Reader Mail

Public Choices

POW policies. Government mess-solution-mess. Tax acceptance. Desert protests. Russia vs. Iran. Plus more.

4.17.07

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PRISONERS DILEMMA
Re: Thom Bateman's letter (under "The Overhanging Branch") in Reader Mail's Drawing the Line:

Thom Bateman's recounting of his father's experience guarding Japanese prisoners of war is fully consistent with others stories concerning the behavior of Japanese soldiers in captivity. Mr. Bateman, however, does not state accurately the reason for the subservience of Japanese POWs (or EPWs, to use current terminology).

The Japanese soldier was indoctrinated never to surrender. To be taken prisoner was an absolute disgrace, which is why, until very late in World War II, very few unwounded Japanese were captured. Most of the prisoners we took were either seriously wounded or unconscious, and upon awakening, quite a few tried to commit suicide before becoming reconciled to their fate. As far as Japan and the their families were concerned, these men were dead. Their names were posted as dead, and their families mourned for them. The Japanese government never acknowledged receipt of their identities from the International Red Cross, and never passed on their names to next of kin.

Small wonder, then, that Japanese prisoners of war became so very cooperative with their captors, to the point of becoming willing collaborators in ways we would find treasonous. For instance, they participated in Japanese language broadcasts, urging fellow soldiers to surrender; they pointed out Japanese positions to American forces; they performed personal services for American GIs. To be cut off from their homeland and their families created an unsustainable psychological burden for these men. Like the "ronin" ("wave men" or masterless samurai), they had not connections, no roots, and therefore more or less adopted America as their new homeland, the GIs as their new masters.

It is unlikely that Islamic terrorists will behave in such a manner. To them, capture is not an end of the struggle, but the transition of the struggle into a new phase, one in which active and passive resistance and the exploitation of any opportunity to harm the infidel must be exploited. That is why some of the Guantanamo detainees are even more dangerous in captivity than when free. We are eventually going to have to face up to the fact that quite a number of these men can neither be released nor be kept safely in captivity, but will have to be executed. Rabid dogs pose a continuing danger, even when locked in cages.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

NO ACCIDENT
Re: David Hogberg's Suffering Situations:

Has anyone else noticed that those aspects of life in America that cause the most middle class angst also seem to be the areas with the most governmental involvement? And then the answer to the worry is more governmental involvement. It's not just medical care; think poor public schools, expensive higher education, crime, social security and on and on.
-- Bill Klotzbucher
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

KNOWING WHOM TO THANK
Re: W. James Antle III's Tax Travails:

The evidence shows that the voters are in the tax hiking mood based on recent state and federal elections events. My hypothesis is the voters are scared to death of having their Social Security benefits cut in the future (those retired and soon-to-be retired who probably form a large voting block) so they figure if the government raises taxes they will enjoy a net gain.

You can thank the Republicans who squandered the majority by outspending the Democrats. The Democrats have successfully planted the thought that because government is so much in the red something has to give. They have already successfully eroded support for the wars by emphasizing the money we've wasted on Iraq. Look for the Democrats to continue to pound away at the spending they have tried to stop by pulling the troops out of Iraq. They will parlay this into breaking out the medi-scare and social insecurity tactic (they will win the argument because the Republicans have lost it). The constant hysteria of the committee investigations will keep the spot light on the Republicans too.

Any thoughts of tax payer rebellion are just that. Get ready to pay.
-- Diamon Sforza
Bartlett, Illinois

In the 2006 many conservative pundits and voters were determined to punish Republicans for profligate spending despite the fact this President and GOP Congress never raised taxes (a first in post WWII U.S. history), the economy was booming, unemployment was low and the budget deficit was in decline. What's happened now that Republicans have been punished and Democrats control Congress? Pork barrel spending has surged, earmark spending is out-of-control, military spending is being cut, America is on the fast track to a humiliating and suicidal defeat in the GWOT, there are fears of a recession and taxes are destined to skyrocket. Things get even bleaker when one realizes Democrats are nicely positioned, thanks to the continued conservative crackup, to seize the White House in 2008.

In the aftermath of the GOP's defeat many conservatives went out of their way to portray the new Democrat members of Congress as "conservatives" (gag). To date those "conservatives" have voted in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to undermine the GWOT, undercut the military, increase spending, expand earmarks in the name of "reform" and raise taxes. Proving once again that you may not be able to fool all the people all the time, but you can fool quite a large number of conservatives with media spin and hysteria.

Welcome to the political wilderness where tax and spend Democrats appease terrorists, castrate the military, reward union thugs, promote sodomy, undermine traditional values, propose gutting the First Amendment, murder the unborn, punish business and make America look more like gutless Europe. Happy days are here again and sadly for the foreseeable future.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I don't blame the Democrats for the coming tax increases in 2010 so much as I blame the Republican House and Republican Senate of the last six years. Those simpering, sniveling, pompous asses could not find it in themselves to make the tax cuts permanent.

They kept telling us wait till after the next election because they needed larger margins to hold the Democrats in check. All the while they lined their pockets and sent home billions in pork. It will be interesting to watch how they suddenly become fiscal conservatives once again when it suits them. A pox on both the houses and all who inhabit them!!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

FOOLS RUSH IN
Re: Mark Tooley's In the Desert With Martin Sheen:

Perhaps every one does get what he wants: I wanted Martin Sheen to go to the desert and as punishment for my sins he did. The problem is that I wanted him to go to some dry sandy locale, shut up, and leave the rest of us alone. Instead he joined up with an eclectic group of pharisaical nitwits to lecture us on the superiority of their delusional leftist, humanist ways. The only thing appropriate about the gathering of those imbeciles was its proximity to April Fool's Day.
-- R. Trotter

OLD RUSSIA AND NEW EUROPE
Re: George H. Wittman's Anti-Missile Chess:

The authoritarian drift of Putin's Russia over the last five years is brought to sharp focus by this latest anti-missile issue. Russian leaders are reverting to Cold War form using tactics reminiscent of that era in their efforts to derail the American plan.

Russian tactics may find significant success in the populations of Old Europe, where a half century of protection by the American military has resulted in delusions of world peace and belief in international governmental institutions.

I question whether similar success is to be found in New Europe. Within the memory of many Poles and Czechs is the crushing weight of Soviet domination. Contrast that with the freedoms of rapidly democratizing societies and free market policies brought about after the fall of the Soviet empire. The danger for Poles and Czechs is Russia, not Iran. American military installations of any kind are likely to be perceived as a welcome security net against Russian influence. My guess is that Poles and Czechs stand strong while their westerly neighbors wither.

An interesting follow up to this piece would be a summary of public opinion on this issue throughout the EU.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Re: Peter Hannaford's Straight Talk Times Two:

Amen, for noticing that politicians and public officials are not always reprehensible lickspittles and vermin. Both the NC AG's office and Senator McCain did themselves proud; albeit, we should expect no less, ever.

One pedantic comment: VMI's student body consists of cadets, not "students," as noted in the article. But, since girls are now cadets, one may be forgiven for regarding VMI as just another coed institution with weird (and uniform) fashions.
-- Laurence Dempsey
VMI Class of 1970

TRAP AVOIDANCE
Re: Sapien's letter (under "Tommy Tax") in Reader Mail's Drawing the Line:

Regarding "Tommy Tax" written by Sapien: The presence of a budget surplus is evidence too many taxes have been collected from the taxpayer and is badge of honor among liberals. It gives them license to spend more during the next fiscal year. I hope Governor Thompson is proud of avoiding this spending trap.
-- Donald Parnell
London, UK

TRIPLE BAUBLE
Re: Enemy Central's Scars Guard:

Don Imus, using only 3 words, hit the trifecta of P.C. power: feminism, black racism, and athletic elitism. No wonder the explosion blew him sky-high! Is this hip-hop-crisy?
-- C. Baker

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