. Johansson illuminates all her facets.

Symbolic of the screenplay's understated compassion, Ms. Mortimer's Chloe is presented as neither dim socialite nor growling harridan. Sweet-natured but not an upholstered doormat, she's pleased to fall in love with a man not of her class and thinks herself blessed by his ostensible affection. Ms. Mortimer, who was outstanding in 2005's Dear Frankie, is splendid in the role.

Mr. Rhys-Meyers has the most difficult part. He must infuse Chris' serene facade with an abundance of cunning desires requiring devious options. He was superb as pouty snob George Osborne in 2004's Vanity Fair and now plays a variation of that film's Becky Sharp role, the outsider trying desperately to fit in. As written and acted, it's a multilayered character that evokes fascinating, conflictingly human responses from each viewer.

Of the four leads, Mr. Goode's Tom drifts out of the story, but he delivers a smooth portrayal of an aristocrat whose sense of entitlement is somewhat balanced by a sense of righteousness. The British supporting players are all in unison with Mr. Allen's stimulating view of Londontown.
It all makes for a film that even Woody-phobes can enjoy.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Michelle Malkin: Fight the bullies of Islam

Feb. 2, 2006 / 3 Shevat, 5766

Something very important is happening in Denmark — a showdown over freedom, tolerance, and their wolfish menaces in religious clothing. So, please, turn off "American Idol," put down the Game Boy for a moment, and pay attention. This does affect you.

Last October, a Danish newspaper called the Jyllands-Posten published a dozen cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The illustrations included various depictions of the prophet Muhammad, some innocuous (Muhammad walking in a pasture) and a few with provocative references to radical Islamic terrorism. One showed Muhammad with a bomb in his turban; another had Muhammad wielding a sword in front of two, wide-eyed Muslim women covered in black abayas; another featured a cartoonist hunched over his desk, sweating in fear, as he drew Muhammad in suicide bomb-like apparel.

The newspaper was making a vivid editorial point about European artists' fear of retaliation for drawing any pictures of Muhammad at all. (Remember: It's been a little over a year since Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist gunman over his movie criticizing violence against women in Islamic societies.) A Danish author had reported last fall that he couldn't find an illustrator for a book about Muhammad; the Jyllands-Posten editors rose to the challenge by calling on artists to send in their submissions and publishing the 12 entries they received in response (available at

The reaction to the cartoons has resoundingly confirmed the fears those artists expressed about radical Islamic intolerance and violence. In fact, the Jyllands-Posten reported, two of the illustrators received death threats and went into hiding. The Pakistani Jamaaat-e-Islami party placed a 5,000-kroner bounty on the cartoonists' heads. A terrorist outfit called the "Glory Brigades" has threatened suicide bombings in Denmark over the artwork.

Despite how relatively tame the pictures actually are (compared not only to Western standards, but also to the vicious, anti-Semitic propaganda regularly churned out by Arab cartoonists), the drawings have literally inflamed the radical Muslim world and its apologists. Eleven Muslim ambassadors to Copenhagen immediately protested to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanding retractions from the newspaper. The ambassador of Turkey urged Rasmussen to call the Jyllands-Posten to account for "abusing Islam in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression."

Rasmussen, in a rare show of European spine, steadfastly refused to appease the howlers.

As a result, anti-Denmark sentiment has simmered over the last four months, and it boiled over this past week. In Gaza City, masked Palestinian gunmen representing the so-called Religion of Peace raided a European Union office to protest the cartoons. Muslims burned Danish flags and banners depicting Rasmussen (American and Norwegian flags, as well as portraits of President Bush, were thrown into the fire for good measure). A Danish company, Arla Foods, reports that two of its employees in Saudi Arabia were beaten by angry customers. Danish aid workers are evacuating Gaza in fear for their lives.

The country now faces an international boycott from Muslim nations whose fist-clenched protesters led chants this week of "War on Denmark, Death to Denmark" while firing bullets in the air.

Soft-on-terror mouthpieces are blaming the messenger for the conflagration. Former appeaser-in-chief Bill Clinton condemned the cartoons as "appalling" and "totally outrageous." Where was Clinton's condemnation of the gun-wielding, death-threat-issuing, flag-burning bullies of Islam who have targeted Denmark for jihad?

On the Internet, supporters of free speech have launched a "Buy Danish" campaign in solidarity with the nation under siege. But this isn't just about Denmark. American-based Muslim activists are on an angry campaign to stifle the speech of talk show hosts (most recently, KFI morning host Bill Handel in Los Angeles) who offend their sensibilities. And on Tuesday afternoon in advance of the State of the Union address, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued an ultimatum warning President Bush to "avoid the use of hot-button terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire'" in his speech — in other words, advising Bush not to identify our enemies for the sake of tolerance and diversity.

First, they came for the cartoonists. Then, they came for the filmmakers and talk show hosts and namers of evil. Next, who knows?

Every weekday publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Michelle Malkin's column by clicking

Michelle Malkin Archives

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Uri Dan: Iran already has the bomb

Jan. 31, 2006

Rafi Eitan suspects that Iran already has enough enriched uranium fissionable material to manufacture at least one or two atom bombs of the Hiroshima type. "Otherwise Iranian President Ahmadinejad would not have dared come out with his declaration that Israel should be wiped off the map," repeating it in various versions. His efforts at denying the Holocaust in which six million Jews were slaughtered prove that there is method in Ahmadinejad's madness. "Don't treat him like a madman," Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz recently cautioned.

Eitan's assessment of the situation is especially important because of his extensive intelligence experience in Israel's struggle for its existence, even before its establishment in 1948. Eitan was among those that laid the operational foundations for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad.

He is credited with numerous successes above and beyond the fact that he headed the team that apprehended Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires in May 1960 and brought him to justice in Jerusalem. He served as Menachem Begin's special adviser on the war on terror. He was involved in the secret planning and implementation of the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981.

Eitan failed in 1985 when the United States arrested Jonathan Pollard, an American navy intelligence analyst, for spying for Israel. Eitan was forced to resign after taking responsibility for running Pollard as an Israeli agent in the United States. It emerged at that time that Eitan had stood at the head of an Israeli intelligence agency known as the Office of Scientific Relations, LAKAM by its Hebrew acronym.

EITAN, CURRENTLY a private businessman who is close to 80 years old, is not only still sharp, quick and curious, but also takes a strong interest in the dangers posed to Israel. And so he came this week to the Herzliya Conference to hear the lectures and meet with colleagues from other countries.

Eitan told me: "I am convinced that the Iranians already have at least one or two nuclear devices. They have been operating centrifuges for a number of years now, they have natural uranium, and who on earth believes the Iranians when they say that they have closed down one facility or another? You would have to be an idiot or terribly na ve to believe them."

Eitan says that this view was bolstered by conversations he held with various experts from abroad who came to the Herzliya Conference - that Iran already has a an atom bomb. What should concern not only Israel but Europe too, continues Eitan, is the fact that the Iranians have acquired cruise missiles with a 3,000-kilometer range. They tried to purchase nine missiles of this kind in Ukraine from the arsenal of the former Soviet Union, but Russia thwarted part of the deal and Iran received three or four such missiles.
"In an argument with colleagues from abroad," noted Rafi Eitan, "the question was whether Iran's current president is a sort of new Hitler or merely an international manipulator. Too many experts have judged him in accordance with his actions and declarations as a kind of extremist Islamist Hitler."

The American administration of George W. Bush is entirely aware of the burgeoning Iranian nuclear danger. The question is whether the leading countries in Europe will wake up in time to the danger too. "The diplomatic struggle against the Iranian nuclear danger," warns Eitan, "must be an international one and it must come in time. The danger of nuclear weapons in the hands of Teheran is no less serious than when Saddam Hussein built the French Osirak nuclear reactor in Baghdad."

What worries Rafi Eitan is that the news coming from Teheran shows that President Ahmadinejad will not hesitate to take the most extreme measures, not unlike the methods used in the Third Reich, to put down any opposition against him. Iran has hundreds of thousands of young people who are opposed to the conceptual and cultural darkness that the fundamental Islamists are forcing on them. "Don't be surprised," Rafi Eitan told me, "if the Iranian president tries to forcibly and brutally eliminate this opposition."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Herbert London: What it means to question Darwinism

Science and the Church

Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, the Catholic archbishop of Vienna, recently caused a firestorm in intellectual circles when he made the rather obvious argument that Darwinism has many unexplained characteristics. The New York Times responded reflexively by suggesting that the Church was turning away from “modern science.”

This is a discussion surrounded by a conundrum: much of the science of Darwinism is surmise. Even something as seemingly simple as what people mean when we use the word evolution is fraught with controversy.

Cardinal Schonborn brought this out when he wrote, “Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinism sense—an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection—is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”

In today’s discussions, words such as “evolution,” “random,” and “design” are fraught with contested meaning. What the cardinal appears to have been trying to say is that various forms of natural phenomena suggest, even if they do not offer proof in themselves, that intelligent design or providential will, cannot be dismissed out of hand on an a priori basis.

The Cardinal’s view is compatible with the possibility that God set a process of natural selection in motion or introduced the condition of human design without the benefit of a random evolutionary process. One may, of course, reject this position as hoary religionist theory, but one cannot reject it out of hand on the basis of sheer scientific analysis. Undaunted by this reality, Tufts University philosophy professor Daniel Dennett attempted to do so in his August 28 NY Times article entitled “Show Me the Science.”

For the Times to contend that the Church opposes modern science by opposing Darwinian theory is to attribute a truth to a theory and then anathematize those who do not embrace all aspects of the theory. That a Catholic Cardinal will not exile God to the fringe of this debate should hardly be surprising; unless, of course, you write for the New York Times.
Certainly there are questions raised by natural phenomena that do not fit comfortably in the Darwinian model.

For as long as birds have been on the planet, they have built nests to hatch their eggs and tend to the very young. In order to build those nests, a series of complicated maneuvers are necessary, including the selection of the “right” twig size, avoidance of predators, and twisting the nest into the appropriate shape and depth. The notion that such complex behavior has been built into the genetic code of birds is not subject to testing; it is a matter that Darwinians take on faith.

As the film March of the Penguins shows, penguins walk 70 miles into the thick ice of Antarctica to mate. Afterward, the females march back to the sea in order to provide food, while the males use a flap of skin to protect the fertilized egg from the freezing cold conditions. Darwinians ask us to believe that countless numbers of birds died before natural mutations led to a single bird of this type that would have all the necessary characteristics for survival and successfully pass them on to its children. Simple fairness would say that a far less fanciful explanation, design, should at the very least merit consideration as a plausible alternative theory.

Cardinal Schonborn, despite his ambiguous language, seems to think so. His position is not a rejection of Darwinism; it is a perfectly sensible questioning of assumptions that underlie a popular scientific theory. For those who contend that to question Darwinism is to repudiate modern science, I would say that their criticism is neither modern nor scientific.

Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute, Professor Emeritus of New York University, and author of Decade of Denial, published by Lexington Books.

Jack Dunphy: Arresting a Crime Wave

January 30, 2006, 8:47 a.m.

Southern California cops take on the illegal-alien problem.

Imagine the following: While out on patrol in one of L.A.'s less fashionable neighborhoods, I spot a man I recognize as someone I have previously arrested. I have personal knowledge that this man was convicted of an offense against the people of California, for which he was bundled off to serve a stretch in the penitentiary. I also have personal knowledge that this man is an illegal alien, and that following his prison sentence he was turned over to federal authorities and deported to his country of origin. Yet, to my surprise, there he is enjoying the blessings of America as he strolls down the avenue just as boldly as you please. And now the question: What am I to do next?

Well, it depends whom you ask. Even within the Los Angeles Police Department there is a difference of opinion as to whether I should — or even can — detain the man unless I have reasonable suspicion of current criminal behavior. Mere suspicion that he has illegally reentered the country is not, some would argue, sufficient cause for me, a local police officer, to detain him and inquire as to his business here in el norte.

Since 1979, when the LAPD enacted Special Order 40, police officers in Los Angeles have been prohibited from taking any action "with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person," and from detaining or arresting anyone based solely on the suspicion that he has illegally entered the country. "Undocumented alien status in itself is not a matter for police action," the policy states. "It is, therefore, incumbent on all employees of [the LAPD] to make a personal commitment to equal enforcement of the law and service to the public, regardless of alien status."

Much has changed in Los Angeles since 1979. Among the more notable of these changes has been what Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald describes as an "illegal alien crime wave." Testifying last April before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, Mac Donald cited some troubling figures:

* The L.A. County Sheriff reported in 2000 that 23 percent of inmates in county jails were deportable, according to the New York Times.

* In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in the first half of 2004 (which totaled 1,200 to 1,500) targeted illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) were for illegal aliens.

* The Los Angeles Police Department arrests about 2500 criminally convicted deportees annually, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Given such numbers, it should be unsurprising that law-enforcement officials in southern California are trying to devise ways to combat this crime wave. But with the state of local politics being what it is, they are trying to walk the fine line of doing so without running afoul of civil rights groups and immigrant advocates. For its part, the LAPD is set to issue a directive intended to clarify what its officers should and should not do when dealing with criminal suspects believed to be in the country illegally. The measure was discussed last week at a meeting of the Los Angeles police commission, the civilian panel that oversees the city's police department.

"This is one of those hot potato issues," said Commissioner Alan Skobin. "There is tremendous confusion within the department. If you talk to 20 officers and ask them about it, you'd get many different answers. There is confusion within the community and I think that community confusion can foster a lack of trust. So it's important that we have a clarification."

But the mere suggestion that the LAPD may reexamine the constraints that Special Order 40 places on its officers has triggered alarm in immigrants'-rights circles. "How do you make sure that the policy doesn't spill into other abuses?" said Linton Joaquin of the National Immigration Law Center. "Our concerns are that the [LAPD] not get into the business of immigration enforcement."

In other words, because there is risk of abuse, why do anything at all about the epidemic of crimes committed by illegal aliens? Such talk is falling on increasingly deaf ears these days, especially in those cities hardest hit by the crime wave Mac Donald described in her House subcommittee testimony.

In Orange County, California, just down the freeway from Los Angeles (and that much closer to the border), two police agencies are hoping that increased cooperation with immigration authorities will help reduce crime in their jurisdictions. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Costa Mesa Police Department are developing plans to have their officers train alongside federal immigration officers, with the aim of dealing with criminal illegal aliens more efficiently.

"Dozens of jurisdictions have reached out to us and asked us for copies of this policy," said Jon Fleischman, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. "Like with any instrument that provides a resource to find criminals, departments are looking at this to see if this will help fight crime."
But the two top cops in Los Angeles County see it differently. "It's not a matter of politics. It's a matter of practical policing," said LAPD Assistant Chief George Gascon. "If an undocumented woman is raped and doesn't report it, the suspect who raped that woman, remember, could be the suspect who rapes someone else's sister, mother or wife later."

Surely it is politics as much as practicality that motivates such talk. Gascon is of Cuban descent, and he hopes to become the city's first Latino police chief when William Bratton steps down someday in the future. But Bratton, for whom Gascon was speaking, wants to be appointed to a second five-year term as chief, and for this he must remain in the good graces of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, currently a rising star in Democratic circles, and who, as an ACLU lawyer before entering politics, was an outspoken advocate for immigrants' rights and a supporter of Special Order 40.

Sheriff Lee Baca, himself a Latino, occupies an elected position and knows where his votes are to be found. "The Orange County talk is cheap," Baca told the Times. "I want to see how arresting a young 18-year-old girl trying to get a job goes down when robbery and burglary calls for service aren't being responded to. The public will say, 'We've had enough of this.' Let the federal government do its job."

But that, of course, is precisely the problem: The federal government hasn't done its job. Despite the efforts of an overwhelmed Border Patrol, which continues to fight a battle our government seems less than determined to win, the borders remain as porous as ever, resulting in the frightening statistics cited by Mac Donald.

On Friday's Laura Ingraham radio show, Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., sheriff of Zapata County, Texas, told of the increase he has seen in incursions by armed drug runners crossing the border from Mexico. Gonzalez is chairman of the Border Sheriff's Association, a group trying to bring legislative attention to the problems local law enforcement officers face in confronting border-crossing criminals who are sometimes better armed than the officers themselves.

The latest such incursion, Gonzalez told Ingraham, took place in Hudspeth County, Texas, southeast of El Paso, when three SUVs, all of them apparently loaded with marijuana, were driven across a shallow section of the Rio Grande River. When one of them became stuck on the U.S. side of the river, the other two turned back and returned to Mexico. When Texas police officers arrived, they watched from a distance as a military-style Humvee approached from the Mexican side of the river. The Humvee had what officers described as .50 caliber machine gun mounted on it. Several men dressed in military fatigues unloaded the marijuana from the stuck SUV and then set the truck on fire. "These are incidents that happen often on the border," Gonzalez said.

Add to this last week's news that yet another trans-border tunnel was found, bringing the total to 21 discovered since the 9/11 attacks. This latest one, leading from a warehouse in Tijuana to one in Otay Mesa, was 2,400 feet long, and was outfitted with electric lights, a ventilation system, and pumps for removing groundwater. Some two tons of marijuana were found in the tunnel, presumably destined for the U.S.

But violent crime and drug smuggling, as serious as they may be, are far from the gravest threats presented by our porous border. "Our main concern," Sheriff Gonzalez told Laura Ingraham, "is we don't want to have a terrorist coming across our border and doing another 9/11."

Indeed. Just imagine what members of al Qaeda or some other terrorist group might bring through that tunnel. If terrorists are able to exploit our border and bring off another 9/11 — or worse — it will have us longing for the days when illegal immigrants merely killed people one or two at a time.

— Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. "Jack Dunphy" is the author's nom de cyber. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.

John Fund: The Republican Soul

Tom DeLay's predecessor talks about how to reclaim it.

The Wall Street Journal
Monday, January 30, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

As House Republicans prepare to elect a new majority leader this Thursday, I decided to chat with a man who used to hold that job. Dick Armey stepped down when he left Congress in 2003 and was replaced by his fellow Texan Tom DeLay, whose recent troubles created the current vacancy. Mr. Armey has a lot to get off his chest about how his party has gone off track.

Mr. Armey, a former economics professor, vividly recalls the House leadership meeting in late 2001 that prompted his decision to retire. Afterwards he returned to his office and wrote down his summary of how he saw the GOP Congress behaving: "We come to this town and we do things we ought not to be doing in order to stay in the majority so we can do things we ought to be doing that we never get around to doing." A few weeks later the man who was a chief drafter of the 1994 Contract with America announced he was leaving office.

Mr. Armey's departure had consequences. In late 2003, Mr. DeLay and his whip team twisted arms and held a late-night vote open for three hours to pass a costly prescription drug benefit for seniors. The year before, Mr. Armey had tried to pass a more modest benefit but he coupled it with significant reforms of Medicare that would have improved its solvency. The new bill ditched most of the reforms in favor of "demonstration projects" that then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson admitted he never expected would become reality.

The prescription drug bill may have temporarily taken Medicare "off the table" for the 2004 election, but Republicans will be bedeviled for decades by its rising costs and complexity. At current growth rates, Medicare, its cousin Medicaid and Social Security will consume a fifth of the nation's gross national product by 2020. That number represents the current size of the entire federal government.

Nor have Republicans learned much from that mistake. President Bush and the GOP Congress continue to preside over the largest expansion of government since LBJ's Great Society. Economic growth fueled by the Bush tax cuts created a 22% surge in federal revenue over the past two years. But even that flow is barely keeping pace with spending, which went up by 8% in 2005 and is set to increase by 9% in 2006. When the good times slow down, no one expects it will be easy to slam the brakes on spending.


The 9/11 terrorist attacks masked the growing disquiet of the Republican base over the direction of domestic policy for several years. No one wanted to be accused of taking their eye off the ball on terrorism, but as time passed the runaway growth of government could no longer be ignored. "Our political base expects elected leaders to cut both tax rates and spending, because they know the real tax burden is reflected in the overall size of government," Mr. Armey told me. "The easiest thing for a disgusted base to do in November is stay home. I've seen it happen before."

The base's despair is crystallizing around the issue of special-interest earmarks, home-district projects that are often secretly dropped into legislation at the last minute without scrutiny. Scott Lilly, until recently the chief Democratic aide on the House Appropriations Committee, said the lust for earmarks has become an "obsession" of members from both parties. "That's all they do," he told the Washington Post. Last year, the House Appropriations Committee received 10,000 requests for earmarks on one spending bill alone--more than 25 projects per House member. Mr. Lilly says it's amazing the overall number of congressional earmarks last year was held to 14,000, although that number is up from barely 2,000 five years ago.

What accounts for the dramatic increase in the number of earmarks? Jonathan Rauch, a columnist for the National Journal, says that after Republicans saw how difficult it was to reduce the size of government during the 1990s, Mr. DeLay and White House political adviser Karl Rove adopted a new model: First, build a political machine that would win a secure majority, and then tackle entitlement spending using free-market reforms.

But the short-term price of building that machine was more spending to draw supporters and ward off political criticism. As part of legislative log-rolling Democrats got their share: about 45% of all earmarks. Entitlement spending exploded along with military spending. In 2004 Republicans held the White House and gained seats in both houses of Congress, but soon they found they had created a monster as much as a machine.

President Bush's proposed Social Security reform collapsed due to bungled marketing and a failure to build solid political support for the concept. After that failure, Mr. DeLay famously claimed "there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget." As Mr. Rauch points out, the ex-leader really meant "it had no political fat, and he was right. Every dollar now served a constituent group in DeLay's carefully built machine."


Now that machine is misfiring, and for some members it has become a political liability in the wake of the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham scandals. Mr. Armey says he hopes GOP members now see the wisdom of an old adage, "When we act like Republicans, we win. Otherwise, we lose in the end." He notes that each of the three candidates for majority leader is pledging to restore the GOP's credibility on spending restraint and ethics. But he worries that the winner "will make only that change that is necessary to preserve majority status, and not make the changes that will save the Republican soul."

Although politics is largely about power, there are other dimensions. Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who along with John McCain now promises to challenge every earmark on the Senate floor, says that ultimately good policy is good politics. "The Founders taught us the best policy was limited government that didn't presume men were angels," he told me.

At a time when the late British theologian C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" has become a hit movie, Mr. Coburn urges his colleagues to recall Lewis's warnings about what befalls those who would seek what he called the Inner Ring of power. "The more those in Congress seek only to penetrate each ring in order to gather power or prestige, the more they lose sight of why most voters entrusted them with their position in the first place," Mr. Coburn says. "Once voters catch on that is your primary ambition, your days accumulating power are ending."

Tom DeLay has at times realized the costs Republicans incurred in following his machine model. Last fall, he appeared before a group of social conservatives in Washington after he had been forced to step down and acknowledged "that I often was short-sighted and strayed from the true path of limited government." He pledged he would return to first principles if he reclaimed his post as majority leader. But now that he is permanently out of the leadership, he is running for re-election to his House seat by relying on the principle of pork. He regales audiences in his district with lists of earmarks he has secured for them and touts his seat on the "favor factory" called the Appropriations Committee.

This Thursday, House Republicans will have to decide if they want to continue to more or less follow Mr. DeLay's model of governance or return to the principles that helped them win control of Congress back in 1994. "Most want to recapture the dream," Mr. Armey says of his former colleagues. "But even those who don't should realize they now face greater political danger by being too timid than by being too bold."