Reader Mail

Russian Shows of Strength

It's not pleasant to lose mind games. Also: Fred's determined defenders. Damn Yankees! Linguistics lecture. Plus much more.

10.11.07

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Re: George H. Wittman's Russian Mind Games:

The mentioned article shows an extremely ignorant, uneducated, and overbearing-with-no-reason-for-that man.

I would read a similar Anti-American article in some marginal and widely unknown Russian newspaper.

The fact that you print it in your magazine says that America is really in a cul-de-sac situation at the moment.

Why don't you try to get out of it without throwing dirt at others?

Is the lie about Iraq's WMD not enough for you to start thinking realistically?
-- Sergei V. Gusakov

I've read Wittman article with rather mixed feelings. If nothing else the technical illiteracy of the author is rather amusing. I am referring to this extract: "Next the Russians have pulled together their entire operationally capable force of strategic bombers -- fourteen 1950s era turboprop-driven Tupolev-95's (aka "Bear") and are rushing them to and fro in the U.S. and UK airspace like a bunch of street toughs taunting the police. Big mistake. These cops are all heavily armed with the latest modern weapons and are quite combat ready and experienced -- which the Russians certainly are not. "

Several points:

* "together their entire operationally capable force of strategic bombers -- fourteen 1950s era turboprop-driven Tupolev-95's" -- their entire operationally capable force consists of far more than 14 Bombers -- it consists of 64 BearH6 and BeraH16 with addition of 15 Tu-160 Blackjack -- 78 planes combined.

* The Bears that Russians are using were built between 1984 and 1991 and thus they are actually considerably younger than average B-52 (whose original design actually predates that of Tu-95) of USAF.

* By the way, if Mr. Wittman thinks that usage of the design that dated back to the middle of the previous century is something to mock, I wonder what are his thoughts on continued usage of "Stratofortress" by USAF the original design of which goes back to 1948.

* "These cops are all heavily armed with the latest modern weapons and are quite combat ready and experienced -- which the Russians certainly are not. " And how exactly should one acquire experience if not by flying the plane one was assigned to operate?
-- Oleg D. Bochkis

George H. Wittman replies:
Mr. Oleg Bochkis can delude himself about the obsolete and obsolescent nature of the aircraft he describes, but the vastly superior nature of the American strategic air force is well accepted internationally. However, more important is the fact that all phases of the USAF have considerable combat experience, an invaluable asset. That Mr. Bochkis wants to pretend the Russian air capability remains as it once was is exactly the point I was making. I am sure that the Russian Air Force will regain its status as a premier force, but like the Russian Navy it is not even near that today. Why pretend except to overcome a national sense of inadequacy? Again, this was what I wrote about. It's time for the great Russian nation to believe in itself and get on with the hard work of building a democracy and not with looking backward in admiration of a self-exploitive and deadly period in their history.

Anyone interested in the order of battle of the Russian Strategic Air Force can look it up in Jane's Fighting Aircraft or simply Google the subject. By the way, to quote an acknowledged authority on Russian politics, Lilia Shevtsova, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: "This all fits into the Putin doctrine of keeping the west as a partner and as an opponent. Mr. Putin is thinking of his legacy. He wants to strengthen the image of Russia as a strong power....This is not a goal in itself. He wants to consolidate Russia politically on the basis of anti-westernism." In other words, Mr. Bochkis, we know what's going on and have known it since at least the late 1940s when we had to mount the Berlin airlift to overcome an aggressive act of what once was an ally.

BIG PLANS
Re: Peter Hannaford's Mr. Yesteryear:

Well, gee, Mr. Hannaford, that's good news. Not that we haven't seen it coming. So, now what? Professor Newt's trapped at American Solutions, which leaves us with what remains of the original "Wild Bunch." We've tried getting the message through (Quin Hillyer's "Open Letter to Fred Thompson"). Seemed a bit ineffectual. And, I'm tired of the philosophical navel gazing on federalism. We get it, already. What about a little policy wonking? You know, what's he going to do? In The Hunt for Red October, he played the role of an admiral who asked the obvious question about the Russian sub captain's alleged desire to defect. "What's his plan? Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan. Senior Captains don't start something this dangerous without having thought the matter through." Sounds fair to me, Fred. So, what's the plan?
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

I don't know anything about Peter Hannaford, and I don't know who he supports for president -- those who mercilessly pan Thompson never reveal their candidate. I do know that everyone in the country who doesn't support him, Democrat or Republican, is scared to death of Fred Thompson. He doesn't do this, he does too much of that. I've already heard today in just an hour of watching the news that he's stupid, too old, lazy and doesn't dress well.

All the "debates" that have been held to date are essentially worthless. It seems like twenty people are on stage giving soundbite answers to prima donna questioners who try to make the debates about them. What was Fred too late for? I can tell you one thing for sure -- I am a Catholic Reagan conservative, and will not in a million years vote for Rudy or Romney, and don't think that I am alone. I won't be voting for Hillary, but she will win one vote by my abstinence. Fred might not currently meet everyone's expectations, but you better hope he's capable, because in my opinion he's all you've got.
-- Mark Glasgow

It is really getting boring seeing the almost unbroken line of the elite GOP pundit class opine on all the things that Fred Thompson has done wrong and why he cannot possibly win because of it. Mr. Hannaford, Quin Hillyer, Bob Novak, and on and on. I expect any day to see RET come out with an article on why the wine and cheese set or the American ex-pat community simply will not vote for Thompson.

Let's see, Thompson got in too late, he is too lazy, he is too laid back, his speeches are not stemwinders, he looks old, he looks tired. I am sure that I have missed something. I don't remember many folks denigrating him for being bald. Oh, his wife is too young, and she is too involved in the campaign, and she is not visible enough in the campaign, and he shouldn't have young children like he does. I am surprised that there have not been calls to just euthanize Fred and move on.

Well, as one that has closely observed politics for over 50 years, but who refuses to be an elite under any circumstance, conditions, or definitions, I am venturing to say that an increasing army of us are getting tired of the country club set telling us what and who we must accept, what compromises we must make, what policies we must not question. Those of us that are religious/social conservatives are tired of being patted on the heads to get us to work in the campaigns stuffing envelopes, or manning telephone banks, or putting up signs, or knocking on doors in the neighborhood, or offering rides to the polls, but then being told that we can't come to the election night parties with our betters in the big house. We are getting darn tired of being told to go back and hide in the attic until the next campaign when we are needed, like Ross Perot's crazy old aunt. You refuse to learn a lesson about us common folks, don't you. Shot yourselves in the foot in the 2006 elections and are trying to machine gun your feet going into the 2008 elections.

Well, the only ones that give Fred a chance are those of us that go to the polls out here in fly-over country. Out here where in red state after red state Fred is either second and moving up or first already. But, hey, he isn't ranked that way in New York, or Washington, D.C., or Massachusetts, or California, or places that the elite consider important. Well, we shall see, won't we. The more articles that you folks in the punditry class write denigrating Fred Thompson, the more a growing army of us are determined to see him nominated.
-- Ken Shreve
Behind enemy lines in the elitist Northeast

DREAM ON

He won't be our first black president,
Though he's making a stalwart run.
Obama is refreshingly new to the scene,
But he may be over before he's begun.

The Bush-Clinton dynasty is still in play.
That brick wall is hard to break down.
Although her resume is unsuitably light,
Hillary will be offered the crown.

But a dark horse may yet be called to serve,
Who shows immense Conservative promise,
With a background second to no one else.
Let's elect President Clarence Thomas!
-- Mimi Evans Winship

BRONX CHEERS
Re: William Tucker's Set 'Em Up, Joe:

Oh, the horror of it! The Yankees have failed to win the World Series for seven years in a row.

What ever will we do?

Why do New Yorkers assume the rest of mankind is interested in the ups-and-downs of the (insert guffaw here) Bronx Bombers? You and Mr. Tucker may find this hard to believe, but most Americans (if they give a damn at all) rejoice every time the Yankees fall flat on their collective face.

If I had not been in a letter-writing mood, I would have stopped reading Mr. Tucker's history of the last fifteen years of Yankee baseball about the third paragraph. Somehow, I just can't find it in me to commiserate with those who feel the world has come to an end, and all America should mourn, because the Yankees will again not play in, and win, the Series.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a lifelong Indians fan, and always have detested and always will detest the Yankee organization. I have become inured to the arrogance of Yankee supporters, and I glory in their self-pity.
-- James F. Csank
Seven Hills, Ohio

So here I was, enjoying a distinctly non-political, well-written article about the New York Yankees in TASOnline, when all of a sudden I learn a few things about Mr. Tucker.

First of all, Mr. Tucker thinks that buying fake, fraudulent tickets to a sporting event is perfectly OK. Not only that, but he apparently also thinks that it's OK to use these fraudulent tickets to deny the seats to their rightful owners. And he did all this in front of his most important audience -- his children.

Nice lesson, Mr. Tucker. One can only hope that your
kids were too distracted by the ballgame to notice.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey

William Tucker's rambling and extended excursus into the fall, rise, and current decline of the New York Yankees' empire indicates, to me at least, that he is no Edward Gibbon, for he appears to be oblivious to the exegetical nature that regression: Dies Irae.

Although I am a follower of its newer edition, the Old Testament is filled with events which display the wrath and anger of God toward those who disobeyed his commandments. Apparently, Mr. Tucker thought that such a consideration not worthy of his article, but I remind him that any serious investigation of that downswing would surely include this: Beati qui ambulent in lege Domini. And the Yankees, who are true believers in Mammon, are not alone in such a transgression.

Does it not strike Mr. Tucker, "a baseball fan all [his] life," who "raised three boys in Brooklyn in the 1980s...," that the Yankee, hence New York, demise was begun earlier, when the other professional baseball team in "the Big Apple" lost its division championship on the very last day of the regular season? Is it pure happenstance that both NY teams lost, or were they smitten by that Divinely inspired wrath and anger? Are there other forces at work here?

Full disclosure: I was born and raised in the Borough of Brooklyn (also known at that time as "the Borough of Churches") and I spent much of my early life as a very serious baseball fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, of blessed memory. From 1947-1957, with one exception in 1955, those Dodgers, of blessed memory, were ignominiously defeated by those barbarians from the Bronx in 5 of 6 World Series contests. I reverted to a catatonic state after each humiliation, but recovered to voice again the annual cry of those Dodgers, of blessed memory: Wait 'til next year! But after 1957, such a cry would have been in vain! Which leads me back to Dies Irae.

I would suggest that Mr. Tucker seriously consider that there was a providential plan in the loss of the Yankees and Mets. He should consider that these two drubbings took place after the Brooklyn Dodgers, of blessed memory, left Brooklyn and headed for the other side of the country, which, in 1957 to a young man in Brooklyn, was the other side of the world. The decline of these barbarians was no coincidence; it was part of a larger plan, which was to take place one half century after the departure of the Dodgers, of blessed memory. And, as Mr, Tucker knows very well, "A coincidence is an event in which God wishes to remain anonymous."

Pax tecum,
-- Vincent Chiarello

I may be middle-aged, but the Yankees could sign me cheap -- only seven figures -- for any number of years.

Sure, they wouldn't reach the World Series with me playing, but since they don't anyway, they might as well save beaucoup bucks.

Mickey and Roger, where are you now that we need you?
-- David Govett
Davis, California

CLOSE INSPECTION
Re: James Srodes's A Legacy of Horror and Honor:

I am a retired AF NCO who served from 1955-77, a veteran of two wars, the Cold and Vietnam ones, and a longtime history buff. I read Mr. Srodes' review in today's online Spectator and have some comments.

Col. Day was not awarded the congressional Medal of Honor, but the Medal of Honor, which is the correct and official name for this country's highest award for bravery and valor in combat. Far too many media types cannot seem to get this straight and please do not quote the damned NYTimes style book as they have had this incorrect for far too long! It is the Medal of Honor, awarded in the name of Congress. Google it and see for yourselves.

Ordnance is stuff that can kill you, while ordinance is a law (see "heavy ordinance fire").

"Roommate" John McCain? Cellmate yes, but roommate, are you kidding?

T-33s catching fire on take off? Every base I served on for my 22+ years had T-33s assigned and I had a cross country ride in one and back, and never heard of any catching fire on take off. There are several out there today being flown by civilians and if such a problem existed, am sure the FAA would not be permitting them to continue flying.

I have met and saluted Col. Day several times and truly appreciate what he did for all military retirees and our promised medical care.
-- David Menard
Huber Heights, Ohio

LINGUINI
Re: Christopher Orlet's The War at Home:

I feel it necessary to point out that Christopher Orlet obviously has a misunderstanding of the study of linguistics. Linguistics is the study of language, which linguists clearly distinguish from "communication." I'm fairly positive that anyone who's taken (and been able to grasp) an introductory Linguistics course would realize that no linguist would consider "the squeals and grunts of the Neanderthals" to be language, so much as simple communication.

So, language change is perfectly fine with linguists, however, loss of language is not. Orlet would do well to learn the difference.
-- Colleen Copeland

LEFT COLD
Re: Mary Wardrip's letter in Reader Mail's Marriage Confusions:

I am responding to Mary Wardrip, who wrote that children have no rights to their biological history. Is she a sociopath? I mean that. No one with an ounce of compassion could write such a letter.

I was a social worker working closely with foster children and adoptees. The heartbreaking phone calls I got from adults looking for parents, siblings, anyone who was biologically related to them made me want open adoptions as law. I think as soon as a sperm and an egg find each other then a human being is created with all rights. This comes from my work not my church. Babies who get born in spite of mothers who drink, do drugs, don't eat decent food tell me that a person is there and ready for life.

Find some adoptees who spend years looking for their families. Ask them how much this mystery has affected their lives. Their spouses will tell you that they are consumed by it.

I sincerely hope that Ms. Wardrip never has children, never has to be around children and can find a quiet corner to indulge her narcissistic outlook on life.
-- Kay Clinard

PYLE ON
Re: Janis Jackson's letter (under "Stein and The War") in Reader Mail's Marriage Confusions:

Janis Johnson asks where are this war's Ernie Pyles, etc. Madam, if you will take yourself over to Blackfive.net and thence to the many links that they provide, you will find Mike Yon, Mike Fumento, Roggio, Totten, and others. If you will frequent National Review Online, you will read Mike Yon's posts and posts by W. Thomas Smith, etc. Madam, the reporters and their reports are out there, just not in the New York Times or WSJ or Time or Newsweek or the Enquirer.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article