Re: The Washington Prowler's Tancredo's Dubious Allies:
Although he is well known for his inimitable speech in the state legislature conjoining the concepts of life and liberty, my fellow Virginian, Patrick Henry, is lesser recognized for a different remark at another time, the gist of which summarizes my feelings about the article, "Tancredo's Dubious Allies." When informed that plans were afoot to call for a Constitutional Convention, whose goal was to centralize governmental power, Henry is supposed to have said: "I smell a rat." If not a rodent, then, I detect in this tract the noxious odor of sulphur, emanating from the White House and/or the Wall Street Journal, for neither institution, for its own reasons, has anything good to say about Representative Tom Tancredo.
By taking the tact that to damn Tancredo, he must begin with faint praise, The Prowler claims that Tancredo does, indeed, have conservative principles that go beyond enforcement of current law. Well, that is more than we can say about the current incumbent in the White House, who five years after 9/11, still believes that the millions of workers who have illegally entered this country since that day of infamy do so because they "do the work that Americans won't do." As for those 150,000 or more (Rep. Duncan Hunter's estimates) Middle Easterners illegally present, well, that's an acceptable risk. Congressman Tancredo doesn't think so; neither should you.
But what is diabolically disturbing is the unfounded assertion that Tancredo's association with FAIR and John Tanton suggests that the congressman has, or will, embark upon a course that is different from the one he has to date: a robust pro-life stance. All one need do is visit Tancredo's website, where the Colorado congressman specifically mentions his unblemished record in voting for pro-life causes ("the sanctity of life"), and his steadfast refusal to support Planned Parenthood. Or one might wish to check Tancredo's voting record in the Congress on these issues. They look "conservative" to me.
I conclude by noting that President George W. Bush accepted money for his presidential campaigns from various Christian religious organizations. The fact that he accepted funds from such groups did not, it appears, change the situation: his efforts to introduce legislation to restrict and/or curtail the unlimited abortion license are non-existent, despite the group's largesse. A bill, written by a noted jurist for the specific purpose of restricting partial birth abortion, and stay within current Supreme Court guidelines, remained gathering dust while the GOP controlled both houses of Congress. It is now a lost cause. But I forgot: George W. Bush is a conservative; Tom Tancredo is not.
-- Vincent Chiarello
Not since talk show host and Republican water boy carrier Hugh Hewitt disparaged Tom Tancredo for advocating the bombing of Muslim sites if Muslims attacked American cities has such far flung idiocy against Tancredo been aired ("Tancredo's Dubious Allies," Jan. 16). As an embarrassment to President Bush for taking the part of the American people regarding the out-of-control illegal alien invasion across the southern border, Tancredo has been an outsider to the rubber-chicken circuit Republicans for years. Tancredo's "tough stands on immigration reform" mean closing the border to the chaotic, crime-ridden and overwhelming onslaught of millions of illegal aliens. This position now is "controversial" in delicate Republican circles. The article's bizarre attack on the Federation for Immigration Reform as pro-abortion has nothing to do with FAIR's activities and goals, nor is there anything about abortion on its website. Would the author also criticize the Catholic Church for being pro-abortion, since liberal pro-abortion Queen Nancy Pelosi had celebratory Masses held in her honor for being elected House speaker? FAIR documents the billions of dollars in yearly financial costs of illegal aliens in this country, something Republican elites don't care about, since it's unlikely their kids will attend schools where no English is spoken, or be turned away from emergency rooms bankrupted by mandated free care to illegal aliens, or suffer from a stolen Social Security number, or get into a car accident with an uninsured illegal alien driving without a license, or face prison systems overrun with criminal illegal aliens, or deal with the attempted slaughter of law enforcement officers by illegals. No, these experiences by Americans don't touch the Republican elites, but Tancredo dares to cut through the political blandishments of the PR-driven political parties on this issue, and so Republican elites have turned him -- and by extension, the American people -- into pariahs.
-- Caroline Miranda
North Hollywood, California
The open borders wing of the Republican Party can't stand the idea of immigration enforcement. Tom Tancredo and FAIR only advocate a return to the immigration policies of pre-1965 when Ted Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson blew a hole in our laws.
I'm not surprised that people like you will say this, since you continue to defend this worthless waste of a President whose primary allegiance is to open borders. I could go on, but I'll leave it at that. People who support open borders are not patriots.
-- Brian Hassler
San Diego, California
RE: "Tancredo's Dubious Allies" -- This blather illustrates one of the principal reasons for the Republican defeat in 2006 and why it will suffer another huge defeat in 2008.
Incidentally, sourcing Jason Riley's opinion as the basis for The Prowler's opinion carries about as much weight with those outside the Beltway as Tamar Jacoby's would have.
-- S. Meachum
Re: William Tucker's Lost in the Woods:
"But once they see U.S. forces departing, they will be frightened. The aftermath of our departure will cause them far more pain than it will us. Not only will the countries in the Middle East become more cooperative, but so will the Europeans and others."
Sez who? Why is it supposed that everyone ultimately has the same interests? Why wouldn't the Iranians just love to advance into a much weaker Iraq? Guess who Saudi Arabia will leave at the after-school chess club for the brand new friend at the soda shop? What part of Baker's The Iraq Report did not spell s-e-l-l I-s-r-a-e-l d-o-w-n r-i-v-e-r?
And, of course, how come we don't turn to the always dependable EU and UN for these sticky situations more often?
It is precious how critics complain that we went into Iraq with rosy expectations; but now these same people color withdrawal in Valentine red. If there is one thing to be learned from the last one hundred years of international conflict, it is there is no should to anything. There is nothing written in stone that departing U.S. forces should make the great nations and camel depots of the Middle East more cooperative.
If you think war is costly, wait 'til you pay for the peace. Even then, we may quit humming the Beatles' All You Need Is Love and start singing Metallica's Kill 'em All sooner than you think.
-- Mike Dooley
Anyone who offers up the fantasy that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will cause the rest of the world to rush to unite in negotiations to peacefully solve the region's problems and "share the pain" is in no position to question anybody else' judgment or sanity. Why can't Bush visualize France, Iran, Syria, Russia and the Saudis working together for the benefit of mankind simply because the U.S. has stepped back? William Tucker can see it. I can't.
So does Tucker really have the Vision Thing or is he just hallucinating lost somewhere in the shallow forests of punditry? Can a guy really have the Vision Thing if he hails Clark Clifford's Vietnam advice to LBJ? When the chips were down, Clifford served up a steaming pile of inside-the-Beltway, visionless, soulless, unprincipled, politically filtered groupthink masquerading as high octane pragmatism -- a lot like the current Team Baker mush pie.
What is the psychological underpinning of the Narcisso-Pessimistic Impulse disorder ("NPID") that is endemic in the American chattering class? I don't get it. What is the buzz from tossing off downbeat fluff pieces? Why would anybody want to be Frank Rich?
Why do those eager to despair always seem to feel entitled to the intellectual high ground? For example, how come those who warned us about the invincible Afghan winter, the impregnability of Herat, Jalalabad and Kabul and about the minimum 30,000-50,000 casualties required to take Iraq still get to pretend they are somehow still smarter than the rest of us every time the AP reports an explosion that may or may not have really happened?
Tommy Franks took Iraq in a matter of weeks with unbelievably few casualties with only half the forces he expected to have (thanks a lot, Turkey!) and still gets called an idiot by Thomas Ricks (who apparently interviewed almost every anonymous passed-over bitter senior officer in the Pentagon). The White House press corps ego-to-intellect ratio approaches infinity but they all think they understand Iraq better than Bush or the Joint Chiefs. Why is that?
President Bush has accepted a horrifically complex, colossal challenge while having to rely on the advice and competence of politicians and federal employees. The mission is in a part of the world with the most dysfunctional political culture the planet has ever known among peoples who are quite correct to hate one another. To top it off, the undertaking is subjected daily to invisible post hoc deadlines and hindsight-produced criteria served up by people who probably couldn't organize an office picnic on a year's notice and who do not feel remotely accountable for yesterday's downbeat analysis even while they pass judgment on people who accept real responsibility.
I think we should stop trying to psychoanalyze the archetypal disaffected young loser on the Arab Street and instead solve the Narcisso-Pessimistic Impulse Disorder among American scribes. NPID is rapidly becoming an equally serious threat to our security. Perhaps your Mr. Tucker would volunteer as a subject.
-- George Tobin
North Potomac, Maryland
Here's two cents and two words of advice for after the "withdrawal in good order": "Gunboat diplomacy."
Tell the barbarians that you will tolerate no extraterritorial adventures and tell the citizens that they are responsible for controlling their barbarians. Then act on it and control your own problem, the feckless lefties. Ensure that terrorism, or anything like it, traceable to Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia = bombing, blockade, commando raids. Tell them that if necessary you'll pave their cities five acres at a time, and mean it. Leave a carrier battle group and a few troopships where they'll do the most good.
Gunboat diplomacy worked very well for a very long time. Why did we ever abandon it? What is wrong with telling a bullying fool, and his whole family, that you'll kick all of their butts if the bullying folly continues?
With homage to "Rubble makes no trouble" Derbyshire, even if he writes for the competition.
-- Fred Z
As usual, Mr. Tucker, does not have a clue. Without people like him (fair weather fan) and the losers (liberals) we would have won in Vietnam. Which is that we would have had a North and South like in Korea. The opposing General even stated that they were about to give up. But the media and loser (Liberals) and lazy, self righteous, self centered students kept them going. They would have stopped if they thought we had real will power Mr. Tucker.
This is the same in Iraq. They see a lot of wimps complaining. If we were united like we should be than the end would be soon. Also, finally, maybe Bush is going to do something about the Shia Military and the Iran/Syria problem. If he does what I said in the speak and people like Mr. Tucker stop the complaining we can win this thing.
-- Bob Seubert
Lost in the woods. I believe this is the reoccurring metaphor you're searching for Mr. Tucker, with your muddled way of thinking. And then, to inform us that you managed to get lost a second time? I believe the readers at TAS get your point. But lost though he may be, nonetheless, Mr. Tucker still feels free to offer up his shortcut out of the Iraq quagmire and his version of Vietnam redux. And why not? Every other pundit is. Since we now know that seeing the trail through the trees is some what problematic for Mr. Tucker, why shouldn't he lead us out of the woods? After all, every Democrat presidential wannabe is equally clueless, so lead on Mr. Tucker. Maybe I can offer a way back onto the trail. First, despite what Mr. Obama and the Democrat intelligentsia are telling us, we are not engaged in a futile civil war. Second, following the equally lost Messrs. Baker and Hamilton, with their suggestions of dialogue with Iran and Syria will, most certainly, not get America out of the woods either. In addition, your call for a referendum accepts the oft cited canard of the Left, that the Iraqis don't want us there. Assuming arguendo some truth to this myth, is it beyond your comprehension that perhaps America and the rest of the civilized world have a vital interest in seeing a stable Iraq , out of the control of Iran and Syria, despite what the Iraqis might be saying? Granted, our European allies have been less than eager to pony up to help, but what else is new? So Mr. Tucker, please, do as the Boy Scouts teach. STOP. With you and the Democrats in the lead, in a few short years, America will find itself back in the same forest, but one that has become even more dangerous and problematic. Oh well, at least your story had a happy ending, after all, your faithful golden retriever made it out of the woods safe and sound. Now that would have been a tragedy.
-- A. DiPentima
So, what's William Tucker's plan for Iraq? He takes us through STOP, but he stops at "Observe." He conveniently omits "plan." And what will happen in the Middle East if we lose in Iraq? Nary a word. No wonder he got lost in the woods -- he failed to consider the consequences of leaving the trail and he suffered for it. Same as his opinion on Iraq.
-- Jim Moran
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
What a load of crap. The Europeans and UN will standby and do nothing as they've done for decades if we turn tail and run from Iraq. Tucker and Odom's recipe for disaster is based on magical thinking about the Europeans and UN. How forceful and successful have they been in dissuading Iran from going nuclear? Who aided and abetted genocide in Rwanda? How successful have they been in stabilizing Darfur or other warring regions in Africa? Where are the Europeans and UN in stabilizing Lebanon? When are they going to resolve the Cypriot question before moving on to solve the Middle East conflict? The list of UN and European failures could go on and on. How could any rational person put their faith in the Europeans or the vehemently anti-American UN? Assuming they're rational it could be called delusional appeasement. Neville Chamberlain and Adolf were ahead of their time.
As for the American people once they've accepted defeat they will not rally to go back into Iraq much less take on the challenges of a destabilized Middle East. The war "weary" (sob, sob) American public (that's sacrificed nothing) will wash its hands of the Middle East like they did Southeast Asia following Nixon's "peace with honor." Like our European cousins we're getting pretty good at losing and accepting our losses. Democrats believe it is the only way for them to win and since conservatives are adverse to governing they've come to accept that "losing is winning" too. Now that's bipartisanship George Will could embrace.
Tucker is correct about Syria and Iran "rushing in," but not to the negotiating table. They'll be rushing in to capitalize on America's defeat. The Arab states will quickly get the message and begin to bargaining with Greater Iran to secure their existences. Islamic imperialists will be emboldened in their war against the Crusaders as Osama bin Laden's prophecy of American weakness is fulfilled. Europeans in their smug and condescending way will play the "told you so game" even as their own growing Muslim populations radicalize and Eurabia moves closer to reality.
I guess Mrs. John Kerry was right "Americans are just going to have to learn to live with terrorism." Assalamu alaikum y'all. Jimmy Carter couldn't have come up with a better strategy for undermining America and benefiting Iran or Islam. Good job.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
William Tucker gets it exactly right. I just wish the White House got it...
-- Jason Davis
STAVING OFF RETREAT
Re: Jed Babbin's Escalatophobia:
Excellent article. It reminds me of a class I had in U.S. Navy PreFlight, "Foundations of National Power." One of the premises the instructor emphasized was the requirement that citizens of any successful nation had to possess a sense of being a part of the nation.
Most of the countries carved out of the Middle East after World War I have been a thorn in the side of international affairs. Tribal loyalties, religion and ethnicity have all transcended any sense of nationalism, and the oil money poured into religious causes has exported ancient ideas and hatreds to all parts of the world.
Democrats would like the U.S. to retreat ("redeploy") from Iraq. The sad result of such an action will be ethnic cleansing and a breakup of Iraq into three countries, even if there is no outside meddling. Fat chance! Turkey will invade northern Iraq because of the ongoing Kurdish problems in their country. Iran will ultimately seize the southern Iraqi oil fields, to replace their own declining oil production. Jordan and Saudi Arabia will feel obligated to defend Sunnis in Iraq. Iraq will resemble recent Somalia, only on a grander scale.
The ensuing carnage will include a "real" war, with terrorists causing unbelievable damage here in the US, and untold destruction in the Middle East. It isn't going to be pretty. I wonder how the liberal Marxists will explain that...
As a retired military grandfather, I am gravely concerned about the country my grandchildren are going to inherit. Increasingly, it looks as though the United States will continue to decline for the same reasons other great nation states have. Not conquered from without, but rotting away within and slowly imploding, while our politicians in Washington continue to play mindless, personal power games...
Senator Durbin's immediate answer to President Bush's speech only underlines how far the Democrats have fallen. They are not at all interested in winning wars, they only want to win points...
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
Jed Babbin might want to read something a bit more insightful then the T. E. Lawrence book of exotic title but little usefulness. I refer to the recent best-seller, A Peace to End All Peace. Has some great stuff on Winston Churchill, the failure by the Brits on so many issues primarily due to political infighting in London and Paris, and the disaster that was the "peace" treaty that dismantled the Ottoman Empire and opened the door for chaos. Truly a great read, with much application for the present.
-- Roger Soiset
Nice to see you put some focus on Iraq's arbitrary genesis. Umm, what if we just let Turkey take it back, along with Syria, and maybe Lebanon and Jordan, too? We could give Israel its "ancient" borders, and the Palestinians could all move to Turkey? OK, maybe not, but it's a temptation.
Oh, and I thought the Democrats' great phobia about George W. was eschatological? Thanks for clearing that up.
-- Mike Showalter
"Iraqi politicians, themselves connected more to sectarian rivalry than dedicated to democracy and political compromise, have stalled the process by which the militias can be defeated, oil revenues may be shared, and their "nation" reconstructed. It's no wonder. There really has never been a nation called "Iraq."
Golly, this sounds like the Democrats and the MSM running down America. The Iraq government is taking lessons from our "great" Dem leaders.
-- Elaine Kyle
THE THRILL IS GONE
Re: James Bowman's Hidden Assets:
James Bowman writes "of the recent fashion for exhibitionism in women" and the apparent causal relationship to "money to be made and fame to be won." Bowman also recalls the "girls-next-door who migrate to Florida during spring break [to] happily lift their blouses and snap their thongs" because "Fame, detached from any great public virtue that might once have been thought to make a person worthy of it, has never seemed easier of attainment than it does now, and the easiest way of all -- for women, at least -- is to abandon modesty."
A few weeks ago, Pia de Solenni authored a review of Dawn Eden's The Thrill of the Chaste. De Solenni quotes Eden "[O]nly through chastity can all the graces that are part of being a woman come to full flower in you." Doesn't sound good for our hero.
It would at first glance appear that Bowman and de Solenni are talking about two very different kinds of women, the exhibitionist and the chaste. But maybe not. When the observer considers the wildly differing rationale that men-as-a-group and women-as-a-group have toward sexual relationships, the different kinds of women become more consistent. For reasons that are clear to nature, men see sex as an end in itself, whereas women see sex as a means to an end. That does not mean that a modus vivendi cannot be reached between man and woman, husband and wife, that can make a continuing and passionate monogamous sexual union possible and desirable, even though each individual is both literally and figuratively approaching the union from diametrically opposite points on the compass. But it does mean that the reasoning, the rationale, the instinctive impulses differ immensely.
Bowman provides examples of ends that the subject women seek, money, fame, etc., all traditionally pejoratives. De Solenni articulates a different set of ends, all traditionally admirable. But in all cases, Bowman's and de Solenni's, the women are looking beyond the sex itself to the strategic objective, whatever that might be.
What de Solenni fails to consider is that while the much more simplistic male rationale, the end in itself, has reliable and predictable interests from roughly age twelve to death, the much more complex female rationale, the means to an end, can and often does abruptly reach a "no means no" condition at almost any time, any age.
What is the likelihood of Ms. Eden providing an analysis of the flip side of The Thrill of the Chaste?
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Re: Mark Tooley's The Minimum Wages of Sin:
There's a famous stretch of pavement built by good intentions, and it doesn't lead to Paradise -- workers' or otherwise. Raising the minimum wage would have unintended consequences that would hurt the poor, not help them. For example, numbers recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that 63 percent of the poor don't work at all.* A higher mandatory wage would price the least skilled of these out of the job market even further -- leaving them further isolated them from our free enterprise economy.
Perhaps the National Council of Churches would be better advised to stick to matters spiritual, leaving economics to the free market, and secular left-wing activism to the pro's. These guys really don't fool anyone, and they run the risk of alienating large numbers of their flocks, who might just abandon the legacy denominations for more evangelical pastures.
Oh, wait. I think that's already happened.
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables, Table 25, "Work Experience and Poverty Status for People 16 Years Old and Over: 1987 to 2005" (January 3, 2007).
Instead of going for such a low prize as the minimum wage, why doesn't the church go for institution of the Year of Jubilee. If you talk about freeing up the wealthy tax slaves, the church and state separationist will come flowing down like a stream to cry foul.
-- Danny L. Newton
My, this increase could be funded by removing the tax-deduction for charitable giving to churches -- or at least, to the churches that signed the petition, since they are so sincere about this?
-- J. Olson
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