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The ballade of Alberto Gonzales. Winning back Iraq. Disrespecting Steve Laffey. WHO's dirty health care. Plus more.

8.28.07

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SONG OF MY HEART
Re: Quin Hillyer's Senatorial Wisdom on Gonzales

DEAR QUIN HILLYER

You were right, I was wrong.
For amends I've written this short song.
Alberto fought to outlast his abusers,
but, alas, his efforts cast him as the loser.
Tired knights were signaled to leave by September,
Alberto served near three years, let's remember.
For his service he has been tagged with a rep,
the Attorney General who is a schlep.
But history will note that no crimes were found,
only miscues exaggerated by political hounds.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

SNATCHING VICTORY BACK
Jeff Emanuel's Another Iraqi "Awakening":

More good news, which unfortunately we will not hear much of in the mainstream media. Thanks to Gen. Petraeus and like-minded commanders, we are seeing more of this as sound counterinsurgency principles plus civil military operations come to the fore in our approach to the Iraqis. Unfortunately, many in our craven, cowardly and corrupt Congress are far too ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Although we should have been doing this four years ago, better late than never, and it is showing results.

Kudos to our commanders, particularly the company grade officers -- Marine and Army alike -- and the troops and NCO's who are on the ground doing the dirty work. They are truly magnificent!
-- D. A. Moroco Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)
Quantico, Virginia

Valid analysis and insight. Would to God that certain people had understood Rule #1: Allow (and encourage) the Iraqis to stand up for themselves. This means one thing that certain Americans understand: guns.

The possession of weapons means the ability to protect yourself, your family, your neighborhood.... Coalition Forces' policy in Iraq was that a family could possess one AK-47 assault rifle, two 30 round magazines, and 60 cartridges per "head of household." There might be an older father and numerous grown sons in the house, but only one weapon was allowed. The weapon must remain in the house. It may not be in a vehicle. It may not be carried in public. It may not be kept in a place of business. Pistols and any weapon other than an AK-47 were confiscated, even if the weapon was an obsolescent predecessor of the AK-47. (This is no way to win hearts and minds.) The Iraqis don't have access to gun shops, where they can buy these things either.

As soon as I heard about this policy, I knew it was going to get somebody killed. Sure enough, during one of my interrogations, I heard an account of a family of one tribe, who were trying to do just what Jeff Emanuel said. They were attacked and killed by terrorists. The armed members of the family expended their prescribed 60 rounds per rifle, and then they were overrun and killed by their attackers.

Another time, an Iraqi told me of a coworker of his. They were gasoline truck drivers. His coworker was missing, and the truck was stopped many miles away in Baghdad, and his friend was not in it. This man asked me for permission to carry a weapon in his truck. I did not have the authority to do so. I asked my Captain, who also did not have the authority. So, gasoline truck drivers are helpless against the terrorists. I heard another anecdote on this very subject.

The dumbest thing that I heard during my time in Iraq was when a fellow interrogator told an Iraqi detainee that in America we have something called "Neighborhood Watch," where decent people get together and work against the criminal element and asked why the Iraqis did not do this. The Iraqi replied with the reason being that they had been disarmed by the Americans. I made eye contact with the detainee and smiled. (I almost laughed at the American stupidity. Also the phones usually do not work, and the Iraqi police usually cannot be trusted.)

Another reason the Iraqis have taken such a long time to begin to work together is that they are afraid, with good reason, to fully back the Coalition Forces. We might leave them high and dry, like we did in 1991. Or we might leave them high and dry after dark, and the terrorists might show up to make an example of them.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-6

Contrary to the leftist "moon bats'" who say the surge is NOT working, I have the unassailable proof that, indeed, the surge IS working.

Well, two weeks ago our nearby city of Oakland, California chalked up 14 homicides in less than one weekend. The (deliberately) understaffed Oakland Police Department (fine officers working for a communist toad of a mayor) seemed unable to both serve and protect at the same time in the face of massive sectarian violence -- a veritable civil war between warring tribal gangs.

Into the breach has come a "surge" of California Highway Patrol Officers to reinstate the rule of law on the streets of this fair city by the bay...

Statistics now show that with the latest surge of police into downtown Oakland, it is almost as safe as Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq...

A hearty thank you to both our law enforcement officers and our troops -- who put their lives on the line for us every day!
LTC Mike Horn, AUS, ret
Tracy, California

DOUBLE CROSSERS
W. James Antle III's A Laffey Matter:

The last straw was broken when the "party" chose to support Chafee, essentially adopting what they thought was a righteous pragmatic stance over one of principle. We, a conservative couple living in the Democratic wasteland of Rhode Island, had our backs broken and will never recover to support the Republican Party ever again. Excellent article that summed up the feelings of RI conservatives as well as any written thus far.
-- Bob Briggs
Narragansett, Rhode Island

Jim Antle is a favorite Right writer with me. He frequently grasps points about conservative politics that escape most other commentators.

I regret to note I believe this fine analyst has been duped into following the dubious "conventional wisdom" that the major parties teeing up two milquetoast Leftists for a general-election faceoff is unquestionably the winning Republican formula in blue states like Rhode Island. (Well, I just want to help a mostly right Right guy get more right.)

First, Mr. Antle describes how conservative Republican challenger Steve Laffey was bested in the 2006 GOP Rhode Island Senate primary (to benefit quintessential RINO incumbent Lincoln Chafee) by assaults from the Right regarding Laffey's past mayoral record in acquiescence to tax raises and recognizing the illegal alien ID of matricula consular cards, bundled with a large infusion of cash from the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- while Antle elsewhere observes that Laffey had won election and re-election in the "overwhelmingly Democratic city" of Cranston.

Then, Mr. Antle accepts the leap to conclude that because Chafee polled better than Laffey against Democratic candidate Sheldon Whitehouse -- during the primary season -- that Laffey would surely have lost to Whitehouse more decisively than Chafee did. Antle opines, "But if Chafee couldn't beat Whitehouse, Laffey didn't stand a chance." How Laffey would have polled at the real polls against Whitehouse on Election Day, November 2006 is unknown and untested...and to assert that he would have failed worse than Chafee is to me a jump too far along the trail of "if present trends continue." And that's especially so, had the NRSC left the primary contest alone and not hammered Laffey from the Right during the juncture at which conservatives mattered most and conservatism matters most.

Could Whitehouse on his own have mounted the same attacks from the Right on Laffey and been believable, had they gone head-to-head in the general election? I, for one, don't think so; and I believe that Laffey would have stood a better chance of beating Whitehouse than Chafee did, because Laffey running on his own devices had a proven record of winning votes in blue regions. But, hey, what do I know? I'm a former conservative Democrat, turned disenchanted Reagan Republican, who still has absolutely zero in common in political principles with those Leftist Republican RINOs.
-- B.J. Coleman

Mr. Antle grossly misrepresented Mr. Laffey's loss in the Rhode Island Republican primary by omitting to mention that Senator Chafee (acting through his wife) sent a letter to Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents asking them to vote in the Republican primary to save Chafee's bacon. The post-primary numbers conclusively demonstrate that this "crossing-over" occurred. In other words, Chafee used Democrats to hijack the Republican primary from registered Republicans, after which those Democrats (quite predictably) returned "home" to vote for Sheldon Whitehouse in the general election. Also, early polling notwithstanding, anyone who has seen Mr. Whitehouse in action -- not to mention examined his checkered record -- realizes that he would have been extremely vulnerable once Mr. Laffey engaged.

Mr. Antle concluded: "In the end, Laffey's story is really about the frequently ignored difference between the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Political parties are about winning elections and wielding power. Ideological movements are about ideas and values. Confuse the two and you wind up with something like the Chafee-Laffey primary contest." Oh, really? I submit to Mr. Antle that, absent "ideas and values," a political party is nothing. Exhibit 1 (or should I say "Earmark 1"): the current Republican minority in Washington, D.C. vs. the Republican Party of the Reagan-Gingrich period.
-- Thomas A. Wigand, Esq.
Middletown, Rhode Island

Jim Antle replies:
But Stephanie Chafee wasn't the only person encouraging Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents to vote in the Republican primary. The national Republican Party was also involved through its microtargeting and get-out-the-vote drives. Laffey argues in his book that the NRSC and RNC encouraged Democratic disaffiliation and independent participation in the semi-open primary, with the latter "pumping $400,000 into a massive voter-mobilization drive." Laffey summarized the national party's "grand strategy for getting Linc Chafee reelected and holding on to the majority in the Senate: attack me personally, import out-of-state volunteers, and get liberals out to vote."

That said, Laffey himself only devotes a few pages to this effort in a 200-page book. The obstacles facing Laffey were much greater than crossover voting by Democrats. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that a Republican challenger could have been elected in a state like Rhode Island in an election cycle like 2006. Even such promising blue-state candidates as Michael Steele went down to defeat. With the exception of Chris Shays, every Republican incumbent in New England who was up for reelection was defeated. Donald Carcieri was barely reelected as governor, and he could simply agree to disagree with a majority of Rhode Island voters on Iraq, abortion, and support for the Bush administration -- Laffey would have been voting on these issues in the Senate. (I'll note that exit polls show Carcieri getting 91 percent of self-described Republicans compared to Chafee's 94 percent.) Two thousand six just wasn't Laffey's time, although 2010 might be.

Finally, I think Mr. Wigand misunderstands my point about the difference between parties and ideological movements. There is a tension between the desire to win elections at all costs and the drive to accomplish certain policy goals. It was on display in the Chafee-Laffey race.

DESIGNER POLITICS
Thomas Cheplick's If the Shoe Fits:

Mr. Cheplick, why don't you criticize Fred for having a trophy wife while you're at it? COME ON! I live in Iowa and don't care one whit whether Fred was wearing Gucci's (I prefer Allen Edmonds, myself). The only concern I'd have if I were Fred would be to beware of stepping in the cowpies littering the fair grounds after the cowpie toss. Why don't you address his stance(s) instead? Silly article.
-- Jesse Milligan
Nice Shoe Wearing Iowan

How silly do you think Americans (including Iowans) are? Remember FDR and his cape and cigarette holder?

You insiders are a joke.
-- Annette Cwik
The Villages, Florida

Great article. Those jodhpurs were sexy and so was he!!!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

REVERSE ROBIN HOOD
Re: Doug Bandow's Stealing Drugs, Hurting the Poor:

I wanted to compliment Doug Bandow on his very fine article "Stealing Drugs, Hurting the Poor." I agree that America's task has been made harder by the World Health Organization (WHO). On July 31, the WHO Secretariat released a draft global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property. This is a lead-in to a November Executive Board meeting in Geneva, and from there the strategy will go on for approval via a formal Resolution at the World Health Assembly Annual Meeting in May 2008.

Attached, please see the Hudson Institute analysis of this plan of action. As you will note, when WHO requested Member States to send in comments earlier this year, few of the non-supportive comments appeared subsequently in the July 31 draft strategy.

The entire process by WHO is a thinly veiled attempt to seize more control from industry over innovation and intellectual property by declaring them as public goods. This can be seen most clearly when all eight elements of the plan of action are directed towards issues of innovation, pricing, and the management of IP.

WHO makes no mention of prevention in this plan of action. Yet, the reality is that the great majority -- 90%+ -- of new infections occur through consensual sex between adults. HIV is more preventable than the common cold or hepatitis, both of which you can get through casual contact, or mere touch.

Thus, even if WHO were to succeed in gaining more control over industry's innovative capacity and IP via this Commission, it would have a marginal effect on the arc of HIV infections, still in ascendancy, in the absence of prevention.
-- Jeremiah Norris
Director, Center for Science in Public Policy
The Hudson Institute

CHILL INDEX
Peter Hannaford's A Summer Chill:

My husband and I began watching the Weather Channel some ten years ago. We began to note the urgency in each forecast. There appeared to be the word extreme or hazardous used with great regularity, each day, to their weather forecasts. My husband noted how our silly group of yuppies likes to believe that each new day presents them with hazards no one else has faced before in human history. So, we'd watch, yawn, and remember we lived in Texas, where it is notably hot in the summer. Heck, that's why we live in Texas.

So, we now watch this summer to see records in Nevada this summer, where, probably since every summer in the modern age it has always been hot in summer. Likewise, new urgency about heat in Arizona, Utah, etc. While we live in Texas this summer has been notably cool. In fact, I've not seen it this cool in my memory. Yes, we have 100 degree days now, but heck this is August, and this is Texas and we know the devil vacations here in August. To not provide him a furnace would be right inhospitable.

That brings me to reminding folks that we in Texas saw more rain here this summer than since the end of the 1950s drought, which I remember all too well. My father was one of the ranchers who made it still standing up and didn't lose his ranches. We haven't seen rain like this since 1957, when the drought broke. And I never heard one cattle rancher this summer protest over too much rain. Now, this is in spite of the fact we all had hay sitting in the field that couldn't be cut because we couldn't get equipment into the fields. Heck, we made more hay this year, when we finally cut it, than in the last 6-7 years combined. We are happy.

Yesterday at church, a rancher deacon asked me if it was getting a bit hot and dry at my place (we haven't had rain in at least 3 weeks). I smiled and reminded him that we'd be grateful for the rain earlier in summer and not complain. We are, after all, mindful as ranchers that God provides as He sees fit. He always has. And when we get the rain, that ends the drought, we fall upon our knees and are grateful.

So, Henny Penny doesn't reside here. We are too conscious that God allows the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike (Matthew 5:45) and that in summer it is hot in Texas, just ask the devil!
-- Bev Gunn
East Texas Rancher

NO CATHOLICS ALLOWED
Re: Lawrence Henry's Christian Disobedience:

Good article. However, some readers may be misled to think that the Roman Catholic Church is a member of the World Council of Churches. I'm happy to say that the Catholic Church is not, has never been and -- I say with full faith in Peter's future successors -- will never be a member of WCC.
-- Mike Gotera
Richmond, Virginia

ATTACK MAIL
Re: Clif Briner's letter (under "Body Counts") in Reader Mail's Military Motivations:

Mr. Clif Briner states in his angry note: "John Sorboro Stow, M.D. apparently would like to forget about the 100 million or so people murdered by secular materialists during the 20th century."

I for one would like to see your source data for that rather startling statement, Mr. Briner? No? Didn't think so.
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

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