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Ben Stein, bless his humble heart, has written a poignant letter to our servicemen and women and their families extolling their virtues and acknowledging them for their service. He goes to rather extreme lengths to diminish the importance of anything and everything that we here at home do, and seems to go out of his way to have a whack at Oprah, but who can fault him for that? A more abject expression of personal humility would certainly give rise to suspicion that Mr. Stein is pathologically self-hating, and having seen him often on TV, there is no visible evidence of such an affliction. He is most droll, charming and self-assured.
So, I have no problem with any of that, and I don’t think that I have any less appreciation for the hard life of a serviceman or woman and their families than has he. However, I detect in his letter another bit of the sleight of hand that he employed in his recent odes to the oil companies. That is, he directs our attention to the service of the little guys (like Gomer at the service station, or now, in Iraq), but really, his purpose is to gloss the honchos and their policies.
Just as he managed to paint a rosy glow on the cheeks of the oil company executives by reflection from the Gomers of the country, he now attempts to do the same for the administration of G.W. Bush by reflecting it in the light of those in harm’s way. In the former case, he worked to deflect the anger of the public over astronomical oil profits while it paid record high prices for gas. Now he labors to deflect the discontent of the public over the quagmire in which the Bush crew has landed us in the Middle East.
Not to be unduly cynical, I hope, but when the high and mighty find themselves getting bad poll numbers, a call apparently goes out to Mr. Stein. He responds with his mighty feats of misdirection, and whether or not the poll numbers go up, there is a predictable flood of mail in these pages endorsing his work and implicitly at least, the persons and policies basking in the reflected glow.
I know it’s tantamount to blasphemy to take issue with Mr. Stein in these pages, such is his art at using such mirrors. Still, while I accept that art for its own sake, I remain unsatisfied that the oil companies and their executives were anything more than greedy. Likewise, although mine is one of very few voices I’ve heard raise the issue, I remain unconvinced that our military adventures do anything to improve our security here at home, particularly when the administration stubbornly refuses to secure our borders….p>I suggest that we hold the commander-in-chief to account for his decisions, and not let him escape scrutiny because the troops are brave and selfless. Let him not send squads into the bush while he stands waving through truckloads of purported lettuce and workers who “do windows.” That the squads in the bush are taking heavy casualties without complaint should not absolve him of his responsibility to protect the base. br> — Mark Fallert br> Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania /p>
It’s always heartening to see Mr. Stein write about the men and women of our Armed Forces. I wish, though — and this is not criticism — he’d remember the veterans who’ve served.
As for his assertion — “We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment…You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and you are in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet.” — how I wish that were true.
But as Mr. Stein said, I believe every decent man and woman, at least in America, does lift up prayers and appreciates the sacrifices the Armed Forces.p>Indeed, God bless them all. May they and their families be protected by the Lord God and may we give them their due respect for their service, regardless of whether it’s in a combat zone or not.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?