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The Law of the Sea Treaty hits bottom. Also: Dueling sisters and defeatism. Mormonism and religious freedom. Plus more.

8.1.07

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SEA CRAGS
Re: Doug Bandow's An Administration LOST at Sea:

Doug Bandow's lengthy screed defies point-by-point rebuttal in a brief letter, and so I'll highlight an important omission. In a 6/28/07 letter to Sen. Lugar -- whose Foreign Relations Committee voted 19-0 in favor of U.S. accession in the last Congress (well, OK, that makes two omissions) -- former Secretary of State George Shultz supports accession, and he also sets the record straight on the position of the sainted Ronald Reagan, whose 1982 refusal to sign is often trotted out by the dwindling band of sneering treaty opponents as emblematic of conservative orthodoxy on this issue. Said Shultz: "It surprises me to learn that opponents of the treaty are invoking President's Reagan's name....During his administration, with full clearance and support from President Reagan, we made it very clear that we would support ratification if our position on the sea-bed issue were accepted."

I suppose Bandow will argue about what "our position" is, was, or should be (although I'm inclined to go with Shultz). But he reveals much when he refers to the current Part XI as "redistributionist." If some form of sharing in resources beyond national jurisdiction be "redistribution," then he must also believe that such oceanic resources belong exclusively to those with the power and technology to snatch them first. Well, I guess it's a position.

As general counsel of NOAA, (and a former Alternate U.S. Rep to UNCLOS), I participated in the 1982 decision not to sign the unamended text. I (and the Secretary of Commerce for whom I worked) were criticized at the time for favoring efforts to rewrite Part XI, on the oft-stated grounds that the treaty was simply "unsalvageable" (Bandow's word). The ensuing 12 years showed that the nay-sayers were wrong, but they will never say die and admit error, and they therefore applaud politically noisy treaty opponents who spread outrageous misstatements about the I>text of the treaty, on the web and elsewhere.

Sincerely,
-- Robert J. McManus
Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus, pllc
Washington, D.C.

Doug Bandow's "An Administration LOST at Sea" does a great job of outlining many of the shortcomings of the Law of the Sea Treaty. To his list, I'd like to add a few more that are often overlooked.

For one, the treaty requires all underwater vehicles to travel on the surface of the water to exercise the right of "innocent passage." This is a radical departure from previous agreements which applied only to submarines. This represents a new security threat as it would mean that unmanned underwater vehicles used for mine detection would be required to surface, rendering these vehicles ineffective and making our ships more vulnerable to attack.

Second, the treaty contains provisions that -- contrary to proponents claims -- could harm the marine environment. It requires states that cannot harvest the entire allowable catch in certain areas to make the surplus available to other nations, especially developing nations. Since the treaty makes re-acquiring harvest rights difficult once surrendered to a developing nation, coastal nations may seek to use the entire catch by whatever means are necessary. This may contribute to damage of marine resources.

Third, the treaty has the potential of making oil and gas exploration more difficult, not easier, as its proponents have suggested. The treaty requires state parties to "prevent, reduce and control" pollution of the marine environment, including "through the atmosphere." A by-product of burning oil and gas is CO2, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and environmental activists argue that global warming is destroying the coral reefs, home to some of the ocean's most biologically-diverse eco-systems. You do the math.

For these reasons, and those mentioned by Bandow, the Law of the Sea Treaty needs to be scuttled.
-- David Ridenour
Vice President
The National Center for Public Policy Research

SISTERLY ADVICE
Re: Manon McKinnon's What Has Come Over My Sister?:

The behavior of Manon McKinnon's sister is both perfectly understandable and predictable. After six years that has seen little, if any progress in the war on terrorism, no leadership at any level in the country by any of the institutions that should be expected to provide it and absolutely no attempt to explain who the enemy is and why it is important to beat them, the good lady has given up. I have too -- I have never seen a more mismanaged or inept operation than the war on terrorism, it is one blunder, one missed opportunity after an other. Never has America been so badly lead for so long by so many -- isn't there a single person in Washington who knows how to play this game! I don't trust the Bush administration to get anything right anymore, I think George Bush is gutless and stupid, I don't understand what the hell is going on and I daresay nobody else does either. No wonder morale is shot to hell -- what type of idiot feels good about a fiasco like this? And what type of idiot expects them to feel good about it? It is completely wrong to blame the customer for getting cranky about perpetually lousy service and a stupid, useless product that failed every quality check imaginable -- you shouldn't need an MBA to work that out.

I do not expect anything to change until the Bush administration, the Congress, the military and the mass media clearly show the desire to win and the ability to define who the enemy is and what constitutes victory. Until that happens, I don't blame anybody for feeling unenthusiastic, distrustful and embittered.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

Manon McKinnon's article about the war on terror and its comparison to WWII struck close to home for me. My dad was an Air Force pilot (Army Air Corps at the time) and my mom was a British employee of the Navy Army Air Force Institute -- they ran Px's & stuff, I think. Anyway, they met in Germany after the war, married, had me and three girls and between the two of them I've been told lots of stories of death & deprivation related to the war. They and their generation made unimaginable sacrifices. Many gave their lives, of course. Some lost their sanity. Some lost limbs, eyes, innocence -- no need to belabor the point. It just frustrates me as Democrats seek to lose a winnable war just to garner short-term political gain amongst their nutty base. We cannot lose to jihadists. We cannot let them win. Better to die fighting. Far better.

And by the way, the Air Force Song begins "Off we
go..." Gotta get that one right for my dad.
-- Bryan Frymire
Louisville, Kentucky.

Ms. McKinnon writes a very cogent, if discouraging, article. He has personalized what so very many of us have observed and commented upon. It seems to me that American defeatism and lack of staying power has multiple roots, some more important than others.

I cannot help but think that part of the problem is 60+ years of unparalleled relative prosperity and success that America, as a country, and its people have known and come to expect. Even our poverty stricken citizens are wealthy when compared to poverty stricken citizens of other countries. Our TV addicted populace expects all problems to be solved by our federal nanny....er, government in one hour's time, with time out for commercials, and the video game generation expects roughly the same, except without commercials, and with the ability to regenerate the good guys killed along the way. It has become such a way of life that even older folks that know better have bought into the meme.

Then again we cannot abide anything that comes between us and our shopping, and vacationing, and overindulging in excesses too numerous to mention. What do we know of true hardship? If you can find someone around who was at least a teenager during the great depression, ask them about the meaning of true hardship before FDR and the advent of the welfare state. Now our citizens just assume that our elevated standard of living is simply normal and guaranteed by our Constitution.

This societal defect, or weakness, has been compounded by George Bush's steadfast refusal to adequately explain the nature and extent of our enemy, and to call the nation to a war time footing and mentality. On Sept. 12, 2001, on a pile of ruble in New York City, George Bush told all of us to simply go about our normal business while he and the military took care of everything. So we did. America is not at war. Only the American military and their friends and families are at war. The vast majority of the rest of us simply go about our business as if nothing unusual in occurring, and when something happens to bring the fighting and dying into our consciousness, we get upset and demand that the federal government cease making us uncomfortable. Besides, it has been years ago that George Bush, himself, spoke to us from an aircraft carrier just over the horizon from home port and told us that the mission had been accomplished, didn't he? Didn't that mean that the war was supposed to be over? Surely, American military folks shouldn't still be dying in the sands of Iraq when the mission has already been accomplished.

As a corollary, Mr. Bush keeps saying that it is only a tiny percentage of the most radical of Islamists that hate us, the rest really love us. Of course he fails to mention that 1% of the Muslims in the world amount to over 100 million souls, and they are dedicated to the eradication of all infidels, defined as anyone that is not a practicing Moslem, regardless of how many generations it may take to do the job. Collateral damage is a concept that they scoff at.

It is not good enough for someone in the Bush administration to occasionally explain parts of the history of the current conflict. There is simply no substitute for the bully pulpit of the President of the United States speaking to our citizenry, and doing it consistently and frequently. Bush should be driving home the point that the roots of the current conflict can be traced back to the late 1930s, and that we have been in active lethal conflict since 1979. He should be calling the entire country to battle. He should have been consistently calling us to enlist in the fight, just as Mr. McKinnon talks about the citizenry doing during WWII. I mean, come on, we lost more citizens on 9/11 then we did on Dec. 7th, 1941(that is Pearl Harbor day, by the way).

The lack of calling this nation to war on 9/12/2001 has been one of the worst, most egregious mistakes of the Bush Presidency, and he is as oblivious to it as he is to the dangers coming into our country over the southwestern border.
-- Ken Shreve

Ms. McKinnon studies a long lasting Democrat tradition. The struggle to make America lose its wars.

This goes back to the War Between the States when the Democrats advocated the cessation of attempts to re-unite the nation and planned to run the incompetent George B. McClellan against Lincoln on exactly that ticket. This even though the war was moving apace at that time, with Grant hounding Lee's inferior forces.

This tradition continued during the First World War with such rallying cries as "This is Europe's War, not America's" and " Bring our Boys home!" Almost verbatim what democrats are now saying about Iraq.

Since World War Two was waged by a President, who though a Democrat understood geopolitics. He, in fact, did cheat, and lie us into the war because he had to. Neither the Congress nor the American people would have permitted the declaration of war unless we were attacked. So Mr. Roosevelt saw to it that we were. In the interim he supplied Britain with obsolete American destroyers and munitions. he also cut of all commerce with Japan which all knew would cripple their war machine. We all know the results.

Korea was more of the same. Vietnam was the pinnacle of Democrat efforts to lose a war. After one hundred years of practice they were ready. They cost the lives of perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 American GIs by giving aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese. Incredibly it was the first war during which American notables openly collaborated with the enemy -- Jane Fonda, Ramsey Clarke and John Kerry -- all showed the North Vietnamese they were diligently working for and towards a victory for our enemy. Ms. Pelosi has gladly continued this tradition even expanding it to negotiate for other countries. Of course all done with no authority -- the President is constitutionally responsible for international relations not Ms. Pelosi, and she certainly has no official capacity in the Israeli government.

You can tell how earnestly the democrats wish us to fail by their insistence that the "progress report" due in September 2007 be delivered to them in July. The reason? The longer we combat the murdering Muslims the better things get in Iraq. By September real gains may be evident. Since the democrats have hung their political hat on failure in Iraq, success there might derail their political ambitions.

They are truly shameful people!
-- Jay Molyneaux
Quit, Cut and Run

One of the things that gets lost in discussions of Democrat cowardice is that the center piece of the Democrat mindset is "control." By what ever "collective" label we put on it the mind of a Democrat is driven to control everything and everyone within their reach in order to feed their guilt and fears. Control oriented people have an inexhaustible desire for power to this end. The current defeatism and cowardice wave would be silenced pretty quickly if they were to regain power again. They know the consequences of defeat in Iraq even if they won't make the effort to actually win the conflict in a meaningful way. All the "cut and run" rhetoric serves simply to keep the ignorant Storm Troopers on line and worked up until power is regained. Once power is regained they will do as little as possible to avoid outright defeat in international terms and turn their efforts against their true enemy on the home front. Rosie O'Donnell is typical of this mindset. Anyone who disagrees with their views is the true enemy of the modern Democrat. This mindset will eventually get a lot of us killed needlessly. What most Americans don't remember about WWII is that prior to Dec 7th, 1941 the United States didn't have the military power to take on either the Germans or the Japanese. What political party ruled on Dec 7th, 1941 and the decade before? FDR wasn't a complete fool about the growing threat but neither was he going to risk losing power to face it prior to Pearl Harbor. Denial is essential for a Democrat to maintain control of the illusion that is their world. Tens of millions more died in WWII than would have been necessary if those living in denial had not been in power prior to WWII.

Even the ones we love fall victim to this disease.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Amen.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

READY AND WILLING
Re: Kent J. Lyon's letter (under "Ready for a Mormon President") in Reader Mail's Mormonism and the Constitution:

Thanks to Kent J. Lyon of College Station, Texas for his comments on Latter-day Saint views on the Constitution and freedom of choice in matters of religion.

To supplement his comments, here are three links to official statements from the Church:

1. "A declaration of beliefs regarding governments and laws in general" (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 134, 1835.) Verse 4 reads, "We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul."

2. Article of Faith 11: (Joseph Smith, 1842.) "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

3. The official Church policy of Political Neutrality (2007.) (go to lds.org; hover over News & Events; click on Newsroom, click on "Political Neutrality" on the left bar under "Public Issues." Excerpt:

The Church does not:
* Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.

* Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.

* Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

* Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

I was especially pleased to see Lyon refer to Robert Frost's poem, "The Trial by Existence." This philosophical speculation, in his first book of poems, "A Boy's Will" (1915), affirms the position taken by the Declaration of Independence, that the unalienable right of men to freedom is endowed by their Creator. Frost speculates, in harmony with LDS teachings, that we existed as spirits before we were born, that we freely chose mortal existence, and that the memory of that choice has been taken from us by a veil of forgetfulness. The last three stanzas sum this up most succinctly:

But always God speaks at the end:
'One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.'

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

'Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.

-- Tracy Hall Jr.
Provo Canyon, Utah

THE BRECK BOY
Re: Andrew Cline's John Edwards: They Want to Shave My Head and the "Bad Hair Day" letter in Reader Mail's Mormonism and the Constitution:

You know, if that boy Edwards would just drive across the Potomac River to Arlington County, go into Pete's Barber Shop, and get himself a regular haircut -- short but not Marine Corps short, parted on the left-hand side, no swoops, no wet looks, no sideburns -- he could put that whole Breck Girl business to bed for good.

Heck, people in his own benighted party might even start taking him semi-seriously.

Odd, those Democrats.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

STIFLE YOURSELF
Re: Mike Roush's letter (under "Fearless in Service") in Reader Mail's Mormonism and the Constitution and Robert Stacy McCain's Retreat, Hell!:

"...nothing more than another in a long series of articles and broadcasts aimed at stifling debate..."

As if anyone could do anything to get critics of the war to shut up. I know of no one who ever thought such was possible. Which leads to the following observations:

1.) How is it the only time I hear the subject of anyone questioning anyone's patriotism is when Democrats (i.e. Hillary) and war critics (take you pick) complain about it? This is almost always followed by

2.) In contrast to the rabid hordes who do not recognize pure love of country when they see it, our long suffering Democrat/war critic is actually standing atop the very apex of what it means to be American by "questioning" government policy.

3.) The real "indignity" our patriotic Democrats/war critics suffer is having their critical responses met with countering criticisms and questions. In a world where "everything changes," this isn't how it is supposed to happen. Those who imagine themselves telling the emperor he has no clothes don't like being told they are "full of it."

You can't tell me that at some level they don't know what they're doing.
-- Michael Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE
Re: James Bowman's review of No Reservations:

Mr. J. Bowman has hit it on the head on remakes disasters. Try Manchurian Candidate, what an appalling remake of a great movie, and a waste of talent in Denzel Washington. Then The Producers -- what were they thinking?

We could go on.
-- R. Melnyk

JIMMY'S ACOLYTE
Re: Jose Ortiz's letter (under "Carter Not As Anti-Semitic As Hitler") in Reader Mail's Mormonism and the Constitution:

Mr. Jose Ortiz says, "'Peace, Not Apartheid.' I have read it and I don't see anything 'anti-semitic.'"...

Just about says it all when dealing with moonbats, does it not?
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

.... Schmuck...
-- Mike Horn, LTC, AUS, ret

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