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“Major Operation”



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She Was There....



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Remember the “Where’s Helen” question from last night. Well, she was snubbed. Bush rocks.

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She’s Back!



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Yesterday, Camille Paglia, from whom we don’t hear nearly enough these days — sent me a hard copy of a long, fascinating essay she has about religion and the 1960s. I read it on the subway home last night, and hoped it would be online somewhere so I could share it with The Corner. Here it is!

Web Briefing: October 14, 2014

“Finally, a Rapid Response”



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Here’s my column from today’s Wall Street Journal. It’s about the Vatican, the war in Iraq, and the priest scandal.

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The Muslim Fbi Agent



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Bill O’Reilly had a startling interview last night with a retired FBI special agent who alleges that a Muslim FBI agent with whom he was working on a case refused to wear a wire to tape a fellow Muslim the agency wanted to investigate. A current working FBI agent who complained about this too was forbidden by the agency from going on the O’Reilly show, under threat of an insubordination charge. This is an incredible story, and if it’s exactly as the special agent said on O’Reilly, a real outrage. O’Reilly is right: FBI Director Robert Mueller owes the public an explanation.

C.W.



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RE: the press conference; David Gergen says his obvious sincerity was “compelling.”

Waldorf?



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Is being partially evacuated because of a suspicious package. Powell staying there.

This Is For Derb



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Math jokes. Nerd heaven?

Another Reader



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“I listened to Bush on the Radio. He came across measured, focused and
seemed to have a ‘quiet resolve.’ I guess that’s the advantage (or
disadvantage) of listening to the radio. “

One Reader



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“I’m a lifelong Democrat, and I voted for Mr. Gore. But I have never felt so inspired by a leader as I felt watching Mr. Bush tonight. The nits and quibbles that Cornerites are obsessing about seem almost sacrilegious.”

Prez News Conference



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Key phrases: “I see a gathering threat.” “We are now a battlefield.”
“The fundamental question facing the Security Council is, do its words mean
anything.” “Twelve years of denial and defiance.” “We’ll call for the
vote… It’s time for people to show their cards, to let the world know
where they stand.” Dumbest question fom the press: “Will this be another
Vietnam?”

Ramesh Is Probably Right



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(What a shock she says sarcastically.) I’m flipping and that seems to be consensus. The Corner may wind up having been the most critical (maybe fickle) in the end. I could deal with that. But hey, unlike the cable guys, we were commenting during. E-mailers, by the way, seem split. Half of you think we were morons for commenting on his tiredness and trade, the others of you were thinking the same thing….

A Hunch



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I think his “tiredness” will read as “seriousness,” i.e., non-cowboyness, to the public.

Permission Slip



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Probably the most significant remark Bush made was that the United States needs nobody’s permission to deal with the Iraqi threat. The runner up was his remark that he will seek a U.N. vote whether or not the “whip check” indicates that we’ll win. He’s not letting other governments off the hook. I imagine there are people in the administration who think it would be more diplomatic not to press for a vote if we’ll lose. But Bush wants governments to show their cards, as he said.

Cowboy



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Rod, Kondrake said the same thing on Fox. Just seems that message would be lost on those who really think he is a cowboy.

My Favorite Phrase....



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“Al Quaeda types.” One can see that phrase popping up on SNL.

Maybe



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There’s a method to his somber somnolence. Maybe this was a press conference for foreign consumption — signaling to the French, Chinese, Russians et al that he’s made his mind up about this. That’s still the best way to get the Security Council Gang Who Couldn’t Vote Straight to go along. He certainly seemed resigned to the idea that he’s going to go ahead and do this. One of the main messages here, after all, was: Saddam’s a threat to the US and therefor the UN can suck eggs if it’s not going to get our back.

And…it’s the best way to put the fear of God in Saddam Hussein and his generals.

Spin On His Fatigue



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A friend just commented: “He always looks tired these days. It really makes you wonder what’s in those intel reports.” About North Korea, too…

And So...



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I have to say it was only an okay performance. The transcript and the quotes in the papers will read better than it came across tonight. At times I thought he was working hard to be clear, sincere and controlled, keeping the antiwar audience at home and abroad in mind. Message: “This man is not a cowboy.” But we are on the brink of war, and as a friend of mine e-mailed me during the press conference, “he could use a little momentum right about now.”

Vietnam



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I wish he had quipped: “Haven’t we heard that before?” Um, Afghanistan. Amir Taheri answered some of that on NRO.

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