THE BALUCH CONNECTION
Re: Laurie Mylroie's Al Qaeda's Hidden Roots:
The cooperation the article suggests makes very good sense. It seems to me to explain how even though Yousef had nothing to do with bin Laden, as the article notes, Iraq could still be involved in both WTC attacks through the Baluch who designed them. Yousef and KSM left together for Manila from Islamabad, the same place Yousef was later captured. It wouldn't be too surprising to learn that during the Cold War, the KGB handled Bulgarian assassins through the Soviet Embassy in Sofia. And it wouldn't be any more surprising if evidence were found that the IIS was doing the same with Yousef through the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad.
Ahmed Hikbat Shakir, an Iraqi, also seems to connect Iraq to 9/11 and Al Qaeda, as well as to the Baluch. An al-Mudair at the Iraqi Embassy in Kuala Lumpur controlled Shakir's schedule as a "facilitator" at the airport in January, 2000. Shakir helped at least one of the two 9/11 hijackers who came there attend an al Qaeda meeting about both the Cole bombing and 9/11. A few days later, Shakir quit the job, and the two hijackers flew to L.A. and met a man who got them settled in San Diego.
Apparently, this same Shakir had phoned Musab Yasin's number not long before 2/26/93. And when Qatari authorities detained him about 9/17/01, they found contact information for relatives of KSM and Yousef -- and for Musab Yasin. I believe that Shakir also has ties to the close friend of Bin Laden's who stabbed a prison guard in the eye.
Maybe all those Americans who think that Hussein was somehow behind 9/11, for which liberal intellectuals deride them as dumb and foolish, have hit on the truth but can't say how. The earth would be no less round, even if half the people on it could not say just why they believed it was.
-- Mike Hollins
JOHN WAYNE AT WORK
Re: Sean Higgins's The Searchers at 50:
Thanks very much for Sean Higgins's reflections on John Wayne's 1956 movie The Searchers. I think Mr. Higgins is right on the mark in his assessment of liberal reasons for extolling the flick. But those reasons are selective, driven by a dimwitted ideology. In fact, it's still a terrific flick, one of Wayne's best, with reliably strong support performances by Jeffrey Hunter and such Ford regulars as Hank Worden and Ward Bond. The extraordinarily talented (and underrated) stage actor Henry Brandon (more than 20 years earlier, in 1933 at age 21, he was the definitive Silas Barnaby in the classic Laurel and Hardy vehicle March of the Wooden Soldiers) plays the Comanche chief Scar with perfect menace and not an ounce of liberal sentimentality. But I have a more serious bone to pick with Higgins's piece.
"Redemption" in the normal sense of the word -- the only useful sense -- is a sudden change of heart brought about by a discovery external to oneself and transformative despite oneself. Ethan's redemption in The Searchers -- dramatized in the reunion with Debbie -- doesn't require that he think "any differently about Indians," and the movie would be psychologically absurd to suggest otherwise. We are almost at the end of the film when the redemption occurs. The famous concluding shot tightly framed by the cabin door with Ethan grasping his upper arm (Wayne imitating a signature gesture of his own cowboy hero, Harry Carey), slowly turning, and sauntering into the vast western expanse is a statement of moral certainty: Ethan will never again act in the same way on his feelings about Indians -- feelings which he's acquired pretty honestly, by the way. The change of heart is entirely plausible, and the moral framing is predictably lost on liberal critics going over their political perceptions of the flick.
In response to Mr. Higgins's concluding rhetorical question, I have seen Fort Apache at least as many times as I have seen The Searchers. They are both first-rate Wayne flicks -- but, as with my children, I like them differently.
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California
I am not politically liberal but I love The Searchers. If liberals love it too, the perhaps we have some common ground at last.
I have always thought Ethan relentlessly hunts down the raiding party that murdered Ethan's brother and his family because, as the film makes obvious, Ethan is in love with his brother's wife and she with him. He is also apparently influenced, alas adversely, toward the raiders as he recounts to his companions in the search, how he used his Confederate army coat (Ethan was an enlisted man, a sergeant, by the way) as a burial shroud for his raped and murdered niece Lucy (two girls were kidnapped in the attack).
This is a great movie that should have won an Oscar from John Wayne, but so should The High and the Mighty. Thanks for letting me know that a new edition is out. The Searchers is also a great book. Somewhat dark in its mood, but actually even better that the movie.
-- D. Tracey
In Mr. Higgins's otherwise fine piece, as in many examinations of the film, I think too much is made of Ethan Edwards' presumed racism, and too little is made of what I see as the genuine cause of his rage.
Mr. Higgins says merely that when Ethan and the posse return to the homestead from the Indians' decoy raid they find the family "slaughtered -- all except the youngest, Debbie, who's been carried off by the Indians." That's basically true, but a bit simplistic. There were two young girls -- very young Debbie, and a teenage girl who was, I think, Debbie's sister. Debbie was carried off, as was presumably the older girl. Only a bit later in the film do we learn from Ethan that the older girl had also been murdered back at the homestead, and that he had secretly buried her. Upon hearing this, the older girl's beau (played by Harry Carey Jr.) presses Ethan for more information, to which Ethan replies (this is close to an exact quote): "Don't ask me what I saw back there! Don't ever ask me! As long as you live don't ask me!" The clear implication is that the older girl had been horribly abused before being murdered. When the full import of this registers with the young beau, he essentially loses his mind in an instant, and goes charging alone into the Indian camp, only to be shot down before he gets halfway there.
Yes, the Ethan Edwards character displayed a racism towards the Indians (back then how many white men did not?). But Ethan was more consistent with the "live-and-let-live-but-don't-cross-me" characters typically played by The Duke than many observers see, or are willing to acknowledge. It wasn't racism that drove Ethan on for five years, it was the search for revenge against the people who had slaughtered and raped his own.
The Searchers is a complicated film that I am happy to have in my library. It is true that John Wayne plays a racist but it is also true that his family has adopted a part Indian Jeffrey Hunter who is completely accepted by all in the community -- except his "Uncle" Ethan. I find the last shot of the film telling: Debbie returns and is embraced by the community and the door to the cabin closes, shutting Ethan and his demons outside in isolation. I always thought that one of those demons was hinted at in an unspoken back-story, the fact that Ethan had been in love with his brother's wife. His hatred was fueled in part by her savage death. I find The Searchers difficult but rewarding. Maybe some liberal will see it and thus be lead to some of his other fine works such as They Were Expendable, Three Godfathers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Island in the Sky, etc., etc., etc.
Read with interest Sean Higgins' review of The Searchers and his search for its liberal roots. I'm a father of six young children who made a conscious decision years ago to eschew cable and satellite dish in favor of DVD -- only entertainment with the family. Accordingly, we watch many classic films, including The Searchers just recently. Mr. Higgins' review omits an episode in the story that tends to confirm the white's suspicions rendering the story all the more complex and deserving of praise. This omission is so important I wonder if perhaps he has seen a truncated version?
Mr. Higgins writes, "By the time Edwards returns to his brother's home, they've all been slaughtered -- all except the youngest, Debbie, who's been carried off by the Indians." This is partially correct. Debbie is actually taken off by the marauders with her older sister (I forget the character's name) who is later found slaughtered after being mercilessly violated by her Indian captors. We are made to understand this by Ethan's haunted retelling of finding her and his violent forbidding of the two younger men in the rescue party from visiting the site of her murder. Indeed, Ethan so anticipates this will be the case as they close in on the Indians he deliberately sends the younger men off in another direction so they will not come upon what he fully expects to find. His worst fears are confirmed not proven unfounded as one would expect if Ford was out to smash stereotypes. The news is so disturbing to one of the young men (Harry Carey, Jr.'s character), who is the dead sister's sweetheart, he madly charges off into the Indian's encampment seeking vengeance and certain death. We know from the distant sound of gunfire he found the latter but are left to wonder if he was able to take the former.
Now, it's tempting to say that the white's fears of sexual violation, brutality against women and wanton murder by Indian "savages" was precisely the sort of vicious stereotype the movie was meant to illustrate and refute and one more example of liberal guilt. But that ignores that Ford showed that is precisely what the Indians were expected to do, given the chance, and precisely what they in fact did. One would have to conclude the white's fears were well grounded according to Ford. So was Ethan right or wrong to despise the Indians if his understanding of them is what in fact came to pass? Are we wrong to judge Ethan harshly now, according to Ford? If Indian savagery is nothing but a stereotype, historically untrue and just a Hollywood trope, then why would Ford, if on a mission to dispel such notions, illustrate it so graphically in the very vehicle of that mission? Had Ford wished to prove Ethan's suspicions unfounded and nothing but white racism he would've showed Ethan's fears come to naught and the girl still alive to the end as he did young Debbie. Instead, they were fulfilled beyond his worst fears. Even in Mr. Higgins' version the Indians forcibly take unwilling captive wives, so what are we to make of that? In short, Ford never glosses over the nature of the Indians, their motives and methods are a given, but rather directs Ethan's blind hate towards Debbie herself in a sort of irrational quest to expurgate any vestige of civilization once contaminated by barbarism so as to keep the divide between the two. Early on Ethan is portrayed as playing God, determined to separate the light from the dark.
This is an important distinction by Ford and one I think doesn't completely refute Higgins' contention of liberal revisionist storytelling but shows a far more complex and mature understanding of cultural conflict than today's liberals give the movie credit for. Indeed Ford's script would seem to suggest not that there isn't such a thing as barbarism and our fears ungrounded but rather how we must be on guard not to allow our hatred of it to make us too much like them. A classical Liberal position to be sure, but at least an older, more bracing version capable of moral distinctions. When watching the movie one understands the implacable, irreconcilable nature of the struggle between the two cultures and, true to what liberals used to stand for and one Ford doesn't shy from, that the Indian's were indeed men and capable of all the good and evil of any men of any stripe. What the modern liberal reviews show is the real problem with modern liberalism -- its reductionist condescension of other cultures. They treat others as children, not as men, who are not responsible for their ideas and actions but rather forever merely reacting to what we do, thus whatever depredations they may commit are our fault. This is why modern movie "critics" decry Ethan's desecration of the dead Indian with vehemence but nary a discouraging word on the Indians forcible capture, rape, enslavement and murder of innocent girls. (Here's a riddle for liberals: If men of a victim culture forcibly take captive "wives," is that rape? Does No still mean No to our feminist friends if the perp is of a victim culture resisting white supremacy and hegemony?)
So it is with the present clash of cultures and why libs cannot be trusted. They fail to take the Islamists at their word or to credit their actions with a self-motivation apart from anything we may believe or do. That our enemies are men who think and do what they will of their own accord irrespective of our views. Libs cannot fathom that when some mad mullah or Imam says we must convert or die and that they are prepared to kill and die to make it so that they really what they say. And, unlike Ethan, libs having long lost believing there is any cause worth fighting, killing or dying for and so they put us at a supreme disadvantage to men who can.
Why did Ethan suddenly alter his purpose and rescue Debbie rather than kill her for her supposed contamination? I believe the same impulse that drove Ethan for five years to right a wrong opened his eyes in the end. In a sense he set out to rescue civilization from barbarism and to do that meant discerning the innocent from the guilty and the perpetrators from those unwillingly associated. At the moment of crisis he realized her innocence and was moved to save her but his compassion for her in no way impeded his ability to battle and destroy the guilty. One cannot recognize the innocent without a concomitant recognition of the guilty. It's important to note that at no time in the movie does Ethan gratuitously murder, rape or enslave any Indian. Indeed, though the libs' reviews denounce his vindictive desecration of a dead Indian one cannot fail to notice the difference in the combatants' methods and aims. The one fights to terrorize and makes no distinction among his enemies the other in self-defense and targets only male combatants (sound familiar to our times?) Ethan fights or shoots only those he must in self-defense or in the act of rescuing the innocent, including several white men out to rob and probably murder them in their travels.
The movie doesn't condemn Ethan and in the end, he does rescue the civilized from the barbarians doing only what must be done and by making the very distinctions neither his enemies nor our liberals of today would make. Having accomplished his mission he returns an obviously changed man so Ford must have meant to convey something redemptive in Ethan's evolving discernment of good from evil, innocence from guilt. My take is Ford meant to show us the folly of blind hatred to the point of moral confusion, a lesson I would suggest Ford would say modern liberals have failed. Moral clarity of purpose and means is self-evident for as Ethan and Debbie finally reach home it is clear they are saved only because Ethan was willing to "do what a man has to do."
Oh, were only our liberal friends of today able to make such distinctions and offer us an Ethan Edwards for we'd be invincible defeating the new barbarism.
-- Mark Shepler
Let's see, he's a racist because he hates Indians. They killed his brother and his brother's family and kidnapped his niece. Apparently he needs to dialogue with the Indians to find out why they hate him. Maybe he should offer them his horse? I know the real answer, it's George W. Bush's fault that all of this happened.
-- G. Baum
Isn't the film more about redemption, as Ethan eventually takes Debbie home rather than killing her (as we're led to believe will happen)? It shares this theme with Stagecoach, where the eventual heroes are initially the town scum.
Also, little Debbie is kidnapped along with her older sister Lucy, who is raped and murdered later in the film.
-- Mark P. Simpson
When I first saw this film on late-night TV back in the '70s I thought it fairly racist, although John Wayne continued (and still is) to be my main man. As I grew older and wiser (I think) I saw the film as a statement of it's time in terms of race, but not so clear cut as to be simply racist. Ethan is a man of his time and place. A latte-sipping Villager would shriek and pass out if confronted by Ethan. This is because he would view Ethan's world through the prism of the 7th year of the 21st century.
At first, Ethan's motives are for revenge. Not so much for his brother as for his brother's wife. It is fairly clear at the beginning of the film that these two are in love. When she is raped and slaughtered by Scar's band, Ethan is a man burning for revenge for the violation and death of the only person (or thing, really) that he has ever loved. He pays lip service to the quest for Debbie, at first. Then the quest turns into an obsession for Ethan. However, as we see, she becomes as much an object of hatred to Ethan as Scar is. Part of that is due, no doubt, to the 19th (and 20th) century attitude that a white woman is spoiled or ruined after she has been taken(in every sense of that word) by Indians. (Does this sound a little familiar, Culture of Honor Killing?) I agree that his change of heart about Debbie at the end of the film needed to be stressed more, but I have always taken away from that scene that sometimes love can overcome hatred.
And Ethan does pay a price for his hatred. At the end of the film, Debbie is returned and everyone enters the cabin, except Ethan. He realizes (perhaps?) that he does not belong with family and civilization. He holds his arm for a moment (a tribute to Harry Carry Sr.) and then walks aimlessly away. He recognizes the taint in himself and does not wish to infect the rest. He is savage, and he knows it.
Contrary to most critics, John Wayne was not just a one-note character in his films. Especially by Ford. In Fort Apache he is contemptuous of spit-and-polish Col. Thursday. In all three of the Cavalry Trilogy, his sympathy toward the Indians is pronounced. In The Horse Soldiers his character is positively anti-war. He refers to the Civil War as "this madness". He is sickened by a skirmish with Confederate soldiers and actually turns away in disgust after giving the order to open fire. And in other films also. He gives a very low-key and subtle performance in Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way, his over-blown Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, and his strong, but subdued roll in The Cowboys (for which he should have received an Oscar nomination, I think).
Ethan Edwards of The Searchers is just another character in the very rich tapestry of the Duke's career. I, of course, could be wrong. That'll be the day.
-- Paul Austin
Sean Higgins's piece about The Searchers misses the reason why the film is respected in the first place. Texans and Comanches really did hate each other and saw each other as competing races. Wayne portrayed the character of Uncle Ethan with historical exactitude. Pretending that our ancestors didn't see the world as a struggle of peoples and faiths is historical nonsense. The Searchers is clearly meant to be an epic within a tragic context. If the Indians and the Texicans weren't in conflict, how would the story play out? Heroes do tend to have heroic flaws. Perhaps everyone works things out in Little House on the Prairie but for we adults stronger fair is more appropriate
Liberals and neo-cons live in a fantasy world without group differences and hatreds. Perhaps Sean Higgins is commuting from that world.
-- Tom Meehan
Thanks to Sean Higgins for his thoughtful piece on The Searchers after 50 years. I would, however, submit a different reading on the end of the movie where Edwards takes Debbie home: blood is thicker than water.
Ultimately, for a character like Edwards -- and for an icon like The Duke -- only family matters. He simply could not kill his only remaining blood kin.
Some kind of redemption from a racist heart? Nah. I imagine Edwards happily would have killed a few more Comanches if they had shown up to take Debbie back from him.
In my view, the pencil-necks can take their opinions and shove 'em up their peace pipes. The Duke did what he had to do, which is why so many of us love him like we do.
-- Paul Foreman
The Searchers is a great movie, because it shows the savagery of the Comanche's who wreaked terror on the Texas frontier with their bloodthirsty raids of rape and pillage. It also shows the selfish traders and Comancheros (today it is France, Spain and other Eurabians), who armed and supplied these proto al Qaeda types, as the avaricious cowards they were.
Ethan Edwards, like George W. Bush, is a Texas hero (who cares what effete Northeastern liberals think of him). He's an unreconstructed Confederate man's man out to avenge the murder of his brother, sister-in-law, nephew, niece (it is implied she was raped to death) and enslavement of his youngest niece (Natalie Wood). Like real Americans he rages at the brutality of his adversaries and refuses to extend Constitutional rights to these merciless killers. The movie ends with the Texas Rangers (a type of 21 century Marine) destroying the "terrorists" and Ethan scalping (symbolically emasculating) his "Osama bin Laden" who destroyed his family and threatened civilization.
It is a great movie and reflects the toughness of Americans who settled the frontier and made this nation great. Sadly, too many of us have become John McCain's, Lindsey Graham's and weak kneed PC Democrats in our 21st century war against Islamic imperialists who make the 19th century Comanche look like choirboys. Watch it without hand wringing or sympathy for the savages and you'll not only love it, but understand its meaning for today.
-- Michael Tomlinson
I can understand Mr. Higgins' view of the film, but unlike most liberals (who generally miss the point, as usual) Ethan Edwards is not their kind of red-necked knuckle dragger who is "enlightened" at the end of the film.
Wayne's character is relatively pragmatic from the point of view that he understands his enemy (the Comanche) and how he thinks, lives, believes, and acts. The rest of the cast is not that perceptive, and tends to use the purported Phil Sheridan model. ("The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.") The conclusion comes down to family ties winning out over that pragmatism, which is not necessarily a bad thing or a "liberal" value.
It's too bad so many liberals today do not understand the Islamists, as Edwards would have were the movie made about the Middle East today, as they have no clue what they're up against -- or why.
-- Cookie Sewell
Sean, great article about The Searchers. I think you miss the point about the ending. Ethan had always loved Debbie, but he hated Indians more. Ethan takes Debbie in his arms and takes her home and gives her to Mr. and Mrs. Jorgenson, but he does not enter the house. It shows that although Ethan loves Debbie he cannot accept her. He considers her an Indian. He cannot change his racist ways.
-- John Cullen
After reading Sean Higgins' diatribe about the movie The Searchers, I sat back and mulled over it for a while. I was at first inclined to believe he had a point but not really. First, he disparages John Ford as a New Deal liberal. Whether he was one or not is really academic because John Ford produced some of the most moving and patriotic films of his era. Sure, some had a decidedly liberal bent but so what? He didn't write the book Grapes of Wrath, but his adaptation of it was quite good, even if it was on the liberal side (for that time). His movie The Informer was quite good, albeit somewhat anti-British, as was Drums Along the Mohawk, a decidedly American film, which included a caveat to the ideals of this country a lot of us merely paid lip service to for quite a while, which brings us back to The Searchers. John Ford may have been a liberal but he was an American first, and he always portrayed the positive ideals of our nation overcoming the less than ones. Now to say this wasn't the Duke's finest hour is to disparage another fine American. John Wayne always portrayed American manhood as it should have been. He was less than perfect but his noble side always came through in the end. John Wayne also thought very highly of John Ford and that to me, is evidence enough of Ford's integrity and Americanism. So Mr. Higgins, fire away. You have picked the wrong two people to cast stones at, as far as I'm concerned. Your displeasure with this movie seems to stem more from it's acceptance with the left wing liberals than what it actually portrays. Be that as it may, the movie The Searchers is a good movie period, for liberals and conservatives alike.
-- Pete Chagnon
Ouch! The Searchers is one of my favorite John Wayne movies (after The Quiet Man). Since I am a conservative Republican, Sean Higgins is making me feel guilty!
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Free the Guantanamo 14:
Mr. Tyrrell's September 21 article about the Red Cross visiting the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay got me thinking -- how many Red Cross visits are there to Castro's political prisoners? And, how much attention do these prisoners get from "world opinion"?
-- John Lockwood
One way to get around what to do with terrorist we find on the battlefield is to take no prisoners. Just leave them to rot where they are found.
-- Elaine Kyle
Re: Paul Beston's X-Ray Vision:
Every time I'm reminded of the heroism displayed by firefighters and police on 9/11, I have to ask myself one question: would I have the guts, the courage, to follow these brave men and women into those burning towers? In spite of much soul searching, I'm not even today sure of my answer. But I am reminded of Shakespeare's words in Henry V:
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
And I fear I would find myself cheapened. Not a comfortable feeling.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
HUGO THIS WAY
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Chavez Raving:
This -- "No need to decimate them like Osirak, just do some damage and stand by to do it again if they have the nerve to start them up again. (Lather, rinse, repeat.) -- has a nice ring to it. Only one problem, sometime during the lather, rinse, repeat cycle we will, due to a weird fluke, bad luck or stupidity, elect another Jimmy Carter. He will stop the cycle for his 4 years and then, Boom! Iran will do in another weak ineffectual President but this time we all get to play live hostage, if we are alive.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan
There is acerbic, smart, sophisticated writing...served up daily by TAS. And then there is acerbic, smart, sophisticated, riotously funny writing like this, which is almost impossible to imagine anybody doing on a daily basis. And that's probably just as well, lest we start to take genius for granted.
-- C. Vail
The spectacle of Chavez and Ahmadinejad speaking before the U.N., baldly insulting the United States and our President, to applause from the members of the General Assembly, should be the last straw for U.S. citizens.
Kicking this multi-generational den of vipers and thieves out of our country, and withdrawing unilaterally from this pathetic world body, is long overdue. Our country existed for about one hundred and seventy years without membership in the UN. It's time to return to that more tranquil, cheaper existence
I'm all for a return of Washington and Jackson style of diplomacy, which was the norm in this country for a very long time. It worked quite successfully, as I remember my history.
Washington's advice to the country: Avoid entangling alliances.
Jackson's advice to the world: You leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone. Mess with us, and we'll kill you!
Take offense to insults the same way the Islamic radicals do. You offend me, so I'm going to break things in your homeland. By the way, don't expect us to pay for it.
At the very least, after a couple of good air strikes, we'd hear a lot less insulting rhetoric from pipsqueaks in the United Nations.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I excoriated Mr. Homnick, today I praise him. For many months now, as part of my one-man protest, I have refused to pull into any Citgo station and instead, actively seek out Sen. Chuck Schumer's bane, the dreaded corporate pillager, Exxon- Mobil.( Shell and Gulf are equally favored.) I will even pay more at those stations rather than bankroll that odious little kumquat, el presidente, Chavez. But what really gets me frosted is how this gaseous pipsqueak (might that sulfurous miasma he detected at the UN been the previous night's red rice and beans?) is not only able to spook worldwide commodities markets with a simple flippant sentence, but can affect the upcoming U.S. elections as well. As I've watched gas prices plummet and the stock market rise to the verge of a new all time high, I keep waiting for this clown and his evil twin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to utter some vaguely veiled threat that will throw a monkey wrench into these events. We can also thank the equally gaseous U.S. Senate and the Democrats in particular, for refusing to allow America to become energy independent, hence, allowing us to thumb our noses at these manipulative, malevolent jerks. So, Mr. Homnick let me expand on your marvelous idea of removing the UN to Caracas, Venezuela ; let's send the entire U.S. Senate there as well. This will have the additional benefit of helping to clean up the air over Washington D.C. dramatically.
-- A. DiPentima
You know, for a supposedly imperialistic (empire building) country, we really do a crappy job. We never really capture/acquire territory for our burgeoning population (I prefer my lebensraum neat, no chaser). If we did, we wouldn't be dealing with Presidents Almondjoy or Chavez. Nor would we be trying to set up a government in Iraq; we'd have an American Viceroy or something to that effect. While Lord Karl, Earl of Caracas, has an interesting ring to it, I don't relish the position or the corresponding responsibility. And I doubt many other Americans do, either. Still, it's a tried and true aspersion (gesundheit!) that's been thrown at the west and the U.S. since at least the early days of the last century, so it isn't too much of a surprise that the latest band of kooks continue. But I long for something new and creative besides the old "imperialism!" canard. Or we could resurrect some other old ones. Running dog capitalist lackeys has a nice ring, and it's entertainingâ€¦
-- Karl F. Auerbach
With all due respect to Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Ponnuru, and others who have their eyes on the long-term prizes, Mr. Hogberg is right. Losing would be disastrous, even more than Mr. Hogberg says, because he magnanimously left out the most important item on the agenda of the Left: Bush's impeachment. Pelosi may have gotten Conyers to quit yapping about it not because she doesn't believe in it, but because she and all Democrats believe that loose lips sink ships, and their ship is the only one that matters. Screw the rest of us. Don't doubt for an instant that 24 hours after Speaker Pelosi is sworn in, impeachment proceedings would begin and would be successful. Cheney's impeachment would follow soon after, or, perhaps, simultaneously. Now, who among TAS readers would have confidence that Senators Specter, Chafee, Hagel, McCain, Snowe, and Graham would go along with a filibuster to keep Senate Majority Leader Reid from getting a conviction? Such proceedings, even if unsuccessful, would gut the war on terror for the next two years and succeed in bringing this country to its knees. Without a strong commander-in-chief, we would be completely at the mercy of bureaucrats to keep us safe. Bin Laden will be laughing all the way to Baghdad. And Bush would still get blamed. So to quote another famous conservative, "Now's not the time to go wobbly."
-- Andrew Macfadyen, MD
Let me apologize to readers for not doing a complete research job on the electric car story. I did not realize that the cars had not qualified for safety standards and therefore had to be leased instead of sold. Reader Kent Beuchert has the whole story. Also, although I had read that Toyota was installing a plug-in accessory to its gas-electric hybrids, I did not realize they are not yet available.
Mea culpa. The rest of the story still stands.
-- William Tucker
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