September 2005
By Alan W. Dowd

Iraq Report Card
Fresh from yet another tour of Iraq, Karl Zinsmeister of the American Enterprise Institute reports that Iraq continues its rapid transition from tyranny to freedom. “Baghdad is choked with traffic,” he explains. “Cell phones have spread like wildfire. And satellite TV dishes sprout from even the most humble mud hovels in the countryside.”

The war correspondent and author notes that he walked through neighborhoods that during his last visit to Baghdad (in 2004) “were active war zones.” Today, US troops and Iraqis are paving roads, fortifying schools, laying sewers, and dealing with traffic in those neighborhoods.

“What the establishment media covering Iraq have utterly failed to make clear today is this central reality: With the exception of a few periodic flare-ups in isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq is over as warfare. Egregious acts of terror will continue—in Iraq as in many other parts of the world. But there is no chance of the US losing this guerilla war to an insurgency that most Iraqis hate,” according to Zinsmeister.

To see more of Zinsmeister’s Iraq report card, log on to www.taemag.com and read his article from the July/August issue of The American Enterprise magazine.

Poison Politics
After Amnesty International recklessly compared the detention facilities at GuantanamoBay to the USSR’s gulags, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shot back, calling the comparisons “reprehensible.”

The comparison is careless and reckless not because America is perfect or beyond reproach, but because America is self-critical: The Pentagon notes that there have been 68,000 detainees and some 370 criminal investigations at GITMO and other detention facilities related to the war on terror. Plus, the facilities have been opened to Congress and the media.

While the Pentagon defended the troops, Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times investigated their detractors. He found that the chairman and executive director of Amnesty International, a self-described nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, each “contributed the maximum $2000 to Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.”

An Amnesty International spokesman assured the Times that “we strive to do everything humanly possible to see that the personal political perspectives of our leadership have no bearing whatsoever upon the nature of our findings.”

Zito Hits a Homerun
Oakland A’s pitcher Barry Zito is stepping up to the plate for America’s men and women in uniform, and he’s urging fellow major leaguers to join him. Zito has founded a new charity, Strikeouts for Troops (SFT), to raise funds for clothing, travel expenses, housing needs, meals, entertainment and more for wounded troops as they convalesce at stateside military facilities such as Walter Reed and Bethesda. “Strikeouts for Troops lets them know we are thinking of them and are trying to make their stay in the hospital a little more comfortable," Zito said in a statement on SFT’s website. "In addition, it shows them that we are grateful for their tremendous sacrifices."

Zito has pledged $100 per strikeout to the cause. With a career average of better than 170 strikeouts a season, Zito’s Strikeouts for Troops promises to raise thousands of dollars for our wounded warriors.

Zito is already raising awareness. As the A’s website reported, he visited patients at Walter Reed during a trip to Baltimore. “It’s basically a way for us to show our appreciation for the sacrifices these true heroes have made and are making,” he explained. “The goal is to get every pitcher in the big leagues to be a part of it.”

According to SFT, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, Washington Nationals pitcher Chad Cordero, Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, Cleveland Indians pitchers CC Sabathia and Matt Miller and fellow A's pitcher Joe Blanton have joined Zito.

To find out more or to pitch in, visit www.strikeoutsfortroops.org.

As a contributing editor to The American Legion, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.