God forbid

John McCaslin
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Posted: Apr 09, 2003 12:00 AM

Let's pray House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is far off with her prediction that "thousands" of U.S. soldiers will wind up losing their lives in the Iraqi war.

Pelosi, California Democrat, told CNBC's "Capital Report" that "there are other ways to go about it than to have thousands of people killed on both sides."

PROFITING ON PATRIOTISM

Boycotting French wine and renaming French fries doesn't go far enough, says one U.S. congressman who is calling on the Veterans Affairs department to sever ties immediately with a French-owned marble manufacturer said to be the main supplier of U.S. military headstones for national cemeteries.

"It's obviously inappropriate for a company owned by French interests to be supplying headstones for the VA when the French have done everything in their power to undermine the very troops whose sacrifice from which they now stand to profit," says Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican.

The congressman says marble headstones honoring the sacrifice and memory of fallen U.S. soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere are supplied by a subsidiary of the French corporation IMERYS.

STAYING POWER

"Are hacks ever prescient or what?" reader John McCaughey writes. "Clearing out some old files recently, a pal in London found the following story on the front page of the London Financial Times (headlined): 'Iraqis Oust Saddam and Make Peace Offer to Iranians.' "

The story, filed by Roger Matthews, reads: "President Hussein is believed to have been overthrown last night. The new regime has offered to withdraw from all Iranian territory within two weeks to end the 20-month Gulf War. Baghdad radio and TV programmes were interrupted to give the news that the ruling Revolution Command Council was willing to observe an immediate ceasefire with Iran."

The Financial Times issue was dated June 10, 1982.

"What are we bid for this collector's item?" McCaughey asks.

APPEALING TO NASCAR

What does the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his outspoken stance against the Iraq war have to do with NASCAR?

On the heels of Dale Earnhardt Jr. steering his way to a fourth straight victory at Talladega on Sunday, NASCAR Chief Executive Officer William C. France is being asked that NASCAR "cease and desist from further support for Jesse Jackson and/or his nonprofit organizations" as U.S. troops are engaged in combat in Iraq.

"You have stated that NASCAR fans are 'the kind of people who go to war and win wars' for America," Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center in Washington, writes to France, reminding him that branches of the armed services and National Guard maintain important NASCAR sponsorships.

"NASCAR's support for our troops is undercut by your support for Jackson, which includes substantial monetary contributions at a time when Jackson is leading anti-war protests, even in foreign countries.

"Disturbingly, Jackson has employed extreme and provocative anti-American rhetoric."

Flaherty says NASCAR, among other contributions to the Jackson empire, was a "Platinum" sponsor last year of the Rainbow/PUSH and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference, forking more than $100,000 in car-racing money for the distinction. <more on this>

SUSPICIOUS STASH

Erstwhile Washington political pollster Frank Luntz got a rude awakening while traversing the globe to conduct focus groups on the Iraqi war.

Luntz's focus sessions on behalf of NBC in Egypt, the West Bank and Israel went off without a hitch, but the pollster wasn't so lucky in Turkey, where he suddenly found himself "embedded" with antiwar demonstrators.

So embedded that the mob of Istanbul protesters gladly handed the hapless pollster an assortment of anti-American placards, including one poster that read "Dump Bush, Not Bombs."

Protesting, er, polling completed, Luntz decided he would display the anti-American mementos that same evening upon arrival in Israel, during his scheduled appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.

Except that when Luntz, whose wardrobe more often resembles a protester than a pollster, tried to carry his political stash through the Istanbul airport, more than a dozen police and security officials swarmed over him.

They not only seized his passport and anti-American materials, they detained him long enough to cause him to miss his flight.

Luntz obviously missed the lesson that every American visiting Turkey should have learned from the movie "Midnight Express" <buy movie>.