Tell me baby, who do you trust?

A recent report released by the FBI forced me to remember little George's about-face on Osama bin Laden. I'm sure you remember how he declared war on terrorists and said he wouldn't rest until bin Laden was dead and buried.

Then, within a year, when we couldn't find old Osama, Bush started claiming Osama wasn't important.

Well, the FBI must be reading George W's manual on backtracking.

Immediately after a report was released to the press noting that only 33 folks in the entire agency speak Arabic - you know, the language alleged terrorists held without trial in Cuba and points west speak - the FBI, 12,000 strong, which means 11, 988 who don't speak any Arabic at all, claimed it is "not crucial to know Arabic."

Must be why we did so well sniffing out the 9/11 terrorists.

I think I side with Daniel Byman, a Georgetown University associate professor who heads the school's security studies program.

"The FBI's failure to attract Arabic speaking agents is a serious problem.... It [language proficiency] gives you extra cultural knowledge and sensitivity. It makes you more sensitive to nuance, which is what investigations are often all about," Byman said.

This latest attempt to bury bad news in a blanket of denial reminded me of a time 33 years ago when I, just out of Uncle Sam's clutches, holding tightly to my honorable discharge, went into a Cincinnati ghetto to buy some marijuana. (I haven't smoked in 30 years, but right after Uncle, I liked my pot, and unlike poor Bill C., I did inhale).

After making a purchase I was walking around the predominantly African-American hood where my connection lived when I saw two white guys in cheap sport coats parking a plain green late-model sedan.

Their short hair and their car screamed, COPS.

"Hey, man," one of the fellows said to me, "do you live around here?"

I tossed my long hair into the wind and said that no, I was heading to the University of Cincinnati, less than a mile away.

"I just got out of the Army and I am going to go to school on the G.I. Bill," I said.

"We are looking to score some marijuana," one of the fellows said.

I acted righteously indignant and started looking around as if I were searching for a cop.

That's when, after a pregnant glance at each other, the boys flashed their badges. They were undercover officers. I don't remember if they were Cincinnati police, Hamilton County police or the FBI.

What I do remember is how lamely they did not fit in.

Their clothes, their car and their language were foreign to the neighborhood.

It makes me think of FBI agents tromping around the Middle East not speaking the language of the people they are supposed to be investigating.

Once, around 1934 when they caught bank robber John "Jackrabbit" Dillinger, the FBI was some outfit, though. You've got to give them that.

But instead, you might prefer to add them to the list of the unprepared, like Rumsfeld, who thought Iraq would be over after a couple of months of "shock and awe."

Add them to the list George W. - who declared the war in Iraq over more than three years ago, before another 2,500 Americans would be butchered - holds pride of place on.

"Trust the Unprepared - we'll tell you everything is cool!" is a lot closer to the truth than shock and awe. In whatever language you say it.

Let Dennis Wilken know what your thinking. Write him at the address or e-dress listed below, or give him a ring at 461-1311.

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