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Breaking Up

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

How unstable might Iraq actually become once President Obama shifts the U.S. focus further east, to Afghanistan?

Pretty unstable, although that might not be such a bad thing.

"Had the Bush administration read the history of Iraq or consulted Arab scholars, it might have more wisely concluded that fractious Iraq was one of the least likely countries in the Middle East to accept a unified, democratic federation from the top down at gunpoint," we read in Ivan Eland's new book, "Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq."

The author, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, quotes Gareth Stansfield, associate professor of Middle East politics at the University of Exeter, as saying that even under the best-case scenarios, democracy would be harder to achieve in Iraq than other places because of a lack of a democratic political culture and no democratic will.

So instead of a "unified" Iraq, as envisioned by former President Bush, Mr. Eland says don't be surprised if several autonomous regions controlled by Sunnis, Shi'ites, and perhaps Kurds emerge from a loose Iraqi confederation.

"But the ultimate breakup of Iraq should not be feared if it's done slowly and peacefully," the scholar stresses.


It's now President Obama's and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's turn to deal with an obviously confused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who now suddenly wants into the club after hurling every insult imaginable at the American people and its former president, George W. Bush.

Appearing before the United Nations in 2006, Mr. Chavez accused the United States of "domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world."

And leading Americans in the ransacking, the leftist leader cried, was "the devil."

Mr. Bush, you will recall, didn't flinch. After all, the potty-mouthed Mr. Chavez had called him a "drunkard" and "donkey" only months before.


Speaking to the Republican National Lawyers Association annual meeting at the National Press Club on Friday, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the best-selling book "Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed," all but sympathized with Department of Homeland Security concerns made public earlier in the week.

As in "right-wing" extremists whose ideology and anger threatens democracy.

Mr. Horner suggested that if somebody in the audience were to buy a copy of his book at the table outside, then send it to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, she surely would diligently pursue the "global warming" industry.


Two doctors from the nonprofit Altarum Institute last week took "a page from the Department of Homeland Security playbook" by advocating a body mass index (BMI) "surveillance system," according to the Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom.

Surveillance system?

"An electronic registry of children's personal health information, gathered in order to monitor their weight," says the center. "Here's our question: Will the FBI start tapping phone conversations any time the words 'cookies' and 'ice cream' are spoken?"

The center labels the BMI - a simple calculation of height and weight used by Uncle Sam to classify Americans as normal, overweight or obese - as "practically useless," to the extent that "many scientists have suggested abandoning" the index.

After all, ladies, on the BMI scale, even movie hunk Brad Pitt is considered fat.


That was American University's school of communication professor Russell Williams among the "Oscar Award-Winning Black Men" honored by the Los Angeles Urban League during its 36th annual Whitney M. Young Jr. awards ceremony.

Mr. Williams, whose production work has brought him recognition from mayors of both the District and Los Angeles, has won two Academy Awards, for his sound work on "Glory" and "Dances with Wolves."

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