Reader Mail

Foreign Disengagement

Looking back at America's isolationists. Dobbs defenders. Ben & Jerry's Mart. Also: Abortions roots causes? Plus more.

9.11.06

Send to Kindle

IN ISOLATION
Re: Jeffrey Lord's From American First to American Last:

If Lord's point regarding the America First Committee is the parallel between the rhetoric of Move On and America First, there can be little disagreement. But, if he is hinting that both groups represent a bigoted, fringe element in American society, he misinterprets the pre-WWII isolationist movement. A very sizable minority of American citizens were isolationists prior to Pearl Harbor and it's worth examining their reasons, both practical and psychological.

Within 20 years of the WWI armistice, it appeared to many Americans that we were headed for involvement in another foreign war and there was widespread disgust and anger over Europe's inability to maintain peace. The average American cared little for the underlying politics, but clearly grasped the price in dead and maimed loved ones if we participated in another war. The Japanese, in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, didn't lust after the lucrative Oahu surfboard concession. They wanted to prevent the American Navy from stopping their move into Southeast Asia to acquire the raw material wealth of Indochina, Borneo, Malaysia and Java. These territories were Dutch, French and British colonies and, as in WWI, Americans would die to protect the overseas empires of Europe.

Psychologically, an admirable virtue of our people is a deep distrust of our government leaders We understood our natures and suspected our leaders wouldn't put aside politics, ego and ambition when fighting a war. This was born out by Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs in the prelude to and subsequent conduct of the war. The so-called whipsaw strategy in the Pacific meant the Navy fought an island hopping campaign, the Army fought a land campaign first on New Guinea and later in the Philippines and the Army Airforce fought a strategic bombing campaign, first in China and later in the Pacific. Many historians agree that our inability to develop a sound military strategy for the Pacific resulted in the unnecessary deaths and maiming of thousands of American sailors, GIs and Marines. Our incredible output of munitions and war materials, along with volunteer and drafted personnel, provided each branch with the means to satisfy their ambitions and parochial loyalty to their respective service. Commander in Chief Roosevelt did nothing to prevent this and it's suspected that he actively encouraged General MacArthur's bizarre Philippine campaign to keep him out of national politics back home.

Then, as now, Americans understand that the price of intervention and subsequent armed conflicts is blood and death. In that respect, nothing has changed.
-- Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California

"One finds it difficult to believe that men like these would hesitate for a political nano-second to cut the endorsement cord between themselves and MoveOn," Lord wrote. obviously a political nanosecond differs from the real thing and, no, unfortunately, it isn't so difficult to believe any politician's affiliations.

Until the vox populi registers disgust about MoveOn.org and its particular poison, what will motivate any politician, especially one receiving money from MoveOn, to disavow himself or herself from that organization?
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

DOBBS AND DEMONSTRATORS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Friends Like These:

I can't even tell you how offensive it is to read tripe like "...the Lou Dobbs strain of dime-store demagoguery", or "Certainly a significant amount of the anti-immigration rhetoric on the right is reprehensible and without excuse." You would think Shawn Macomber was referring the views of the Klan or Aryan Nations, not those held by 70-SOMETHING PERCENT OF THE POPULATION!!! Are that many of us really racists, or are we just stupid, Shawn? Am I intellectually and morally suspect simply because I want our immigration laws to be enforced? Am I suddenly some kind of extremist because I'd like to know who's entering my country in wartime? I'd expect this from some twit with the Freedom Socialist Party, but from the American Spectator? Friends like these, indeed...
-- Scott Stambaugh

How dare you attack Lou Dobbs? Maybe you should be working for the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ writers are always sneaking in inflammatory statements like yours.
-- Miffed

About the demonstration described by Mr. Macomber:

Events such as the one described by Mr. Macomber cannot be understood by those who insist upon seeing them as matters that happen in a world based upon logic. In San Francisco, tar pit of America's political left, mass demonstrations are two parts political, five parts ecclesiastical, and three parts psychotherapeutic.

I once covered a "peace rally" staged in the plaza across from city hall, an event dedicated to preventing the first Gulf War. I heard a "representative of the Palestinians" squeal about imperialists, and then thank those of his "lavender brethren" who turned out to support him. I chatted with five people in silly clothing, painted faces and great big shoes, who carried a sign that said "Clowns for Peace." A man held captive in a huge sandwich-board wrapped in strands of barbed wire gave me a leaflet that said Richard Nixon was in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and that he orchestrated the assassination of a president. A sign nailed to a tree gave the time and place of a three hour seminar on "How to Give Yourself a Face Lift with a Hand-Held Vibrator."

Representatives of all dozens of loony committees, alliances, associations, coalitions, leagues, guilds and networks were there, strutting their stuff, carrying semi-literate placards, and blathering their various creeds. They were united in a grand effort, not to convert the masses or to advance an agenda, but to piss off mom and dad. In order to make themselves believe they were not losers and alone in the world, they let the TV cameras make them look like an accumulation of rational adults speaking in a single voice, with a single sane objective, worthy of respect.

By mid-afternoon I'd had enough, so I caught a cab that dropped me at a corner where I could get a bus home. As I waited, a homeless man spread a huge American flag out on the sidewalk, then laid his bedroll down on it. As he settled in for the night, a platinum blond waif of indeterminate gender, in a black cocktail dress and earth shoes, sprayed obscene anti-war graffiti on the wall behind him. A few minutes after that, a second homeless man sat down on the flag, and fell in love with the first man; shortly thereafter, the two consummated their passion, right there on the sidewalk, wrapped in a flag. Children on their way home from school watched in cautious alarm.

Then, as if an answer to a prayer, a police car squealed to a stop. The driver bounded out, ignored the two bums in flagrante delicto, then ticketed two cars parked in the bus zone and drove away.

It's not a city. It's the weedy, seedy habitat of half a million waltzing white mice. And if the Democrats recapture Congress the harpy who represents these creatures will surely be Speaker of the House, and quite possibly the bottom of the next presidential ticket, should Hillary's efforts come to naught. Be afraid, be very afraid.
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

RETURN ENGAGEMENT
Re: Rick Arand's letter (under "Deconstructing Siobhan) in Reader Mail's Salt of the Earth and Doug Bandow's Liberalism Unbound:

I noticed Rick Arand is regularly published in the "letter to the editor" section of The American Spectator. Given that I felt it necessary to answer his misunderstanding of my note regarding Bandow's "Liberalism Unbound" article condemning Ms. Magazine for asking women who have had abortions to support the right to a legal abortion through petitions and other political action.

While Bandow did not use the words, "You are condemned," to women, he did say that killing a six week old fetus was equivalent to killing an eight year old. Medically that is not true and legally it is not true. While Bandow may not have hurled condemnation at women, Arand certainly did, pointing out that God's love was not a "free pass." Hmm. I'm not sure who he might be speaking for there...

I think it is the responsibility of all those opposed to abortion for any reason to address root causes of abortion, such as domestic abuse and violence, the cost of healthcare and the gender politics that allow men like Bandow to cast stones at women everywhere. While Arand dismisses domestic violence, many churches and government agencies don't. Perhaps he should get more informed on the issue. Dealing with root causes costs money and time, and neither political party has any money to spend on domestic issues these days because of the billions spent unsuccessfully every day in Iraq.

With respect to Jesus I think he may also have said "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Rather than fire and brimstone of Bush and the conservative right I think all of us in the United States would welcome less judgment and more help, less "power over" and more "power under," through service and dealing with real problems people face, not hurling condemnation at everyone. A real problem is domestic abuse. A false problem is a "war on terrorism" when terrorism is a tactic, not a country, people or belief system.

I think Ms. is employing a good political strategy, asking women to stand up and stand out for what they believe in. When that happens the conservatives will realize their churches and houses are made of glass... then what?
-- Siobhan Kolar
Geneva, Illinois

BEN & JERRY BUILT
Re: Joel Miller & Jeremy Lott's In Defense of Feel Good Capitalism:

While I agree with Milton Friedman that the sole purpose of a business is to earn a profit, that doesn't mean that profits are the only result of that pursuit. Businesses contribute the greatest social benefit to society, a benefit far greater than the contributions of environmental organizations, one that only businesses can offer, and the one social benefit that most of society's members covet above all others -- jobs.

Without jobs, governments receive no revenues from taxes and environmental organizations die from lack of donations. Families aren't fed and children aren't clothed. Cities wither. Businesses can only provide jobs if they survive, and they can survive only if they relentlessly pursue profits. It's odd that as GM and Ford die, no one complains that they pursue profits too vigorously and lack concern for global warming; instead, everyone laments the loss of JOBS!
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

If the Eco-freaks can feel good about Ben & Jerry's, why can't I feel good about getting a good price at Wal-Mart? The value added to some feel good products is generated by tearing down the value added of other products. I prefer that when such tactics are used, they are mostly honest. When Medicine Men sold elixirs that were alleged to cure nearly everything, they were called charlatans because it was all a flim-flam. It sounds like it is all right to pay premium price for placebos. Capitalism works better when the truth is at least available.

The latest snake oil to be sold is that the cost of capturing and storing CO2 to prevent global warming will be shared by power producers and the consumers. (page 75, September '06, Scientific American) Ben & Jerry's may be sharing the cost of feeding the hungry with no ill economic effects but, I think Ford Motor, BP and General Electric might want to get better advice before they incorporate saving the planet into their products.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

PLAMELESS
Re: Andrew Cline's Time for Answers From the Times and Caley's letter in Reader Mail's No Answer This Time:

Re: Caley's response to Andrew Cline's Time for Answers From the Times:

Excuse the delay in responding to Caley -- I left my breakfast on my keyboard after reading this unadulterated trash and it took some time to clean it up. Caley must be in a quandary about who to blame first: America or the Bush White House. I am confused by the "A CONCERTED CONSPIRACEY [sic] TO DISCREDIT JOE WILSON AND HIS WIFE WHO WAS WORKING ON IRAQ INTEL." statement. Is this a MoveOn dot org myrmidon scoop? I was unaware that Ms. Plame was working on "IRAQ INTEL." Wilson was sent to Niger (at her behest) ostensibly to determine whether Iraq was trying to obtain yellow-cake to further their nuclear program.

Wilson and spouse need no help in getting discredited -- they did a fine job on their own. You come close to the truth with your Armitage statement but, he worked for Powell when both were in the State Department. Neither of them was a fan of President Bush and I would posit that any "CONCERTED CONSPIRACEY [sic] TO DISCREDIT" anyone came from the Armitage/Powell team's efforts in trying to destroy the president.
I am becoming increasingly weary of you MoveOn types acting like the south end of a north bound horse -- repeating whatever negatives you get from your masters without giving a thought to the veracity of what you spread.
As to hating America, I would suggest that you should think first before casting the first stone.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

I think it is time for all who've purchased lying-Joe Wilson's book (I'm definitely not one of those) to personally sue him in order to recoup misspent monies. What a message that would send. Taxpayers should also seek refunds on tax money spent on this investigation from the drive-by media, especiallty the NY Times.

The special presecutor should be charged with fraudulently spending the people's hard earned money. I see no defference between Fitzgerald's action and those of bank robbers.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

It is not a conspiracy to defend oneself in the public arena. To demand that an administration stand mute in the face of egregious lies and slander is in itself insane. To continue an investigation after the initiating question has been answered is criminal misuse of process.
-- Walter E. Wallis
Palo Alto, California

If Mr. Fitzgerald knew in the first week who leaked Valerie Plame's name and then proceeded to lure Scooter Libby into his trap, then he is guilty of entrapment. Certainly there is some misconduct or ethics procedure that can be brought against him.
-- Rod Rentz
Alma, Georgia

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article