Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has initiated another media kerfuffle with his interview on 60 Minutes II in which he says, yes, he'd like to see Usama bin Laden killed.

Not brought to justice, not hunted down, not taken into custody, not introduced to the hereafter, not sent to meet Allah, not given his ticket to hell. None of those euphemsitic cover-ups.

Rummy said he'd like to see bin Laden killed. Dead. By whatever method: shot, bombed, burned, crushed by falling debris, dismembered by explosive force. You fill in the blanks. Killed.

Now what I like about this is the straight talk.

I also like that he intends to kill bin Laden. Bin Laden should be killed. He's dangerous both alive and dead, but more dangerous alive.

But the straight talk is refreshing, and more important it's being honest with the American people and the world. Excuse me, Mr. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is telling the American taxpayers what he's doing with their billions: gonna go kill Usama. He's telling the world what we're doing, unvarnished, out in the open for all to see: Gonna go kill Usama.

This is not a war being waged to establish the primacy of a political system more conducive to the lifestyles and traditions. This is a war being waged to kill Usama. And Mulla Omar, but he's less important.

And what this straight talk does is encourage straight talk elsewhere. For instance, the issue of who we are looking for in this country, leftovers from the Mohammed Atta cell.

It is not racist to say we are looking for Middle Eastern men. It just isn't. It's realistic. It's not racist to say we are unhappy with Saudis and Kuwaitis and Egyptians, who are supposed to be our friends and preach hate against the West and America.

We are ambidextrous. We can chew gum and walk at the same time. We can look for Middle Eastern bad guys without being unfair or racist to our fellow citizens who happen to be Middle Eastern.

We can do that and we should.

And in the continuation of the straight talk, we need our Arab and Muslim fellow citizens to figure out who the bad guys are among them, and drop a dime on 'em. Whether they're from Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Kuwait or wherever, they can tell the bad guys from the good guys in those places where everyone looks alike. So we ought to expect they can do it here too.

It's the American thing to do.

Like it or not, that's My Word.

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