WAR AND SACRIFICE
Re: Philip Klein's The Hawks' Quagmire:
At its most basic level Philip Klein's contention that the president is allocating insufficient assets to the war is one of civilian interference with war fighting, much of this interference enabled by senior military leadership, who also unfortunately acquiesce in the unrealistic rules of engagement imposed on our forces. Have they all forgotten Vietnam? You kill enough of your enemy wherever you can find them so that they lose the will and capacity to resist. I'll say it again for the benefit of anyone in a position of authority who might be reading this: You kill them. Even if they hide in a mosque, you kill them. Even if they're allies of the Iraqi PM, you kill them. As for collateral damage, this from my father during the recent Israel-Lebanon war: "All this nonsense about the Israeli response not being 'proportionate' is bulls--t. I knew what I was doing when I was dropping bombs over Germany and Italy. I was killing civilians. That happens in war." This touches on the Keane/Kagan argument for 30,000 additional troops versus the 21,500 being sent. It's not only the number that matters, it's how they are used.
Now Mr. Klein's comment about President Bush not identifying how Americans should "sacrifice" for the war effort. Will you tell me, sir, exactly how or what we are supposed to sacrifice? Should Americans stop going about our daily lives, buying goods and services -- to the extent that we damage the economy that provides the taxes to fund the war? Or is this call for sacrifice a code word for higher taxes? Or is it just another cudgel for the Democrats with which to beat George Bush? Speaking of which, I find it sad that any American would take seriously the standard Democrat criticism of the war effort. Dick Durbin? Barbara Boxer? Chuck Schumer? John Murtha? Charlie Rangel? Two-bit politicians. Does anyone believe they care about victory? If they did do you think that they would begrudge our fighting men and women the reinforcements needed to win? Of course, not. Instead they undermine the war effort while troops are in the field. Despicable.
"There is no substitute for victory." -- MacArthur
-- Paul M. DeSisto, Lt Col, USAF (Ret.)
Cedar Grove, New Jersey
Mr. Klein's last paragraph nailed it, thoroughly. I've been bitching almost constantly that this whole Iraqi fiasco could/should have been wrapped-up a year or two ago If Dubya had pulled out the stops and allowed the troops to actually WIN, rather than fighting with one-hand-tied-behind-their-backs in a Politically Correct "containment" thing. Half measures avail us nothing!
Has the word "victory" been sincerely used of late? Are the McClellans of the CYA Pentagon replaced? And, why weren't they a long time ago? Are our troops allowed to fire back at the snipers (AKA terrorist killers) in the mosques? Or will they continue to be restricted from actually WINNING?
No, I too am very dubious about the outcome of this mess -- can't help but wonder if the State Department (which Dr. Rice was supposed to straighten up?), the CIA, and FBI can get their collective acts together and maybe get this fiasco resolved. At least Bush cast aside that silly pacifist plan of the supercilious Jim Baker.
Hate to be repetitious, but, I had 16 weeks of basic training and, damn it, I was ready to fight. The Iraqis have had a couple years, and they're not ready yet? Damn.
Philip Klein concludes "With a healthy dose of skepticism, let's hope and pray that President Bush's policy proves effective."
Hell, no! That kind of thinking is appropriate only when the policymaker is the Almighty Himself, not the registered occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, regardless of his party.
Klein writes of "details" being the number of guys with M-16s, should it be 20,000, or should it be 30,000. I suggest that the important "detail" is what does the National Command Authority plan to do with the guys with the M-16s? Are they going to hunker down in the Green Zone? Or are they going to drive their up-armored Hummers around Baghdad, hoping a series of wired 155mm shells aren't detonated when they drive by? Or are they going to ruthlessly implement the solution pioneered by General Sir Gerald Templer in Malaya in the 1950s, studied and practiced by Colonel H R McMaster in Iraq's Tal Afar in 2005, and presented to the President last year.
Klein also writes "Those who believe that the battle against Islamic fundamentalism is the most important calling of our time must once again choose between a president who agrees but won't dedicate adequate resources to the daunting task of defeating this pernicious enemy, and an opposition party that does not take the threat seriously." The not even remotely loyal opposition party and its willfully ignorant constituents aside, distilling the fundamental failure in Iraq to "won't dedicate adequate resources" is egregiously simplistic. As the peerless Ralph Peters (Lt. Col., USA, Ret.) has repeatedly noted, the day this Administration halted the Marines in Fallujah, ostensibly because the Leathernecks' aggressiveness in dispatching the enemy was not acceptable to the Iraqi "authorities", this Administration lost both its strategic and tactical way, and has yet to regain it.
Maybe courtesy of Templer and McMaster this Administration will finally do what is right, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, after all other alternatives have been exhausted.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Recently I have spent some time reading various articles that your organization posts on your website. The more I read, the more I am shocked by the hypocrisy and flagrant distortions of facts that your organization exhibits. It is truly sad.
In regards to Mr. Klein's article on 1/12 and his comment "...what he rightly considers 'the decisive ideological struggle of our time,..."
If President Bush really felt that way he would have the courage to ask Americans to sacrifice for this struggle. Failure to do that can only lead one to believe that it is not as great a struggle as it is portrayed at.
In regards to your organization it is somewhat shocking to read how you continue to support this "venture" led by President Bush. To be very frank, if our President was an executive in any business in the world he would have been fired a long time ago for failure to properly implement strategies.
Mr. Bush is no different than many other corporate executives who can dream of strategies and not be able to implement.
Your organization would get more respect if at least once in a while you faced up to the reality of the situation.
-- Robert S. Volland
It is apparent now that from the very beginning that there were several strategic as well as political flaws in the President's War on Terror. Many of these problems he inherited, while others were of his own making. Even the spectacular victory against the Taliban in Afghanistan is a bit hollow as we fail to use the strategic geographical gains against Iran that we earned in that campaign. After all, we were led to believe that all roads led to Tehran. The President's famous Axis of Evil speech put special emphasis on both Baghdad and Tehran. But it was the Iranians who possessed the will, the money, and technology to build nuclear weapons. Iran is calling the shots in Lebanon and Gaza, not to mention in various safe houses in Europe and North America. Little did we know that the President's bluster in late 2001 was just rhetorical. He had no intentions of fighting a long-term combat operation with the overthrow of the Mullahs in Tehran as the ultimate goal.
Neither Secretary Powell nor Rice ever considered a complete reordering of Arabic fiefdoms. For that matter, neither did DCI Tenet, or Secretary Rumsfeld. Congress as usual was clueless, and as 2002 became 2003 the President's resolve wavered. The mission changed from defeating the Axis of Evil to liberating Iraq. Iraq for some reason became the ultimate goal. Much diplomatic and political capital was wasted in the President's capitulation in October of 2002. The invasion would wait until the UN gave its imprimatur. In the mean time, the Shia and Baathists prepared for a long insurgency. The Pentagon had neither the will nor the skill to fight the terrorists. Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia continually supply logistics, foreign fighters, and money to keep this horror machine going. Neither the President nor Congress ever considered leveling places like Sadr City, Ramadi or Fallujah; not once did we ever consider tactical air strikes deep into Iran or Syria. Iran continues to build nuclear weapons, yet our Navy allows them to export oil -- their main source of revenue. Neither Syria nor Iran ever complained to the UN about incursions of special ops soldiers against their bases and logistic centers; nor do they complain about American backed liberation movements. Iraq not Iran became the end game. And the endgame had nothing to do with victory in the field. It was as if Eisenhower decided in 1944 that Paris and not Berlin was the ultimate goal.
The question that begs to be asked: Is this the best that we can do? Is this the best that our Ivy League graduates can come up with? Despite advanced degrees and War College training, is this the best that our senior officers can do? Are we so lacking in diplomatic and strategic skill, not to mention imagination and will that we are allowing a group of mullahs run us out of town? It appears so.
I am struck by the arrogance of journalists who may or may not have some expertise in war who have the audacity to arrogantly state that President Bush has presented a flawed plan. They then give as the reason -- only 20,000 troops. Nowhere do they dissect the other parts of the plan nor do they even mention General Petraeus's appointment and his expertise in counterinsurgency.
I am past sick and tired of this constant negativism by the media. No wonder the American people are so confused and vote on the latest sound byte. Journalism has sunk to an all time low over these past years.
The time has come for journalists to recognize their limitations and not wear their ignorance on their sleeves. The Internet is providing people like myself with remarkable access to information which, when reading the writings of most journalists it results in my simply shaking my head in disbelief at their ignorance.
On what authority does your writer Philip Klein opine that the plan is flawed? Is he a military expert? What are his credentials? Nowhere in his article does he offer an unflawed plan of his own. Therefore, his duty as a journalist is to present a critique of the plan indicating where he disagrees. The fact that he disagrees does not mean the plan is flawed! By refraining from using words like these indicates a humility that perhaps Mr. Bush and his advisors know more about what is going on than Mr. Klein but that Mr. Klein's viewpoint is valid and we must just wait and see. But to use exaggerated terminology like flawed is arrogant, misinformed and downright unnecessary.
Just another point from history: Lincoln's management of the war could have been a remarkable feeding frenzy for modern day journalists. Can you imagine what they would have written then and how they would have condemned Lincoln in even worse terms than they do Bush? Yet who prevailed? What about FDR in WWII and my goodness, Truman? Surely history means something to our journalists of today that perhaps they should tread warily?
-- Peter J. Paola
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Whatever our remaining options may be in Iraq, should we cut and run, Islamofascists and terrorists everywhere triumph and will rejoice.
And no matter how we sanitize and prettify our withdrawal, we lose, the Iraqis lose and the world loses.
But those in America who didn't support our troops there -- or who mischaracterized, misreported, underplayed, ignored and/or opposed our efforts in Iraq -- will not have earned the right to wear smug faces when our troops leave and our presence disappears.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
WILL TO FIGHT
Re: W. James Antle III's Lifting the Fog of War?:
Mr. Antle states that rhetoric may be softening as various professional observers on both sides of the debate finally begin to see the consequences of our limited options in Iraq. The truth is as Mr. Zengerle of the New Republic states, if we withdraw without leaving a functioning democratic government in place, we'll have lost, in our eyes and in the eyes of the world.
But it's not just a matter of face. Liberals in this country forced us out of Vietnam, and we've all paid the price since. Our country was viewed as the "weak horse" around the world, even as late as our entry into Iraq 3 years ago, resulting in Black Hawk Down, World Trade Center '93, embassy bombings, and 9/11. Our Vietnam servicemen were done a horrible injustice to have bravely fought a war, only to be defrauded and rejected as civilian politicos valued staying popular with the Times and Cronkite more highly than doing the right thing. Millions died subsequent to our disgraceful exit from Vietnam, and as a direct result thereof. How many millions will die throughout the Middle East and Africa, and Europe, and Asia, and even the U.S., if we don't face down Islamofascism now?
Teddy Kennedy's hands are bloody now from Chappaquiddick, but will be infinitely more so if he succeeds in his drive to have us withdraw from Iraq immediately. When will we learn that we can't defeat an enemy who will do anything to kill us if we lose heart so easily time and time again? How many more 9/11s will have to occur before we fight this enemy with seriousness and resolve, much as the Ethiopians have done in Somalia? When will we learn?
Not soon, I fear. And if we don't find the courage to fight, we'll deserve the consequences.
-- Tim Jones
Conservative pundits may be receding in their political support of Bush after his recent speech to the nation about Iraq, but listening to the president reminded me more of the speechifying by Catholic bishops in response to the priest molestation scandals than a head of state who knows what he's doing. Like the Catholic bishops, Bush acknowledges, in the passive, that "mistakes were made," rather than specify who made the mistakes or what the mistakes entailed. Like the Catholic bishops, he says he "accepts full responsibility" but fails to define "full responsibility" other than, "Gee I feel bad -- oh, well." Like the Catholic bishops, Bush is quickly losing credibility with former supporters, as the article points out. The Administration's failure to seek input from those most genuinely involved -- the troops and officers not included in the Administration's elite inner circle of advisers -- produced alarming gaps in military understanding.
-- Caroline Miranda
North Hollywood, California
I listened to the video of my Senator, Max Baucus, proclaiming the virtues of "cut and running." I'm sure that he's right. He's been a U.S. Senator for 29 years. He must have great knowledge about military affairs, because I don't understand his reasoning. I imagine he remembers Lincoln and Churchill and their sage advice when faced with adversity. Or perhaps he's taking the advice of the great statesman, Henry Kissinger, who negotiated millions of people into death and slavery. I'm not sure. It's too complicated for me. Then again, I had a flash of insight into why our military leaders, Reid and Pelosi, have decided that leaving Iraq is the best approach. It will shortened our supply lines and we won't have to watch the bomb wreckage in Iraq when we can watch the neighborhood Safeway store go up in smoke.
What did you think would happen when the Pentagon and Trade center got bombed? Did you think that we would launch some missiles and that would be the end? Did you think that when we invaded Afghanistan, the enemy would capitulate? It's as if you and your ilk are historically illiterate. I know that the education establishment teaches diversity at the expense of history, but I would have thought that a writer for The American Spectator who proudly titles himself "III" would understand that war isn't something solved in a two-hour movie, or even in a season of "24."
It staggers the imagination to imagine what your defeatism would be in 1942, 1863, or 1777.
-- Jason Stewart
P.S. Our intervention in Iraq has high and low moments. It would be better, if you itemize those things that have gone well and those that haven't. Then compare them to any other war...It might give you some perspective
Re: R. Andrew Newman's Playing the Devil:
Mr. Newman's short article brings two thoughts to mind.
He notes the trend of deaf parents purposefully creating genetically deaf children, using genetic screening to abort hearing children. But deafness can easily be induced in healthy children at any age. If causing a child to be born deaf is not a crime, is it also not a crime to inject a toddler with large doses of antibiotic to remove his inconvenient hearing?
Second, are the children born with these disabilities entitled to governmental disability payments?
Thank you for the article. Every once in a while we need to be reminded how evil self-importance can be.
-- Richard Riley
It seems that it is those folks who are untroubled by screening embryos for defects, and choosing to continue or terminate human lives based on the results, who are most shocked by the fact that some people will choose the defective embryos. We who are still dumbfounded that people deny the dignity of these human lives can barely register further surprise at the latest twist in the whole monstrous affair.
When Congress passed laws that instituted severe punishments for killing an American bald eagle, it instituted the exact same punishments for destroying the egg of an American bald eagle. The reasoning makes sense to any five year-old child: if you want to protect a species you protect that species at every stage of its life -- including the stage lived within the egg (or, as in most mammals, the womb).
In the case of humans, however, people think things should work differently. Such thinking is driven by selfish intentions that are often worse than those voiced by the parents desiring children with defects. When we consider with bewilderment the mother who chooses to implant an embryo with a defect, let's remember that her main offense was that which she committed against the embryo's brothers and sisters, who were left frozen, discarded, or killed for scientific research. Almost all IVF procedures result in such "spare" embryos.
-- Richard Hunter
Co-Chairman, St. James Pro-Life Committee
Falls Church, Virginia
Re: Lawrence Henry's Dressing and Dressing Up:
In the 1980s, I used to attend the Mensa Symposia at Queens College Cambridge (that's England of course) every summer, and one of the traditions is a formal dinner "Chariots of Fire Style." My first encounter with this tradition was the first time in my life that I was passionately grateful that I was forced to attend Charm School in the Sixties, as I watched panic-stricken hippy-dippies (intelligent people are a motley lot) openly watch their neighbors to see which fork to use and where to expect the waiters to appear. In the matter of dress, though, the men were the lucky ones; they were carried off en masse to a local tuxedo rental and, oddball haircuts notwithstanding, came back looking, as we girls informed them with giggles, "like a lot of penguins."
But the girls! It was shock and awe (and wackiness, as they say in the movies) to view the panoply of garments in which the women appeared. Clearly there were very few Sixties Chicks whose mothers had put their foot down and said "Let's hear no more about this Debutantes Are Bourgeois nonsense! One day you'll mingle with Important People and if you don't know how to behave [she meant how to dress and which fork to use] you'll be sorry for the rest of your life." As the girls tiptoed in and began to cast awed glances at the table before them, there were ruffled paisley mini-dresses in which, as Daddy said, you could not tell where her plunging neckline left off and her open toed shoes began; there were clearly prom dresses borrowed from older sisters or relatives; there were one or two unmistakable bridesmaid's dresses with dyed-to-match shoes, and there was one defiant one in a Dashiki with hat to match. There were not many women (men outnumbered women in Mensa by at least five to one) but the eye was drawn to the panoply of fashion faux pas and the expressions on faces that told me Mama was right; if you show up at a formal dinner dressed for a masquerade, you'll never forget it as long as you live. I have no dress sense and if you told me to close my eyes and describe what I'm wearing, I'd be hard pressed to tell you on any given day. Nevertheless, there I was in a floor-length confection with a lace overskirt and a lovely white shawl, Cuban heeled ankle straps and plain white stockings. Every stitch thereof picked out and provided by Mama, whose nightmare was that I would appear in a tennis dress and PF Flyers.
Odds are pretty good that you won't need a formal more than a couple of times a year, but if you do need one, please get help in assembling it. And yes, it does matter what season you're dressing for, although black is still smart for all seasons if it's the right black. Or so I'm told. Today I make do with The Anne Klein, a blue silk that fits like a dream for summer events and a black cashmere for winter. And I'm happy to say I remember the Silverware Mantra perfectly: "outside in/top down." Serve from the right, remove from the left. And never mind about the glasses. They only fill the one you're supposed to use.
-- Kate Shaw
Good luck to Bud -- hope March 10 brings him acceptance from his (and your) first choice! I'm sure the admissions people are getting a kick out of him, which will take him a long way.
-- Anne Fox
Re: Christopher Orlet's Louder Than Bombs:
While I am a firm defender of all of the Bill of Rights, and I in part share the same unease that is evident in Christopher Orlet's examination of the sentence handed down to Mr. Javet curtailing his right of free speech in calling on the bombing of America, Denmark and other nations, let me suggest that no boundaries have been overstepped in this case. Mr. Javet's remarks, while possibly harmless to most of America and Mr. Orlet, still represent a realistic threat of incitement to violence. The right to protect yourself is a right that exists irrespective of government. If Mr. Javet were to stand outside Mr. Orlet's house, or mine, or anyone else's and call for the eradication of our children, even by others who were not present at that time, we would consider it a threat. If Mr. Javet stood outside our children's schools and called for them to be bombed it would not be permissible. Had an, obviously non-Muslim person walked by the crowd and been accosted, would Mr. Javet have been culpable in the violence perpetrated against that person? I think so, and believe that any rational person would share my opinion.
The world is growing smaller every day. For us to exist together without a curtailment of our individual rights means that we cannot allow the irresponsible use of those rights. When such irresponsible use becomes evident the only way to protect us is to punish the infraction strenuously. Otherwise the wholesale restriction of that right becomes likely.
The foundational purpose of governments are to secure the rights of the individual to be free to pursue their own interests without fear, in effect acting as our agent in matters in which we have a vested interest. In this case British jurisprudence is to be commended.
-- Joe Phillips
Red River, New Mexico
NEW WAVE MOVEMENT
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's James Patrick Baen, 1943-2006:
It's a shame that Hal G. P. Colebatch uses the death of Baen to take an unwarranted swipe at the New Wave literary movement, which most definitely came out of Western culture and certainly questioned Western culture but could not be said to be in opposition to it. Nor could anyone, looking at the writers who came out of the New Wave -- M. John Harrison, Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard, among others -- say that any of those writers had any particularly set view, from book to book, politically. Most of the New Wave was indeed to the Left, but there is no way that Colebatch can empirically support the statement "but it might well have had the purely negative achievement of driving traditional science-fiction writers out of publishing." That's simply untrue, especially given the fact that, as he correctly says, much of the New Wave material, while critically popular, did not sell amazingly well.
For those who like the kind of fiction Baen published, I'm sure he is a kind of cultural hero. But he didn't really impact upon writers on the Left, or New Wave writers. Really, in the literary world, those were always two separate spheres of influence. Colebatch does a bit of mischief to the reality of Baen's life in suggesting otherwise.
-- Jeff VanderMeer
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Berger Again:
From my perspective as a former National Archives employee (1976-1990), I cannot agree with Mr. Tyrrell that Sandy Berger apparently "corrupted" Archives officials. If a bully on a playground intimidates a child into handing over his lunch money, I would not say the bully "corrupted" the smaller child. You have to consider why and how bullying occurs.
I voted for Richard Nixon in 1972 and for every Republican Presidential candidate through 1988. (Since 1990, I have been an Independent and no longer reveal my voting record.) My personal politics played no part in my work at the Archives, where the public depended on all of us to act in an objective, nonpartisan manner and to follow rules and regulations. When Nixon's representative quietly asked us in 1989 to make cuts to Watergate tapes that already had been reviewed by Judge Sirica, I joined my colleagues in pleading for a referral of Nixon's deletions to a high level Archives board, as required by regulations.
Unfortunately, we failed in our pleas to our bosses, some cuts quietly were made to the tapes, and the whole story only came out later (in articles by Sy Hersh in 1992 and Jack Hitt in 1994), when a professor filed a lawsuit for access to Nixon's tapes. I would have done the same in 1989 had I voted Democratic previously and the pressure to go around the rules in making deletions from the historical record had involved a Democratic President and his representatives.
The National Archives continues to struggle with a difficult transition from private to public control of Presidential records. (Until Watergate, a President's records were considered his personal property.) Statutes and laws appear authoritative on paper. But they are not easy to apply. In all honesty, how many of you simply would transfer wholesale to professional archivists the detailed records of all your actions on the job? And, knowing that some of your decisions were questionable or subject to misinterpretation by critics, simply say, "Go ahead and release these for research use in a nonpartisan, objective fashion. Let the chips fall where they may."
Not everyone would steal documents, of course, most former government officials are too honorable to stoop to that. But it is simplistic to believe that, regardless of party, they might not try to limit what the public will find out about their past actions. Members of the public, of course, rarely stop and consider that the White House is a workplace just like theirs, peopled by human beings, only one where the officials struggle with far more significant issues than they do.
Right-leaning news outlets ignored the troubling stories about deletions to Nixon's tapes. Now the New York Times has passed up an opportunity to tell its readers about Rep. Davis's report. As long as commentators insist on treating these stories politically, and do not stop to consider what fundamentally causes bullying, it is likely that problems will continue in the handling of the nation's historical records.
-- Maarja Krusten
Former National Archives' Nixon tapes archivist (1976-1990)
When I first heard about Berger's incident with the classified documents I felt great anger and a profound sense of powerlessness. Just another high-level guy from the Clinton Administration getting a wrist slap, brief time out, and back into the game. It seemed like there was one set of justice for the well placed and powerful and another set of justice for the "average guy".
Back in the 1960s, I served with an Armored Cavalry unit up in the Fulda Gap area of Germany where we faced off the Russian Eighth Guards Army. After I made the rank of Spec. 5 (E-5) one of my monthly duties was to strap on a loaded .45 pistol, walk over to Regimental HQ and pick up the new code information for the month for my Troop. I would then go back to my unit, lock myself in a room and update the codebooks for each of the officers and platoon sergeants. I would then lock those books in the Troop safe until they were required when we went out to the field on alerts. These books enabled them to get on the radio net, talk tactics, request fuel, food or ammunition in code.
If I had decided to keep a page of code to send home to mom and dad as a souvenir, or maybe I had taken a page downtown to impress my Fraulein, or maybe sold it to one of the numerous STASI agents that no doubt lurked in the town near our barracks and I had been caught- I would probably still be in prison!
It is troubling that Mr. Berger played fast and loose with our National security to help buff up a Clinton legacy. It is troubling that Mr. Berger seems to rate a lenient, "country club" sort of justice when the citizens of America seem to merit another.
Thank you for not letting this issue be quietly swept under the rug! I remember reading about Bill Clintons' reaction to this mess. I believe he chuckled and talked about that ol' Sandy, always messy and forgetting stuff. I hope this is not forgotten and that Mr. Berger is brought to justice.
-- Roy W. Patterson, 14th Armored Cav '66-69
San Jose, California
Just another example of the low and corrupt standards of our society, not just liberal journalists. In general, no one is held to account. College boys falsely accused of rape and few point out that they should be expelled for hiring strippers; junior high girls imitating popular sluts; 37% illegitimacy rate -- "ho hum"; the illegal immigrant problem and no one with any common sense or guts; totally opportunistic democrats; cowardly republicans; liberals that simultaneously believe in abortion and oppose capital punishment; and on and on.
Perhaps I delude myself, but I imagine getting some liberal politicians cornered (physically) and forcing them to answer question, adhere to logic, stand by their assumption and conclusions, thoroughly and mercilessly embarrassing them. This is of course a fantasy and so I despair.
Perhaps the solution (other than mass conversions) is a less civil society. Someone should be in Berger's face, demanding truthful answers with a real threat of a thrashing if they are not forthcoming. How could Republicans lose the minimum wage debate if liberals were forced to be logical and to follow an argument to its conclusion?
The baby is calling me back to the real world.
-- Merlin Perkins
Re: C.D. Lueders's letter (under "Training Parrots") in Reader Mail's Socked In:
I hope you will allow me the opportunity to address the accusations made by C.D. Lueders. First, I have never read any of the "ultra-liberal websites." I will admit to reading the New York Review of Books, which I consider to be the best general intellectual publication in the U.S.
Lueders's account of American history may be nearly adequate, bit it displays no knowledge of world history. There have been many forms of democracy throughout history, dating at least from Greece, circa 500 B.C. In those days, not all classes could vote, and slavery was common. The U.S. has always been a liberal democracy, despite the absence of the word in the language of the founders. Since the term "democracy" is a general one with many meanings, a government does not necessarily require a formally ratified constitution to meet the definition.
Regarding "the vision thing," that is from a famous remark made by Bush 41, in which he effectively conceded to the accusation of a lack of vision. Apparently he didn't even think it was important.
It is true that I'm not terribly fond of Bush 43's performance as president. I am in agreement with the majority of Americans, a group that apparently does not include C.D. Lueders. I do, however, feel sorry for Bush, as this is now a situation where a happy outcome in the foreseeable future is highly improbable. At least he's starting to own up to his mistakes.
-- Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York
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