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Surge Protectors

Trusting the new brass in Iraq? Also: Justifying McCain's dirty tricks. Injecting Big Pharma. Snakes in our grass. Democrat putdowns. Plus much more.

1.8.07

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FAIR PLAY FOR McCAIN
Re: The Washington Prowler's Rough on Rudy:

I wonder if this article should have been called, "Rough on John." The Spectator has been unfairly one-sided in its treatment of McCain, showing an obvious bias toward Giuliani. I would prefer this printing to give us important information about both candidates so we can make our own decisions, but the Spectator appears to be trying to influence us away from John McCain. This is the kind of reporting I expect from liberal publications that manufacture polls to make their candidates look better rather than allowing people to look at unedited facts to make their own choices.

The only exception to this bias is Ben Stein, who has shown support for Mr. McCain in one of his articles. Interestingly, Ben Stein is easily the most popular writer on staff at the Spectator and certainly one of the wisest men of our time.
-- Adam Jones
Arlington, Texas

PETRAEUS, FALLON OVERHYPED?
Re: Jed Babbin's The A Team?:

As usual I read your analysis with great interest. To tell you the truth I am getting fed up with the president, and I am sure I am not alone in this. I do not understand why it so hard for him to tell the American public or the world for that matter the truth about Iraq and its neighbors. If I think about all that precious time we have squandered away, I can literally cry. I am getting fed up with the platitudes and I am not in the mood to hear more on Wednesday. I do not see why it is necessary to put more troops on the ground if we don't let them fight and kill. That's what war is all about. Sorry if there are any civilians in the cross hairs, but that is nation of war. Maybe we should let the Ethiopians helps us out here!

And then the hype about Petraeus? I find that a bit alarming! In Mike Tucker's book, Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds, Petraeus is not the shining knight in armor as you portray in your article. According to the writer, Petraeus did not drive a stake in the insurgency in Mosul in terms of crushing and killing but fired blanks so to speak. He did not listen to the Kurds. According to General Babakher Zebari, now Senior Military and Political advisor to the Iraq Defense Minister, he told the writer that the insurgency in Mosul is nearly as strong as before Petraeus. Petraeus was urged by the Kurds to strike at the Baathists and he did not listen to this Iraqi General and that disarming the Peshmerga in Mosul would open the door to feydayeen Saddam (Iraqi insurgents) I can go on and on and on. Maybe you can shed a light on this. I would appreciate that.
-- Regina Jaegermann
Richmond, Virginia

I agree with Jed's guarded optimism. It appears the President's will to win this campaign is still alive and kicking. I certainly hope he does "change the course". I might also add, that in 1941 Adolf Hitler not only had one of the finest army's in military history, but he also had some of the best "minds" working for him in the
Wehrmacht (von Manstein, von Rundstedt, Guderian, Hoth, and von Blumentritt, to name just a few). In the end, thankfully the Wehrmacht was vanquished despite their preponderance of talent, superior training, and in many cases superior weapons. In the end, the problem was at the top, their senior generals inclusive (Keitel, Jodl, and von Braunstisch).

We lost Vietnam because the political leadership wasn't up the challenge they brought upon themselves. We could lose in Iraq for the simple fact that we allow the enemy the advantage of picking and choosing the battlefield. In this case the real enemy is Iran and Syria. Their minions could simply lay low during the surge, and wait us out. Our unwillingness to cause collateral damage, conduct joint air/special ops strikes into Iran and Syria doesn't bode well. And no matter who is at the helm or manning the CINCs desk, failure will surely result.
-- JP
Mishawaka

As usual, Jed Babbin nails the subject well. The appointment of new, true warriors like Fox and Petraeus may just allow us to turn the tide as far as the Iraq War is concerned and break the back of the insurgency. His 5-point strategy in the latter part of the article is spot-on!

I would like to see Fox and Petraeus take a page (or 2 or 6) from retired Army Col. David Hunt, one of the best military experts at Fox News. Hunt advocates in chapter 7 of his book, They Just Don't Get It, further expansion and better use of our Special Forces (Seals, Rangers, Green Berets and others) in tracking down and exterminating the vermin that are causing the problems currently occurring in Iraq. While I have monumental respect for all our fighting men and women, we need to unleash these professional in order to put an end to the enemy. And target number one should be the fat, ugly boy with bad teeth, Muqtada-al-Sadr, and the rest of his motley crew militia. This dirtbag should have been taken out early on before he was able to put together his sizable band of renegades, and not doing so was a big mistake. Enough of this namby-pamby approach to war, we've handled the insurgents with kid-gloves for far too long a period of time. This is war, and we need to fight it like we want to win it. We fought basically a traditional ground war in toppling Saddam Hussein and now we need to change tactics.

Now we need to take on the terrorist resistance, and to quote Col. Hunt: "Let me put it simply. Kill them all".
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

I find it interesting that almost no one in the pro-Fallon camp wants to discuss his active leadership as a charter member of the "China is not a problem" club. This is a stance that is particularly embedded among the flag ranks in the Navy, but there are proponents in the other services also.

On Adm. Fallon's watch as PACOM we have see the Red Chinese launch a huge upgrade and boat building campaign to improve their diesel sub fleet. This upgrade and build has significantly quieted their diesel subs. This build up was totally missed by our intel community and our military until, all of a sudden, we found out as new boats already launched were detected by our forces almost by accident. This at the same time that Red China was buying nuke subs from Russia and the appropriate technology that goes with them. All the while the top echelon of the Chinese military was talking about how they could and would launch missiles that could reach the U.S.

While this has been going on, Adm. Fallon has been out front in promoting high level military to military exchanges with the Red Chinese. According to public reports, the Chinese have been shown entirely too much about our attack submarine fleet and our Aegis Combat Control Centers aboard ships. Also according to public reports, the Chinese have shown our military people little more than Chinese Army troops drilling on the parade ground. According to published reports, Adm. Fallon has directed that the Chinese military visitors be shown just about everything that they request to see, while the Chinese have routinely denied access to what our military has asked to see.

Of course there is a dedicated cadre of "China is not a problem" people at CIA. It is often suggested that this is exactly why the CIA consistently "misses" advances made by the Chinese military. Porter Goss was trying to get rid of or break up this group, instead Bush fired Goss.

Amb. Negroponte, the Natl. Intel. Czar that is heading over to be the #2 official at the State Dept. is also named as a member of this "China is not a problem" group, and the State Dept. also has a significant group with this mindset.

We also know that the man that took Condi Rice's place as head of the Natl. Sec. Council, is a dedicated believer in the "China is not a problem" viewpoint. When I say "China is not a problem" I am speaking in the sense that they can be negotiated with, and that they certainly will not really directly confront the U.S. Of course no one can show where the Chinese have heroically co-operated with us to solve the fiasco with N. Korea. No one can show where China has stopped selling weapons and military technology to our opponents, like Iran.

Now Adm. Fallon may be the real fighter that Mr. Babbin claims. On the other hand, I have seen no synopsis of his performance in aerial combat or combat support in an actual shooting war. Maybe there is such a synopsis, but it hasn't been prominently displayed publicly. Also, he was not a Navy pilot. He was a Naval Aviator -- a navigator. He may be that absolute right choice, a real member of the A-Team, but I have yet to see a convincing argument to show that. There is a lot of talk within the upper echelons of officers that have been involved in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he got the job because he will tell Bush what Bush wants to hear, instead of the hard answers that Bush got from Gens. Casey and Abizaid.

I would also opine that a troop surge is the absolute wrong decision at this time in an insurgency or guerrilla type war. That, however, is a separate subject, and deserves is own separate debate.
-- Ken Shreve

I live in rural East Texas. I am thankful for this fact and for the cattle and horses we raise. I read TAS every chance I get to absorb knowledge from folks who live in a stratosphere of Washington politics and see and hear things when they happen. Every now and then, however I wonder if folks shouldn't be using a crystal ball, instead.

I am certain Mr. Babbin's piece is right on but I'd add one thing. I have observed this war most closely due to a son's repetitive service "over there". My observation is this.....I believe we went there for many reasons, chief among them is Iran. Till we get that finished we haven't gotten it done! If we bug out as the Dems proclaim they were elected to do, then I am readying the fortress in the hills to go live, as others, not Reps or Dems, will govern this great country.

Calling it as I see it...
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Cattle Rancher
Mother of serving pilot

BITTER MEDICINE
Re: Doug Bandow's The Democrats' Favorite Target:

As a libertarian and physician, I must disagree with Mr. Bandow on his position of looking at pharmaceutical companies in the same manor as every other business. At issue are not excessive profits or monopolies. At issue is the consumer's ability to make an informed decision on a product they have no right to purchase as a sole agent. We take for granted that when we see an advertisement for a car or an X-box we have the ability as an individual to make a reasonable and rational choice to purchase or not. This dyad between seller and buyer is the basis of almost all advertising. This is not the case with pharmaceuticals. How can it be ethical to advertise a product that one can not obtain without the consent of a highly educated medical professional whose job is to act solely as patient advocate? Direct to consumer advertising grossly distorts this relationship and pharmaceutical companies and doctors are to blame. American medicine has abdicated its responsibility to create unbiased scientific medical research and instead has embraced the pharmaceutical industry and its money ultimately producing mounds of junk science that do little but monger made up diseases and increase the consumption of prescription drugs. We are 5% of the world's population and we the USA consume 43% of the world's pharmaceuticals which means either we are way over medicated or the rest of the world is not. Regardless of your position there is no credible evidence we are getting our monies worth.
-- John Sorboro, MD

DEMOCRATS AND DESIRABILITY
Re: James Bowman's The Beauty of Double Standards:

In his curmudgeonly ode to pre-feminist thought, Mr. Bowman has missed some of the points that people are making. He is right about old-style feminism's obliviousness to biological facts. These days there is ample evidence, and it is beyond dispute, that female brains are considerably different from male brains. There are still some disputation zones where political correctness dictates that one ought to keep one's mouth shut about known differences. It is unfortunate for Harvard that Lawrence Summers didn't have handlers to edit his statements. However, Mr. Bowman fails to recognize that much of the language used by those who complain about sex-based discrimination pertains to equal rights, and no case is being made for the interchangeability of the sexes. Women have a legitimate cause to question lower pay for equal work -- a phenomenon that has receded but not vanished. In a modern democracy, I don't see how anyone can defend the idea that more than half of the population ought to be treated as inferiors with less rights than the minority. Regarding "the desirability of female leadership," there are numerous male failures on record that Mr. Bowman has to justify before he has the right to dismiss the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Let's start with that groomed-for-the-corridors-of-power wunderkind, George W. Bush.
-- Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

PROFILING IN COURAGE
Re: George H. Wittman's Terrorism Thoughts:

Thanks to George H. Wittman for exposing, at least to some extent, the absurdity of the "we fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" claim. We went in and stirred up a hornet's nest in Iraq and are now preoccupied with restoring order to the nest while serpents hide in the grass at our feet. It wasn't any assault from abroad that allowed 9/11 to happen. It was a carefully orchestrated plan, carried out right here at home and "affirmatively overlooked" by our intelligence community despite substantial warnings, that brought down the Twin Towers.

At best, the notion of fighting terrorism abroad is a cover generated so that it will look as if our leaders are doing something in the wake of 9/11, in the absence of any political will to stand against charges of racial or ethnic profiling. It's not enough to body search quotas of grandmas and twenty-something blonde babes while declining to investigate why swarthy fellows in their twenties don't do their homework for take-off and landing classes, or why they've overstayed their visas by such a long stretch. Why not take out a notorious villain who's been thumbing his nose at us since the last time we kicked his butt? He must be harboring other Muslims (or even Islamists!), who wish they could smack us with some terrorist act.

Common sense would seem to demand that we take steps to locate and remove the snakes in our own grass, or perish the thought, keep them out of our grass in the first place. What we get instead is the preposterous spectacle of our leaders campaigning to invite foreigners into our midst wholesale, and to keep them unmolested and comfortable once they get here. We are supposed to be comforted by our leaders' assault on the Bill of Rights by which they can eavesdrop on our private communications without judicial oversight. We should, further, trust that they, in their wisdom and beneficence, will not abuse the usurped powers, contrary to every bit of ancient wisdom I've ever encountered.

I realize that running a country is a complicated and complex business, demanding some sophistication and nuance. Still, common sense (indeed, "Common Sense") was fundamental in the founding and organization of our nation and our government, and I refuse to believe it's no longer relevant. That so many are willing to excuse, and vehemently defend on this page, the absurdities perpetrated by our leaders is very troubling to me.

Let's face it: Al Qaeda, for all their fanaticism, are not out of touch with reality. Does anyone imagine that they expect to topple our government and assume the seats of power? I don't. So what is their goal?

I suggest that they hope to do all they can to undermine the Judeo-Christian, libertarian roots that have allowed us to extend our dominance across the planet. They want to weaken our national fiber so that we become just a big, over-grown third world nation, almost as if we had Muslim roots. What fertile ground for spreading Allah's word might that be? Is it a mere coincidence that Allah's word spreads so efficaciously in prisons?

Every time they get our leaders to launch on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights they must rub their hands with glee. Every time they cause one more person to abdicate responsibility for his or her own daily life to some bureaucratic wonk "for their own safety and protection" (never mind "for the children"!) they win a small victory. Every time the forces of political correctness cause someone to accede in a political absurdity they are empowered. They know that as we become a nation of sheep they are taking down their Judeo-Christian nemesis and doing Allah's work, and they can afford to be patient.

There's an old war movie in which Allied soldiers detonate small charges deep inside a dam. Disappointment and frustration prevail as our heroes see no dramatic results from their efforts. A canny explosives expert calmly loads his pipe and counsels patience as the effects of the small explosions spread slowly throughout the structure and ultimately cause its spectacular collapse.

Al Qaeda knows it lacks the punch to take us out with shock and awe. Instead, it relies on the dynamics of political greed and political correctness to wear inexorably against our strength. They know that, in the end, our blessed freedoms will fall victim to our paranoia, and they will have won.

Our founding documents reflect an appreciation of human nature unequalled in history. They provided for an atmosphere in which our ancestors were given free rein to become great, and they did. They expected of government only that it would defend our shores and protect their freedom. Now, our government refuses to protect our shores and claims that the only way to defend freedom is to destroy it, while tilting at windmills in the Middle East.

Mr. Wittman has exposed the fundamental folly of fighting terrorism in Iraq. Whether we continue that charade or not, with a "troop surge" or otherwise, I hope that a demand will grow that we fight it right here at home, and I don't mean by further trampling of the freedoms that allowed this nation to become great. I mean by seriously restricting our borders, expelling or jailing those here illegally, and monitoring closely those who appear, objectively, to be the sort of guys and gals prone to, or capable of, the type of mischief identified by Mr. Wittman.

It just makes sense.
-- Mark Fallert
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

SEE THE SENSE
Re: Lawrence Henry's No to the Death Penalty:

I fail to see the sense in comparing Communist Castro's mass killing during his violent Cuba overthrow to America (or any country ruled by a stable constitution and law). It doesn't make sense to try and compare Castro did to his political opponents and victims to America's long-established laws and punishments for long established crimes. Mr. Henry's problem seems to be an emotional one, and not a logical one, with the only real justification for his view being how he "felt" seeing Castro's executions on TV. I'm surprised (and disappointed) this article made news in The American Spectator, and am surprised at Mr. Henry's lack of good journalism and critique. Using his reasoning, he might as well refuse to drink water because someone drowned in a lake.
-- Chris Mayland

VOLLEYS AND SALUTES
Re: David Gonzalez's letter (under "To the Sound of the Guns") in Reader Mail's Move On Michigan and Michael Fumento's Farewell to Maj. Megan McClung:

In present times, the National Salute of 21 guns is fired in honor of:

1. a National Flag,
2. the Sovereign or a Chief of State of a foreign nation,
3. a member of a reigning Royal Family,
4. the President, a Ex-President, a President-elect,
5. on Washington's Birthday,
6. and the Fourth of July.

On Memorial Day, a salute of 21 minute guns (guns discharged at one minute intervals) is fired at noon when the flag is flown at half staff.

A 21 Gun Salute is a Salute, a expression of welcome, good will, respect.

The Gun in a 21 Gun Salute refers to naval guns or artillery, not firearms.

The firing of 3 rifle volleys at a funeral is a funeral custom, probably derived from the custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from a battlefield. Once the army had cleared the its dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and they were ready to fight.

The fact that the firing party consists of 7 riflemen firing three volleys does not constitute a 21 gun salute.

Semper Fi.
-- Paul J. Smith, USMC Veteran
Wilmington, Delaware

MORMONS AND TURKS
Re: The "Mormonism and the Liberal" letters in Reader Mail's Fear of the Latter-Day:

Martin Luther was reputed to have said: "I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian." Luther wasn't in favor of the demise of the Holy Roman Empire; but he had a point. Governor Romney and Mormons in general have been quite loyal to the Republican Party in particular and to Conservatism in general. Yup, I'd like some answers from Romney about some political actions he took in the past; but if his religion is truly a concern just remember that there have been wise Turks who have ruled all their subjects well in the past. Mormons are not Turks...but you get the jest of the idea. The question whether Romney is wise is really the most pertinent one.
-- Michael Wm. Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

LOSERS AT A MINIMUM
Re: Mark Sobolewski's letter (under "Sobolewski Again") in Reader Mail's Fear of the Latter-Day:

Mark Sobolewski does not understand that it is impossible for an effective increase in the minimum wage to raise "buying power." Purchasing power springs from production -- not government-mandated wage increases. It is no accident that "the great consuming nations are also the great producing nations" (Benjamin Anderson's Economics and the Public Welfare: A Financial and Economic History of the United States, 1914-1946).

What really happens when the minimum wage is raised above the market clearing rate is that purchasing power is transferred from those who lose their jobs to those lucky enough to keep theirs. Only someone completely ignorant of economics and the history of economic thought, not to mention economic history, could possibly think otherwise.
-- Gerard Jackson
Economics editor
http://brookesnews.com
Noble Park, Victoria
Australia

DIANE AND PETE
Re: Diane Smith's letter (under "Family Matters") and Pete Fall's letter (under "Bear Democrat") in Reader Mail's Fear of the Latter- Day:

When Diane Smith is absent from this page, we're all the poorer for it. Welcome back, Diane! And a speedy recovery to your husband...
-- Mimi Winship

First I want to let Diane Smith know I will be saying a prayer for her husband, glad he is on the way to recovery.

Now to Pete Fall and his "democratic" party. If calling the Democrat Party democratic is not an oxymoron I don't know what is. The only time the Democrat party is democratic is when you totally agree with everything they have to say. Just ask Senator Joe Lieberman.
-- Elaine Kyle

Re: The lamentations from Mr. Pete Fall of Bear, Delaware.

Ah... The incessant whining of the Democrat party -- first because you weren't in power and now because you are. So, you can't get the people to call you the Democratic party.

Perhaps it is because the only time the Democrat party is democratic is if and when one completely and totally agrees with the tripe you espouse.

I suppose we could call you the Democratic party -- you would certainly be in "good" company. Some examples: the now defunct German Democratic Republic (formerly East Germany), the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and, Sahara Democratic Arabian Republic. However, these are Democratic Republics (not democracies) and, since your party is certainly not democratic either, you are correctly called the Democrat party.

While most Republicans agree that the Democrats are political opponents, not enemies, the feeling in the Democrat Party is exactly the opposite. We are indeed looked upon as enemies. One need only to listen to the diatribes coming from the likes of Reid, Durbin, Pelosi, Hoyer, Kennedy, Clinton (Hill or Bill, take your pick), Leahy, Schumer, Dodd, Dingell, Rangel, (et al., ad nauseam) and the rants of the ultra-liberal, ultra-leftist, Main Stream Media.

As a group, your only interest is to destroy President Bush -- regardless of the cost to our country and the rest of the world. God help us if you succeed.

If you wish to be called the Democratic Party, exercise Democracy!
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Watching Pete Fall in Bear, Delaware (where Joe, Biden his time, keeps trouble bruin), I was reminded of a bumper sticker which sums it up in one succinct sentence: There Is Nothing Democratic About The Democrat Party.
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

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