Reader Mail

Tony’s Awards

General McPeak's show of pique. Why not Democrat defeat? Vacational schools. Race without end. Plus more.

3.25.08

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McPEAK SPEAK
Re: Robert M. Goldberg's McPeak on Display:

Gen. McPeak, in addition to the qualities Mr. Goldberg describes, is also the retired flag officer most likely to repel Air Force veterans from Senator Obama's candidacy. I say this as a retired (reserve) sailor, but the zoomies I knew over a career of 27 years uniformly detested him.

This message contains a "punnish" allusion to one of the reasons they did. Maybe one of them will explain.
-- Ed Girard

I wonder if anyone on the Obama campaign staff is aware of the contempt in which McPeak is held by a significant segment of Air Force veterans of the '80s and '90s. His term as Air Force Chief of Staff was a near disaster with the troops, morale-wise. He's a cold, humorless fish, unlike any other high-ranking officers whom I've ever observed. As a colonel we trained him (in my squadron) to fly the F-111A circa 1980, and I have personally seen him in action on a daily basis. His name is a joke with USAF vets of the previous two decades. Ask anyone.
-- Phil Brandt
Maj., USAF (Ret.)
Austin, Texas

Hey, wait a minute! I'm STILL waiting for a commentator on McPeak's "Bill Clinton as McCarthy" comment to point out that "McCarthyism" -- in the sense of "false accusation" -- is as wrong and even more outdated a term as "Swiftboated" (also used incorrectly in the sense of "false accusation"), or to continue to claim Reagan was an "amiable dunce."

The slander by McPeak was to McCarthy, not Clinton! And to point out McPeak's questionable positions, and relate THOSE somehow to "McCarthyism" -- double slander!

McPeak may be completely wrong on Israel, and one may well (somehow) link that history to considering a hypocrite in complaining about Bill's statements about Obama's patriotism (which could also have been wrong)...but NONE of the above, in any way, is a reflection on -- or of -- McCarthy!

Has no commentator read the recent scholarly and popular works (finally) rehabilitating McCarthy's reputation? He performed the difficult, much-needed, and ultimately unpopular service of weeding out actual Communist agents who had embedded themselves in all levels of the federal government, and their supporters and co-conspirators in society.

How quaint that legacy must sound to liberals who practically deny the concept of "national security" let alone ignore today's terrorist and other threats thereto; but in the aftermath of WWII and start of the Cold War, Communist infiltration really and truly was an actual, existential threat to the Union. Every release of historical documents from "the other side" has only ever CONFIRMED CP membership and outright spying by individuals the Left has claimed as "innocents" for decades -- NEVER ONCE, to my knowledge, confounded the charge.

I guess using "McCarthyism" in its erroneous historical sense, is just like the many "journalists" who continue to ignore the support for the accuracy of the statements of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and who let dust collect -- if they ever bothered to obtain a copy -- on Reagan In His Own Hand, one among many tomes documenting the deep thinker that Reagan was -- no mere "talking head/actor," he.

Of course this is just scratching the surface of cultural myths that have the facts (and values) exactly backwards, but let's start whack-a-moling them ALL of them wherever they pop up!
-- Kevin Amaro
Hayward, California

Thank goodness and Tyrrell (in many instances the same) for getting the complete story out on another military kook. Many of us thought General Clark was more than enough with his "suck up" mentality to the Clintons and left wing views. Even Fox News did not note that the latest general had been picked up for driving under the influence and had a well known reputation for Jew and Christian bashing. This why the Commander in Chief of the armed forces is a civilian and not just another soldier. Keep up the good and necessary work right thru the election in November.
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

Tony McPeak's comparison of Bill Clinton with Joe McCarthy brought out the old memories...unfortunately, it didn't bring out memories of what he looked like. Yesterday, on Fox News, of all places, I saw the story illustrated with old film of Eugene McCarthy. Big difference.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

SNATCHING DEFEAT
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Why Not Defeat?:

Terrific, timely slogan for the political campaign the Democrats and their supporters seem to be running now.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

You obviously produced your article, "Why Not Defeat" prior to this weekend.

This weekend, we had our 4,000th US death in Iraq, and scores of Iraqis killed in explosions around country.

I'd wait on helping Bush get back into that flight suit if I were Karl Rove.

Too funny!
-- Rick from Minnesota

Yes, Ms. Rubin, it is all about what has come to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome, but let us not too flippantly dismiss the importance of the conflict in Afghanistan in favor of the Iraqi portion of the war against radical Islam. I believe that a thorough reading of the articles coming from the reporters that are actually with the troops in those two operational areas will lead one to conclude that we are seeing the end stages of significant engagement in Iraq. When Al Qaeda is finally driven out of Mosul, they well be left with a scattered presence in smaller towns and rural areas. That well quickly become an untenable situation as significant additional sections of Iraqi society decide that they have had enough and join "The Awakening."

On the other hand, it is patently evident that we are already seeing a ramping up of the conflict in Afghanistan. The Taliban, with infusions of Al Qaeda trained and dedicated fighters are increasingly aggressive in Afghanistan, particularly in those areas that border on Pakistan. This summer looks as if it will see significant actions. The ambushes of our, and other country's, troops are becoming much more than the occasional flea on a camel's back. They are becoming set piece battles with double and triple digit losses to the Taliban/Qaeda troops in many more instances. Study history. Study geography. Study geo-political history and trends. Afghanistan is a darn tough nut to crack, but crack it we must.

This view completely leaves the internal conflict in Pakistan out of the question. That can no longer be tolerated in reasoned decision making. If we are not damned careful in our actions and policies, Pakistan could be lost to radical Islamic forces. It truly is very near a tipping point. The Bush administration has NOT been so sure footed as to give me confidence in their policies toward Pakistan and Musharraf. Many figures in the administration do not seem to grasp the importance of saving Musharraf's hide. It seems that we are very near to the same kind of deal that Jimmy Carter managed to thoroughly mess up with the Shah of Iran. So far the stories of the explosions within Pakistan are few and muted. The media has completely failed to explain the significance of our interests in a nuclear armed Pakistan. The media is almost totally oblivious to what it would mean if the Taliban got their hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Pakistan is a disaster in the process of happening. And if you do not understand what the Pakistani situation means within the context of Afghanistan, then please go back to see your governess and get her to explain it to you.

A good deal less flippancy regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan on your part, Ms. Rubin, would not only be advisable, but darn near mandatory.
-- Ken Shreve

For the last five years Americans have been subjected to a peculiar brand of liberal Democrat "logic" regarding the war on terror. I'm not referring to the moonbat segment of the party, for whom any military action is evidence of our moral decadence. I'm talking about liberals who espouse the idea that war in Afghanistan was good, but war in Iraq was bad.

After 9/11, these liberals recognized the necessity of responding to the worst domestic attack in American history. Invading Afghanistan was OK because al Qaeda used the country as a training camp with the blessings of the Taliban. Apparently for these liberals, all would have been right if our military action had been confined to that theater.

So here's the question: imagine for a moment that in the course of our fighting in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden had been killed or captured. Would the war on terror have been over?

I have yet to meet a liberal who answered "yes."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

WORK STUDY
Re: Adam Creighton's Six Degrees of Preparation:

Creighton writes: "If six million full-time U.S. students were working rather than studying..."

As if our booming economy could absorb an extra six million (semi-literate) workers.

Adam should spend a little more time on the western shore of the pond.
-- Steve Kraisler

Mr. Creighton's elitist, yet entertaining, article could have been cut in half if he had just mentioned one important fact:

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, especially in Article I (Section 8), does it authorize the Federal Government to fund, or lay duties, excises or taxes in order to fund, or in any way be involved in primary, secondary, or post-secondary education, nor be involved in any other form of education, whether it be vocational, technical, or otherwise. Nor does it allow the Fed to tax non-productive students, for that matter.

Education is a state issue, not a federal issue. For example, Virginia's Constitution sets aside about a third of its text to address the issue. The U.S. Constitution is very specific in what the U.S. Government can do (subject, of course, to how SCOTUS interprets the document -- another issue that will be addressed many times in other columns). Contrary to popular opinion, if the U.S. Constitution does not specifically address a given issue, that does not give the Federal Government carte blanche over said issue -- in other words, it is a limiting document. Give the $68 billion back to the taxpayers. Let each state figure out how to best educate its citizens in the public arena. Milton Friedman would have loved nothing more than to see 50 independent experiments.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Great article, if fairly long. I think we should charge law students twice the tuition PLUS a nuisance tax for all the trouble they will cause when they finally pass the various bar exams.

Recently I ran into one of my daughter's friends I had not seen in a long time. She breathlessly told me she had applied and had been accepted to law school! As I congratulated her all I could think was, "Wonderful! Just what the world needs -- another lawyer!"
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

LETTER PERFECT
Re: Vince McKnight's letter (under "Not Brain Surgery") in Reader Mail's Red and Yellow, Black and Blue:

Thank you for publishing Mr. Vince McKnight's eloquent and powerful letter recounting some of his personal experiences with everyday racism in the United States. Its authenticity is readily apparent, perhaps especially to those of us of the same generation. It is indeed marvelous that today's children are growing up in a time when such episodes of blatant ugliness and injustice, once routine and unremarkable in American life, are universally condemned and much reduced in frequency.
-- Paul Curley

Yes, Mr. Vince McKnight and his father clearly have been the victims of racism at the hands of white folk. And as someone who has spent years working with at-risk urban youth, I have seen countless acts of racism visited upon my city's black children. And it is shameful. Truly shameful.

Let me stop here for a moment. Because there is a flip side to this racism issue. I'm curious, does Vince McKnight have any idea the degree of racism white folks living in the ghetto endure -- from blacks? Well I do; I live there. I too have been spit on -- by blacks. I too have been the frequent recipient of racial slurs -- by blacks. I too have had my property vandalized -- by blacks, who preceded the vandalism with racial slurs. I too have been beaten up and robbed -- by blacks. In each case, the perpetrators made clear my race was their motivating factor. They said so themselves.

In America, the blind hatred of white folks by a significant percentage of blacks is epidemic. And until black folk make an effort to find a cure, it will continue to metastasize, pulling all black folk deeper and deeper into the abyss.
-- Mark A. Tarnowski
Minneapolis, Minnesota

CAN WE TALK?
Re: Tom Bethell's Obama and His Minister, Reader Mail's Red and Yellow, Black and Blue, Reader Mail's Barackracy in America etc.:

Boy, was this an interesting piece. A Caucasian from England professing to be able to understand AND judge what the African-American community believes, and benefits from...professing to be able to speak to the ability of light-skinned African-Americans to "get beyond racial issues [sic]."

Wow!!!

As a man of mixed heritage, I was horribly offended by the oversimplified and judgmental view of this article. While I believe fully in everyone's right to their opinion, I also think that we should all believe that with that right comes the responsibility of making sure one knows what one is talking about. This man bases his thesis statement and conclusion on isolated interactions with African-Americans.

Mr. Bethell:

Do you honestly believe that affirmative action is THE cause of racial conflict in this day and age? Do you really think that the African-American community is emboldened by affirmative action? When so many of our young men believe that there is no way out for them? That is the most absurd set of conclusions I have ever heard.

That certainly may be a major cause of resentment among whites. I can tell you that tension coming from the African-American side is coming straight from being oppressed for hundreds of years. Segregation was just lifted 50 years ago after over 3 centuries of legalized slavery and oppression. The fact that "conservative" (actually radical) Caucasians will sit here and say "hey, we desegregated the schools, get over it sooner rather than later", shows an insensitivity to others that has been at the root of British and American imperialism for many, many years. Look up the Tuskegee experiments, look at the many many cases of police brutality against young African-American men. My father had a cop shine a flashlight in his face and ready to draw his gun because he said my father fit the description of someone who robbed a liquor store. My father had university administration tags on his car and was dressed in a suit with 2 kids and his wife in the car. I was a teenager at the time. I am only 34. Do you honestly think that African-Americans are no longer subject to discrimination?

The fact is, no THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY DOES NOT (as a whole) BLAME WHITE PEOPLE THAT ARE ALIVE TODAY. This does not change the FACT that something has to be done to level the playing field. Did you know that the African-American community is the only minority in the United States whose families were sold away from each other, whose very religious practices and cultural traditions were literally beaten out of them, not for decades, but for hundreds of years? Yeah, sure, recovery is possible in a single generation. This previous sentence was sarcasm, in case you need help deciphering that, too.

You're right, we do need to have a dialogue on race -- but we need an honest dialogue, not one that at its core is just an attempt to assign blame (Reverend Wright) or needlessly assuage some deep-seated misplaced guilt (articles like yours). You cannot just dismiss centuries of oppression in an article because the results of it (which include Rev. Wright's attitudes) make you uncomfortable.

Grow up.
-- Dr. Kwame M. Brown

It is altogether fitting and proper that Tom Bethell's article coincide with the beginning of Easter, although it may strike some as sacrilegious to compare the paschal season, in which we look forward to better times, to the secular "hopes" the people of this nation are betting on amongst the seriously flawed candidates who wish to be president. Yet, can one deny that there is a tragic component inherent in our current political state that, clearly, demands a return to the Lenten season of purification through penance?

What separates our recent presidential campaigns and elections from those of the past is, in my view, the arrant mendacity now inherent in the process that selects and elects our leaders. A myth -- or lie -- is created about the candidate, and told and retold so often as to enter the psyche of the public as a given truth. Tom Bethell's comments about Obama's minister are not new, nor were they unknown; yet, the efforts by the Obama's supporters, especially in the MSM, to circle the wagons to limit the damage done by Rev. Wright invective are indicative of just how much mendacity there is in Obama's candidacy. As for his mantra of "change," since I began voting in presidential elections in 1960, I know of no candidate who has not sought, as did all of his successors, "to change the system." Change, indeed.

Allow me to be bipartisan in my denunciation: this non-telling of the truth extends to both parties, for each candidate is repeatedly advised that shading, never telling, the truth is the only way to win. But lying -- and there is no other word for it -- the moral theologians teach us, leads to more of the same. For Obama's minions and supporters to play the race card, as the Rev. Wright has been doing for 20 years, is one thing, but for large portions of white society to deny that such cards are held, and/or played is quite different, and quite wrong: they are living a lie. "Anti white discrimination has been legal in this country for the past 40 years," Mr. Bethell intones; yet, your -- not my -- GOP knight, Sen. McCain, sees nothing wrong with that, as do his supporters, including the president whose Justice Department submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) petition in the Michigan Law School case in favor of "quotas," which is what the (late) Chief Justice Rehnquist labeled the school's "affirmative action" guidelines. Were the university officials speaking truthfully when they denied the Chief Justice's charges? Former Justice O'Connor claimed that the Bush administration's amicus convinced her that the government supported quotas, and her vote helped turned the 14th Amendment on its head, but few politicians seem to mind, or care. After all, we were just continuing "to level the playing field," or whatever other deceit is used to justify racial quotas.

The question of how to deal with the racial issue is the cross that we bear, unlike Europe, where, historically, religion and language distinguished one group or country from another. For more than forty years, this nation, primarily by judicial fiat, has been moved in a direction whose objective was to bring harmony between the races through spending untold trillions in transfer payments to the poor, who remain as poor today, and through quotas, aka "affirmative action," which perforate the heart of constitutional law. Should we not revise the way we as a people look at the current situation and truthfully address this ever widening racial divide? Perhaps the best way to start is to take the view that knowing the truth will set you free, but it is also the only truly moral way to act.

Pax tecum,
-- Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

I want to thank you for a publishing the letters from Charles Cureton, James Robinson, Ann Crute, Vince McKnight and Willy Dalton in reponse to Tom Bethell's "Obama and His Minister." The treatment of the Black race in this country has been shameful. The problem has been, is, and will continue to be that the entire country will be painted with the same brush.

The importance of these letters is that each is emotionalism manifest. Yes there were wrongs in the past (understand those three words -- in the past!). Most of us had nothing to do with Jim Crow, and do not condone the lack of manners some have shown. The problem is we now enact legal discrimination to repay discrimination. Gandhi expressed the problem of "an eye for an eye" quite well. The writers listed above are simply blind because they refuse to look to the future.

Racially, the country is far from blind. Even those blacks who have suffered little from racism are seething with the hatred preached by Sharpton, Jackson and Wright. There is no debate allowed on the matter. To win an argument with the black left is to be a racist, as if the facts somehow take sides (Ann Crute's debate has already taken place and they lost).

There is not a person living today that hasn’t suffered some sort of injustice. Some far more than others, and whites have been in the forefront of that just the much as the rest of the human race. Whites have been held in slavery and there are probably very few that have not been held down by circumstances beyond their control. Recently, some very high profile crimes have been committed by blacks against whites simply because they were white.

Frankly, I long ago tired of the race hustlers, and those who refuse to let go of the past and move forward. It really is time to put the blame where it truly lies -- with those who benefit politically and financially. The largest beneficiary is the party that was dominant in the South after Reconstruction, and most the rest of the country after the presidential election of 1932 -- the Democrats. The other beneficiaries are the race hustlers of the NAACP, the Urban League, and the ADL. The radical Republicans may have started the trouble during Reconstruction, but the Democrats have dominated the mess ever since.

The country has had enough racial hatred. If only the left will quit preaching it, and enforcing it by law, we might get over it. Like abortion, however, there is too much money being made from it to stop.

Go ahead and switch to from McCain to Obama, Mr. Robinson. It really isn't a change for a so called moderate, AKA Country Club Republican.
-- Richard L. Hardison
Waynesville, North Carolina

The Spectator has aired some good, well thought out articles on Rev. Wright, Obama, and "race" in America, and some not so good ones. I know from experience that the Spectator does not air EVERY letter/email that it receives. The ones that have been published, I am sure, represent a good cross section of the ones arriving in the Spectator in-box. I have truly enjoyed the reading. It has been quite a while since I have been treated to such an amusing tragi-comedy.

May I ask, how are we to debate "race" in America? What are we talking about? Are we arguing that we should subsidize marathons and make 10Ks stand on their own? It is patently obvious that a gigantic percentage of black Americans have no intention whatever of "getting over" slavery (which ended here 150 years ago) and/or its after effects (which ended here de jure almost 50 years ago). They are running a marathon, not a sprint. They are simply not going to let go of their own little grievance subsidy/reparation. And truth be told, why should they? Why give up voluntarily an advantage that one has worked hard to establish.

I also want to congratulate my black American brethren on their success in ingraining guilt in such a large part of the white population. You know, I would bet that only a tiny fraction of said white population can factually trace their ancestry back to a slave owner, or slave trader, or slave plantation cruel overseer. I would bet that almost all of them are folks whose entire lineage is totally free of any dealing with slavery at all. Many probably had ancestors that were in the vanguard of the fight to eliminate slavery and/or discrimination on the basis of skin color.

We can not debate "race" in America. There can be no dialogue. For there to be a dialogue BOTH sides need to be committed to reason and ready to move on past what ended, de jure, over 40 years ago. How can we debate racism when the debate definitions specifically proscribe one of the sides from a showing of racism in any way, shape, or form on their side? Debating "race" in America is no different then the "negotiations" between the Islamic world and Israel, and due to the same conditions, failure to release one scintilla of the ill will built up over past grievances.

Now if anyone wants to argue from the standpoint of de facto discrimination, then we can do that, but let it be acknowledged up front. It will have to be acknowledged that what we are arguing over is the content of individual hearts and minds, not a societal rule or more', or governmental law or policy.

If we are to do that, we also need to establish what our goals are. Is it simply an academic exercise, or do we hope to further a process leading to a truly color blind society? If the latter is our goal, then the black community is sure going about it in a self-defeating manner. Do they not know, or not care, that the rantings of such a the Rev. Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Sheila Jackson-Lee and the rest of the Black Caucus, various black spokespersons for the black grievance industry, etc. are directly responsible for worsening the situation? The attitudes and actions of the "black leadership" in the last 40+ years has undermined every attempt by white society to reach an equitable solution to the problem. One compromise after another has been offered up/enacted by white society in reparation for past inequities. It is never enough. The "black leadership" and their followers are not willing to compromise on a single jot or tittle in the argument.

As the Nazis did when they bombed London in the Blitz, what the black community has done is to cause a hardening of the resolve of an increasingly large part of the white community, is cause a digging in of the heels, against further giveaways, further compromises. There comes a point where an increasing percentage of one side of the "debate" says, "Enough, we have already tabled our final offer. We have already reached bottom of what you can do to us. Bring it on." Unfortunately, it seems to me that ninety percent, or thereabouts, of the black community in America is determined to push one hundred percent of the white folks into that last uncompromising stage of the argument. Well, not a hundred percent. There will still be some insignificant percentage of guilt ridden to the core, basically anti-American whites, but they will just be the collateral damage that is unavoidable in any conflict.

Pity! I had hoped that I might see the end of this unprofitable conflict before my demise. I now realize that the conflict will end only when one of the two sides has exhausted its ranks completely. Given the percentages within the American population, that does not bode well for the Obama/Wright side of the argument.
-- Ken Shreve

I am commenting on the readers' letters on this essay. There is clearly a huge divide between the writers based entirely on race. But the divide was interesting. The Black writers all talked about anger born of wrongdoings in the distant past from as far back as 400 years to as recently as the 70's. White people seemed to be of the opinion that things are getting much better.

I guess we all have had instances of racial discrimination occur in our lives. I am a white older man who came from lower middle class people who taught me that you "ought to dislike people based on how they treat you and others." Be as blind to physical differences as you can, they are superficial." But in fact those differences are not superficial. Black people have had, on times gone buy a very different experience due to their color. Because of those terrible experiences and a desire for. what, revenge, punishment for their tormentors (or more accurately their tormentors children and grandchildren) many blacks are angry. Citizens in the Black community keep this cult of hatred alive by reciting what has happened as though it is inevitable that it will continue to happen. One of the readers, an educated African American woman, said "America is the most racist country in the world." Travel would certainly show her the lie to that remark.

But I do think a form of racism is kept alive and well by the Democrats creation of the welfare state and the purposeful, concurrent destruction of the Black family. Without fathers children do poorly. Without discipline children grow up without values. Many Black children are born to other Black children. They cannot reasonably be expected, by persons of any color, to raise well adjusted citizens. Because of this crime, violence, and drugs fills urban Black communities. We see it every night on television.

This constant barrage of information creates a new kind of racist belief in the white community. That is fear. Whites are afraid of young, Black males. They look different -- not black different -- scary different. Long tangled locks, pants down around their ankles, pushing people out of their way as they walk four or five abreast in malls, shouting and swearing.

Since the Black readers recounted instances of racially motivated negative behavior towards them I will recite only the three most serious committed against me. In high school -- the '60s -- I tried out for the football team. Before the first practice as I was suiting up "I was told by a large black lineman that "whitebreads don't be playing on dis team. We bus' you ass, cake baby." And sure enough they did. Daily.

While in the service in Vietnam I, a new guy, walked into a beer joint. Unknown to me it was a Black-segregated bar. I had a .45 pistol put to my head and was told I could pick being "capped" or get the S* *t kicked out of me." I chose the latter due to its familiarity from high school football. Little did I know the genuine enthusiasm with which that beating would be administered. I might have been killed but someone who saw me walk in the bar and knew its nature alerted the MP's and they saved my life.

The last was while working in Florida (where there is absolutely no social intercourse between Blacks and Whites). I had come out of a restaurant when I was accosted by two Black, just-teen children. They asked "to hold" my money. When I pushed by them, one stabbed me in the back of my left arm. I grabbed and threw the other at him and they ran. I still have the knife they dropped.

Am I angry at Blacks? No, but I confess to the occasional thought that I sure would like to have the opportunity to get back at the ones who did these things to me. Would I stand up in Church and rail against all Blacks as did the Reverend Wright against Whites? No. I go to a Christian Church where that would not be tolerated.

My point is a simple one. "What goes around comes around." If you send out hatred, anger and rage, it will come back to you. So there will always be troubles among folks. Have times changed? You bet they have! In the 1950s a black man couldn't safely walk through many white neighborhoods. Today a White man can't safely walk through many Black neighborhoods.
-- Jay Molyneaux
North Carolina

Letter-writer Ann Crute wants a debate on race using facts. Let's use hers:

"You will never get a free pass for slavery, or the various other types of European-based racism practiced over generations in this country and around the world." No one wants a free pass, Ms. Crute. But 300,000 white people died in a Civil War freeing the salves and every race has practiced slavery throughout history. America was the second country in the entire world (after Great Britain) to outlaw it.

"I don't remember any Bush having to 'bring the nation together' when Atwater slapped us in the face with Willie Horton." Perhaps you don't remember it because it was Al Gore who first introduced Willie Horton to America in his primary fight against Michael Dukakis.

"I don't remember any white man having to make a speech to apologize for Jessie Helms in Washington, Strom Thurmond in the Senate..." I don't recall anyone apologizing for former KKK member Sen. Robert Byrd (Dem.-W VA) either.

"I am a college-educated African American woman who has experienced white racism on at least ten different occasions in my lifetime..." Ten different occasions in over twenty plus years? (Unless you're a prodigy, a college graduate would have to be at least that age.) That works out to one occasion every two years.

"...because I live in America, one of the most racist countries in the world." If you truly believe that Ms. Crute, I would respectfully suggest one of two solutions: travel more and get some genuine perspective -- or find another country more to your liking.
-- Arnold Ahlert (formerly of Brooklyn)
Boca Raton, Florida

Major Harris's history lesson on race is, sadly, accurate as far as it goes. President Johnson, when signing the Civil Rights Act, famously commented that the South had been delivered to the Republican Party for at least a generation. It took no time for the Republicans to develop the "Southern Strategy" replete with the code words all bigots clearly understood signaled support for segregation. How about some endless loops about the whispering campaign in South Carolina in 2000 concerning John McCain's "black baby," or the tape of George Allen's "macaca" comment, or the "call me" TV ad against Harold Ford in Tennessee. All Republican, all racist and all more contemporary than any of the events outlined by Major Harris. For good measure, the comments of the Reverends Falwell and Robertson about American in the wake of 9/11 should be replayed as models of robust patriotism. Remember? American deserved to be attacked according to these two fine preachers. Oh, and why not have a split screen with Reverend Wright on one side and Reverend Hagee on the other? The Republican 527s are gleefully gearing up. The only question is whether the Democrats, having ample material with which to reciprocate, will.
-- Mike Roush
North Carolina

AN INTELLECTUAL RESPONSE
Re: Christopher Orlet's I'm OK --You're a Half-Wit:

Orlet on Jacoby is a twit. Get a real reviewer.
-- G. T. Karnezis

Please tell Christopher how flattered I was that he included a mention of Redneck Nation in his review of Age of Unreason. He noted the same thing I did, namely that Jacoby leaves out the entire abandonment of reason and rationality as mandatory standards of measurement for the Left. They even have names for it, like "authenticity" and "deconstructionism," and a movement celebrating the abandonment of objective truth, fed by philosophers like Marcuse.

Of course there are irrational people on the Right, too. They're just not irrational on purpose.
-- Michael Graham

HAUNTING
W. James Antle III's The Safe Talk Express:

Safe Talk gets you nowhere. Odd to me that a man who is known for a hair trigger temper and a foul mouth to boot has decided that he will pull his punches. He's a little old for dancing around the ring, so if he has a punch he'd better land it. And soon.

Why has the Willie Horton commercial haunted Republicans these many years? It should have haunted Governor Dukakis. Perhaps it would not have haunted Republicans if they had not been complicit in the cover-up of WHY poor Willie was in Stony Lonesome in the first place. If that were generally known, Republicans and Democrats alike would wonder what possessed Governor Dukakis in allowing him to go on a week-end leave.

During that whole "dirty trick" flap I only saw one article that described in graphic detail the crime that Willie Horton was doing time for. Perhaps your archival expertise could unearth a Patrick Buchanan piece wherein he described Horton's murdering a man in a gas station, slit his throat, castrated him and stuffed the severed genitals in the victim's gashed throat. This would not seem an ideal candidate for R&R outside the prison. Nevertheless, that is what the compassionate Governor Dukakis did -- whereupon Horton murdered a couple on his rampaging weekend. Would you call Willie's mischief HATE CRIMES or just overkill?

Whoever brought this to light -- and my recollection is that it was a dirty trickster (does the name "Brown" ring a bell?) other that the much maligned -- and now deceased -- Lee Atwater -- when the story first floated it was somehow connected to Al Gore -- whoever brought it to light did a public service. It informed the electorate that Governor Dukakis had a soft heart and a soft spot in his head for criminals who don't get out enough.

Look, if the Governor of whatever state Jeffrey Dahmer was in jail in had let Dahmer out on a weekend-- and if that Governor was running for President -- would it have been all right with blacks if they ran a similar hit ad about that Governor and that WHITE criminal?

Willie Horton was a vicious murderer housed in a prison in a state run by a man who was such a passive/pacifist/pussy-footin' kind of guy he could not bring himself even to want to kill the man who raped his wife. But the Willie Horton ad didn't do him in. His silly statement about Kitty didn't. It was the tiny guy in the tank picture. His political hopes were swirling in the toilet the day that picture ran. We don't elect tiny guys. Howard Dean found that out.
-- D. Smith

OUR FURRY FRIENDS
Re: Gilbert Ross, M.D.'s Jumping Ship from the Rats:

Thank you for this article. Animal rights activists have been saying for years that animal experiments are useless and misleading. Articles like this are important to get the issue before the public.
-- Jane Shakman
Ossining, New York

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