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Nervous Time

Shooting the political messenger: Can the Senate be held? Looming clashes. Going broke. MacArthur's return reconsidered. Plus more.

9.13.06

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SHOOT THE MESSENGER
Re: David Hogberg's Losing Senate Races:

Your article stated:

"Although Democratic State Treasurer Bob Casey has led in all the polls since February, in recent weeks Senator Rick Santorum has narrowed his lead to single digits. That combined with a devastating performance in his debate with Casey on Meet The Press, and everything seemed to be going Santorum's way. So what to make of the new USAToday/Gallup poll showing Casey with an 18 point lead? I'm inclined to dismiss it as a fluke..."

What you're missing from your analysis is the fact that the link to the USA Today/Gallup poll you provided is dated August 31st, three days before the MTP debate aired. Certainly, the poll was conducted before the results were published on the 31st.
-- Jason

Mr. Hogberg surely must either be Jewish or Catholic. He exhibits an excellently honed sense of "everything is going to turn out wrong." My guess is that he also has a finely honed sense of guilt to go along with his pessimism.

He is obviously correct regarding the "safe" seats in the Senate. They are so obvious that it would be hard to miss on them. He then takes almost every race where the polls show the Democrat in the lead and awards that race the "leans Dem" category. He then takes every race where the Republican has a narrow lead and finds a reason why the polls are wrong and the state really leans Dem. He takes the one race where the Dem challenger to the incumbent Republican may actually be the more conservative candidate (Who could possibly be more liberal that Lincoln Chafee?) and awards this "who the heck cares" race to the Dems. He breaks his singular predictive trend with the Allen race in Virginia, where the whole trumped up "macaca" fiasco is Dem and media driven with the help of the GOP's girly man brigade.

David, I am afraid that just sheer dumb luck will mean that some of the GOP candidates that now lead the polls will stumble into office this November. Pure chance means that not ALL of the unpleasant surprises will discomfit the Republican in the race. Now I dislike the GOP pinup girl, Rosie Scenario, as much as I dislike the purveyors of constant doom and gloom, but could I suggest you change whatever it is that you are drinking and smoking? In the meantime, please arrange for someone to be in charge of keeping all sharp objects out of your reach.
-- Ken Shreve

I can't tell you much about the other U.S. Senate races but as long as Bob Casey is former Governor Bob Casey's son, Rick Santorum has a good chance of beating him. Young Casey is the same insufferable stuffed shirt his father was. He's not about to get out to meet the grubby voters and tell them why they should vote for him. His campaign slogan will be the same (unspoken) one that his father ran on which got him about 2 victories in 5 or 6 attempts at public office and that is: "Vote for me because I'm Bob Casey and I know what's best for you." And he won't even get that message across as well as his father did because he thinks he is entitled to the office by the Law of Primogeniture.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

As the Gipper would say..."Here you go again." Once more we are assailed with predictions of the GOP's demise and Bush's swan song as President. While some races probably are obvious, others are pure conjecture. While the Republican Congress has acted more liberal than conservative, don't write the Republicans off yet. As usual the polls bring hope for a Democrat takeover, but the last two elections proved them dead wrong. Even with a hostile media, which has become a bigger enemy than the terrorists to our freedoms, spewing forth their poison, the American public has seen through all that. The point is, do we really think the Democrats can do any better than the Republicans? Do we really want another Vietnam type defeat and can we really afford such? Are the cut and runners going to set our national policy (remember Somalia)? That will be on the minds of a lot of people.

The enemy knows America's resolve will waver after a period of time, that it will look like we are in a stalemate, that the media and the liberals are their best allies, but has everyone read the mood of this nation right? Sure we're tired of this conflict, as does happen with war, but are we willing to give the enemy a victory by default? Are we going to let the likes of Hillary Clinton speak for us, promise a utopia where there isn't one? I really don't think so.

No, I think when people go to the polls, they are going to remember Sept. 11th, our borders, and many other things. Then they're going to realize that for all his faults, Bush is much more preferable than what the Democrats are offering and to put in a Democrat majority will bring about a disaster in this nation along the lines of 9-11. It will give victory to an enemy whose sole purpose for existence is pure hatred of the West, with the U.S. as the head Satan.

Now, I live in Vermont and that prediction about Sanders is probably right (who really knows?). However, he will be as useless as a senator as he was in the House because this person is so far out of the mainstream -- he will merely be replacing Jeffords as the Senate fool. Like Howard Dean, he's all smoke and mirrors. For let's face it, the truth is the Republicans will have lost their power through stupidity rather than the Democrats gaining it through having a better plan.
-- Pete Chagnon

I wonder why the GOP would spend money in Rhode Island trying for a Lincoln Chafee win, so what if a Dem wins. I don't see where you would be able to tell the difference. Chafee is a Republican in name only and he needs to go. In fact all of the RINO's that vote most of the time with the Dems need to go.
-- Elaine Kyle

BACK CLASH
Re: William Tucker's Overprivileged Children:

William Tucker's review of The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright was very well done, and I look forward to reading the book. However, Tucker makes a comment near the end of his review that calls for a response.

Tucker boldly states that "our conflict with Islam is not a war against a whole civilization. The jihadists are despised as much in their own countries as they are in the West." I ask, where is the evidence to support this view? As Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, David Yerushalmi and others have persuasively argued, the ideology of jihad is rooted in Islamic theology, law, and culture. Unlike Communism, which Tucker analogizes to, "radical" Islam is not a purely intellectual construct but an organic outgrowth of Islam itself. Hence, whereas there was always a deep tension between communism and the pre-existing social and religious fabric of the countries that made up the Soviet Union, no similar tension exists between "radical" Islam and the Islamic countries where it thrives. Contrary to Tucker's argument, "radical" Islam is not some alien ideology that is being foisted on the Muslim masses.

Speaking of these masses, the available evidence shows that they are quite sympathetic to the jihadists, and cheer each new act of anti-western terror. The notion that the average Muslim "despises" the jihadist is nothing more than wishful thinking on Tucker's part.

As desperately as Tucker might try, there can be no denying the "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West.
-- Steven M. Warshawsky
New York, New York

Thanks to Mr. Tucker for this enlightening review of what looks to be a very informative book on the 9/11 hijackers and how we got to this place in time. After watching the two-night debut of ABC's The Path to 9-11, his book will fill in more of the blanks that allowed the 9/11 perfect storm to form.

I hope the author Lawrence Wright is correct that we are at war with "a Muslim intellegentsia" rather than an entire civilization. Whatever the truth of our current situation, I plan to buy the Wright book. We need more trusted writers to dig out what's really going on so that we can defeat this terrible, bloodthirsty enemy.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

BROKE
Re: Jagadeesh Gokhale's Bankrupt Thinking on U.S. Bankruptcy:

Please. You don't need "several carefully calibrated computer analyses" to show "how the promise to provide many trillions of dollars to today's citizens -- of which $67 trillion are unfunded -- would spell disaster in years to come." The mental arithmetic the good nuns of the Sisters of Charity taught me many years ago in 7th grade would suffice.

And yes, the "disaster to come" is call bankruptcy. And because the odds are good that 1) the political resolve to void this fate is not there and 2) we will arrive at this bankrupt state by first gong through inflation and/or currency devaluation(s), prudent people will devote a certain percentage of their portfolio to gold.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

How could America be going bankrupt? Every time I max out a credit card, I simply get another one.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

LET ME RESPOND
Re: Reader Mail's Remembering All Too Well:

Pete Chagnon's rebuttal to my defense of the pre-WWII isolationist movement consisted mainly of "Oh Yeah" and "Sez Who" but no facts. Emotionalism aside, my point was that the isolationists feared that military necessity wouldn't be the only reason their sons would die if America went to war. Regarding the Philippine campaign, in 1944 Roosevelt was running for re-election to a fourth term. General MacArthur was a favorite of the political right wing back home, perceived as a strong leader type. They charged that Roosevelt was holding MacArthur back, denying him supplies and support in his valiant attempt to defeat the Japanese.

MacArthur convinced Roosevelt that America had a sacred duty to liberate the Philippines. Starting in October 1944, MacArthur returned to the Philippines but wasn't content with the capture of Leyte and Luzon, he decided that all Japanese in the Philippine archipelago must go. When General Yamashita retreated into the mountains of Luzon, MacArthur wouldn't settle for just bottling him up. Until the end of the war in August 1945, over 40 amphibious landings were made throughout the island chain to root out the Japanese from every foot of Philippine soil. Yet, thousands of Japanese soldiers in the Philippines were still fighting almost a year later and didn't surrender until after Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration.

Was all this a military necessity? Were the Philippines the key strategic point in the drive to invade Japan? If so, what was the point of the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima in 1945? In the battle of Leyte Gulf, the American Navy effectively destroyed the Japanese Navy thus isolating Japanese forces in the Philippines from further support of the Japanese war effort. And this occurred 10 months before Japan surrendered. In the Luzon campaign, 100,000 Filipinos in Manila died, victims of Japanese atrocities and American bombing and artillery. Did thousands of Americans and Filipinos die to keep MacArthur occupied and out of Roosevelt's political hair?

Regarding Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt was determined to throw American support behind the Dutch and British defense of their Far East colonies. He and the Joint Chiefs anticipated the Japanese attack in the East Indies and Roosevelt was in a quandary as to how he could justify American military intervention to the public. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor solved that political problem. Regarding Chagnon's charge that the Japanese were imperialists, check the history books and find out how America originally acquired the Philippines as a territory.
-- Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California

In reference to Jim Bjaloncik's letter in reference to mine, I couldn't care less about Lou Dobbs. As for your comments about Paul Krugman, ditto ad infinitum. And I'll admit that I'm not familiar with Dobbs' allegedly "reprehensible" and "demagogic" comments concerning illegal immigrants, because I don't watch him. He's an idiot. I am willing to bet, however, that he didn't call for a Hispanic genocide or ethnic cleansing. I suspect they were of the "let's stop them at the border and send the one's here back" variety, and I know of no other country in the world where that would be considered a radical opinion.

Border enforcement is, to the best of my knowledge, a universal value. It is the norm. Those who wish to depart from the norm are the ones with the case to make. They are the one's, in a rational world, who risk the moral scrutiny and suspicion of motives.

Those who want our immigration laws to be ignored are no different than those who want our drug laws, property laws, etc... ignored. It breeds contempt for the law, and I, frankly, am concerned about admitting millions of people into this country whose first lesson is that our laws aren't important. I'm willing to pay a few cents more for a peach to avoid that. I guess that makes me a xenophobe. What a world.
-- Scott Stambaugh
Murphy, North Carolina

Wow. If you want to find out which of your regular correspondents is eligible for Medicare, just write a letter bad-mouthing Franklin Roosevelt (as Patrick Skurka did) and watch who rises to the bait (as Pete Chagnon did).
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey

Perhaps one of the most important or the recent letters printed was R. Goodson's eloquent message yesterday. Damn, did he (she?) nail it! Well said, and, unfortunately, too true. Worth re-reading.
-- J. Frost

HAVING THE STOMACH
Re: Jed Babbin's Five Years In and R.L.A. Schaefer's letter (under "Blundering Along") in Reader Mail's Remembering All Too Well

Numbers mean nothing in war except who is left, but for the record:

Casualties lost PER WEEK in WWII: 2,000. (Times 4 years, you do the math.)

Casualties lost in the first couple of HOURS at the start of the invasion of Normandy: 4,000. Several thousand were lost during a TRAINING exercise before the invasion. (Imagine what the French senator would do with that!!)

Casualties during the "Civil" War: 600,000; only 200,000 from enemy action, the rest disease.

Do we have the stomach to take such losses again? I doubt it and the left will dance in the blood to defeat us. Apparently however we have consented by default/consensus to accept such losses in the next terror attack rather than do what is necessary to stop it by taking the fight to the enemy and win. Several of my favorite authors who write military Sci-Fi prost that in situations like ours huge losses to the civilian population are as necessary as the military itself to force the majority of the population to get on board with survival. Wish like everything it was not true but in the historic sense they are more than likely correct. I cringe at the future we are creating for ourselves; it does however seem the human condition, fantasy and denial winning over reality every time. But then I am an old pessimistic trooper to whom the solution to every problem looks like a hammer...
-- Craig C. Sarver
Behind Enemy Lines
Seattle, Washington

Mr. Babbin is, as usual, correct in his assessment of the state of the world five years after the assault on the United States that led to the immediate deaths of nearly three thousand people and the loss of several thousand more since. The actions of Osama Bin Laden and his organization should have been a wake up call, a call to arms. Obviously it was not.

What has changed? A bunch of vicious, oppressive theocrats were driven out of power in a third-world backwater, yet the object of our manhunt has not been caught. A brutal, vicious dictator, who should have been deposed after invading a neighboring country, was finally deposed. But, the country remains in turmoil and the pressure that 140,000 U.S. troops were supposed to bring to bear upon a potential much more dangerous foe, Iran, has had little effect. The Iranian nuclear program and that of North Korea are still progressing, unchecked. Our foes are busily consolidating an alliance in plain view of the entire world. Hostile nation states boldly make threats to annihilate the US and our allies. And we do little to mitigate these threats.

The situation in the world is akin to an out of control boiler. Pressure has been building up for years. For the last twelve years, we have dealt with minor steam leaks and suffered small burns. Now we are faced with waiting for the boiler to blow, very possibly destroying us, or opening the relief valve and suffering serious burns. And it is becoming
increasingly evident that our leaders do not have the foresight, or the courage, to do that. So we will wait. And, eventually, the pressure of history will force action upon us. If we survive is still to be seen.

It will not matter who is in the White House or which party holds the Congress, for war will come. It has been coming for twenty-five years and the warning signs have largely been ignored. It will prove impossible to ignore the earth-shattering KaBoom when it finally arrives full blown. There is still time to avert the explosion, but dynamic action is needed to open the relief valve. Unfortunately, no one in a position of power, in this country, seems willing to face the future head-on and take the actions necessary
to stave off the explosion to come.

So we continue, waiting for something to jar us awake. Unfortunately, it fails to rouse our leaders for more than a few moments. Too few moments, unfortunately, to deal with the problem before it becomes a catastrophe. Hopefully, we will be able to revisit this discussion five years from now. I hope so, don't you?
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

ROLE REVERSAL
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Repression in the Age of Liberty:

The question is no longer whether Turkey will join Europe but, rather, whether Europe will join Turkey.
-- Danny Lemieux

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