Reader Mail

Stay or Leave?

South Korea? Iraq? Also: Sublime ridicule. Signs of resolve. Islam found innocent. Plus more.

10.25.06

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YOU'RE A BIG BOY NOW
Re: Doug Bandow's One Way Out:

Excellent column, with a pointed, logical solution to the problems presented by North Korea. Unfortunately, since the solutions presented are logical, they are unlikely to be pushed by our State Department, or adopted by the current administration, who seem to be blindly "maintaining the status quo."

The troops stationed in South Korea actually limit the U.S. responses possible in the event of any North Korean adventure. They would be a "trip wire" in the event of an attack on the South from the North, which could get us involved militarily in a place and time where we'd rather not.

It is inconceivable our troops are still there, considering the South Korean attitudes toward the U.S. in recent years. Time to tell the South Koreans they are now "big boys." Good luck and good hunting!

Removing the umbrella represented by these troops might cause the South Koreans to have to face reality.

Again, a very good column.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

I couldn't agree with Mr. Bandow more.

One of the reasons that practically every person in the world thinks that anything that goes wrong is America's fault is because our politicians ACT like we are somehow responsible for every part of the world.

The latest generation of South Korean politicians, and people, have proven to be especially, and irritatingly, ungrateful for the sacrifice of American blood and treasure.

It is a sad fact of human nature, that for a substantial portion of the population, the more you do for them, the less they do for themselves. The South Koreans, and the Chinese and the Japanese, are perfectly capable of looking out for their own interests.

There is no reason for the U.S. to be involved anymore on the Korean peninsula.
-- Terrence B. Hogan
Birmingham, Alabama

I think you are one of the few people in Washington who believe this country should not be a globally dominant empire and I wish you had more influence. Unfortunately, the pattern I see unfolding in U.S. foreign policy is attempting to build an empire by successively expanding one region at a time.

We spent the decade of the 1990s increasing our dominance in Europe by expanding NATO (a work still in progress) and bombing Yugoslavia. (By the way, thank you for your unbiased account of the situation in Kosovo. The only thought I would add is that the Serbs faced the same aggressive bias you describe in U.S. policy during the Croatian and Bosnian Wars as well.)

We are spending this decade trying to increase our dominance in the Persian Gulf by invading Iraq and maybe bombing Iran as well. Whether we succeed or fail, we will still be the only superpower and the rest of the world will be reminded that if they don't agree to whatever borders, terms of trade, or type of regime we want, WE WILL WRECK THEM! In that cruel sense, our Iraq and Serbian policies are a success.

In the next decade Washington will decide if China will accept whatever terms we want regarding their region of the world, or we will use Taiwan and/or North Korea as an excuse to make war there before China gets too strong. Right now our government unfortunately has no incentive or interest to peacefully settle any crisis or potential crisis in that part of the world. It will just stand pat until the time comes to make a decision based on Chinese power and perceived intentions.
-- Louis Radovich
P.S. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so.

Doug Bandow's suggestion is the smartest idea I've seen in quite a while. Get out of South Korea and let the rest of the region deal with Kim Jong Il while releasing needed assets to be used to better advantage elsewhere. It certainly makes more sense than getting out of Iraq and letting the rest of THAT region deal with Muqtada al-Sadr and his ilk -- although that's getting to be more attractive as time-and-a-half goes on.

Stealing a page from Ivan Osorio's "Rules of Ridicule" I suggest that all the American troops leaving South Korea line up along the DMZ, face south, bend over, and drop their pants. That ought to give "The Dear Leader" something to think about!
-- Bob Johnson

THE PRODUCERS
Re: Ivan Osorio's Rules of Ridicule:

It is interesting that Ivan Osorio's article was posted today. Just last evening TCM (Turner Classic Movies) showed a recent interview by Dick Cavett of Mel Brooks.

It reminded me of previous interviews of Brooks when asked why he always makes fun of various groups (Nazis, The Klan, Racists, Anti-Semites, etc.) in his movies, his reply was that it was the best way to minimize who they are and for what they stand. Basically, he was saying, "Make fun of them and laugh at them. You'll enjoy it while making their idiotic beliefs and them look stupid."

Let us all now bow at the genius of comedy.
-- Rick Osial
Montclair, Virginia

The KKK was a potent, honored southern tradition until one man got every kid in the Klan to shame his dad into leaving. He had infiltrated the Klan, mapped their organization, found out all their secret passwords, signs, recognition signals and handshakes. He approached state and national authorities who said they could do nothing.

So he went guerilla. He contacted the writers of the Superman radio show. They had just about worn out the idea of fighting Nazis and Communists. They thought the idea of fighting the KKK was a great idea.

The first week after Superman started fighting the Klan, the meetings were packed. "My kids are going around giving out our passwords and secret handshakes. They want to be Superman and fight us. I feel like an idiot," was the theme.

So they changed the passwords and the day after the meeting, Superman was using the new passwords. Afraid their kids would find their robes, the vast majority of KKK members left within 3 months. The organization has been basically powerless ever since.

The question we have to ask is, "What would embarrass the jihadists so much they would be embarrassed in front of their families?"
-- Bryan Dilts
Enola, Pennsylvania

Bravo. Both the left and the terrorists are very vulnerable to ridicule.

One man that has been working in that vein for years is Rush Limbaugh. His "illustrating absurdity by being absurd" and musical parodies always amuse me and seem to infuriate those on the left.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

BURKEAN REFLECTIONS
Re: Tom Bethell's Christian Fall, Muslim Rise:

While scholars have been unable to find the quotation attributed to Chesterton that when men no longer believe in God they believe not in nothing but in anything, Edmund Burke, whom Chesterton admired in many ways, said much the same thing in the late 18th century in Reflections on the Revolution in France:

We know, and what is better, we feel inwardly, that religion is the basis of civil society, and the source of all good and all comfort....We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts, and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the moment of riot, and in a drunken delirium of the hot spirit drawn out of the alembic of Hell, in which France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover our nakedness, by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast and comfort, and one great source of civilization amongst us, and amongst many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition might take place of it.

-- Hal G.P. Colebatch
Nedlands, Western Australia

"Christian Fall, Muslim Rise" is outstanding! Thanks! To those who think secular humanism can replace Christianity, I would say ask the Chinese or Russians. Evangelical Christianity is exploding in those two former communist nations because people lived the consequences of secular humanism.

Secular humanism cannot provide meaning for life or a rational basis for morality. I frequently debate this issue with libertarians who want to replace the Ten Commandments with Rothbard's and Hoppe's property-based ethics. Libertarians and secular humanists must face the same problem that every philosopher who has tried to invent an ethical system from scratch has faced: no man has authority over other men in matters of morality. Only God has the authority over mankind necessary to tell us what to do and make it stick. Any "ethical" system a man creates is nothing more than his opinion. As China and Russia demonstrated, any form of consistent secular humanism leads to a break down in society, which is the reason their people are abandoning it. Europe and the U.S. haven't suffered from secular humanism as Russia and China did because we enjoyed the luxury of strong societies built upon Christian morality, which has continued through habit in the era of secular humanism.

It's often said that Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion, but I have found no evidence to substantiate that. It seems that Muslim clerics are the main source of that thought. Islam grows primarily through a high birth rate. All evidence points to explosive growth of Evangelical Christianity in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. An estimated 400,000 Muslims converted to Christianity in Asia alone over the past decade. Some experts believe Iran will become the first Muslim country to convert in large numbers to Christianity.

The situation looks bleak only in Europe where Islam is growing because of immigration. We should ask Muslims to keep a few churches open as museums for the rest of the world's Christians to visit.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

TEL AVIV RECONSIDERED
Re: George H. Wittman's Israel, Iran, and the Bomb:

Mr. Wittman's notions regarding Israel's likely conduct in the matter of Iran's growing nuclear weapons capabilities is, alas, outdated and fundamentally flawed.

The current and foreseeable Israeli governments are notable more for their feckless pandering to the leftish, bien pensant internationale than for the self-interested, rugged independence Mr. Wittman imagines.

During this summer's barrage of several thousand Hizbollah rockets, some of which landed a 40-minute drive from downtown Tel Aviv, life in that city went on in its usual fast-lane hedonistic fashion. Inside what Israeli slang call The Bubble, the war existed only on television and the internet. The big issue was a gay pride parade.

In a sense, Mr. Wittman is correct in locating the political center of Israel there, in Tel Aviv, inside The Bubble. The Bubble, however, will not act against the Iranian nuclear threat.

That decision would have to be taken in Jerusalem -- still the capital of the State of Israel, a fact Mr. Wittman (like the U.S. State Department, which maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv) seems either unaware of or unwilling to concede.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

Speaking as a 100% American of non-Jewish heritage, I say the Israeli government would be absolute fools to enter into any relationship with us that gave us even a strong advisory role in their national defense strategies. The American anti-war left, much of it headlined by Jews themselves, would be a complete mill stone around the neck of Israel when it comes to pre-emptive action. Heck, Israel is having enough trouble with its own internal anti-war elements without any help from ours.
-- Ken Shreve

Is my memory bad, or is it unusual when George Wittman refers to the Israeli government as "Tel Aviv"? Last time I checked the capital of Israel was still Jerusalem, where the Knesset is located. I lived in Israel. Tel Aviv is their equivalent of LA and NYC, much as Haifa is their Silicon Valley.

And yes, the embassies of all but a few countries may cower in Tel Aviv, fearful of Arab wrath, but that doesn't make it the seat of government.
-- Mike Perry
Seattle, Washington

HOW DO YOU SPELL R-E-S-O-L-V-E?
Re: Jed Babbin's Rethinking Iraq and the "Iraq in Sober Focus" letters in Reader Mail's No Easy Exits:

This mother of a presently serving Special Ops pilot has remained, for the most part quiet, since his departure. It doesn't mean I haven't been thinking and praying about a son so very far away. I want us to win this war. I do think, after talking to my father... a WWII vet with clear and precise thinking, that I have decided we need somewhat of a new course of action to continue this war.

I never thought much of any other theories, beside that stated by the President, to bring democracy to the region. That seemed to fit for me because after observing human nature and seeing some of life abroad the theory that when you take something away you must replant something good or the evil that will occupy becomes much worse than that first seen. As a gardener I have found this is true. When I weed I am quick to replant, or weeds come back more than before.

But after watching the war I have decided a new course of action might be appropriate. It seems to me, a humble rancher and military mom, that what is needed is decisive and hard crack down, of such a nature, that those who remain will live with the memory of what happens if you cross the United States. Forget establishing Democracy as such and give a military push of such might, with such destruction and consequences, that those who may remain know they'd better get it right.

I realize this doesn't fit with our PC manner of doing things. But I also know as a rancher that you don't keep the cattle that are the trouble makers in your herd. You take them to the auction barn to either be someone else's problem or someone else's steak. We don't mess with them because there is no use in doing so. Some things/people/animals cannot be rehab'd -- it is just better shed them.

So, if this mother of a soldier serving there for the third time was asked by her President what to do differently... I'd say, strike fear in hearts to such a degree that the result was stunning. And that's it. Get'r'done!
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Being a retired U.S. Marine, hearing the likes of Senator Lindsey Graham of S.C. describing to the media that, "Iraq is near chaos" is a sickening display of a lack of resolve to see Iraq through. There are those that are too kind to the cut and run Conservative Republicans, but being a Marine we tend to call it, "cowardice in the face of the enemy."

This opinion of Senator Graham is not merely his disagreeing with the President and his policies but siding with the cut and run Democrats who are obviously falling for the ploy by the Jihadists to influence our elections in two weeks.

In all my years as a U.S. Marine who swore and oath to each and every man, woman and child in this country, to defend it from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to pay the ultimate sacrifice if need be, and now I see my fellow Americans cringe in fear before our nation's enemies.

You see the Jihadists also swore and oath, they swore a blood oath to their religion and the honor upon their families to destroy every single man, woman, and child in this country that does not believe as they do. Our men and women in the field believe in life and freedom and are willing to die for those beliefs, the jihadists believe in death and tyranny and they to are willing to die for what they believe in. But what does the cut and run Republicans believe in? The answer is simple, the brave men and women in our nation's military don't have the luxury in the middle of a firefight of rethinking their position on the battlefield, as politicians do.

Iraq near chaos not likely, in fact the current situation is the direct opposite. The reason being,---- "The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand!" (Richard Harding Davis)

Semper Fidelis America and don't forget it.
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

In reading these thoughtful letters I am struck by the consistent flavor of "enough already" but not, as with the Democrats, "time to get the Hell out." Instead, your readers are four-square behind "time to take off the gloves," as one of them put it.

A little history here might be useful. FDR didn't want to get into WWII until Pearl Harbor forced his hand. Then he went "pedal to the metal" as fast as he could, supported by an enraged electorate and a cooperative Congress. Bush has lost his momentum thanks to his own pacifist nature aided and abetted by a lackluster electorate and a decidedly uncooperative Congress.

Back to the late forties when lack of foresight on the part of generals and especially Harry S Truman walked our troops into the debacle of the Retreat from the Chosun Reservoir in North Korea. Harry had taken off the gloves and dropped atomic bombs on Japan, a terrible step to take, but one which saved many lives of our troops at the cost of many lives of the Japanese. Not such a bad trade, after all. He didn't set the alternatives but he made the decision, which is what we expect of our commanders in chief. But he lost it in Korea and now we have "The Dear Leader" with missiles and atomic bombs with which to crown them.

Clinton didn't want to drop the hammer on the terrorists. If he had been in office on 9/11 would he have done it then? We will never know. But we sent troops into Iraq to rescue Jordan and then, once again, dropped the ball. The architect of that ill-advised failure to simply occupy Iraq and put an end to the infighting was our own General Powell -- who is still hovering around the edges of the debate putting in his two-cents' worth whenever he can wrest the microphone away from Jimmy (pthbbt!) Carter.

Yes, it is indeed time to take off the gloves, with our "promise" to the Iraqi government -- such as it is -- be damned. Bush still has the reins to the armed forces, and even if the Democrats sweep both houses of Congress in November there is little they can do to stop a concerted sweep of "the insurgents" on our part. Yes, there will be unfortunate "collateral damage" but in the long run less that is now being accumulated with our present wimpy efforts. (Another plus would be making it less likely that Pelosi et al would dare to be so damned obstructionist.)

Where are the generals, like Patton for example, who want decisive victory, soon, and without the constant drain on morale both in the "boots on the ground" troops and in the American People? McArthur wanted to use "the bomb" in Korea and Truman fired him. Bush needs to insert a ramrod in a general and send him to Iraq with but one order: "Win!"

Would our "allies" in Europe hate us more if we did this? Hah! How could they!
-- Bob Johnson

Thanks, Ken Shreve. You have said what I was trying to put into words regarding this debacle (politically, PR, not militarily) called the War on Terror. I thought all along that Bush had dropped the ball, even saying so when it wasn't the proper thing to do as a conservative. I changed my stance a while ago and got behind Bush for the sake of our warriors but you have laid the blame right where it should be, at Bush's feet. He's had numerous opportunities to deliver a knockout blow, keep his supporters informed , and even keep our allies in line but he's blown all of them for the sake of PC and "bi-partitionship." He didn't seem to understand that the Democrats and media were as big a threat to the war effort as they are or at the least tried to ignore such. Now the Democrats are poised to make gains and it's only because Bush failed to keep the average public informed. Part of the blame goes also to a Republican Congress that has acted more like Democrats but Bush should have been more forceful keeping them to the "Contract with America" ideals, something I think he doesn't quite believe in either. I still think we'll hold the line this election but we should have been making gains instead of hanging on. We had the chance to really change things but Bush wasn't the leader we hoped for in that respect, neither was the Republican Congress.
-- Pete Chagnon

I'm not so sure which is more frightening or disappointing: Mr. Obama already jockeying to be on the ticket on which Hillary the Prevaricator says she not, the prospect of that ticket, or the tar baby to which we seem to be stuck in Iraq.

That said, none of the choices about Iraq, particularly immediate withdrawal or partitioning, seem acceptable. Maybe, all along, it really was Vietnam reprised ? For certain, we seem to have never really prosecuted this war to win it decisively, nor has the current administration ever really framed the conflict for what it is.

No matter how or what's said now, though, should we cut and run, how do we explain the loss of soldiers in Iraq? Who'll come, for example, here to southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia and explain this region's losses to those who loved and survive them, or even just knew them or about their deaths?

And how will we reconcile to ourselves and explain to our children the notion that there's no one left in the world to defend freedom?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

BUKS STOPS HERE
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's The Battle for Britistan:

It is with a sense of disappointment that I read articles such as Mr. Colebatch's in The American Spectator. This article, which shares or borrows ideas from the writings of Melanie Philips and others, contains notions on multiculturalism, religion, race, and ethnicity that would have been unthinkable during the 1970s or 1980s. It may be that Mr. Colebatch is indulging himself in short-sighted scare-mongering, but articles such as his contributes much to an new unfortunate trend to denounce the culture and religion of Muslims as inferior, monolithic, and threatening.

Unfortunately, Mr. Colebatch finds himself in the company of many influential Western commentators, including luminaries such as former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi (who stated that Western culture is superior to that of Islam), the Pope (who made controversial statements about Islam in a recent speech), and British cabinet minister Jack Straw (who demanded that Muslim women remove their veils to reveal their faces when visiting his office).

Muslims are now commonly referred to as "them" by many Western journalists and commentators, and false accusations are made that "their" presence in the West is a threatening development which will end in "Eurabia," "Londonistan," "Britistan," or worse yet, more terrorist attacks on civilians. This new bigotry has infiltrated numerous publications, and the denunciation of Muslims is peddled even in book form by very prominent authors.

These outrages are occurring a mere decade after Western nations denounced the divisiveness of Apartheid in South Africa and canonized Mr. Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela's unifying message of brotherhood was embraced in the West. However, it now appears that Westerners have forgotten their enthusiasm for Mr. Mandela's message: Westerners are adopting a neo-apartheid philosophy of separating people by race and religion into "us" and "them," with an intolerant and concomitant philosophy of forcing "them" to be like "us." This attitude smacks of intolerance, and is at odds with the desire of so many diverse peoples to live in peace in Western countries.

Perhaps Westerners should now internalize the advice they so freely gave 20 years ago: People (including Muslims) are all the same, and they want to live in peace in integrated multicultural societies. There can be no other socially just outcome in a world where so many peoples are migrating between so many countries, and Western countries could prevent much harm by adopting a kinder and more accepting attitude towards the strangers in their midst.
-- Buks van Rensburg
Ontario, Canada

It truly heartens me as an American to read of the change of heart in your great nation. Great Britain, the United States, and all of Western Civilization MUST awaken to the Islamic threat at our throats.

Here in the U.S. it would seem that the enemy is still making inroads and infiltrating our nation masking themselves as "mainstream" and "the religion of peace."

This is a boldfaced lie! No other group has perpetrated so much murder and human suffering globally. Islam has declared war on the West and we need to do something on the homefronts now.

For an informative website go to: thereligionofpeace.com.
-- Mark Michals
Chicago, Illinois

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