DON'T FORGET THE GIPPER
Re: James Bowman's Charlie Wilson's War:
Mr. Bowman gets a different moral from the lesson of this enjoyable film than I get. Perhaps even the author of the film did not realize what message the film gives: We abandoned the peace. The result was the rise of radical Islamists.
Had we stayed and helped the reorganization, perhaps a friendly democratic government would have emerged. There are powerful forces that want to abandon the peace in Iraq. If we abandon Iraq, will a radical anti-USA government emerge? Is the Democratic Party demanding we repeat the mistakes made at the end of Charlie Wilson's War?
-- David Moshinsky
I saw and enjoyed this movie over the weekend, although it is deliberately deceptive in many instances.
You have to pay close attention to pick up on the subliminal political messages.
First, the movie was produced by Rob Reiner (aka Meathead) who is the prince of left-wing politics in Hollywood and makes Barbra Streisand seem centrist.
Second, the movie erroneously portrays John Murtha as "clean as my grandmother's kitchen floor" with respect to the Abscam sting. Listening to Murtha's own recorded words to undercover FBI agents doesn't leave one with that conclusion, by a long shot.
Third, the movie takes several gratuitous swipes at Rudy Giuliani, the timing of which is propitious considering the fact the Reiner released the movie right before the Iowa's caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
Fourth, the movie takes a similar swipe at President Reagan, allegedly wondering whether we were still engaged in helping the Afghans in their efforts against the Soviets at a particular point in time.
Lastly, the movie focuses more on Wilson and less on Joanne King Herring (the Houston socialite) who was the real instigator of getting Wilson's attention on the subject matter. The facts that the movie ignores altogether are that Herring is an admitted conservative and that, except for Wilson, she lived her life in almost exclusively Republican circles.
So, if you look closely at the movie, you get the underlying message: Democrat -- good, Republicans -- bad.
It's also funny that liberals never refer to our efforts in backing the Afghans in their war against the Soviets when they insist that it was the Reagan Administration who initially armed OBL in Afghanistan. It's certainly not Charlie Wilson's War then.
-- Chris Hall
"Or, in Charlie's words which end the film: 'These things happened. They were glorious, and we changed the world...And then we f*****-up the endgame.' The movie offers no further elaboration on this statement..."
Actually lots of us "got the message" that with an ounce or two of "follow through" (build the schools, help "police" up the insurgency that followed), we might not have had to go back in officially the next time. That the United States Federal Government, and in particular many of our elected representatives have extreme short attention spans.
No wonder "our" foreign policy is so schizophrenic. My husband and I saw this over the holidays, at a theater near the "federal ghetto" near BWI airport. So maybe the audience was "biased" but we all cheered together when the "hinds" were shot!
Oh, the theater full (I'd estimate it at, at least 300+) and as we all made it out in silence, (not in the same type as say the silence after "The Passion") people pretty much were saying, "well that puts it all in perspective." Or "I don't like the war, but we can't pull troops out." Or my favorite, overheard in the ladies room, "I've got to get that movie and haul ass some people I know into see it. We did screw up Afghanistan once; we can't screw it up in either place now."
No, this was a "FEEL GOOD" since the real enemies were easily identified, and all the stuff about the fragile state of governance in Pakistan boiled down pretty concise -- strange that we saw it the same day Bhutto was assassinated.
The CIA "elitist" hacks were the "other group." They are still there in 2008, along with their State and Defense Departments cohorts, careerists that believe "status quo" is the ideal state.
My husband and I liked this movie, and for the record, completely agree with Congressman "Charlie" even if he was a Democrat.
-- S. Dent
Re: Ben Stein's Specifics:
My son served in Iraq for one year and is now back safe and sound. Ben Stein has sounded an important call for us all to remember that these brave soldiers must receive top rate medical care and other benefits.
God Bless Ben Stein.
-- J. Walker Sims
Good for you Ben, I can't wait for more. If these so called keepers of the national pride, treasure, etc., can promise college tuition to illegal aliens, then they should at least repay the families of those who served this country.
-- Tom Bullock
West Covina, California
I have always considered there something, to be polite, more than "twisted," in how the left disparages, ridicules and sneers at our nation's warriors, but have always felt a bit uncomfortable with some of the bureaucratic rules and regulations over veterans' benefits I have heard about when Republican administrations have had power. Ben Stein's moving recommendations should make their way to all the Republican candidates, not because they are good politics(their affect would probably be negligible), but because they are the minimally decent and humane actions a country can take to recognize the importance of our warriors and their families.
-- Paul Zisserson
Ben Stein is to be commended for his focus on Veterans. In truth, Veterans are political footballs, with endless lip service paid to their benefits, but no effective action ever taken. Veterans are among the least demanding of our citizens, and seem to expect the least for their service, which is the most demanding service provided to the nation by any group. What Ben proposes is just a start, as he says. I look forward to his forthcoming recommendations. Maybe some moderator can list Ben's points in a question to candidates in some up-coming debate. Democrats like to denigrate Veterans, particularly those of Vietnam and now Iraq, while Republicans seem to take Veteran service for granted. The worst abuses by politicians occur when they think there are political points to be scored on some Veteran issue. The policies are never appropriate or effective. Take the old Democrat initiative of defining drug addiction as a disability for Vietnam vets, hence those Vets with drug addiction were given a disability check. Drug rehab programs were funded, but the Vets who attended them never got off drugs, inasmuch as they would lose their disability checks if they became drug-free. So the Federal Government was paying Vets to remain addicted, while paying for ineffectual rehab programs. That's certainly one way to maintain a captive constituency for incumbents who claim to have Veteran interests at heart.
Most recently, Chet Edwards of Texas (17th District) crowed about the massive Veteran's bill he got through Congress, which Bush signed for political reasons, in the midst of the expose of poor conditions at Walter Reed and the extreme red tape to which wounded Iraq War Veterans are subjected, along with the semi-hysteria about post-traumatic brain injury common in Iraq War Vets, which unfortunately makes good care less available for Vets that need it, and continues to pour federal funds into a healthcare system that is highly dysfunctional. A better approach would be to simply have the Feds pay for private insurance policies for the Vets, and allow them to get the best care they can under private policies in their own communities, rather than keeping them corralled on the Veterans Health System reservation (where the poor care is only marginally better than that genocide-by-other-means system totally run by the Feds, the Indian Health Service), after the model of the GI Bill for education originated in the post-WWII era.
As an aside, regarding traumatic brain injury--one might cite the case of Earl Rudder, who led the assault on Point-du-hoc on D-Day. He was knocked unconscious by a shell that exploded close to him and killed one of his officers standing next to him. When he regained consciousness, he continued directing the assault. Of note is that he had been ordered by his commanding officer not to go ashore with the first wave, as he was too valuable to lose. Rudder defied the order, stating that without him, the assault would not succeed. He led from the front. He was one of the first up the ropes. He also took a bullet in the leg during the assault. The point: He almost certainly had traumatic brain injury from the concussion he suffered from the exploding shell. In those days, no such entity was considered, as it was long before CT and MRI scans. Nevertheless, he went on to become, Aggie jokes aside, the greatest president that Texas A & M has ever had, and built the University into what it is today. Our current military contains individuals of equal caliber. Even with traumatic brain injury, they are the best among us. Full support for them is long over-due. The abuse of Veterans by Congress of course goes back to the Revolutionary War and the Continental Congress, and is a long established American tradition, unfortunately.
-- Kent J. Lyon
College Station, Texas
Ben Stein says it all! Daily I listen to my democrat friends thanking God that the "stupid young people" go into the service and not their special little offspring.
The United States ought to have one and only one entitlement program: veterans who served in combat and their families should have everything they need. Not want, but need. That runs the gamut from job training to psychological care and housing.
I have a modest proposal for financing it as well. Let's do what John Edwards hints at. Let us "encourage" John and the Clintons, Streisand, Clooney and their ilk to give to the government their wealth over $25,000,000 and continue to do so each and every year for the benefit of those who give them license to spew their anti-American venom.
It's a better "modest proposal" than Jonathon Swift's.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina
I wish the next President enlists Mr. Stein as an advisor in their administration.
-- Jan Wood
SAVE THE DRAMA FOR OBAMA
Re: Philip Klein's Barack to Square One:
Philip Klein needs to do a little more reading. On Monday, Daniel Pipes and Melanie Phillips both published stories regarding Obama's "Muslim problem:" Pipes claims Obama had a "reasonably Muslim upbringing," and Phillips contends that he has a close association with Kenya's Raila Odinga, a man who "promised to implement strict Islamic Sharia law if he received the Muslim vote and was elected president."
One can only imagine what a certain Senator from NY will do with such "ammunition."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
I did enjoy reading your column on the GOP and Obama.
These are my reasons as to why I would never vote for Obama. As an aside, I was born in Chicago and raised there and in some of the suburbs. I had relatives who lived on the south side of Chicago and I spent a great deal of my time there.
Now my reasons.
I believe that Obama is getting support from Farrakhan. Could be wrong but I do find places on the web sites that shows them together. I should think Obama would represent Pastor Farrakhan very well. I believe Obama has been affected by Muslim relatives he has. That worries me. I believe the minister who runs the south side of Chicago church that Obama and family attend when they are at home in the Windy City is a man who has a tendency to be anti-white.
I believe that Obama did very little while in the State of Illinois legislature as far as representing his voters in any positive manner.
I believe he is not experienced enough to be president.
I believe he will send all kinds of money, if he can get it from Congress, to the continent of Africa. We already over spend on so many other foreign countries, including Africa, sending even more to places like Kenya causes me to throw in the towel. I know Rowan Scarborough has written on this matter today but I don't agree with him and I do respect Rowan.
My husband died this year. He was a retired Marine Corps pilot. We lived in base housing in NC., SC, and CA. I do not have any prejudices against people who are different then I am. So it doesn't matter to me if our next president was black, I just don't want Obama.
-- Mrs. Jo Dermody
Little Meadows, Pennsylvania
The article "Barack to Square One" highlights what I think is probably the biggest flaw in the Republican Party. The author speaks about how candidates will need to change the campaign strategy if Barack Obama wins the nomination for presidential candidate for the Democrat party. The truth is that the strategy does not need to change, the strategy needs to be that the Republican candidate will maintain bedrock conservative values. Lower taxes, reduced spending, less regulation, less intrusion into our privacy, a strong defense, a strict-constructionist judiciary, policies that reward individual effort at home and America first abroad are all winning campaign platforms. I have heard talk radio giants Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say these things hundreds of times and their "base" is larger than that of any current candidate.
We do not need Republicans who will run "against" Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards. We need candidates who will run "for" and champion a strong conservative platform. Our candidates need to educate the electorate on how these conservative policies have made and will make their lives better. Very few of the electorate will vote for higher taxes. People want to know that the law will be applied consistently and understandably, not in the arbitrary way that some sharp legal mind was able to make an argument. The vast majority of our citizens want to see our country respected in the world for its individual greatness, rather than loved because we abandoned our principles to embrace the values of the world community.
These are the campaign issues that will win in November, or at any time. As quoted in the article, Frank Luntz stated it correctly: "They'll screw it up because they'll treat him [Barack Obama] like any other politician." The truth is "they'll screw it up" whenever a Republican tries to run "against" another candidate. Republicans need to run on the bedrock conservative values that have made this country great, regardless of who the Democrats nominate.
-- Harry E. Rimmer
Let's hope the American people aren't in such a gambling mood as to risk the national security by electing Barack Obama as president.
This nice young man from Illinois is only a couple of years removed from the state senate, and he has craftily attempted to obscure his real views on quite a number of issues. For instance, he missed a lot of votes in the state senate, probably because he didn't want to go on the record on that particular issue. (See here.)
He benefited from his friendship with a local criminal (see here).
He belongs to a very interesting blacks-only-as-members church in Chicago. (See this link to their magazine: this link to their magazine). One interesting little experiment on this website is to click on the Become a Member tab. All the other tabs worked. This church has thousands of members. Guess they aren't interested in any more.
It would be really interesting if the media would give us a comprehensive look at just who Barack Obama, the presidential candidate, really is.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
Is nothing happening in America other than the election?
I'm heartily sick of pan-media political analysis, year after tedious year.
All election, all the time. Yawn.
The worst part: The day after the November election, it will begin all over again, like an uninspired episode of The Twilight Zone.
-- David Govett
ROMNEY'S GOT THE BIG MO, NOW
Re: W. James Antle III's Arm's Length Conservatism:
Does anybody know that Romney won Wyoming?
McCain and Huckabee got ZERO delegates.
Why is this being virtually ignored by the media? New Hampshire is the THIRD state to hold a Republican Primary/Causus.
Romney has finished first in one, second in the other and the activist old media wants him to be written off if he doesn't win New Hampshire. Seems almost like the media has an agenda here.
-- Mike May
WITH HER HUSBAND ON HER KNEE
Re: Philip Klein's The Last Days of the Clinton Dynasty:
She had a tear in her eye
And it made me cry,
So heart rending was her pain.
It reminded me
Of her dear hubby
When his trembling lip could gain
Access to sympathy,
His mastery of the genre was plain.
No one can match him.
She'll never catch him.
Her histrionics are, sadly, in vain.
-- Mimi Evans Winship
I come from up in Chappaqua
With my husband on my knee
To tell the folks in Iowa
Their President I'll be
I cried all night
The day I lost
The caucus was a rout
Barack's so hot
I paid the cost
Those Iowans tossed me out
Now, just you wait and see
For I'll beat you in New Hampshire
With my husband on my knee
When I laid down to bed last night
After throwing lamps at Bill
I dreamed Chief Justice Roberts was
A-standing on The Hill.
A Bible there
Was in his hand
He raised it
Then, he sighed
Barack Obama, Do you swear... ?
I just sat up and cried.
Yeah, just you wait and see
For I'll beat you in New Hampshire (uh, Carolina, no, uh, Florida, well uh, maybe California, maybe...)
With my husband on my knee
La da dee dee, la da dee
-- Mike Showalter
JESUS LOVES ME
Re: Letters (under "Poly Want a Theism") in Reader Mail's Over the Hillary:
I sure do get tired of reading about how I am not Christian because I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons). Every time an LDS member writes in to say they are Christian, somebody is sure to write in to attack them. I used to get offended and even took part in one such debate on this website, but now I just get sad.
Whether or not these detractors truly believe what they say, I can not say. I can say though that they are wrong. I and my fellow LDS are Christian. Misinforming others about us may help close a few extra doors in the face of missionaries, but it will open other doors when people come to realize that they have been misled.
Christ is my Savior. He suffered and died for my sins too. And I am trying to live by His words, to exercise faith in Him to salvation. There is nothing that any detractor can say that will change that.
-- James D. Bailey
Re: Nathan Maskiell's letter (under "Victory or Bust") in Reader Mail's Over the Hillary:
It is clear that Nathan Maskiell does not understand that a true conservative government is not defined by a belief in balanced budgets but by a responsible approach to spending and taxation. Would Mr. Maskiell call some politician a fiscal conservative who taxed away 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 per cent of his income in order to balance the budget? Spending, Mr. Maskiell, is the real problem, not deficits.
-- Gerard Jackson
Noble Park, Victoria
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