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Exactly Right

There is no substitute for victory. But was it enough to lose in Vietnam but win the Cold War? Also: Optimistic about 2008. Hurricanes and Welfare. Plus more.

8.29.07

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TEST OF STRENGTH
Re: James Bowman's A Question of National Honor:

Mr. Bowman has it exactly right. I might add, too, that the effect on the fighting man, is also demeaning. I served in Vietnam 1967-1969, with the 3rd Marine Div. I was told, at a VFW meeting, by an old WW2 vet, "We won our war!" I replied, "The Damn Democrats wouldn't let us win ours!"

You say it much better than I! Semper Fi!
-- Bernard Blank

This column is exactly dead on. Every American President and member of Congress should frame this and hang it on the wall. Going to war always has consequences. No nation ever lost a war and gained international acclaim for having done so.

MacArthur had it exactly right: "There is no substitute for victory."

Patton also had it exactly right, in his advice on leadership: "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way."

The American people deserve better leadership, but then, we elected them...
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Thanks again for another political article from James Bowman. I would like to make a few follow up comments:

1. Honor is doing the right thing regardless of detractors. Doing the right thing builds trust.

2. Self-indulgence is not the right thing to do. Self-indulgence results in self-hatred. A nation of citizens obsessed with self-indulgence cannot be trusted, e.g. F-R-A-N-C-E. Hence David Horowitz's appropriately labeled "Destructive Generation."

3. "We" did not loose the war in Vietnam. In fact, the Communists were losers in every major operation. During "Tet" our forces handed them back their body parts by the tens of thousands. Regardless, screwballs like Walter Cronkite, Ramsey Clark, Jane Fonda (and whining old Henry), Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Bill Clinton, the Democrat-controlled Congress, etc., etc. managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

4. Our forces will leave the Middle East when a super majority of people surviving there decides to join the rest of the civilized world. I estimate that would be sometime after our forces leave Germany, Japan, Korea ...

5. For our worldwide neighbors, the pleasure of our company is most often followed by health and prosperity...at the reverenced cost to us in our best and bravest. In this, true Americans can be trusted.
-- Carl Gordon Pyper USMC 1969-72
Monett, Missouri

The Vietnam analogy seems to be a "pick and choose" work among the opposition to the Iraq war. I suppose they "want what they want" and will support it with what they want, rather than a hard and uncompromising stare into the facts.

I've been seeing another analogy out of American history lately. Back in 1876 or so -- I'm doing this from memory so my own knowledge of the facts may be a little off -- a war-weary North decided to end Reconstruction and withdraw Federal troops from the South. How many people died because those troops were withdrawn?
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Invoking the specter of Vietnam, James Bowman writes:

"There is no way to "redeploy" American troops, to use a favorite euphemism of the Democrats, so long as there is still fight in the enemy, without surrendering. And surrender is always a dishonor. For us to surrender to the terror campaign -- whether "al Qaeda" or "civil war" makes no difference -- would be to devalue America's word in the international arena forever."

Yet the Cold War was not lost in Vietnam -- it was won in Afghanistan, and so must this one be. The War on Terror cannot be lost in Iraq, for though our forces are a magnet for militant Islamists, the conflict with Al Qaeda is a mobile one whose strategic locus, tempo and polarity we control.

To say this is to defy the neoconservative common wisdom, and ignite the ire of those whose mantra is "Stay the course." But what would the scowling portraits of a certain 20th century Prime Minister adorning their walls have to say?

Great men author grand follies, and great as Churchill's in launching an armada against Gallipoli, President Wilson would have been a greater fool to enter the Great War by joining it instead of projecting American forces into the trenches of Flanders.

Confronting and occupying our primary enemy's most distant and dubious allies in order to avoid the savage pain of confronting and hunting him on his own turf, be it the iron gated mountains of Afghanistan, or Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, is no way to win this war.

We must not forget that only brigade-sized forces engaged at Tora Bora, and that despite his pretension to be a latter day Saladin, Osama Bin Laden and his scant praetorian guard in reality more resemble the Assassins or the Forty Thieves. His mountainous hideaway may present a tactical prospect no more pleasant than Moser bank vault doors and Tommy gun armed guards did to Willy Sutton, but that's where the money was. Whatever happens in Iraq, will elude America until 9-11's authors are brought to the bar of justice dead or alive.
-- Russell Seitz
Chilmark, Massachusetts

There exists a tenet no one wants to posit. It is that knowingly promoting or causing a rapid exit from Iraq by American forces would lead directly to the deaths of many Iraqis who supported us as well as many innocents. Vietnam is the proof of the tenet. And terrorists would be handed a safe haven from which to continue their aggression against the West, a surmise not existing in Vietnam but clearly shown in the recent history of Afghanistan.

Liberals are afraid that, in their desire to quit Iraq, they will be shown to have blood on their hands for forcing the exit from Vietnam. This is why they dread the comparison. It is fair to say that most did not foresee the bloodshed resulting from the Vietnam exit, but some did, and they do have blood on their hands. Now these same liberals calling for a precipitous exit from Iraq would be shown to be intentionally complicit in the deaths of perhaps tens of thousands of people. If these folk argue they are trying to save American lives, let them call for a lowering of speed limits to forty miles per hour or the banning of cigarettes, or maybe even altering dangerous occupations. Let's just get to the real argument.
-- Howard Lohmuller

Thank you American Spectator and thank you Mr. Bowman.
-- Paul Neuman
Atlanta, Georgia

MORNING IN 2008
Re: David Hogberg's Bring It On:

The GOP may very well win the White House in '08. Democrats seem to be operating on the premise that the electorate has forgotten about 9/11, and everything is now back to where it was during the last century. They may be surprised at how easily those memories are rekindled. A Rudy candidacy would be a roving can of gasoline, without Rudy even needing to refer to it.
-- Ty Knoy
Beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan

As a traditional Reagan Republican of the 1980's (a pragmatic conservative who votes a straight ticket) I always believe the GOP will defeat the left, because conservatives are generally the grownups in politics (excluding the crackup of 2005 and 2006). Still the biggest obstacle to Republican/conservative victory in 2008 is some on the rights willingness to swallow media pabulum. While Hogberg writes a good article about our prospects in 2008 it seems he was one of those who has fallen for insipient media lies about Iraq -- "However, if you had told any conservative a year ago that Iraq would be improving in the summer of 2007, he would have thought you were a nut." Wrong! Only those who do not appreciate the steel in George W. Bush's spine and the American military's fist could fall for the pro-terrorist propaganda of the MSM and DNC.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I agree there are many issues Republicans could use against Democrats in the 2008 elections. However, where do we find the bare-knuckled politicians willing to address these issues?

For many years, the Republicans have been more than willing to 'go along to get along.' I don't see any signs of the go-for-the-throat mental toughness necessary to counter the 'We are all victims here' mantra of the Democratic Party.

Face it, Republicans had six years of the Bush presidency to make changes in the country, and they behaved like a bunch of spendthrift drunken sailors. Now, they all stand around and wring their hands. The American people are not just fed up with the current Democratic majority in Congress.

Voters are fed up with the whole lot of them. Border Security, Social Security, Tax Reform and Tort Reform were all regarded as 'too tough for right now'. Kick the can down the road, and hope the voters don't notice. The majority of Democrats and Republicans alike are lily-livered, spineless, incompetent, greedy, narcissistic blowhards. Guess what, the voters are starting to notice!

I suppose next you are going to ask me how I really feel about Congress.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

It seems to me that Mr. Hogberg is offering a variation of what I have believed and attempted to articulate for some time now. The Democrat party, their elected representatives at all levels, and their activists, both within and without the main stream media have shown themselves absolutely determined to overplay their hands, and not by just a little bit, but by a whole bunch. I have, on more than one occasion opined that the Democrats are the best things that the GOP has going for them electorally. The Democrats seem determined to keep pushing to find the absolute leftward limit of the American public's tolerance, and then exceed it, on a consistent basis.

I can remember when the prominent media personalities could come close to making you think that they were reporting honestly. I can remember when the left wing, tin foil hat wearing Dem activists seemed to be sitting off in a corner by themselves, while the vast majority of the Democrats pursued a more mature, if decidedly liberal, domestic and foreign policy. I remember when the Dem politicians pretty much only pandered to the AFL-CIO and it's parts, and the NAACP, and the NAACP was an effective, if a bit pushy, organization concerned with the total integration of the black Americans into the common American society.

Now the whole Democratic party, with all it's active politicians and consultants, are bought and paid for by George Soros and about a dozen other complete Socialists, and the their fealty is policed by the Daily KOS of Marcos Moulitis and a few other leftist wizards.

I keep thinking that any day now the vast majority of the American public is going to wake up and smell the coffee, that they will see the Socialist elite and their running dogs in the Dem party and the media as they are and realize that the Emperor has no clothes. I find it incredible that the Democrats can actually get elected to anything.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire -- Inundated by Massachusetts liberals that your writers can't seem to find.

Good article by Mr. Hogberg. If the leading Democratic candidate thinks that endorsing a "mixed system" (IE 90% socialist) counts as never endorsing socialism, thinks that the measure of socialism is "lives saved" rather than government-administered, and thinks that the money spent is simply the government's money rather than MY money and YOUR money, I think Kermit the Frog would win as a GOP nominee in '08.

Now replace Kermit with Rudy, and we have a blowout.
-- Tristen Hannah
Aloha, Oregon

SURVIVING WELFARE
Re: Patrick J. Michaels's Taming the Hurricane:

Brilliant article regarding Hurricane Dean and the Yucatan Peninsula. I feel the author missed only one single point: Unlike New Orleans occupants, who were waiting for the next welfare check (which was to arrive the very next day), the occupants of the Yucatan Peninsula still know how to solve their own problems.

Anyone watching the screen of a television could have seen how big Dean and Katrina both were and knew that if you lived anywhere close, to get out of there. Witness Texas's preparation up to the day Hurricane hit Mexico, but welfare recipients have already lost the incentives to survive and from generations of dependency there is no ability to make survival decisions. I believe that even if the buses had showed up to take folks out of New Orleans, that they wouldn't have gotten on those buses because the welfare checks were due the next day and they would have feared missing one.
-- Bev Gunn
East Texas Rancher

WORLDLINESS
Re: Roger Scruton's Art, Beauty, and Judgment:

Nice article by Roger Scruton.

I know of no better expression of what has happened to "art" in our time than a line from Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey:

"The public for which masterpieces are intended is not on this earth."

Says it all, really.
-- A. C. Santore
Pennsylvania

CHAFEE AT THE BIT
Re: W. James Antle III's A Laffey Matter:

Lincoln Chafee, with the full support of the NRC, encouraged Democrats to disaffiliate from the Democratic Party so they could vote in the Republican primary in Rhode Island.

He also strongly encouraged Independents to vote in the primary. Because there was no real contest in the Democratic race, tens of thousands of non-Republicans voted in the Republican primary. I strongly believe, if only Republicans were allowed to vote in the primary, Steve Laffey would have won hands down. I don't know where you got your figures, but I am extremely skeptical of your claim that 94% of Republicans voted for Lincoln Chafee. Many, many Republicans, including myself, wrote in the name of John H. Chafee on their ballots. Among Rhode Island Conservatives, Lincoln Chafee is persona non grata.
-- Bob Tingle
Westerly, Rhode Island

FAIR AND BALANCED
Re: Craig Sarver's letter (under "Attack Mail" in Reader Mail's Good News Assessments and Karl H. Auerbach's letter (under "Body Counts") in Reader Mail's Military Motivations:

Craig Sarver asked about the source of my "100 million or so" statement. Craig can read about it here:

Read it and weep. Karl Auerbach mentioned this in the same group of letters with the proper warnings about it. It is not a happy read. The balance of the "or so" came from the other great secular materialists of the 20th century, the Fascists. I believe the 100 million or so is a pretty good estimate. I also think it is fair to consider these examples as what happens when secular materialists are totally in charge. Sure in America they have had their moments, convincing some mothers to kill their young for convenience and having it declared a right by fiat. The quest for sex with no consequences has cost a lot of human life (pushing 50 million) but materialists have lacked the total control where they do their best work.

In the West, while Communist atrocities were being carried out, Western secular materialists were typically supportive and defensive about these new countries. They would deny the atrocities and give testimonials. "I have been over to the future and it works." Only when the evidence that something awful was happening became overwhelming did these folks lose their enthusiasm. The loss of enthusiasm always seemed related to the loss of propaganda rather than the loss of life. After some period of time they would pick their next worker's paradise. Materialists went from the Soviets to the People's Republic to Cuba to Viet Nam to Nicaragua and apparently recently in some cases back to Cuba. Secular materialists have become timid of late putting all their hope in the near dead culture of Western Europe. With their birth rates it won't be long. It is ironic to see materialists putting all their hope in a cultural animal that is going extinct because it sees no need to replicate itself.

It is amazing that in the West it has never became a disgrace to be a communist or a fellow traveler among our secular materialist elite class. It has long been established that the Gus Halls of America were on the Soviet payroll but somehow they were given a pass. We remember them fondly when we talk of McCarthyism. I find these attempts on the part of Western materialists to cover their involvement in these heinous crimes in stark contrast to Christian groups offering apologies for not taking part in the civil rights movement. I suppose that it is an advantage of a materialist, never being wrong since wrong is just a relative idea that can be defined away later. I suppose I have been unfair to many secular materialists but no more unfair than pinning the inquisition on all Christians and I didn't have to go back five hundred years for my examples.
-- Clif Briner

In his letter of 28 August, Craig Sarver challenges Clif Briner's assertion that 100 million (or so) people were killed by secular materialists in the 20th century. Please allow me to decompose that number as follows:

Russian Revolution: 3-4 million
Ukrainian famine: 10 million
Stalinist purges: 20 million
Maoist purges: 10 million
Maoist famine: 40 million
Cultural Revolution: 10 million
Cambodia: 2 million
Vietnam: 1 million

Total: 96-97 million

I hope that Mr. Sarver will forgive Mr. Briner's unwarranted hyperbole.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

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