Reader Mail

Vindication and Vindictiveness

So which is it? Grinning mullahs, sabotaged Bush. Covert activities under the sea. Mike clubbed for growth. Kelo and patents. Plus more.

12.5.07

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UNBELIEVABLE
Re: Philip Klein's Has Bush Been Vindicated on Iran?:

Saying that President Bush is vindicated if the NIE is accurate is one big "if," especially given that the guys who produced these things do not have anything like a good record. Why should anybody believe the "slam dunk WMD" people? Not only do these people have a long, long record of being proven badly wrong, they are also saying that the evidence proves the absence of a nuclear program. It is a basic fact of science and logic that proving a negative case is very difficult, much harder than proving a positive, that something does exist or did happen. Calling this type of reasoning "intelligence" is simply ridiculous -- basing the security of the country on it is outrageously reckless and irresponsible.

After seven years in office the Bush people look even more incompetent and deluded than the day they started, and they were bad enough then. My bet is that the mullahs are grinning from ear to ear.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

While Phil Klein makes some salient points on the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) regarding its actually being a vindication of "W" and his administration's policy towards Iran, I'm not completely convinced. When the NIE was issued, I noted its authors were strong opponents of Bush and his policies towards Iraq and Iran. At this point, I approached the Estimate with a coal shovel to work my way through it. However, I soon found that a front-end loader was going to be necessary for this task.

It's been long apparent to me that there are significant numbers of individuals in the Intelligence Community and the State Department who prefer to apply the softness of their heads to softening the policies we have towards regimes such as Iran. Recent revelations by writers such as Rowan Scarborough and Bill Gertz have shone a harsh light on the inabilities, lack of intestinal fortitude and general weasel-like character of many in the IC. Granted, the anointed Clinton administration did a sensational job of disemboweling the Intelligence Community, but too many of the Clinton acolytes were installed and have remained in too many positions of power there.

I'll borrow the last line of AEI's Michael Ledeen's NRO article on this mess -- "Color me an unbeliever."
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

The only thing vindicated by this year's NIE is that nearly 4 years after the event it says may have happened they announce it. In other words, the 16 Intel agencies involved don't have a clue and 4 years after the first mushroom cloud appears somewhere in the world that year's NIE might say something like Iran started their discontinued nuclear program up in 2004...

Working in the Intel business and being a Public School teacher have a lot in common it seems.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

While Mr. Klein asserts that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) can be spun into a symbol of victory for President Bush, it can also be spun as a victory for liberals who desire that America disengage from the world power struggles.

In fact the NIE has been politicized because it flip-flopped about Iran's pursuit of its nuclear weaponry program, and has lost its viability as a guide to policy-makers, supporting the latter spin. It is headed for the garbage can. Policy makers will lose confidence in any future NIE's and be forced to turn to other sources of intelligence or a reorganization of the intelligence community to fulfill their responsibilities.

While America has not been blinded, it does now need new glasses.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

The NIE's latest report is not a vindication of anything for which George W Bush would receive credit. Quite the contrary: it is evidence of a "shadow government" operating independently -- and against -- the Commander-in-Chief during wartime.

The purpose? To shift the focus away from national security -- the Democrats' greatest vulnerability -- for the 2008 election.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Before we think through the political implications of this National Intelligence Estimate, let's consider the source. The CIA has done everything it could to undermine Bush since 9/11. Valerie Plame actually worked in their WMD nonproliferation office. Her boss, who thought sending Joe Wilson to Niger was a swell idea, is still there. Why should we trust anything they say? Indeed, we should assume that the only purpose of this NIE is to embarrass Bush until proven otherwise.
-- D.M. Duggan

SUBMARINE SOVEREIGNTY
Re: Peter Hannaford's LOST Cause:

I am appalled that Peter Hannaford has let his opposition to the LOS Convention lead him to a position that would sacrifice American security for his cause ("LOST Cause," 5 December, 2007). I am speaking about his objection to Article 20 of the Convention in which submarines are required to operate on the surface when within the territorial sea of another country. In arguing against this provision (which is also part of both customary international law and the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea), Mr. Hannaford is arguing that Russian, Chinese and Cuban submarines should be able to operate hidden in the American territorial sea, our bays and our harbors. International law does not recognize one set of rules for the U.S. and another for countries that we oppose -- if he wants the legal right to send U.S. subs submerged into foreign territorial seas, he must also support the right of foreign subs to sneak through our territorial sea.

The U.S. may have conducted submerged operations in foreign territorial seas in the past, much as we once conducted overflights of the Soviet Union by U2 aircraft, and may do so in the future. Such operations have never been authorized under international law -- that is why they would be "covert," and any such operations in the future would be covert as well. Such operations are not threatened by the LOS Convention any more than they have been threatened in the past by the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea or by customary international law. If caught in such operations, submerged submarines can be ordered to surface and leave the territorial area, and if they don't, they can be required to leave by force. With the Convention's recognition of the sovereign immunity of warships, they cannot be subject to any other action. That applies to U.S. subs in foreign waters as well as to foreign subs in our own seas.

I realize that for some people opposition to the Law of the Sea Convention is a matter of ideology, principle or faith. But I resent misrepresentations that would lead us to sacrifice our own national security that are made to further that opposition.
-- Caitlyn Antrim
Executive Director
Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans

Mr. Hannaford is absolutely right about LOST. In fact he was a little too kind to this absolute abomination of a treaty. How in the name of Heaven can a supposedly conservative (he is not really conservative) Republican president agree to sign on on this terrible treaty and let it go to the Senate to be ratified? It seems that Mr. Bush is determined to toss our sovereignty right out the window, to throw the baby out with the bath water. He wants to incorporate the lower classes from Mexico into our welfare system and make them citizens. He wants to build a NAFTA highway and let uninspected Mexican trucks and drivers take to our roads. He wants to form a North American Union with Mexico and Canada. Now he want to sign away our rights in the oceans of the world to an international body that will out vote us at every turn and will expect us to pay the lion's share of the inflated bureaucratic costs to put the screws to us.

As for the Navy admirals that are all for this treaty, they are the same admirals that keep telling us that the Chinese Communists of no threat to us. The same ones that gave the Chicoms grand tours of our Los Angeles class subs, and the combat centers on our Aegis class surface ships. These are the same admirals that are now doing damage control after a Chicom diesel submarine crept undetected into the center of the Kitty Hawk battle group and popped up within torpedo distance of the carrier just a few weeks ago. These are the same admirals that, along with our super great intelligence services failed to detect the new super quiet Chicom subs until a satellite picked up one being launched. We didn't even know that they had a large sub building program going. One of the foremost of these admirals is Adm. Fallon. He was CinCPAC until Bush named him to be Commander of Centcom a few months ago. Now he is running a totally land war. We will see if he misreads the Iranians as badly as he did the Chinese.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, George Bush is as big a globalist as George Soros. He just isn't a Socialist like Soros is. Every possible media outlet of any kind should be sounding the alarm as loudly as possible on this LOST treaty. It simply must be defeated. Please do not give away our sovereignty and open ocean navigational rights. Please let us not allow the UN to supercede our government. Mr. Hannaford says that this treaty will be a back door Trojan horse to force Kyoto on us. Well, by the same process it will be a back door way of forcing the UN manifesto on gun control on us. Our 2nd amendment will be worthless. Stop LOST now. Tell the Senate to tell the UN to get lost.
-- Ken Shreve

I find it crushingly ironic that, in a country where the will of the people often [usually?] has no influence in the passage of laws, LOST would require the following:

"...participating states, 'shall adopt laws and regulations and take other measures necessary to implement applicable international rules and standards applied through competent international organizations.'"

So "competent international organizations" can require us to adopt laws and regulations that they want adopted (read the words -- "shall adopt").

And who defines "competent international organizations," then?

The UN, I assume.
-- A.C. Santore

GUILTY AS CHARGED
Re: Paul Chesser's Huckabee's Hikes:

I enjoyed your article debunking Mike Huckabee's claims to be a fiscal conservative. He's gotten away with this misrepresentation for far too long.

I wanted to let you know that the Tax Foundation published a report on Arkansas' tax burden on April 4, 2007 entitled "Arkansas' State and Local Tax Burden, 1970-2007 ," which shows that Arkansas' state and local tax burden compared to the US average rose from 27th in 1998 (the first year in which the legislature met while Huckabee was governor) to 13th in 2006, His last year in office.

I have been shocked by the inability of the media and the press to locate and discover this report.

I hope you find this information useful.
-- William Woodford
Little Rock, Arkansas

In your article you say: "There are things to like about Huckabee "

Other then a congenial personality, I am at a loss to find anything to like about him as a candidate. Carteresque sounding on foreign policy, opposite to the base on immigration, fiscally unsound as your article points out, is anti waterboarding and supports shutting down Guantanamo & I am unclear of what positives he brings on security...what is there to like and support for his candidacy for President?

I am sincere in my question as I do not understand what I am missing and am at a loss to explain his support.
-- Steve MacDonald
Santander, Spain

Dear Sir, you sound more like a chesser cat purring as to how smart you are.

You're probably jealous that Huck can turn a better phrase than you can so get off your high horse. The fact that he raised taxes discriminately where needed but still put the state in the black must really jar you. I really don't mind having a leader like that instead of this screwed up Bush. You need to mature a bit before making such immature conclusions.

Grow up!
-- Dale Emde, WW2 vet, Korea vet.

What I don't like about Huckabee is his LOVE of ILLEGALs and amnesty. What part of the word illegal doesn't he understand? You either believe in the rule of law or you don't, seems he doesn't.
-- Elaine Kyle

CORN IN THE TANK
Re: Doug Bandow's Killing Drivers, Increasing Costs:

Great article! The way Congress goes about reducing auto fuel use is just so stupid you have to wonder what they're smoking. Roll-your-own corn husks maybe.

And speaking of ethanol.... Anybody paying attention will notice when they fill up with 10% ethanol fuel their MPG drops 10%. So Congress wants to raise CAFE & increase the amount of ethanol in auto fuel. But as you said, if not for their track record, one might find that logic incredible.

I'm 59 years old and live in what used to be Tom DeLay's district. Now my rep. is Nick Lampson, 'nuf said. I think there is hope in John Cornyn, but Kay Bailey is a lost cause.

Keep up the good work
-- David Goza

Why do the bureaucrats and tree huggers waste our time with nickel and dime increases in the CAFE standard. Let them increase it to 1000 miles per gallon. Better yet, make it 10,000 so one fill up will do for the life of the automobile. They can drive to any restaurant for a free lunch too. Pay off the national debt with Monopoly money. Close their eyes, wish real hard, and eliminate old age and death. The list is endless.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

FOR THE CHILRDEN
Re: David Catron's Digging Through SCHIP to Find Hillary's Pony:

One point missed by everyone is the fact that the Big Spenders try to shame us by asking questions like, "Who doesn't want kids to have health care?"

The answer to that question MUST be "no-one doesn't want kids to have health care."

However, the question is a typical word-shifting, false-premised, lie-with-a-question, question. The real question is not about giving kids "health care," but rather about giving kids (and ultimately everyone) FREE health care under a system run by the government.

The exact same slippery logic applies to the term "Healthy Kids."

And dozens of other issues. Don't get me started!
-- A. C. Santore

"But Governor Kulongoski and his allies, further emulating their Beltway brethren, thought they had the answer to that problem in their proposal to fund the expansion with an 84-cent increase in the state cigarette tax."

And I would like to know just where the money for this boondoggle would come from after people stopped buying cigarettes? Well let me tell you liberals, it would come out of your pockets.

Democrats always think the American voter is just too dumb to find their way inside in a rainstorm. And that leads me to another thought, since most news reporters are Liberals that explains why we see them standing out in storms/hurricanes.
-- Elaine Kyle

TROLL CONTROL
Re: Viet D. Dinh's Yes to the Patent Reform Act:

"An example of the litigation abuse engendered by the current system is the rise of 'patent trolls,' speculators who acquire and sue bona fide patentees but neither contribute to or otherwise expand the marketplace of ideas nor increase or improve consumers' choices. These speculators profit at the direct expense of consumers and risk-taking inventors and investors."

What is the Georgetown Law faculty smoking? These so-called "patent-trolls" help create a market for patents by providing an enforcement service for inventors and patentees who are otherwise unable or unwilling to engage the machinery of litigation to protect THEIR intellectual property rights. In essence, they provide a market alternative; competition for the big corporations for intellectual property from third parties. And the corporations don't like it. Perhaps law faculty should be banned from writing op-ed pieces until they can demonstrate some basic economic competence.

Dinh's so-called "bona fide patentees" are often nothing more than behemoth corporations that choose to rip off someone else's patentable concepts and threaten to fight an infringement suit as a cheaper ploy than paying a royalty for a licensing agreement, and think they should be able to do so with impunity. So now they try to grease the legal skids with "patent reform."

Dinh's argument is nothing more than a patent version of Kelo v. New London. The big developers think they should be able to steal someone else's property, and the local government is greedy enough to enable it. Nothing more than a refined version of the guy with the deepest pockets wins. Why do academics keep thinking that some amorphous "social good" utilitarian argument should be allowed to eviscerate personal property rights? That's a long painful road to economic ruin and corporate despotism.

Dinh needs a little bit longer time span for his vision. In the long run, consumers are hurt by disincentives to invent. Allowing the bullies on the block to scoop up inventive ideas without compensating the inventors is bad policy. Sure, the bullies may share some of their ill-gotten gains with the consumer for a little while. Or maybe not. Corporate entities haven't shown themselves to be un-necessarily altruistic; only in highly competitive markets.

Is reform needed in the patent area? Surely. But the biggest problem is managerial incompetence in the USPTO. The examiner corps is burdened by counter-productive rules and disincentives, and thus has a ridiculously high turnover rate. In essence, no one sticks around long enough to be any good at the job anymore.
-- James Ferguson

CARSON CITY
Re: RiShawn Biddle's Carson's Last Stand and Cliff Smith's letter (under "Below the Belt") in Reader Mail's 'Tis the Season to Be Jolly:

I do not know what part of the country Cliff Smith lives in, but some context may be helpful. In defense of RiShawn Biddle's article concerning Rep. Julia Carson, I would suggest Carson has long played the illness card to the point that she had used up her "suspension of criticism" grace period long ago. Ms. Carson has been ill for so long that most in Indianapolis felt she had no business running in her last election. Unfortunately, Carson's district is only a part of the city and is about as safe a Democrat seat as one could find.

In the past, Rep. Carson has admitted she read no newspapers or watched any news programs on television. As near as we can tell, she voted the way the Democrat leadership told her to vote. Now, for far too long, Carson has not attended her duties in Congress due to her illness. Dying? Most of us in Indianapolis thought something was up long ago and suspected Carson's frail health was in terminal decline months before it was announced. To a conservative, if a Democrat has to be elected, what could be better than having a Democrat who doesn't show up for votes? Yet, whether conservative or liberal, there is a great deal which is offensive about an elected representative who holds the seat but does not do the job.
-- Michael Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

COMPASSIONATE AT CHRISTMAS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Merry Christmas to the Opposition and Reader Mail's 'Tis the Season to Be Jolly:

Wow, maybe our "right-wing" is becoming, or at least headed toward, a mirror image of the extreme left. Admittedly I am very fond of Jeffrey Lord's writings and even forwarded his most recent piece to some friends and family who often find themselves dealing with the vitriol of the left. (Dick Cheney the anti-Christ et al.) I would thank Mr. Lord again for this piece on remembering the reason for the season and simply give thanks that at least all the letters written didn't cut his legs out from under him. What a great disappointment in reading those that would condemn what he said. Seems to me disagreeing doesn't mandate being disagreeable, that could be another lesson to learn from Henry Hyde. (R.I.P.).

Oh well, Merry Christmas everyone!
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

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