Let's talk about the terror stew known as the axis of evil — Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

The president has gotten hammered lately because he lumped them all together as if they were the same thing. That gave opportunists in the former Clinton administration, including Mr. Clinton himself, the chance to say: Mr. Bush, you are not seeing the subtle differences between these three distinct terror states.

That's why I called them the terror stew… a little bit of everything is in there, distinct and different as potatoes are different from carrots... but in the end, all the same stew.

Do North Koreans sponsor Al Qaeda-like terror groups that run planes into U.S. buildings? Probably not. But if you're in Seoul, South Korea or Tokyo, you might very well think of the North Korean missiles as terror weapons. The residents of Seoul would have what? Two minutes warning time? Tokyo would have a bit more, but not enough to make a difference.

Iraq is Iraq. We know what it is and what it can do. We don't want to leave Saddam alone, or give his chemists and scientists the opportunity to come up with something evil.

Iran has been a foe of ours for a long time, and anybody who thinks these guys are now happy-face mullahs... I got a bridge to sell you.

Iran is reported to have terror training camps that fund and direct groups who want to make trouble for us.

Now, are there different ways to deal with all three? Yes, and I won't presume to tell our president how to do it exactly, but I'm confident Powell and Rice and Rumsfeld and Cheney will help him figure that out.

In short, I don't think that just because the president refers to an axis of evil that he doesn't see some difference from terror state to terror state to terror state.

We've already seen some change in Iran, because they've noticed that the bull's-eye has moved onto them.

Will we see the same softening in the regime of North Korea? Maybe not. These are people who let their people starve while they build missiles to shoot at nations that aren't threatening them. They act like they're crazy.

How about Iraq? They've offered to talk about U.N. inspectors. Well, well, well. How about that? They're probably lying, but hey... we didn't even expect that much.

So the Bush doctrine is working, and it's not even a month old.

Let's give this thing some time and some support. It may work and we don't have anything to lose, except some jealous so-called friends in Europe and Russia who are hoping fervently that it will all fail.

That's My Word.

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