Reader Mail

Remembering All Too Well

Moving on from Clinton, Kerry & Co. Also: Rediscovering reading. Dobbs' stooges. Ms. Americas. Plus more.

9.12.06

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REMEMBER THE COLE
Re: Philip Klein's Forget 1938 -- How About 1988?:

To add to Mr. Klein's mention of the assault on the U.S.S. Cole, I remember immediately after the attack Bill Clinton in a television address solemnly assuring the American public that in regards to the destroyer's dead sailors, "we take care of our own." I knew then it was nonsense, and his inaction regarding the Cole over the remaining few weeks of his administration once again proved him to be a phony.
-- Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Nice article, but our government still has not changed. We are sliding down a slippery slope to war, because our politicians in Washington are too worried about their sorry rears to do anything meaningful. Consider the following examples.

Saudi Arabia is still funding terror cells, madrassas, and sending Wahhabi clerics to preach in mosques in the U.S. -
Our answer: We say the Saudis are still our friends(most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis), and colleagues in the War on Terror. Our colleges fall all over themselves to recruit more Saudi students.

Iran's president publicly states he wants war with the U.S., boasting that Iran has an army of 40,000 suicide bombers ready to commit mayhem on the world. He has stated Israel needs to be wiped off the map, and boasts about the capability of the Iranian armed forces.

Our answer: We allow the current president of Iran to travel from Cuba to New York, to address the U.N. General Assembly. We grant the previous president of Iran a visa, so he can speaks Harvard, and at the National Cathedral in Washington. Currently, he's also slated to go to Georgia and meet with former President Jimmy Carter. What next? A Medal of Freedom for him?

We are still not restricting the visas of people from Islamic countries, unless they are on a "Terrorist watch list." Does this mean our intelligence is so good that we know the names of all the potential terrorists in the world? No, it simply means that our government is continuing to practice collective insanity!

The politicians in Washington, both Democrat and Republican, wouldn't know how to conduct a war if someone gave them all the answers. Our president and all his advisors should read a good book on how to properly conduct a war. I'm sure the any Marine officer can recommend several, since it is required of them. It might not be perfect advice, but it would be an improvement on what they are currently doing.

For that matter, any conservative grandfather could give them better advice than they are currently following.

Americans are disgusted and sick of excuses and nuances. God help the politicians in this country if there is another more serious attack. The American public will not simply sit around, waiting to be murdered in our beds, while our government wrings its hands.

President Bush's lousy poll numbers are the result of his soft, meandering approach to the war on terror. Initially, he talked a good game, and all the conservatives were behind him. Now, we wonder if he has the stones to keep us safe until the end this year, let alone the end of his term. Is Iran going to get the bomb? Is North Korea really going to shoot a missile at the United States? What happened to the doctrine of pre-emption?

The key definition of military victory is defeating your enemy on the battlefield, and breaking his will to fight. You don't do that by nation building, nor do you earn the respect(defined as fear of consequences) of potential enemy nations by hesitating. Having military capability without the courage and guts to use it, when necessary, does not result in respect. Sadly, it's nothing but a colossal waste of money.

My grandchildren are going to inherit the nation our current leaders will leave them. Our current leaders had better change the way they do things, or they will go down in history as the group that lost our freedoms.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

KERRY SAFE
Re: Andrew Cline's Are We Safer?:

Surely our flights are safer than five years ago. Simply the fact that our cockpit doors have been locked and secured, is obviously a tremendous advantage -- making our planes invulnerable to being re-directed for
political purposes. We can end the discussion right there. Thank you
-- Al
Lemon Grove

Let's ask Jean Kerry and the Dems (and the voters) if any of these has made us less safe:

1. Re-enforced cockpit doors (this alone would have prevented 911).
2. Air marshals.
3. Improved airport security and procedures.
4. New Homeland Security Department.
5. The Patriot Act.
6. War in Afghanistan.
7. War in Iraq (no more threat from Saddam, or Qaddafi from Libya).
8. Wire-tapping phone calls.
9. Monitoring money transfers.
10. Numerous U.S. terrorist cells broken.
11. Working with other nations….
12. ...and probably thousands of other secret things governments do.

I'm surprised we haven't had any terrorist attacks, not even small copycats, since 911, but I will never feel as safe --since 911 -- again, no matter what the government does, but we are clearly safer.
-- Paul Hoffmann
San Antonio, Texas

I, for one, sleep more soundly knowing that John Fraud Kerry is just the junior Senator from Massachusetts.
-- Mike Haire
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

PARTY FAVORS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Birthday Goodies:

It is no wonder we call Bill and Hill "The Grifters." Jesse Jackson, move over -- the new kind and queen of the shakedown artists are taking your throne.
-- Judith Beumler

I wonder when the wannabes are going to realize the Clinton's are a bunch of dried-up old has-beens.

The sleaziest people we have seen in this country besides the used car salesmen and the carpet cleaner frauds, oh yeah, and the guy on the corner saying "ya wanna be in pictures, girlie?" The Clintons know and are not afraid to use every way in the book to go in around and under the laws. Looks like the golden pot this election is birthday bashes, especially in other countries. Books and Hollywood celebrities must have dried up on them. This couple of spoiled brats run to Daddy (other countries) whenever Mommy (USA) won't let them have their way. Can't the Democrat party find some bright fresh new faces for their leaders? Just keep them away from the Clinton gang if you do.

Should I send this? Should I not? Yes, I'm darned tired of this bunch, and so are a lot of other people. I'll just be careful on my motorcycle. (Ha!)
-- Liz

MR. MACOMBER
Re: Shawn Macomber Show Me the Money (Quote), Khatami!:

Excellent. We need more journalism of his style.
-- Chad Berck

The last paragraph of Mr. Macomber's piece caught my attention:

That's about as crude and uneducated a political assessment as one can get. And yet this drunk, politically oblivious girl probably managed to get a lot closer to the truth than the paid observers yesterday afternoon at the Kennedy School of Government.

I share that assessment of the mainstream media in America and Europe.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

GUIDANCE COUNSELING
Re: Mark Goldblatt's Screwing Up:

Excellent article!

I noticed that Mr. Goldblatt teaches at FIT. When I was a high school senior, and in desperate need of a reason to continue my education, I decided upon interior design because I liked to arrange furniture. I was 18; what did I know? My guidance counselor suggested FIT in NYC. I had had a long distance love affair with the city, so the mere thought of living there appealed to me. That is, until I visited the campus. It was the age of tie-dyes and doobies and free love -- oh my! Being the wild child that I was, I knew that I was doomed if I chose FIT. Right after that visit, I met my future husband. I never did go to college, much to the dismay of my Wellesley-educated mother. I never associated FIT with a serious education, until I read this article.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

I was the second person in my family on both sides to graduate from University (my mother's youngest sister was the first). Daddy and Mama were not high school graduates. But everyone in our family spent plenty of time reading, including our parents. And I can still hear Mama's voice correcting errors in grammar: "Don't say 'the reason is because. The reason is MEANS because!" "Don't say these ones! Say these." "Chickens lay, children lie." And although Daddy can't spell (he's dyslexic), he was taught from the old McGuffey Readers in a farm community in Wisconsin and when he says it's been true "since Hector was a pup" or that something resembles "the Wreck of the Hesperus" he knows what those two things are. We traveled frequently by car and the last place we stopped as we left town was the public library. My sisters and I regularly entered the summer reading contests at the library in the days when book reports were required to prove the books had been read. At home we played "Game of the States" and "Go to the Head of the Class," board games that taught us geography and economics and examined us in educational subjects under the guise of entertainment.

Today the parents are watching Survivor and the kids are watching Big Brother, and both are salivating over celebrity babies, and if they have any vocabulary beyond 'a, and, the, f*** and s***" you rarely hear it; when "and so I'm like What EVER!" is considered conversation (I can just hear Mama saying "Don't say 'AND SO I'M LIKE' -- say I SAID!") it's no surprise to me that Johnny and Jane can't read.

By the way, when someone sends me a text message in patois, I text back, "Sorry, I don't speak gibberish. Could you repeat that in English?" I'm convinced the only way the Village will turn this tide is by refusing to give in to it.

The main reason Johnny and Jane can't/won't read, I suspect, is that their parents can't/won't read, and possibly even their hippydip grandparents either. The secondary reason they can't/won't read is that nobody makes them do it.

It's a sad, sad world we live in. And when this generation of secretaries go to Glory, nobody in the world will be able to understand anybody else, anywhere.
-- Kate Shaw
Toronto, Canada

STOOGE SIGHTINGS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Friends Like These and the "Dobbs and Demonstrators" letters in Reader Mail's Foreign Disengagement:

Having enjoyed Shawn Macomber's commentary on his tip-toeing thru the wackos in San Francisco (Shawn, I hope for your sake you took at least 3 hot showers afterwards), I was surprised at the howling of Mr. Stambaugh and Mr. Miffed (or is it Ms.?) over the perceived insult of Mr. Lou Dobbs, the pasty-faced anti-capitalist, anti-free market economic hack at CNN. Surely, people, you jest? I've got that channel locked-out of my cable box so I don't unknowingly run across this clown, even accidentally. I've seen enough from Mr. Dobbs and read enough articles at the freemarketproject.com on his "work" that I make sure I head in the opposite direction from him. He and Paul Krugman are the two most dangerous economists in the country!

I was then reminded of an article in Tech Central Station some months ago by the head of the Department of Economics at George Mason University, Don Boudreaux. Boudreaux, who also posts along with Russell Roberts over at cafehayek.com, had some choice commentaries about Dobbs, former supply-sider turned crackpot Paul Craig Roberts, and Sen. Charlie Schumer. The accompanying composite photo of the three was stunning, which led me to believe that the Three Stooges were still alive! First you had Roberts (no relation to Russell, I hope), in the middle of the photo, dressed in a tuxedo, assuming a Moe Howard pose with his chin in the air (he only needs some black hair dye to make the transformation complete) . To the left was Lou "Curley" Dobbs, splendidly decked out in a T-shirt of some sort and assuming a stance where I expected several "Nyuk-nyuk-nyuks" to fly off my computer screen. And lastly, to the right, was Schumer, who only needed a little more frizzed hair to properly pass himself off as Larry Fine (I looked hard and long for his Stradivarius, didn't find it). A most fitting and proper illustration for the piece, and more than appropriate for these knuckleheads.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

BLUNDERING ALONG
Re: Jed Babbin's Five Years In:

Jed Babbin's latest submission may be one of the most important that he has penned (typed) in a very long while. He poses questions of tremendous geopolitical significance that a very large percentage of our adult population simply do not wish to face. Yet these are questions that simply must be asked, and answered. We simply must not just blunder along from crisis to crisis, and hope for the best, or hope for the military to eternally pull our chestnuts out of the fire at the last moment.

I am just a dumb old coot that cares about what was once a truly great country. I have no special training or knowledge. I can, however, read and learn and retain information. I do pay attention to history, and that is not always a blessing for one's blood pressure. Iran has been at war with America on a sort of intermittent basis since the fall of the Shah. (Thank you, Jimmah Carter.) Iran, and radical Shia Islam, is the loci of the anti-American scheming in the world today. What does Bush plan to do about it in the short term. What do any and all of his successors plan to do about it in the long run.

This is exactly why it matters so very, very much what you call this war. As I have so often said, this is not a "War On Terror." Terror is nothing more than a tactic that the enemy may or may not use against us. George Bush has refused to name the real enemy. I wonder if he even permits himself to know who the real enemy is.

One time, early on in the Iraqi portion of the war, we had a perfect excuse and opportunity to remove an antagonist from the area, and refused to allow the military to accomplish the task. Ask yourself, what if the United States had taken out the government of Syria that was supporting the terror groups and the remnants of the Saddam regime among the Sunni. Money, weapons, and volunteers were pouring over the border from Syria into Iraq. We knew it. We could prove it. Yet we would not allow our military the right of hot pursuit to overtly crush the threat. Now admittedly, I do not know what may have been, or is being done covertly, but that will not permanently remove the threat.

Imagine, if you will, what the situation would look like if Iran was standing alone against both us and the Israelis. I believe a strong case can be made that the Libyans came around because of our action in Iraq and Afghanistan. What if we had simply allowed our military hot pursuit into Syria and told the Israelis that we did not care what they did to and with Damascus? Would Assad and the Baathist still be ruling Syria with an iron fist? Would Iran have given the green light to Hezbollah to launch their recent operation against Israel? Would Iran's rulers be as intractable as they are today if they were the last men standing? Would the Saudi's have finally reigned in their own militant Sunni Imams? Would al Sadr's army still be a potent force obstructing stability, and indeed sanity, in Iraq?

It is my thesis that we would not be looking at about 2,600 KIA and thousands more WIA if, instead of flying out to an aircraft carrier barely over the horizon from San Diego and giving a misleading "Mission Accomplished" speech, Bush had fought in a more serious manner against the true enemy, instead of a straw man. Never ever, ever go to war unless you are determined to win, not just come to some vague compromise solution. You must be determined to win, and do it in the shortest time possible consistent with the fewest casualties among our troops. "Collateral damage" is terribly unfortunate, but it is collateral, and the non-Western world does not respect our timidity in taking the battle to the enemy.

It is past time for this administration to come forward with the answers that are needed for geopolitical policy decisions. It is not too early for potential successors to Bush to tell us, straightforwardly and is some detail, what their vision is. I am of an age where I can decide to become senile, move to a "home," go on Medicare and government assistance, and only concern myself with football, baseball, and NASCAR racing telecasts, and let the rest of you worry about the world and our country. It is time for adult citizens and voters (if there are many left in the country) to demand responsibility and answers of BOTH political parties. It is past time when we can keep voting for one group simply because they are not the other group.

End of rant.
-- Ken Shreve
Deep behind enemy lines in New England

Regarding "Five Years In" by Jed Babbin, here are some comparative figures:

Americans killed on 9/11 total 2979. One day.
Americans killed in Iraq war total 2666. Three years, 9 months.
Americans killed in Afghanistan total 333. Five years.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque Iowa

PLANNED CHOICE
Re: Doug Bandow's Liberalism Unbound and Siobhan Kolar's letter "Return Engagement" in Reader Mail's Foreign Disengagement:

It is not a stretch of the imagination to sense that NARAL, Ms. Magazine, Planned Parenthood want all women to experience an abortion. This is how guilt/shame can be shared, and thus watered down. The more women who chose abortion, the more it affirms the decisions of others to do the same.

If "choice" is the "catch-all" word that defines freedom in America , then the choice of the abortion industry is between life or death. Obviously they choose death. We are given so few opportunities in life to make a "life-and-death" decision. Those decisions shape our present and guide us into the future. For example, I heard an interview with a teenage girl about how glad she was to be alive, and how grateful she was to her mother for not killing her by aborting her. This girl was conceived during a rape. What courage the mother had by choosing life ( with all the uncertainty and fear that it entails) instead of death (with all the uncertainty and fear it entails).

I believe it was Martin Luther who said, "The greatest trick of the Devil is to convince you that he doesn't exist." If the devil is indeed the prince of evil, then he is nourished by the silent screams of the aborted unborn.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation and karma (where our actions in this life determine our status in the next life), then the mystical consequences of aborting your flesh-and-blood are to disturbing to think about. Thus the guilt needs to be shared, collectively. More abortions mean a diluted guilt...making it easier to justify such a big decision, death instead of life.

In Germany they have a much lower rate of abortion than we do in the USA. This can be linked to the requirement of mandatory counseling, a waiting period, and enhanced ultrasound (which clearly shows a woman that life, a baby, is inside her).

I believe this is what the pro-life agenda can accomplish, requiring counseling, a waiting period, and enhanced ultrasound. This is reasonable, and the majority of Americans would affirm this.
-- Fred Edwards

NOT BUYING
Re: Patrick Skurka's letter in Reader Mail's Foreign Disengagement:

What planet did Patrick Skurka come from? Evidently, his idea of why we fought WWII is really out there. My father fought in that island-hopping campaign he talks about. He served under MacArthur all the way to the Philippines. He and the other veterans had a completely different idea of why we were there. The Japanese attacked us not because we were fronting for imperialistic powers in Pacific (the Japs certainly were imperialistic) but because we were a threat to their plans to conquer their half of the world. The ignorance mouthed by this person is so deep as be unbelievable and not worth debating because no one can reason with a fool.
-- Pete Chagnon

GO FISH
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Marlin the Magician:

Maybe the Marlins will get that wild card playoff berth and once again, for the third time, go all the way and win the pennant! Go Marlins, then the owner will trade the entire team off again for the third time! Go Marlins!
-- Bill Moss
Reno, Nevada

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