Reader Mail

Reuters Rooters

Pictures at a news agency exhibition. Was TAS too kind and understanding? Also: Immigration wars resume. How to use Wikipedia. Anti-Stein Euros. Plus much more.

8.14.06

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SEEING IS DISTORTING
Re: Philip Klein's Fog of Reuters:

If Reuters has to compromise its standards for news integrity to operate in some countries, shouldn't that news come with a label, saying that they can't vouch for the impartialness of the story?

As a news organization that supposedly prides itself on objective reporting, compromises made to gain access should be put disclosed up front so that the reading public can judge for itself whether or not a story is really worth reading.
-- Frank Mauran

Philip Klein assembles the mosaic and then misses the picture -- institutional bias. He essentially explains WHY Reuters is a propagandist for Islamic terrorism and then says it is all inadvertence. Just ask yourself, given Klein's description of the workings of Reuters, how likely is it that an "accidental" picture showing MORE damage INSIDE Israel from a missile attack than actually occurred would have gotten published by Reuters? Right. Zero.
-- Greg Richards

I appreciate Philip's background information on how errors, misjudgments of fact, and bias appear everyday at Reuters. He says they are rushed and deadlines for mega amounts of data to be processed cause the errors.

Seems to me that Ford, Harley Davidson and GM were all in the same boat. When people stopped buying their inferior products they, and only then, fixed the problem.

There is a way to get the news right, but obviously Reuters doesn't care. We, as consumers, have a duty to not buy inferior goods. Show us how we can boycott this sham. Surly, someone out there can organize a campaign to get their attention.
-- Joe O'Mara
Farmington, New York

Mr. Klein's article is exhibit one as to why one can NOT expect objectivity and neutrality from reporters when they are discussing the news media itself. Mr. Klein acknowledges and reinforces the anti-Israel bias at the organization, and yet he insists on calling it a "news" organization instead of an opinion organization. A "news" organization would tell me who, what, when, and how about any happening, and tell it to me straight with no bias at all -- either way. Why the event happened is for the editorial pages.

Acknowledging that, if you report the truth about happenings in a country would subject you to danger and get you kicked out, simply argues for you to leave the country or to admit, up front, that you are not reporting "news." You can not have it both ways, Mr. Klein. You either honestly and truthfully report the news in an unbiased manner, or you stop calling yourself a news organization, period. Quick, Mr. Klein, circle the wagons, the Indians have found out that you are here.
-- Ken Shreve, behind enemy lines
New Hampshire

I can respect the safety and security needs of Reuter's employees in the dangerous parts of the world. But to call them reporters or journalists takes an incredible leap of faith. If they are afraid to report the truth, then they are the willing pawns of the despots and tyrants in power, passing along the official press releases of the propaganda ministries. Reporting this garbage does a disservice to its readers and subscribers. No news is better than half-truths and outright lies. I view with great skepticism anything reported in today's MSM who never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Is it just me or does this resemble the CNN "reporters" in Baghdad suppressing real news in order to maintain access to those in power?
-- Bob Staggs
Goshen, Kentucky

"In my view, the culprit was a phenomenon I call the Fog of Reuters."

This does not ring true, as all such "errors" have gone against Israel.
-- B. Wood

If it is impossible to be an international news organization without bowing down to thugs and dictators in order to spare the lives of reporters, then a disclaimer needs to be put as the first paragraph of every story and the caption of each picture filed from anywhere that thugs rule. Since I doubt that any news organization would do this by themselves, it would also put their reporters at risk if the organization themselves ordered it, then perhaps Congress needs to address this issue. Call it the "Truth in Reporting" law or some such wonderful sounding thing as politicians are wont to do. We require disclaimers on all kinds of products. If you are going to present twaddle as fact at least be required to say the facts contained here in may be twaddle. Do I really want a law passed? No I don't, but if some means of keeping the major news reporting organizations credible doesn't happen soon they are going to die. Credibility is their only product. Once it is gone it won't come back and they are close to losing it now. We all need a truthful, credible press. They are an intelligence agency for "the people" as opposed to the CIA which an intelligence agency for the government. To stay a free people we need good well sourced intelligence. Bad sources need disclaimers so we can weigh their credibility for ourselves. If some way can't be found for the major news organizations to do this themselves then it will be left to the blogosphere to tear apart every badly sourced story, a "Team B" approach for the "Peoples Intelligence Agency."
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

I wish to thank Philip Klein for clearing up my misconceptions concerning Reuters News Service. Here I had thought that they showed at least an anti-Israeli bias in their coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. According to him, though, they only have a teeny little anti-Israeli bias which is in perfect step with the anti-Israeli bias of Europe in general.

Oh and as an aside, he kindly points out that they are incompetent, intellectually dishonest and more concerned with making a buck than in printing the truth. But all of this is forgiven because they issue corrections when an obvious mistake is caught. If the fog at Reuters was any thicker, you could cut it with a knife.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

"... its reporters' lives would be at risk as would its ability to operate in those parts of the world. Pretty soon, it would cease to be a "global" news provider and it would struggle for a raison d'etre."

So in order to remain a provider of news, Reuters has to stop being a provider of truth.

Tell me again -- how many times has a Reuters story criticized "profit at any price" capitalism?

Reuters should take the word "terrorist" out of the quote marks and use them instead on "news."
-- Lloyd Daub
Greenfield Wisconsin

Philip Klein's apologetic column for Reuter's is below standard, especially for the Spectator. Klein's basis for defending Reuter's is without merit and borders on being outright ridiculous.

His argument that reporters are coerced into favorable coverage of terrorist Muslim states because these are totalitarian regimes that threaten the well being of the reporters is absurd. He is suggesting that biased coverage that is horribly slanted, is better than no coverage at all, and still amounts to "news".

Additionally, he offers the lame excuse that Israel is an easy target due to the fact that they are a "free" society. What kind of logic is that?

News is news. Lies are lies. Fabrication is fabrication. News that amounts to nothing more than propaganda isn't really news at all, and doesn't merit publication or worldwide circulation. If the information is not accurate and truthful, then it isn't worth reporting at all, and we would all be better off without it. The truth cannot be compromised under any circumstances. Are there no journalistic standards of professionalism anymore? When did Reuter's become TASS?

The reality is that what were seeing is nothing more than pure bigotry and anti-Semitism on worldwide display. Recent events have brought all of the anti-Semitic bigots out of the woodwork and put them on public display.

Does Klein really believe that if Israel were a totalitarian regime, that the coverage would be any different? It's disappointing for a publication like the Spectator to give credibility to such nonsense. The last thing your publication needs is yet another apologist for Islamic terrorism. Perhaps Klein has been reading Mike Wallace.

An absolute farce of a column, and well beneath your normal standards. The events in the Middle East are bringing all of the bigots out into the open.

Sieg Heil, comrades.
-- R. Smith

Let me see if I have this straight. Reuters is intensely determined to get its news out before a self-imposed deadline, regardless of whether or not the news is accurate, and must be careful not to antagonize the enemies of Israel, in order to keep its reporters from danger.

If that's not a variation on the Stockholm syndrome, then what is it?

Philip, you're being too apologetic for your old employer. They have an anti-American bias, and an anti-Israeli bias, pure and simple.

Whether or not they deliberately ran the doctored photos is immaterial, since it fits in with their verbal coverage of news in the Middle East. As such, I read anything with a Reuters byline with skepticism and wariness.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

When I read this article and the sentence, "The irony of the situation is that Reuters expects us to give it the benefit of the doubt that the mistake was unintentional, yet its editors would never give the same benefit of doubt to Israel...." I wonder if the piece might more aptly be titled "The Dhimmitude of Reuters".
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

Maybe this statement, "there is an institutional bias against Israel at Reuters," explains this one: "it is completely plausible to me that a photo editor would not have noticed that Hajj's photos were doctored."

There may be a fog at Reuters, but Klein's logic is foggy as well.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

NO SPENDING STOPS
Re: David Hogberg's Let's Not Overdo It:

It's too little, too late. Senate Republicans have suddenly seen the light now that their re-elections are threatened by the steaming mad voters who put them in office. It won't work. We suspect that they'll go back to throwing away trillions of dollars as soon as the fall election season passes. Republicans had a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that they could rule well by reducing the size of government. They have proven to us that we can expect little good from them. The most we can hope for in the future is limiting the damage that both parties intend to do. From now on, I'm voting for Senator Gridlock!
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Come on! Do you really expect the Senate to vote on this proposal? It's nothing but more of the same smoke and mirrors they utilize every election year!

When "our" elected representatives get serious about controlling spending, we'll all have to be constantly ducking flying pigs!
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM
Re: Daniel Griswold's Heed Pence-Hutchinson:

With regard to Daniel Griswold's whine for dead criminals, plain and simple -- who cares? Let's be very clear about this, the interests and well-being of criminal aliens are totally irrelevant to the immigration debate, no matter how long they've been leeching off our society (and as regards the children of criminal aliens who may meet citizenship standards, just two words -- "adoption" and "orphanage"). It's what is best for the nation as a whole and for the average citizen -- and what is WANTED by said citizens-that is relevant. It would be best if they simply stayed in their native land, but if the choice is solely between their infiltration of this nation and their dying a painful, bloody death in triple-digit heat, well, by God, let the buzzards feed on their carcasses.

Of course, that is a better fate than that deserved by the ultimate source of the problem, the wide swath of American traitors -- from hack shills like Griswold, Tamar Jacoby and the WSJ editorial scribblers to sleazy businesses, and "businesspeople," who sell out their (alleged) fellow citizens and nation to line their pockets a bit more with cheap labor to the big bipartisan swath of corrupt and cowardly politicos (from El Presidente Jorge to Congresscritter Looie Gutierrez to that pompous blowhard McCain, etc.) who put flacking for globalism and multiculturalism (and identify with criminal aliens of the same ethnicity instead of fellow-alleged-Americans as Gutierrez, Mel Martinez, etc. do) ahead of American citizens' best interests and security. These people need to be utterly ruined, disgraced and humiliated. And you folks need to quit publishing this idiocy or you'll be as pathetic as Li'l Billy Kristol and his "Weekly Worthless."
-- Peter Jacobs

Another editorial from an elitist establishment Washingtonian who has probably never held a real job in his life. I am a Vietnam veteran who has worked in construction, built silos, worked in a meat packing plant and done a variety of other jobs while attending school part time. I eventually obtained a degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin. I attended graduate school at UW also but have not completed my master's thesis and at this late date see no reason to do so.

What is it about illegal that the author does not understand? And what is attractive about bringing workers into this country who cannot read or write in their own language let alone in English. They come here and fill jobs as laborers in meat packing plants and other industries until they are laid of. They then go on welfare where they remain because they have no skills and are illiterate in both English and their native tongue and the taxpayer has to pick up the tab for this.

These people also have no desire to assimilate or become part of American society. They refuse to learn English and consider us to be foreigners in THEIR country. Their children agitate for reconquista and union with Mexico and have no loyalty whatsoever to the United States, yet people like the author of this article are so blinded by their ignorance and greed that they continue to advocate letting more of these people into the country.

The eventual result of this uncontrolled migration of people who have no interest in the country, its culture, or its traditions of liberty and self reliance will be the type of violent civil strife we are now seeing in Iraq.

I have a suggestion for the author, get a job working construction or cutting meat in a packing plant. The author should rub elbows with these folks a little bit before he starts pontificating about the need for more illiterate, uneducated, disloyal immigrants to be wage slaves for our "growing economy."

I would like to point out that there are plenty of willing workers right here in the United States who will do any job, including picking lettuce if the employers will pay them a living wage. This is not about a lack of labor; it's about greed and the continuing exploitation of the middle and working classes of this country. The aim here is to continue to depress wages by employing the cheapest labor available even if it is to the detriment of the long term stability of this nation.

I am sick and tired of elitists like the author of this article who think we are all so stupid that we can't see through the nonsense he is trying to shove down our throats. NO MORE AMNESTY, NO GUEST WORKERS, AND A LIVING WAGE FOR THE WORKING CLASSES.
-- Paul Martell

An 813-page Bill is designed to obfuscate and not to give a meaningful solution. Lawyers will spend years just debating what the Bill actually says. Step One, put this monstrosity in a paper shredder.

Here is a Bill which will do the job.

1. Close the Border. If we don't know how to do this lets ask the Israelis.

2. Register all Illegal Immigrants (assuming the rest are legal). Any Illegal Immigrant not registering should be instantly Deported.

3.Simplify the paperwork down to the length of an employment application, and with the same documentation. Make documentation simple and quick. All honest migrants will be accepted. Who are they, where do they live, who do they work for, what warrants are outstanding, are they trying to comply with the law?

4. Forget tacking taxes on Illegal Immigrants. This is purely for show anyway, such as are border crossing measures.

5. Quit talking of penalties on Employers and back taxes on migrants. Put a weekly undocumented tax on Undocumented Immigrants, until they become either documented or working on it. 20% of wages would do, and it should be withheld.

6. Deport the criminals either proved or suspected. Any Migrants who demonstrate against America, or claim it is their territory, or show other signs of being dissatisfied with us should get a ticket back to Mexico.

That's it. It may be crude, and if I had more information I could add a few lines, but a very few. But It is far better than any other Bill on the books or on the drawing board.

I'm serious! I'm not just blowing smoke, any seventh grader could beat Congress.
-- G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

Why not assess a $500.00 fee for entry as a guest worker. That way, they would not have to pay a much higher fee to be smuggled in. Naw, that's too logical for the politicians to swallow.

Keep up the good work.
-- C. Mark Gilson
Seneca, South Carolina

Mr. Griswold, I applaud your enthusiasm for a proposal by two members of Congress which might solve a problem.

Unfortunately, it's far too early to get excited. All these proposals, which might possibly solve some of the immigration problems, are nothing more than the typical election year posturing of "our" elected representatives, intent on returning their sorry bottoms to Washington this November.

When a real, effective immigration bill passes Congress, we'll be busy applauding the fact Hell has frozen over.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Guest Workers WILL NOT GO HOME. This is a total farce. Look at the mess in Europe with "guest workers" who didn't leave and their children are now rioting.

We need to lock down our borders and for the next three to five years no one should be allowed to immigrate. We need to know who is here. If they are legal they must speak English and assimilate. People here illegally must go home otherwise the U.S. will become a nation of mobs instead of laws. We can take away the candy and over time people will self-deport. That means they get no benefits and no jobs and when captured they are deported deep into their home country.

Don't tell me we need them. We don't. We need to develop technology and automation to do many of these jobs. It will be much cheaper and more productive.

Business interests are prepared to destroy this country to have cheap labor. This is the same mind set that gave us slavery.
-- D. L. Murphy
Atlanta, Georgia

Sigh. Here's yet another poorly-argued article that simply assumes large new masses of no-skill or low-skill, non-English-speaking workers from Third World countries are absolutely, positively necessary in order to meet "the legitimate needs of our growing economy for additional workers." Where, pray tell, is the evidence? Shouldn't the Department of Labor have mounds of statistical projections to support such a claim? If not, why not? And if so, how come nobody, most especially including the president, ever references the data? I've heard and read the blind assertions more times than I can count, but I'm still waiting for one single shred of hard, cold evidence.

And where is the evidence of government competence, in almost any area of government, which would foster the confidence to believe that any of the proposals in the Pence-Hutchison plan would be capably administered and strictly enforced? For example, is the P-H proposal for the so-called "Ellis Island Centers" to be run by "private companies" supposed to somehow bring us comfort and reassurance of efficiency and non-corruption? Hah! If you believe that, then Halliburton has a twenty-seven dollar cheeseburger and Kool-Aid lunch to sell you. Fraud, abuse and mismanagement is as apt to be found among government contractors as it is within government agencies.

And what of the provisions in the P-H plan that address the issues of birthright for children of so-called "guest workers?" What about bringing in family members? What about guest workers' access to social and educational services? What happens to those tens of millions of workers in the event of a prolonged recession which eliminates many of the jobs they came for? Oops...the P-H plan does not address those issues, or does so only in the most cursory, poorly thought-out way.

What if we were all to wake up tomorrow to find that the economies of Mexico and Central America had been miraculously transformed and were now so vibrant that not only was nobody trying to leave, but that the illegals here were scrambling to get back. Would our own economy then crash, as New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg absurdly would have us believe? Or would our economy adapt, as it always has? Sure, it would mean some inconveniences, at least for some. There might not be a McDonald's every other mile; Hilton and Marriott might have to pay more (and charge more) in order to attract chambermaids; and (gasp!) suburban squires might have to shell-out for a John Deere riding mower and cut their own lawns. I don't know...call me crazy, but somehow I think we'd manage.

The Pence-Hutchison plan, and all other plans and proposals put forth by the pro-immigration side, all have several things in common: they provide for the influx of tens, perhaps scores, of millions of new people (even as our current population just surpassed 300 million, and when any urban commuter will tell you that too few people on the roads is not a problem we suffer from); they offer essentially no evidence to support the economic need for these new people; they overlook or disregard the social and cultural implications; they ask us to take on faith the ability of the government to manage the influx; and, bottom line, they ask that all the rest of us acquiesce in what amounts to a giant social experiment just because a handful of industries have grown accustomed to cheap, exploitable labor and to the attendant profits.

On the other side still stands the House bill, which simply and sanely calls for first things first. First let's just plug the hole in the damn dike, quickly and decisively; let's enforce existing law; let's safeguard our sovereignty; let's keep our priorities straight. Then, and only then, should we calmly and methodically examine what our true needs for immigration might be, if any, and how we can best meet those needs in a way that focuses primarily on the interests of the majority of citizens -- not the interests of elected politicians nor the interests of political machinators like Karl Rove; not the interests of select corporate interests; not the interests of wealthy elites wanting cut-rate nannies and day laborers; and not the interests of those who may be allowed in but who haven't ever paid a dime in taxes.

Show us the need, the compelling need. Then show us a truly comprehensive plan, one that addresses the thousand and one aspects of the issue, not just the alleged but unproven economic needs of a few industries. Then start small, with some pilot projects, and give us confidence that the competence exists to manage things on a larger scale. Unless and until all of that happens, why should any of us buy-in to what is, no matter how you slice it, a high-risk flyer on our future?
-- C. Vail
P.S. Despite its vast resources, its punitive powers, and its decades of experience, the IRS estimates that about one-third of tax revenues due are lost in the so-called underground economy. One third! We're talking trillions of dollars! And the IRS doesn't even make much of an attempt to collect those taxes, it just accepts the status quo. C'est la vie should be their motto. So again, why should any of us believe that the government will be able to competently manage the influx of tens of millions of newcomers, when it cannot, or will not, competently manage the collection of taxes from a large percentage of its native born?

COOL CARE
Re: Patrick O'Hannigan's Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful:

I, for one, have been impressed with the stories of Cuba's world class universal health care. Soooo...which local clinic did Fidel have his operation in and which ward is he recovering in? That would make a heck of a story and be a huge endorsement for his 50-year rule.
-- Greg Richards

What a marvelous cold wash under a waterfall O'Hannigan gives us. Liberals love their dictators most for their dictatorness. Especially the liberal pampered, privileged, intern-rich, best-table, limousine reporters, all those anchors sinking the good ship America. Dan Rather wishes he had the love generated by Elvis, or looked as good in leather pants as Mad Max. Real honest popularity never visited Wallace, any more than Castro. Only power. The ultimate, as Kissinger informed us, aphrodisiac.
-- B.D. Sparhawk

COUNTY ME OUT
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Da County Don't Count:

Jay Homnick's experiences with county governments in New York City, Chicago, and Miami-Dade, are indicative of something -- but a need to "re-think this nationwide" ain't it.

In New York and Miami, what you have is a non-standard county relationship to other levels of government -- but out in the oft-ignored flyover country, which Mr. Homnick's experience doesn't seem to include, counties fill an essential role and do so in a rational and highly visible manner. Chicago has in common with New York and Miami a situation of one metro area pretty much wagging the dog for the rest of their respective states. We here in Georgia, and especially here in metro Atlanta (where once-bucolic Coweta County has no business being included) know all about that.

It may be that what needs to be rethought is the trend of city-county consolidation, as in Miami-Dade. New York's five-counties-in-one-city is unique and, God willing, will remain so. As for the big cities wagging the dog, maybe we need to detach these ginormous cities into their own separate city-states.

And Mr. Homnick might want to rethink the breadth of his horizons, while we're at it.
-- Kevin M. McGehee
Coweta County, Georgia

Jay D. Homnick replies: Mr. McGehee accuses me of bad breadth and recommends a remedy: scope. I thank him for his concern.

Want something new and different? Try Broward County. Sheriff Jenne, AKA "Emperor Shortcop," is the only man in America who wants to repeal the 3rd Amendment. The next big issue will be manatee suffrage.
-- Kevin Smith
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Insightful article. When will someone start the "Civility in Local Government" foundation, to give awards and "worst of's" for how we're all treated by local officials, both in face to face interactions, as well at the policy level. Maybe some sunlight would make boondoggles like the one in Miami harder to pull off.
-- David Epstein

HOW TO USE WIKIPEDIA
Re: Amy Ridenour's letter (under "Fiction Readings") in Reader Mail's Preventive Bombing and Hal G.P. Colebatch's The Real Case Against Mel Gibson:

Amy Ridenour asks if it was wise for me to cite Wikipedia as an historical source for the inaccuracies in Mel Gibson's Braveheart.

I had actually checked the facts independently and mentioned Wikipedia because in this case it presented them concisely and accurately for the general reader. I would not use it as a primary source for an article but if checked independently it can be a very useful general guide.
-- Hal Colebatch
Nedlands, Western Australia

FAINT HOPES
Re: Quin Hillyer's Why Inept Republicans Can Win:

Quin Hillyer states that "What really makes Republican/conservative victory possible, though, are the weakness and wackiness of their Democratic opponents. Hillyer might have stated that after the Bush reelection in 2004, Bush blew his mandate. Rather than govern as a conservative (and wipe out the opposition), Bush decided to play footsies with the weak and wacky Democrats. The result has been a disaster. Bush not only has solidified the disdain of the Democrats, he has earned the disdain of many conservatives. The threat of terrorism might be the only Republican hope of avoiding a smashing defeat in the fall.
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

READER MAIL REACTORS
Re: Michael Lee's letter (under "Rhodes Scholars") in Reader Mail's Preventive Bombing:

In response to the three "citizens of the European Union" who responded to Ben Stein's "A Few More Little Facts," here are the links requested regarding this Islamist rite:

The Damour Massacre, a town of 25,000 Christians, by Syrians and other Arabs, (do a text search on this page for "stuffed"). The pictures on this page require parental guidance, too: This google search has all the info you need need.

As Mr. Lee's unschooled, but fully talking-pointed final paragraph, it shows well the sinister anti-Semitism that is fully resurgent in the New Left. Note how he manipulates any information; uses nothing but emotive talking points, hyperbole, and hearsay to prove his case against The Jews. Firstly, he says, Israel (The Jews) are guilty of [bracketed commentary added]:

"a totally [hyperbole] unproved [irrelevant word added for dramatic effect], unnecessary [opinion presented as fact], pre-planned [as opposed to an unplanned attack] and vicious [emotive word, opinion presented as fact] attack on a democratic country [blatantly ignores the fact that Hizbollah is the target, not Lebanon]."

"If you took the time to do some research [can you feel the intellectual superiority] you would find out that Israeli violations of Lebanese territory was [sic] a daily event, according the UN [this is supposed to be a trustworthy reference. completely ignores the body of evidence of anti-Israeli behavior by the UN], by Israeli planes, helicopters and drones [the redundancy here increases the number of charges against The Jews] while Lebanese violations were in the main caused by Lebanese shepherds [purely emotive, and completely irrelevant statement intended to portray The Jews as evil aggressors against a simple people]"

Mr. Lee has picked up these talking points second-hand, from the British MSM, who are a lot more omnipresent than the U.S. MSM.
-- Doug Smith
Kent, England

Mr. Lee sneers at how ignorant Americans are concerning Lebanon. However, he may need to take a refresher math class. The 1,000 "civilian" deaths in Lebanon are the equivalent of about 77,000 American deaths, not "in percentage terms is the same as 6.75 million Americans being killed" as Mr. Lee suggests. And what can he be talking about when he says "while Lebanese violations were in the main caused by Lebanese shepherds." I guess those shepherds needed missiles to herd their sheep.
-- Mike Bergsma

Mr. Michael Lee, of Oxford, writes that the death of 1,000 Lebanese is the equivalent of 6.75 million Americans. This would be true if the population of Lebanon were about 40,000. The actual population is nearly 4 million, so his calculation is off by two orders of magnitude.

Interestingly, that is close enough to make it the most accurate sentence in his letter.
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey

Mr. Michael Lee is reminiscent of some Englishmen at the beginning of World War II who were willing to fight to the last Frenchman. If only the Jew would just die quietly then maybe the English of Pakistani descent might not be so angry. I wouldn't bet on either of those things happening.

The Islamic fascist culture which dominates the Middle East should be demonized along with their cowardly European and American fellow travelers who support them. They chop off heads on camera and then distribute videos of the act for home entertainment. They raise their young to hate in a way that would probably be considered excessive by the KKK. Women and non-Muslims are second class citizens. They actually have used chemical WMD and we have to listen to their useful idiots debate whether they ever existed. If you had problems with the old South Africa, these people are even worse. They are strange bed fellows for Mr. Michael and his friends. I don't much feel like laughing at Michael and his head-in-the-sand pals. They are a pathetic lot that believe that being craven is a virtue.

Unfortunately the Lebanese have allowed their country to be dominated militarily by a militia whose allegiance is to Iran. This militia fires missiles into Israel, kidnaps and murders its citizen and the pretend democratic Lebanese government does nothing. In fact if polls are to be believed the government and people of Lebanon support Hezbollah. If that is the case they are getting what they deserve and should at their first opportunity make sure that these Iranian stooges don't drag their country into a war again. Ironically they won't be able to do this without Israeli help.
-- Clifton Briner

Wow! Scary stuff coming from "across the Pond." Michael from Oxford has a case of the "I'm from Europe and you Americans are a bunch of gullible fools" disease. Arguing with the facts isn't enough, he must denigrate those he argues with first, which generally means one hasn't enough facts with which to argue.

While Michael's claims about Israel are disconcerting, perhaps his own country will understand Israel's less than perfect "human rights" record once England has to put up with this (also from the State Department report): "Terrorist organizations such as the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, attacked Israelis in Israel. According to government statistics, during the year terrorist attacks killed 29 Israeli civilians and an IDF soldier within the country. Terrorist attacks injured over 430 civilians and over 200 security force personnel during the year."

And, that could be sooner than England and the UK think with the two million Muslims currently living in their country, their multi-culti silliness rather than assimilating same Muslims, and the ever-expanding home-grown Islamic jihad within their own second generation of Muslim immigrants. Once you've lived with hundreds of 7/7 attacks over 30 years, then perhaps you'll be more understanding of Israel. I can only hope that yesterday's near major terrorist attack on airline passengers between London and the U.S., conducted by your Muslim citizens, will wake up more of your people. So, please take the plank out of your own eye before complaining about the speck in Israel's.

And, since Israel is in an existential war (look it up, it means fighting for their very existence), they would be crazy not to do some kind of flyover with a huge Hezbollah fighting force on their border, apparently hiding weapons and bombs readying their attack on Israel. Do you think the UK did flyovers of Germany during World War II, invading German sovereignty? Or does it mean that when a country is at war, those niceties must go by the wayside? Did "shepherds" kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers and lob bombs into Israel? If true, that just proves that Hezbollah poses as civilians as they do their dirty deeds. Get real. Stop reading the left-wing, anti-Semitic press and get the truth.

I'll end with a quote from Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan and educated at Oxford. "The west is under threat from an enemy which has shrewdly observed the decadence and disarray in Europe where western civilization first began. And the greatest disarray of all is in Britain, the very cradle of western liberty and democracy, but whose cultural confusion is now plain for all to see in Londonistan. The Islamists chose well. Britain is not what it once was. Whether it will finally pull itself together and stop sleepwalking into cultural oblivion is a question on which the future of the West may now depend."
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Mr. Lee states that "the Lebanese deaths of 1,000 in percentage terms is the same as 6.75 million Americans being killed." Hmm, let's see. Lebanon has a population of about 3.5 million. One thousand Lebanese equal .03 percent of the population. A .03 percent slice of the U.S. population of 300 million is roughly 90,000. So Mr. Lee's figure is only wrong by a factor of 75. Just like the rest of his letter.

Don't you hate it when that happens?
-- Paul Curley
Hong Kong, China

SOLID BEN STEIN
As concise and forthright as one can be,
Ben Stein lays out the possibility

Of annihilation of the civilized world
As the forces of evil are once again hurled

At freedom, knowing in this modern day
Appeasers might once again have their way.

With eyes wide open will our leaders elect
To embrace being weak and politically correct?

Not when patriots like Ben Stein call them out
And with a mighty pen expose what they're about.

A fight for our survival he wages
He's solid as a rock of ages.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

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