Reader Mail

Midnight Runs

Patrolling Iraq reporting. Plus: Gore Prizes. Business in Bangkok. Duncan Hunter. From Riady to Dubai. Plus more.

3.26.07

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REPORTING IRAQ
Re: William Tucker's Midnight Raid:

A journalist published on your website, William Tucker, was recently embedded with my company recently and published his story "Midnight Raid" about my company. There are some issues with the fact checking inside this story. First of all, the "Sergeant Peter Green" is actually First Sergeant servicemen's Green, and there begin the inaccuracies that only help contribute to the American service men's distrust of the media. Referring to paratroopers as "GIs" doesn't help my men with their hostilities, either.

Calling one of our interpreters "Hollywood's stereotype of the Middle Eastern terrorist" infuriates me, especially considering these men risk life and limb to work with us in the first place. This particular interpreter chooses to cover his face because we live in his city and his mother has already been shot by terrorists because they suspected him of working with Americans somewhere. Had he bothered to ask why Chris (not Ali, as William called him) covers his face, we would have answered readily.

To say of another interpreter that "[h]e has a ferocity toward the suspects-- and indeed begins slapping one around when Green momentarily leaves the room" is insinuating violations of the Law of Land Warfare. Is this what he insinuates? If so, it is my duty as commander to investigate the matter fully. I need a witness statement from Mr. Tucker, if this is the case. We follow the Geneva Convention.

Saying that my first sergeant gave an order to "tear the place apart" because an Iraqi lied to him is not only inaccurate, but is also completely contrary to what we do on a daily basis. Our goal here is to gain the trust of the Iraqi people we are trying to secure. Conducting "night raids" is about 10% of what we do on a daily basis. William did not bother to ask about the city council meetings we mentor our Iraqi counterparts through; nor did he seem interested in the fact that we are overcoming bureaucracy within both systems (Iraqi and American) to further reconstruction in Bayji. I feel betrayed by our media that our fellow patriots do not even get an accurate portrayal of what its Troopers do for their freedoms.

Reading this article, it seems to me that William had already decided the tone of his article beforehand. I am recommending to my chain of command that William have his credentials pulled and not be allowed to embed with us any longer. When did being a reporter go from a profession of service to the public of America to one of publishing stories simply to inflate one's sense of self?

Again, I am thoroughly disappointed by the manner of your correspondent's reporting. Please remember that, as reporters who provide America with a brief glimpse of what we do over here, you have an obligation to ensure that your stories are checked for fact. Is William's main aim to report facts to Americans or sell himself as a modern-day Ernie Pyle?

Incidentally, William placed the following quote at the beginning of one of his article: "Karl Zinsmeister's Boots on the Ground, which chronicled the event, has been read by almost every other soldier I've met over here." This quote is blatantly wrong, I believe the poll of my company (146 Paratroopers) I conducted yielded zero Troopers having read his book other than myself. I apologize for the ranting diatribe, but I believe I owe the Troopers of my company their defense. We are not amateurs, as he portrays us; we are professionals fighting to win a war we understand is extremely unpopular at home. Things can be frustrating enough fighting an oftentimes faceless enemy without having to fight your own countrymen.

Respectfully,
-- Tim Peterman
Commander, C/1-505 PIR

GORE PRIZES
Re: Tom Van Dyke's Climate Change: What You Can Do:

Great stuff!!!! Hilarious!!!
-- Doug

Thank you so much for pointing out the utter lunacy of global warming "solutions" with such great humor. Loved it, loved it, loved it!!
-- Mdr

Enjoyed the article, started my day off with a laugh, but wanted to make a comment about this:

"We need our corn for ethanol. Switch from Fritos to pork rinds."

Sorry since we are using all our corn for ethanol, there is not any left for pigs or people so no pork rinds or for that matter Tortillas.

Global Warming is the biggest hoax going right now, just follow the money. Carbon Credits give me a break Al.
-- Elaine Kyle

Remember when Mama told you to eat your beets because children in Africa were starving? After 45 years of my eating beets, I'm turning red and the children in Africa are still starving. So apparently my swallowing down the food has no effect on the general amount of hunger in the world.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that if I start doing things I don't like, in 45 years Global Warming will still either exist or not exist, and it's just not worth it to find out 45 years from now that I gave up La Vida Loca for nothing.

I therefore have decided to follow the lead of our Glorious Al "W.H. Taft" Gore and consume 20 times the amount of everything (well, not food because my doctor advises against it, unlike Mr. Gore's doctor apparently) that other people consume, instead of cutting back. Unlike Mr. Gore, I promise not to insist that you do as I say and not as I do. You go right ahead and suit yourself.

I look forward, unlike the portly Mr. Gore, to 45 more years of happily sacrificing for nobody.
-- Kate Shaw
Behind the Lines in Kanukistan

Some interesting ideas. About the corn, though: It'll be hard getting moonshiners to switch from corn to pork. Might put new meaning to "White Lightning," though.

But, first, I'd like Ms. Couric and every other person who keeps equivocating by saying "And all the experts agree. Well, almost every expert" to publish immediately the names of the scientists who agree. With each name, provide the following: CVs, including professional and technical societies or associations to which they belong, as well as groups such as EDF, NRDC, etc.; political persuasion and party affiliation; and an understandable, succinct statement of why the person think global warming exists. Provide traceable, verifiable references, too.

Maybe then the public can determine whether or not it's just hot air blowing their way.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

HUNTER'S SEASON
Re: Quin Hillyer's A Friend in Duncan Hunter:

Great article on a man who would, undoubtedly, make a fine president.

Unfortunately, with our present system of selection of each party's nominee, i.e., primaries that are nothing more than beauty contests, with the "beauty" rules dependent on how much money is spent, and debates with absolutely ridiculous rules, his chances aren't very good.

There needs to come a time in the U.S., when each candidate is judged, not on sound bites, but on their record, and their proposals for solutions to the problem the country faces. If we continue down the road we are on, freedom in this country is doomed.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

If only they could be the Republicans' nominees in '08 -- two decent, manly conservatives of whom we could be proud. (I'm ashamed of any spurious comparisons I've made of Bob Livingston's and Newt Gingrich's characters. Quin Hillyer's narratives about his friend and boss have convinced me that they are not in any way in pari material.) If the conventions were as wide open as they once were, these are the kind of candidates who might emerge. Can anyone seriously argue that the "democratic" primary system has produced better candidates or office-holders -- not to mention high drama during convention weeks? The successful candidates have been among those who have raised the most money -- often from dubious sources, such as governments inimical to America and its values, megalomaniac foreign billionaires, and hustlers of assorted stripes. The presidents produced include the completely amoral -- one of whom is now shilling for his equally amoral life partner -- and mean-spirited, vindictive, little, human ferrets with long memories. There is also a poorly educated failed divinity and law student ignoramus -- all the rage among the Hollywood ignoramus's -- who won the popular vote for president and lacks the common sense to turn out the lights before leaving for months-long sojourns among his familiars and Yahoo followers.
-- Jim Wheatley
Harper Woods, Michigan

THAI MUSCLE
Re: Michael A. Tew & Alexandra V. Preate's Who Needs Foreign Investment:

Michael A. Tew & Alexandra V. Preate show little knowledge and understanding of the TRIPS Provisions. Indeed, they are wrong to say that "not only was the [Thai] government's compulsory license issued outside the terms of TRIPs and the WTO framework, but it also did not have an adequate dialogue or negotiation with the companies prior to issuing such licenses."

Not only was the compulsory license issued under one of the provision of the TRIPS (public non-commercial use), but the TRIPS does not require prior negotiations. It is worth noting that Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, confirmed that the Thai government acted within the law, but also that the Thai government did try to negotiate unsuccessfully for a year with Abbott and recently published a white paper supporting its decision.

It is embarrassing to see journalists lashing out on a country trying to save lives whilst the US has used the same compulsory licensing to "steal" IP on software product, car part and other questionable items.
-- Dr. Roger Tatoud
Bangkok, Thailand

I was dismayed with the shallow reporting and analysis contained in your March 23rd Special Report, "Who Needs Foreign Investment?"

The authors entirely ignored the biggest issue slated to effect foreign investment in Thailand, the laws governing foreign ownership. Longtime loopholes known as "nominee" shareholders which enable foreign investors to exceed Thailand's 49 percent foreign ownership maximum are set to be plugged by the junta. This is what has investors here really worried. Although widely reported by the Asian Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and others over the past five months, the authors seemed to want to spin something else.

Yes, their main argument for foreign investors to consider exercising more caution toward Thailand was a recent action taken under the junta's watch related to intellectual property concerns as they pertain pharmaceutical licensing. While the facts as presented were correct, the authors' conclusion that this development is justification for some newfound warning for foreign investors is a bit of stretch.

The decisions regarding the compulsory licensing for these drugs were in the works for a long time. This action was going to happen with or without the coup. The current government was completely ignorant of this issue until the ministry responsible, the Thai FDA, took the decision.

Moreover, while this is an issue that may have put Thailand in the headlines again, it is not exclusive to Thailand, but something that is a growing issue for poorer countries generally. The ethical arguments surrounding this action can hardly be extrapolated to most products, thus should not be seen as indicative of any growing Thai trend to (further) thumb its nose at intellectual property rights generally.

Thailand's action was not unanticipated by the pharmaceutical industry, and they indeed will be looking for the WTO to back them up as poorer countries look for ways to increase access to expensive, life-saving drugs. That was where TRIPS came from, and it's time to see how well it works. It's little different from establishing case law for any other new statute. Thailand has its interpretation of TRIPS and the pharmaceutical companies theirs. It's up to the WTO now?

As far as the authors' reference to DVD piracy, this is a tired argument and hardly specific to Thailand.

Lastly, the shifting of foreign investment out of Thailand to Vietnam and elsewhere is not news either, as it has been under way for many years. Thailand's ebbing competitiveness has nothing to do with the junta, though the generals have been offering fuel to the fire -- just not for the reasons described in this article.
-- Tom Sherman
Bangkok, Thailand

AT YOUR SERVICE
Re: The Washington Prowler's Rich Man, Power Man:

A blind man could see that impeached perjurer and former President Bill Clinton's amassing money to fund Hillary's attempt to turn the White House into another color. What he allegedly has accumulated should buy lots of votes and keep plenty of mouths shut, voluntarily or involuntarily. Purchase some terrific yellow journalism, too. Fund lots of sycophants as well as talking heads and pundits.

But how much serious payback do the Arabs who've contributed to Bill's library and his coffers expect -- and what kind of concessions have already been drafted and agreed upon -- should Hillary be elected and Bill becomes First Hubby? Why else would the Arabs and others who've stuffed Bill's pockets suck up to someone like him?
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

After reading this article it brought to mind James Riady, business man from Muslim Indonesia, son of an arms dealer with ties to China, that settles in Little Rock Arkansas and bankrolls the then Governor Clinton into and through his presidency. Then the man disappears from sight -- or so we are lead to believe. Clinton is selling influence through the Democrats and his wife's possible presidency like he sold influence to Riady and the Chinese. There is something unsavory behind that willing smile of Bill's that is frightening -- a political Gotti mafia don.
-- Jacqui
Dallas, Texas

NEWT TALK
Re: Philip Klein's Newt Morning:

If Newt runs he should demand 40 debates because he would win all of them. He is brilliant and would sparkle like a diamond on the campaign trail and in debates.
I have often thought he would make a great president.
All it takes for a conservative to win is to remain conservative throughout the campaign and be charming and brilliant, er, Newt Gingrich...nuff said
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania

BEYOND POLITICS
Re: Jennifer Rubin's No One Knows Anything:

A PERILOUS PATH

The path of life is a great unknown.
I facing travails you are quite alone.

No one can get inside your mind.
The core of your being no one else can find.

What's anathema to one is survival to another.
You can think for yourself but not for your brother.

What you assume someone else should do
Might not be right and it might not be true.

The best way we can help other people to cope
Is to hold out our arms and to fill them with hope.

Surround yourself with friends, with people who care
But in the middle of your night, no one else is there.

Let the One Who Created you be your guide
And hold Him close on this perilous ride.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

UNDERSERVED REPUTATIONS
Re: Eric Peters's We Can Work It Out:

Eric Peters is right when he says it might take another year of our automakers building world-class cars to restore their reputation. But that's only because it will take that long for enough baby-boom journalists and politicians who've systematically trashed their reputation for decades to die. The prejudice against them is so intense that trial lawyer's fantasies of safety problems have been promoted for decades as scientifically proven truth. There was nothing unusually dangerous about the Corvair, Pinto, Chevy trucks with "side-saddle" gas tanks, or the Explorer.

Audi (accused of "unintentional acceleration") is the only foreign car maker to get the same treatment and it almost ruined them. Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen have sold many millions of dangerous and badly designed cars but their mistakes are ignored or quickly forgotten. The original Beetle was far more dangerous than the Corvair or the Pinto. Who remembers the Toyota Starlet or the Honda Civic CVCC? How many Americans even know that Mitsubishi's executives were indicted in Japan for concealing the safety problems of their Galant? The Toyota Previa and the original Honda Odyssey (aka the Isuzu Oasis) were not only pathetic excuses for an American minivan but were also both rated poor for safety by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But nobody cared except the suckers who bought them and they're already almost forgotten.
-- D.M. Duggan

MIND BENDER
Re: Mark Bender's letter (under "Surging Against Neocons") in Reader Mail's Everyone's a Critic:

No, there isn't anything goofier than the Goreacle talking about global warming. But one thing is close, the same old liberal rant concerning everything that's wrong with the Middle East (and the world in general):

It's the JOOOOOOOS! And BU$HITLER

For your information, Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors, and any land it annexed after it kicked the collective Arab world's butt is by right THEIRS! Pillaging?! What exactly is the only decent, productive society in the Middle East pillaging from the murderous thugs in the Palestinian territories?

And as far as the war goes, I'm sure you get your facts from reading the Islamic terrorist-approved new outlets, MSM, CNN, ABC, CBS, Reuters, etc. I get my facts from the military who have been deployed, as I work with them every day. The overwhelming consensus is that leaving Iraq now will be a waste of everything that has been accomplished. Of course, based on reporting from the above-mentioned "news" outlets, that's nothing, but talking to those that have been there gives you a totally different outlook. That's what our troops are really bitter about - not the fact that they have been sent to do a job, but that the fifth column that includes the liberal-controlled media are ignoring anything that can't be used to support their message of failure and surrender. If we leave Iraq in it's current state, those selfless patriots that have given their lives to protect your right to be wrong will indeed have died in vain.

Now THERE is something REALLY too terrible to contemplate! (Thanks a lot, Socialist traitors.)
-- Bill Haney

NASTIES
Re: Audrey Johns's letter (under "Mixed Reviews") in Reader Mail's Everyone's a Critic and R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s Book 'im, Leno:

Once again Dr. Tyrrell has stuck a major nerve with the myrmidon crowd! When Ms. Audrey Johns referenced "our beloved Bill Clinton," I gagged and regurgitated for at least 30 minutes before I could begin to respond. As usual, when there "is no there there" the Dumocrats resort to the inanities of MoveOn. Nowhere in her screed did Ms. Johns support anything she (or MoveOn espoused).

It certainly took a great deal of intelligence to recommend that we "go Swiftboat ourselves." Swiftboats might work better than cigars however, which posits the reason for her "Warm regards."

While her scatological demands did nothing to wet (sic) my appetite for anything -- her inherent nastiness did whet my appetite to respond post haste (or post nausea whichever the case may be)!
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

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