Reader Mail

No Answer This Time

Waiting for the Times to come clean. Plus other dirty thoughts. Also: All jazzed up. The Indonesia experience. And much more.

9.8.06

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BACK TO THE SOURCE
Re: Andrew Cline's Time for Answers From the Times:

Knowing who was the original source does not change the conspiracy that was led by Rove, Libby Cheney et al. to discredit the woman who was working on intelligence re: Iraq WMD. If is what was done after Armitage mouthed off that is the problem...A CONCERTED CONSPIRACEY TO DESCREDIT JOE WILSON AND HIS WIFE WHO WAS WORKING ON IRAQ INTEL. Why do you hate America?
-- Caley

Thank you Andrew Cline for casting light on the New York Times. The "slimy Times" needs to suffer the consequences for its partisan driven fallacious reporting and editorializing. The naked persistence of this newspaper to spew its propaganda with the clear intent to bring down the Bush administration is breathtaking. The moniker "Newspaper of record" is ridiculous and no longer applies since its staff has shown a propensity to make up the "facts." We need more people like Mr. Cline to make sure that the Times is exposed and properly scorned.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

I would like to know why Fitzgerald told Richard Armitage to keep his mouth shut after being told it was he that has talked to Novak. Fitzgerald knew the answer to the question he had been hired to find out in the first few days, but kept digging. He just had to charge someone with something or he would have been thought to be useless. Of course what Libby was charged with had nothing to do with what Fitzgerald was hired to find out. Leave it to the liberals and the MSM to cover this up.
-- Elaine Kyle

I think the real question here is whether the New York City Times-Democrat-Picayune can be considered a real newspaper anymore. It is obvious that their editors and publisher are so wedded to their anti-Bush hatred and their political correctness that they are incapable of responsible and accurate reporting on this, or any other issue. Don't forget that they censored their own sports staff for having the gall to disagree with the company's editorial stance regarding the membership policies of a golf club in Georgia. This was hardly an earth-shaking issue yet the company line must be maintained at all cost. No dissent will be tolerated.

But, the message was clear and it was received by the reporting staff loud and clear. You either follow the company line or you go. If the facts don't agree with the editorial page, make up new facts. This latest editorial is a case in point.

The New York City Times-Democrat-Picayune is so wedded to the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame hero and George Bush/Karl Rove et al. villains theme that anything else is unacceptable. So, it wasn't a vast, deep and dark White House conspiracy but rather Richard Armitage's unthinking remarks to a reporter. Adults should be able to say, "We were wrong (per Mr. Corn)." Unfortunately the managerial staff of the New York City newspaper is incapable of such an admission. Too bad.

Unfortunately the rest of the so-called "mainstream news media" takes their cue from this rag. Even though the other major newspapers (Washington Post, et al.) disagree, the networks follow the lead of the times. So, the American people get a distorted view of the truth.

I think the ultimate solution is new management at the New York Times. Their financials have been declining and sooner or later the stockholders will revolt. Mr. Sulzberger needs to think seriously about this or his newspaper will go the way of the New York Herald. Properly run, with good, fair and balanced reporting, with the news pages separated from the opinion pages, the New York Times can be a valuable national resource again. As it is right now, it is only good for wrapping garbage in.
-- Gilbert R. Ohlson
St. Joseph, Missouri

It's worth noting that the Times can't even get intelligence terminology right. In the lingo of the trade, a CIA employee is an "officer," not an "agent." An "agent" is somebody, usually a foreign national, recruited by an officer to provide intelligence, usually against their own nation for reasons of money, ideology, conscience, or ego (MICE, in trade jargon). A "spy" is somebody working for the bad guys. So Plame was an agent for whom?
-- John Ortmann
Johnstown, Nebraska

Quoting from the Washington Post: "...It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously." It is unfortunate for Scooter Libby and the White Houses' polling numbers. Wilson, and his media allies set out to do damage, and they succeeded. That was all that mattered.

As much as these ostensibly credible news papers have something to answer for, so does Senator Chucky Schumer. Can we start revealing how far into this "Plame/Wilson affair" he is involved?
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

The N.Y. Times cannot be compelled to explain itself on Plamegate, but the Wilsons themselves have created a forum -- the civil suit they filed against Karl Rove, et al. -- under which they can be forced to come clean. Suppose the defendants filed a counterclaim for $500 million or so, dropped a couple of thousand pages of discovery demands in the petitioners laps, and then subpoenaed the Wilsons for depositions. If the Wilsons have limited net worth, they would soon be driven to bankruptcy; if instead they are zillionaires and can respond, the Republicans would have available to them leaks, leaks, leaks, forever.
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Joe Wilson wrote a book of more than 500 pages titled: The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity. Perhaps the New York Times is waiting for the publishers to move that tome from nonfiction to a fiction genre before telling us what it really thinks.
-- Stan Welli
Aurora, Illinois

The New York Times has absolutely no credibility with anyone who engages their brain on a regular basis. The idea that it is the "paper of record" is hopelessly outdated. It is a laughing stock in the world of credible journalism. How many of its reporters have been disgraced? How many stories have been fabricated? How many invincibly ignorant columnists does it employ? Writing about it the Times your fine publication is a waste of time. Just sit back and watch as it slowly withers and dies, a victim of its own hubris.
-- Robert Blanchette
St. David, Arizona

You can bet your bottom dollar their will not be a correction published. The Times managed to do what they do best, slam Bush, for the sake of slamming Bush. They will not issue a retraction or correction, but let all their gullible sheep believe everything is Bush's fault.
-- Dave Vascek
Cleveland, Ohio

Thank God the NYT remains true to form and completely misses the point yet again. I'm not ready for the world to end at this time.
-- Karl Auerbach
Eden, Utah

ALL THAT JAZZ
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s A Post-Katrina SOS:

Alas, Katrina did not provide a near fatal blow to the New Orleans Jazz scene, but rather "The Big Easy," once again, is the cause of its own undoing.

Bourbon Street might have been the once proud home of Jazz and Dixieland, but prior to the arrival of the, storm the only remnants of this "original American art form" were hear at little nooks-and-crannies and outlying clubs (i.e., Tipatina's, Maple Leaf Bar, and Snug Harbor.) The Dukes of Dixieland, Dr. John, Alvin Batiste and other similar type performers were seldom, if even, heard as one strolled Rue Bourbon.

Catering to those with the greater alcohol tolerance and more disposable income, Buffett's Margaritaville and Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues are now more the norm. My dismay during a recent pre-Katrina walk down Bourbon Street was not rank commercialism had taken over the Vieux Carre, but rather that my ears were assailed with the current fare and the traditional unamplified and nuanced fare could not compete in an such an open-air arena.

Hopefully, the brunch locales of The Court of Two Sisters, Palm Court Cafe and Arnaud's along with musicians' desires to fill the musical void will be the catalysts to sustain local musicians and truly revive the musical flavor of the city
-- Rick Osial
Montclair, Virginia
(Resident of Nawlins from '87 - '92)

Any and all private efforts to rescue, salvage or otherwise save the heritage of New Orleans jazz are a matter of complete indifference to me. I'm not a fan of the music, so the passing of the performance of it, in its birthplace, would give me no cause to mourn. However I understand and appreciate that some people feel otherwise, and that's great, I applaud their efforts to come to the aid of that which they love.

Except...except...efforts like the one Tyrrell lauds serve the larger purpose of helping to rebuild and "bring back" the city to its former state, or better, with the overwhelming lion's share of the cost of that grand scheme paid with taxpayer dollars. And unless I missed it, nobody in Washington bothered to ask taxpayers if it was a good idea to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild a city which is geographically sited in about the worse place imaginable (below sea level, nearly surrounded by water, and in the zone for frequent hurricane strikes); a city with a long history and tradition of corruption; and a city which, by all accounts, was in most other ways one of the most dysfunctional urban centers in the country.

Plenty of polls showed that plenty of people thought the reconstruction not such a good idea, but the polls and the people's voice were ignored or disregarded (no great surprise). And despite early promises that rebuilding the levee system would protect the city -- and therefore justify and insure the expenditure of so much of the people's money -- the Corps of Engineers now acknowledges that, even after work is complete, the city will still be vulnerable to severe flooding from even a Category 3 hurricane.

I don't wish to sound cynical or appear stingy, but it bothers me that this whole gargantuan effort seems to be motivated by nine parts of emotion and political calculus, and one part of reason and common sense.

I dare say that even after the rebuilding, the insurance companies won't be writing too many policies in New Orleans. And that pretty much says all that needs to be said.
-- C. Vail

I read Bob Tyrrell's article about rebuilding New Orleans with some interest. I used to play trumpet years ago and currently thrash around with a guitar and attempt to beat a Hammond organ into submission with both my hands and feet -- but I digress. When he mentioned Home Depot and Wal-Mart and their substantial efforts to help rebuild New Orleans it reminded me of a news article I had read about home building materials packages offered by the Lowes home improvement chain. They are much like the Sears catalog home packages that used to be available years ago. The new version is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and has concrete-board siding for water resistance. The packages are going to first be offered in the southern regions of the USA in the hurricane damaged areas with possible plans to expand on market areas into other regions. The houses are designed so that in theory a crew of decent carpenters should be able to put one together in six weeks or so. Property owners provide foundation and heat/air systems. I think it's a splendid idea and I hope that Lowes will have great success with this adventure if people in the affected area are made aware of it.

I'm not a shareholder in Lowes either. Matter of fact, I shop at Home Depot.
-- Bryan Frymire
Louisville, Kentucky

INDO-JIHAD
Re: Doug Bandow's Indonesia's Religion of Peace:

In addition to being the world's fourth largest county Indonesia is perhaps the world's most open Islamic one (or perhaps Turkey, UAE, or even some other could claim that, I don't know the specifics). Nevertheless, that is still a very relative term.

"Open" in this context means that a Christian foreigner might have to wait only two years to receive a visa (if one is forthcoming at all) and might then get to live there a full fourteen years before being kicked out. At least, that was what my family experienced as my parents served there as Baptist missionaries from 1966 though 1979.

If Islam can indeed peacefully coexist with other religions there is no better place for its followers to prove that than in Indonesia. As an archipelago it is naturally geographically isolated against easy infusion of foreign insurgents (presumably a water-borne Ho Jihadist Minh Trail would be difficult).

As longstanding allies our countries share common interests. Having sided with us during the Cold War we owe them our allegiance; having gotten out of the way as their nation was born they owe us theirs. And such mutual allegiance does indeed seem to be felt, as just last month the two countries signed a document of cooperation on defense issues, indicating, as I understand it, a commitment to share intelligence, training, and logistics.

And while few in the U.S. seem to know much about Indonesia, the Islamic world is very aware of their largest member. So much so that they often suggest that their big brother act more "Islamic." But Indonesians need to know that their future lies in embracing freedom, not suppressing it; the U.S. is their friend, not their enemy; and their enemies are murderous terrorists, not Christian teachers.

Prior to the economic meltdown of the late 1990s Indonesia appeared to be the most promising of all the Asian economic tigers. The collapse came, not because of any lack of opportunity or ability, but because the country was eaten from within by cancerous corruption.

And while it is true that corruption cannot be eradicated overnight, neither does economic success occur on a long-term basis without economic freedom. And economic freedom does not exist in a vacuum; it is a subset of all freedom. And there is no true freedom whatsoever without religious freedom. And religious freedom can't exist on a theoretical basis alone; if it's not practicable it is imperfect. Or non-existent, to be more accurate.

Mr. Bandow referred to the Indonesian majority as "friendly." I will take that a step further and suggest that, for the most part, a friendlier group of people one would be hard-pressed to find. We need to do what we can to support this Indonesian friendly majority as they work with us towards our common goals. Indonesians, in turn, need to do their part by allowing religious freedom to exist and flourish.
-- R. Trotter (Indonesian Crop of 1967)
Arlington, Virginia

BRINKSMANSHIP
Re: Christopher Orlet's Containment Redux:

I take issue with the following assertion:

"In other words, the U.S. armed forces, despite being the greatest military machine in the history of the planet, has been rendered obsolete by a few rag tag bands of goat herders with Iranian rocket launchers and death wishes."

On the contrary, we have the absolute capability to destroy our enemies, but have elected not to. Far from being obsolete, our military has simply not been employed to anything like its potential. Perhaps for good reasons or perhaps not, we have chosen to very narrowly define our enemy in this case as only those direct members of organizations seeking to do us arm, and generally dealing gently with their supporters and support infrastructure. An analogy to our effort in Iraq, for example, would have been, during WWII, to destroy the Wehrmacht and capture Hitler, but perhaps not annihilate Germany's industrial capacity and subjugate its population.

We have developed a concept that the people who comprise some of these societies that spawn our current vexatious enemy are merely victims of corrupt and evil dictators. I suspect that ultimately, by dealing with these situations with kid gloves rather than brass knuckles, the very populations that we seek to protect will suffer the greater harm in aggregate over time.
--

REQUIRED READING
Re: Theodore R. Kennedy's Advice to Proto-Freshman:

Thanks to Mr. Kennedy for summarizing the kind of information I wish I'd had before entering university.

To the reader: If you know a proto-freshman, beg him or her to read this. Please, for all of us.
-- Erik Litvinchuk
Sacramento, California

SHREVE PORT
Re: Reader Mail's Why Knot?:

In his letter today, Mr. Ken Shreve writes, "We are constantly told that our diversity is our strength. That is unmitigated bovine excrement." That is precisely the case, because the truth is that the opposite is true. There was a time when we realized this. Look at the slogan on one of the flags used prior to and during The American Revolutionary War, "Unite or Die!" below the picture of a segmented snake. "In union there is strength," is what the labor unions used to tell us, before multi-cultural morons began to infest our society. And remember the motto on our currency, "E Pluribus Unum," which translates "Out of many, one," and not "Out of one, many," as noted jackass Al Gore once rendered it.

If our society continues on its current path to Balkanized fragmentation, my Grandchildren will not enjoy the luxury of living in a free society. Multi-cultural diversity be damned! Recall the words of Mr. Franklin (I think), "If we do not hang together, we shall all hang, separately." In the face of the enemy we must overcome, fanatics who wish to kill us all, because we are not dead and do not accept their evil "religion," there is no viable course of action but to unite and defeat them. The alternative is that they ultimately prevail, and we descend into a 7th Century Hell on Earth. On that cheerful note, I shall conclude my comments.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

Ken Shreve points out in his Reader Mail about Jed Babbin's Rumsfeld piece that the Secretary has accomplished the monstrous task of transforming our military away from WWII ideas and into the 21st century necessities. Even through the turf and bureaucratic battles.

I'd like to ask both Ken and Jed one question. If the chain of command and following orders are so important to our military success as we all know they to be, then why the battles? Can't the Secretary, under orders from the Commander in Chief, simply direct those under him?

And if they don't comply can't they be court marshaled and sent to prison?

This concept has always confused me. I understand if those at State or the CIA play these games (even pushing the envelope of treason as we've seen in the last six years) but I really thought the military would be above it all.

If my younger brother, a twenty one year retired Air Force enlisted man, can follow orders you'd think those in the upper hierarchy of command could forgo the politics and do the right thing.
-- Greg Barnard
Naive in Franklin, Tennessee

Mr. Frost wrote commenting of my praise of Sec. Def. Rumsfeld and his tenure in office. Mr. Frost uses an example of actions not taken in Fallujah by the Marines as prima facie evidence of why Mr. Rumsfeld should go. Let me say that I totally concur with Mr. Frost as to the advisability of fighting the war in Iraq in a much more vigorous manner. Where Mr. Frost and I part company is the laying of blame as to the decisions that have resulted in this PC war-fighting.

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and was always interested in history and government. I have discovered that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It is my belief that the unfortunate rules of engagement foisted on the military in Iraq can, most likely, be traced to the bureaucracy within the bowels of the State Dept. in Foggy Bottom, and that they pre-date the tenure of Condi Rice as Sec. of State. In this they are undoubtedly emboldened by the flag ranks of the JAG, which has shown a willingness to obstruct Sec. Rumsfeld and the Bush administration at almost every turn.

Within the confines of the Oval Office, it seems pretty clear that Sec. Rumsfeld has won more battles than he has lost. It also seems clear to me that this is one battle that he lost to the Sec. of State and that the ultimate decision on strategy was take by the President himself. We must also remember that the Congress has a plethora of ways that they protect their bureaucratic favorites and influence (behind the scenes) the President himself. I would give you Sen. McCain and his, almost, one man jihad against the use of coercive methods of interrogation as an example.

Mr. Frost, I would like to agree with you that the war needs to be fought much more vigorously. I do, however, believe that the fault for not doing so lies, as they say, "above Sec. Rumsfeld's pay grade." I could be wrong, but my years of observation would not suggest that to be the case. Thank you for your comment and kind words, sir.
-- Ken Shreve

TIE ONE ON
Re: Larry Thornberry's The Ties That Choke:

Most men who believe their neckties choke them likely are buying shirts with collars two sizes too small. Men, here are the four rules of happy tie-wearing. If you deviate from them in any particular, gentlemen will laugh at you behind your back.

1. Buy shirts with collars that fit you comfortably. If the only shirts you can find with collars that fit you are so big and baggy that you look like a clown, have shirts made to measure.

2. Buy proper ties. If you don't know what a proper tie (or a proper shirt, for that matter) is, then buy them only from J. Press or Ben Silver, who will never steer you wrong. Well, almost never.

3. Until you have trained them thoroughly, discourage your lady friends from attempting to buy shirts or ties for you. If you cannot dissuade them, send them to one of the two stores just mentioned, or to their respective websites.

4. The minute as you get a tie home, Scotchgard that sucker.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia


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