Reader Mail

Hearts of Hardness

Belgian and other profiles. Giving up the fight. Looking for a fight. Plus: Australia's leading GOP basher. And more.


Re: Jed Babbin's Profiling and Fascism:

In his article "Profiling and Fascism," Jed Babbin stated that "[a]nyone familiar with the least important member of the Axis of Cheese will tell you that French is easier to learn than Dutch…"; this is most decidedly not true. I am fluent in the Dutch language and as Germanic language it is linguistically much closer to English than French. This is especially so grammatically. French on the other hand is like a violent perversion of Latin, another language with which I am conversant, and is far more different than English. English has borrowed a great many words from French, but they normally only complement pre-existing "Saxon" words. In fact, were we to strip away all of the "French" words from the English language, we would lose richness and variety in our vocabulary, but the basic language would remain intact.

However, I do agree with the assertion you make in your article and concur that Belgium is an accident of history, coincidentally for religious reasons, and should never have existed in the first place. Undoing this error now, however, would be pointless. Most Western European countries have, in my estimation, two generations of "freedom" left to them. This is partially our fault, they didn't (for the most part) have to pay for that freedom (WWII liberation) in their own blood, so they do not value it. Furthermore, they were allowed to "eat their cake and have it too" during the Cold War by being allowed to ride our protective coattails and shelter under our umbrella without paying full fare.

So that you do not think, I 'm merely some opinionated Yank living in Hicksville, USA, who has never ventured from these shores, I lived 19 years and eight months in Germany and the Netherlands. I speak Dutch and German and understand the peoples of both countries.
-- Frank White
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thanks to Jed Babbin for pointing out what should be obvious to anyone concerned about national security during these perilous times. Protecting innocent people from radical jihadists is a daunting and thankless task because it is clear that no one has resources sufficient enough to check everyone boarding an airplane. Does that mean no one should be scrutinized or that every ethnic group be searched in exact proportion to their percentage of the population? That is a position supported only by the terrorists and those who view everything through the filter of race. Logic dictates that attempts to minimize the danger posed by extremists should center on those most likely to carry out the attacks. Overwhelming evidence supports the idea that Muslim males between 17 and 45 years of age represent the vast majority of individuals engaging in these actions. To ignore this in an effort to not offend anyone is incredibly stupid and dangerous. If that means that some Middle Eastern tourists experience an inconvenient search or are eyed suspiciously by airport security officers, so be it.

I agree with Mr. Babbin's and the President's description of these murderous thugs as "Islamic fascists." As for the comments of Ibrahim Hooper, it seems like the tactic of choice for anyone losing a debate these days is to deploy the race card. Calling your opponent a racist is often nothing more than an acknowledgement that you cannot make your case by citing credible evidence or win over those with differing views because your position is bereft of persuasive arguments. I hope Jed never stops reminding us of the difference between real fascism and the "fuzzy-brained" sensibilities of those whose ideology won't support the reality that we live in dangerous world and that there are people out there who aim to destroy us and our way of life.
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

"The Belgians are -- in the words of a retired Air Force officer who shall remain nameless -- 'French wannabes. Can you imagine such a low form of life?'"

On behalf of my 82 year old [Flemish] Belgian war bride mother, I suggest Mr. Babbin has failed to affirm one of the most fundamental human associations, to wit, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Mr. Leterme was expressing his fundamental disgust with Francophone Belgians, which makes Mr. Leterme an enemy of our enemy, and hence our friend. Lighten up, Mr. Babbin, and try a Stella Artois, you'll be grateful!

Regarding profiling, where is the hand wringing when youthful males are crucified by automobile insurance companies, regardless of their driving record? Where is the rending of garments when men are charged higher life insurance premiums because of their regrettable tendency to leave this earth for their eternal reward or damnation sooner than their better halves? On the other hand, when those same better halves are charged higher disability insurance premiums for living "too long", there is a Pamplona-like stampede of Attorneys General to argue against the "unconstitutionality" of the hopelessly undeniable actuarial statistics.

Bottom line, the Left's most sacred commandment, chiseled into stone at the time of the French Revolution, is "everybody or nobody," also known as uncompromising egalitarianism. No winners, no losers, as Winston Churchill once noted, "an equal distribution of misery." The commandment "everybody or nobody" applies to every earthly activity, airline passenger screening merely being the topic-du-jour. The Left understands that a chink in the armor of "everybody or nobody" when it comes to airline passenger screening might also imply a more rational Social Security or Medicare. It would also fly in the face of socialized medicine, for which Hillary planned to enforce the "everybody or nobody" commandment by criminalizing fee-for-service care.

Mr. Babbin and the rest of us will not get rational airline passenger screening until a majority of Americans has lost a relative to a readily identifiable group of people who are blindly permitted to exploit the "everybody or nobody" commandment. As horrific as 9/11 here and 7/7 there was, too many Americans continue to subscribe to "everybody or nobody" for Congress to recognize any need for action.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

One of the "typical Belgian" things about Mr. Yves Leterme, the premier of the Flemish region, is that his name is obviously French. Perhaps that is the cause of "hardness of heart."
-- Philip Sandstrom

Re: David Hogberg's The Netroots' Iraq Advantage:

David Hogberg says: "The Iraq War is one that is still very much worth fighting."

Okay David...then why aren't you over there fighting it? Or arguing for an increase in taxes to pay for it? Or for reinstating the draft so that we can have enough troops to get the job done? I do not know of a single Democrat arguing the case for "surrender." I know of a lot of Democrats, Independents, and an increasing number of Republicans who are saying that we are in a hopeless, internal conflict between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis, one that is likely to continue for many years.
-- Dean Apostol
Damascus, Oregon

Before fretting that the majority of Americans are ready to embrace Ned Lamont and the real John Kerry lets remember the drive-by media was telling us in 1972, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2004 the Democrats were going to sweep into power and "save America from the real enemy -- Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush [41 & 43] and Republicans." They were wrong.Â

Since 68% of likely voters aren't focusing on the November elections right now, let's hold off on the grape Kool-Aid. Even better let's begin telling everyone why they should vote for Republicans -- greatest economy in 60 years, no new taxes in 5 years, no terrorist attacks on the U.S in 5 years and Republicans take protecting your children from terrorists, murderers and pedophiles seriously. If you doubt the last you don't live anywhere near a Democrat-run urban cesspool.Â

If all else fails and the Democrats retake power then when Muslim imperialists start killing Democrats in the U.S. (a majority of Northeasterners and Left Coasters) then maybe they'll understand it's better to fight them in their backyard than ours. Prayerfully, that nightmare scenario remains a dream of the Muslim imperialists and not a reality. But if it does become reality they'll wish the American they fear the most, George W. Bush, was still President.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and Dean,
That's a quartet to set the scene
For American troops to cut and run
Before peace in Iraq has barely begun.

Show them democracy
Then snatch it away
Who cares how many Iraqis
Will have to pay

With their lives and worse
As they return to the curse
Of their land in the grip of Saddam Hussein,
Harry Reid and his like shouting "Long may he reign!."

We've done it before
We can do it once more.
Hold out freedom and then
Pull it back in again.

To those of our heroes who fell in the fight
To bring Mid-Eastern people into the light,
Let our tears soak your graves like falling rain.
You gave up your lives. It was all in vain.

But be reassured that our defeat
Will empower the liberal blue state elite.
And send to lead us as was foreseen
Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and Dean.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

Re: Manon McKinnon's Democrats, Elections, and Ideas:

Manon McKinnon's article addresses, albeit obliquely, an issue which has troubled me for some time:

As Conservatives look out on the landscape and see Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, et al. on the radio, Fox News on Cable & the dwindling ratings being drawn by the nightly news shows on the Big 3 networks, we engage in the delusion that we are "winning."

It simply isn't the case. Oh, that doesn't mean we cannot win or even that we're going to lose, just that we exaggerate the inroads we've made to becoming the dominant ideology in the United States.

Our President has lousy poll numbers (yes, polls are often manipulated, but it's foolish to discount them entirely). To some extent, it's his own fault because he'll only defend his policies sporadically and he's never willing to simply say "This particular idea (insert specific description) of the Democrats is stupid because..." To a much greater extent, though, it's because the voices in the media on our side are a garden hose to the fire hose of the Democrat/Liberal-friendly MSM.

We got stuck with campaign finance "reform" because W. didn't want to spend political capital trying to defend the First Amendment with a veto against what he knew would be an onslaught of MSM criticism. He knew the vast majority of voters still get their "news" from sources controlled by and/or sympathetic to the political opposition, and he knew the dominant story line would be "Bush favors dirty campaigns over honest government" unless he was willing to adopt a "take no prisoners" approach to defending a veto (which would involve challenging John McCain's judgment directly, etc.). He came to the conclusion that the cost of winning that debate was too high -- especially when (he thought) the Supreme Court would solve the worst of the law's problems by declaring those provisions unconstitutional.

Now, I disagree with the calculation. The purpose of the law wasn't to clean up elections, it was to protect incumbents in the short term and to confer an advantage on candidates favored by the MSM in the long term (and any Republican who can't see that or, worse, who doesn't care ought to be run out of town). Moreover, the idea that political speech can be regulated and, in some instances, even prohibited, while pornography is the most protected speech in the land, is nuts.

But it is a calculation forced by the power which continues to be enjoyed by the MSM. And that power shows up in other ways, as noted by McKinnon.

All Limbaugh et al. have accomplished is gaining enough of a seat at the table that the MSM is no longer able to simply ignore us. While that's an accomplishment worth celebrating, it hardly puts us in the driver's seat where the direction of public policy is concerned.
-- Brad Bettin
Melbourne, Florida

"Democrats, Elections, and Ideas" by Manon McKinnon hits the nail squarely. Look at how much socialism has incrementally insinuated itself into American thinking. When Benjamin Franklin said "Compassion which breeds debilitating dependency and weakness is counter-productive," the average public-school student today shrugs and says "Ben who?"

We Republicans must fight this lethargy. That we have the Presidency and the Congress is just a firebreak against the onslaught of the Whatever Culture. Here in Massachusetts, the Democrats have sunk the state yet they remain popular. It is a testament to the power of the media, and to the intimidation and peer pressure that leftists always use to exert authority. There are good signs, however. Even the most sedentary mind can recognize a good idea. We must continue to put our message out. As "active" people seeking to maintain liberty with vigilance and vigor, we must personally demonstrate the higher, better and more challenging way.
-- Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Ms. McKinnon is quite right about the ideas that are and have been "out there." Given my age (qualified senior citizen), I can remember when a lot of these ideas were introduced. I remember when, as Gov. of Maryland, Spiro Agnew stood up to the "peace movement" that was really an anarchy movement, and was crucified in the press because of it. Even back then, the public was of a different mind set than the press. Even back then the press was determined to affect a societal change that had nothing to do with actually reporting the day's events.

It has not taken long for the Left, spearheaded by the press, to work their propagandistic wonders. Back in the early '60s it was still possible to find whole universities where the faculties were overwhelmingly centrist and right leaning. The University of Maryland was one such when I attended and graduated there. The campus veteran's club was larger and more active than SDS on our campus back then, and there was hardly a feminist in sight. Ah, but early on the education departments of colleges and universities became Marxist to the core, and thus spread their poison and their influence. Now the world of academe and the whole education industry is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Socialist utopians.

Remember back in the '60s when Hollywood had actors that were real patriots, and many were also centrist or right leaning? Remember when Hollywood made war movies where America was the good guy and actually won the war? Now Hollywood is the high tech megaphone for the one-world, Socialist utopian, movement.

With rare exceptions here and there (Spiro Agnew), there has been one constant. The GOP elite, both elected and non-elected, has surrendered the philosophical and verbal landscape, with little or no real fight, to the Socialist left. Whenever some GOP politician unwittingly utters a word that someone, somewhere claims is offensive, the press picks up the ball and runs with it, and the politician suffers spinal fracture bending over backwards fawning and apologizing, all to no avail. When the Left utters even worse slurs and are called on it, they tell the public to "get over it" and to shut up, and the public does so. Look at the current flap over Sen. Allen's use of the word "macaca" which someone says is offensive in some unknown non-English language. Allen's only real offense is being careless and using a word that he, himself, does not know the meaning of. I would wager that a majority of Virginia voters would have been happier if Allen had told the press and the victim industry to "get a life."

This is a perhaps overlong way of saying that the GOP's pacifism and lack of self confidence has been a large part of the reason that Mr. McKinnon is so right about the bogus, even harmful, ideas that have taken root in our society. The Bush administration has steadfastly refused to take on the NY Times and the press over the publishing of state secrets during time of war. All they want to do is "change the tone."

When you are prone to giving up without a fight, the other side has zero incentive to "play by the rules" or compromise. Instead they just rewrite the rules to suit themselves whenever they wish. Meanwhile a huge segment the American public simply tune in "American Idol" or "reality TV" while planning their next shopping trip, or party, or night out on the town. Our country is being invaded by illegal aliens and is being changed forever, and vast swaths of the public are plotting how to get someone else (the government?) to subsidize their next vacation or favorite toy. Sooner rather than later I will no longer know or care. It will be someone else's concern. Maybe! Hopefully!
-- Ken Shreve

Regarding Ms. McKinnon's article, most of us in the heartland have had great summer's entertainment watching the implosion of the Democrats. They are patting themselves on the back and proclaiming victory. This gives us great hope because of a truism my mother told me years ago. As a child if I became too excited at the idea of something that had yet to manifest itself, my mother would remind me that the smart person waits until the event takes place before celebrating. That old idea of not counting your chicken 'til the eggs hatched sort of thing.

The Democrats read polls like tea leaves. It perplexes me how they believe that if people dislike the war it means we are ready to cut and run. What sane person likes war?!! How is that question ever going to produce a majority voting for it. Even those of us from "warrior families," whose kinfolk serve and protect and fight, would not vote yes on that question. Still, it doesn't mean we don't believe in the mission and know that success in Iraq serves America and failure entices more terrorists than we can count.

The party of nuts is what the present Democrat party is becoming known for. As the fall election approaches and the Democrats brag about defeating the Patriot Act, having a Federal judge strike down NSA, and call our military serving all sorts of reprehensible names, wait and see what happens the day of the election. If a majority of folks go Democrat, and I'd be mighty surprised if that happens, you will begin to see one thing for certain.....many military retiring early or leaving the service. After Bill Clinton, the military knows to fear the Democrat party for lack of valor and for senseless missions.
-- Beverly Gunn, Military Mom and Rancher
East Texas

I really hate to say this, but the American people have been raised for instant gratification and if the results are not promptly shown we lose interest. The MSM is behind this and it is going to be our downfall. Not everything comes in 30 second sound bites and we had better wake up.
-- Elaine Kyle

Re: Jay D. Homnick's False Confessions:

I suppose I should appreciate Mr. Homnick's restraint when he does not state the obvious -- that the avatar of the freedom he describes is Bill Clinton. (The man, this last Saturday our girl governor, Jennifer Granholm, named as the world's most loved man.) However, Clinton's evil consort and her archfiends such as Harold Ickes, and also her demi-devil siblings, still walk the earth and they should be named -- as David Horowitz does. Perhaps the beginning of the routing of this evil is to catalogue the names under which it manifests itself. The history of this she-fiend demonstrates she is capable of any iniquity. Let's not honor the fiction that she is a well-meaning secular humanist who wishes America well. If she gains rule, ineluctably she will throw in with her natural allies, such as her familiar, Kofi and his ilk.
-- Fear and Loathing Here in Michigan

I do not know yet if John Mark Karr murdered Jon Benet Ramsey. She would be 16 years old this year. I have known since 1996 that the little girl's parents were innocent. I know an overzealous prosecutor when I see one. Alex Hunter helped this little girl's Mommie into an early grave.
-- SSG David Shoup
Ramadi, Iraq

I don't understand if they have DNA from under Jon Benet's fingernails, why the family has always been suspect? I did not follow the case closely at the time, but don't remember hearing about DNA.
-- Elaine Kyle

Re: Christopher Orlet's War Eternal:

Sixteen million Americans, overwhelmingly men, served in WWII. We maintained a force level of 12 million under arms on less than half the population we have today. Even before we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, we killed more people in one day of bombing of Japanese cities than we lost in 12 years of defensive war in Vietnam. Pretty much the same story for Korea, our first UN war and loss. Both Truman and LBJ ran on domestic polices, not going to war and winning one.

We had overwhelming force in the first Gulf War, probably the only time that the post WWII American military has ever had numerical superiority on the battlefield. Had the assembled forces gone on to take Baghdad down then, we wouldn't be suffering what we are now. Like Korea, we put our trust in the UN to maintain the "peace" in Iraq rather than bring about lasting peace by defeating the enemy in every sense of the word. You need look no further than the Sudan or in Lebanon today to see just how willing the rest of the world is in bringing Peace to either place. Peace in UN terms means something that is not recognized anywhere in the history of world.

Critics of our current and seemingly expensive weapon systems usually complain that they were built for the Cold War and a conflict with Russia. As I remember we didn't fight Russia during the Cold War but we have consistently fought their weapon systems for over 50 years and still are. Whether or not we built our conventional forces to just fight the Russians is moot (ask the Iraqis about that), the central issue is that we built our weapon systems to be superior to the most powerful land army then in existence because we would not match them man for man. During the Cold War the Russians had 10 times the number of divisions we had. Even with our divisions being larger and more powerful, numbers do matter in the long run.

Currently we have about a third of our Active duty ground forces tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan. While some see bringing this force back home as the answer to their security prayers or wishful thinking as I call it, the reality on the ground in that region of the world is that without the threat of ground forces, fun loving regimes like Iran have little to fear from us. While our Air Force and Naval Air forces could do a lot of damage to Iran's military infrastructure, they can't occupy ground or force a change of government on their own. More importantly, once you use such power, you simply can't turn off the game and take your marbles home. You have to finish the job. Go back and read the first paragraph.

The United States has one of the smallest military forces on a per capita basis in world. Less than 1/3 of one percent of our population is in the military and only about a third of that are actually in combat positions. If we are in a war, it is the first war we have fought where our force levels are falling, we are canceling weapon's systems and we aren't replacing existing equipment on a one for one basis as it wears out. I've never seen a war won under these circumstances in the history of warfare. What does it say when over 10% of our military force is made up of women and we now have 41 year olds in boot camp? Where are the 18-28 year olds that made up our WWII forces? They can't all be going to Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Law and J schools.

If recent Israeli experience is any guide to future events, western civilization is on a long steady decline to defeat as a force of good in the world. As is usually the case, the most committed usually wins wars and our enemy is quite willing to go to what ever depths is required to win no matter what their short term casualties are. In the big picture of things, none of the loses suffered by the terrorist movements around the world even approaches the level of death and destruction seen in WWII. You don't win by being nice to your enemy.

If you doubt we are losing our will to win, ask yourself one question. If the local gang came to your street and broke into one of your neighbor's house three addresses down the street and starting beating and eventually killing them out in the front yard what would be your first response, pick up a weapon and open fire on the gang or pick up the phone, call 911 and then go hide? A truthful answer should send a cold shiver down your back. It is only one small step from delegating your civic responsibilities to someone else with regard to your neighbor's plight right in front of you and then to doing the same for someone else a little further away. We are asking an awful lot of a tiny few that defend us in some far away hell hole. If we won't defend our neighbors here, why should young men and women there? The truth hurts sometimes.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Re: Nathan Maskiell's letter (under "Roots of Socialism") in Reader Mail's Menace to Society:

Ah Mr. Maskiell, have you moved from Melbourne? You seem to have an inordinate obsession with damning Americans and the AMERICAN Republican party. Are you an expatriate of our great country, forced to emigrate because of your belief in the tenets of the Liberal Democrat (read party or a wannabe repatriate? Either way, I take exception to the tenor and tone of your screeds against us. What the Republican Party proved after winning control of The Congress, because of their Contract With America, was that cutting taxes worked. Clinton got the credit but our success was because he was forced, by a Republican Congress, to cut spending. Sadly, the Republicans did not practice what they preached after their ascension to the White House. At any rate, if you are indeed an expatriate, or in fact an Australian, the politics of this country is really none of your business and most or your ramblings seem to be based upon ultra-liberal Democrat party rants. You state that it is unfair to pre-judge Mr. Lamont. From what I can read in this country, it is the citizens of Connecticut who are doing the judging, and the polls tell us that it is they who are pre-judging Mr. Lamont. A simple request: unless you are an American citizen, BUTT OUT -- your mindless opinions are worthless!
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Re: Jacob Laksin's Shattered Grass:

"Grass comes to this conclusion not out of any lingering sympathy for the Nazi era but out of something more banal: an unreflective pacifism and an inability to make relevant moral distinctions, between aggression and retaliation, between tyranny and freedom, between fantasy and reality."

I believe the author has characterized Guenther Grass correctly in general terms. However, Grass is totally correct if he does NOT distinguish between crimes committed against humanity by the aggressor or the retaliating party. Such crimes committed by either party are officially, equally condemned by international laws governing the human conduct of war by all nations.

It is a sad fact that only the U.S. is actively trying to avoid collateral losses amongst civilians since WW II and that since that war it also punishes U.S. soldiers involved in atrocities against civilians. Same cannot be said about our enemies.

Grass has lost all moral authority by his vulgar and wrong-headed attempt to paint all Germans with a broad brush of collective guilt for Nazi atrocities during WW II. His admission and excuses for having kept his own sins under cover for 60 years shows him to be nothing more but a cheap political opportunist who "flowed with the trend of the times."
-- Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

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