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Preventive Bombing

Sights set on Iran and Syria. Also: European reactions to Ben Stein. Republicans deserve to....lose? Understanding Colebatch on Gibson. Plus much more.

8.11.06

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BLOOD COUNTS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Preventing the Unthinkable:

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Tyrrell's call for wider, sterner military action against Iran and Syria, as part of a more effective strategy for fighting the War on Terror. But he succumbs to the West's self-defeating compunction about inflicting casualties on the enemy when he notes, approvingly, that "aerial attacks [against Iran] do not have to be very bloody." If the goal is solely to degrade and delay Iran's nuclear weapons program, this may be true. But the larger war with militant Islam -- see this week's headlines about the foiled air terror plot in Britain -- will never be won until we inflict massive human and material destruction on both the terrorists and the communities and states that support them. This was how we defeated and pacified Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War II. It is the only way to fight and win an existential war. The sooner Americans face up to this fact, the sooner we can do what needs to be done to defend our country, protect our people, and preserve our way of life against the aggressive global designs of militant Islam.
-- Steven M. Warshawsky
New York City, New York

The Islamofascists are playing right into Israel's hands. With failures by the UN and the western nations to negate Iran's nuclear weapon program, the Israelis must do it themselves. There is no doubt that when, not if, the Iranians develop their weapons they would not hesitate to incinerate Israel. The latest attacks by the Hezbollah and their support from Syria and Iran give the Israelis the reason to escalate this current war to destroy Iran's nuclear program or at least delay its completion with any means available including nuclear weapons.
-- Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

Mr. Tyrrell has the right idea, but I fear his plan doesn't go far enough with regard to Iran.

We may be successful in hitting Iranian nuke sites. We may be successful in hitting one or two critical ones. But that does not solve the fundamental problem. The national government of Iran would still be comprised of Mad Mullahs and a "president" whose personal, self-declared mission is to bring about the Muslim version of the end of the world. Right now, this minute, I suggest that Mahmoud A. is the single most dangerous person on the planet. He has a focus on his mission that is beyond dispute, the support of the governmental structure in the execution of the necessary plans, and the resources of a mineral rich country to make it happen.

With such determination and resources, it really wouldn't matter if we took out every single nuke facility. He's still got IRBMs that work. He's still got a navy. He's still got biological and chemical capability. And, how much would Putin charge for a nuke or two? Or the Russian mafia? Or Kim Jung-il? Maybe he's already taken delivery and that's what August 22 is all about.

A state decapitation is required. As long as he lives, he will try to kill us. As long as the Mad Mullahs survive intact, another Mahmoud A. will be found. At some point, when as many of them as possible are together and Mahmoud A. is there, we must demonstrate to them what a nuclear detonation looks like from the inside out. If it means turning Tehran into a sea of green glass, so be it. And we must not leave the current fanatic in residence in Qom around to start recruiting another crew.

Lines are converging. August 22 may be just another day on the calendar. But he will continue to put every effort of every moment into destroying Western civilization. Sooner or later we will have to choose between him and us. I vote: us.
-- John Jarrell
San Antonio, Texas

With respect to Mr. Tyrrell's epistle of the 10th, there seems to be a murky reticence on the part of some to believe that eventually, Iran will have the wherewithal to make good on their leader's murderous imperative to destroy Israel. Likewise, his not very subtle threat to destroy America. Similarly, there is also reticence to "permit" Israel to defend itself: the howling (including that coming from our own State Department) at that beleaguered country to stay its hand short of Hezbollah's throat is impossible to fathom. When will enough be enough? How many bombers, missiles, and threats of annihilation must a nation endure? As a long-ago American put it: If they mean to have a war, let it begin here. Regrettably, the Islamofascists understand and respect one language: the language of irrepressible force.
-- J.C. Eaton
Chetek, Wisconsin

As I write this, the UK has apparently prevented another 9/11. Enough is enough. It's time, Mr. President!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas
P.S. Thank God Pinch and the boys didn't find out about it in time to reveal it on the front page of the NYT and warn the terrorists.

RHODES SCHOLARS
Re: Ben Stein's A Few More Little Facts:

I must say I was disgusted to read the above-mentioned article, talk about an attempt to demonize the Syrians and Arabs in general. Do Americans seriously believe this nonsense? Unfortunately it does appear that they believe most things they read; here in Europe we are still laughing over the recent report that 50 percent of Americans still believe Iraq had WMD. You refer to the few Israeli losses as a major incident for Israel, but the Lebanese deaths of 1,000 in percentage terms is the same as 6.75 million Americans being killed, over a quarter of the Lebanese population have been displaced.

Incidentally your own State Dept. report on Israel confirms that Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, nothing more than concentration camps, are subject to daily torture, are without legal representation and remain in jail without even a trial.

This was a totally unproved, unnecessary, pre-planned and vicious attack on a democratic country by Israel. If you took the time to do some research you would find out that Israeli violations of Lebanese territory was a daily event, according the UN , by Israeli planes, helicopters and drones while Lebanese violations were in the main caused by Lebanese shepherds.
-- Mr. Michael Lee
Oxford, England

Ben Stein's article on Arabs is most disgusting and nothing more than an attempt at covering the carnages Israelis have continuously been perpetrating against Lebanese and Palestinians. How your newspaper can permit this is something that escapes my understanding, unless your views are similar to those expressed by Ben Stein. I am a citizen of the European Union.
-- Jose

If Ben Stein has hard evidence of the "facts" he gives about Arabs in his article today, I would like them to be published.

Otherwise, I believe you should print a retraction and an apology. I am not an Arab. I am Norwegian/Austrian/Romanian.

If such evidence is not forthcoming, I suspect you are just another "hate Arabs" blog.
-- unsigned

HUSSEIN'S HOLDINGS
Re: Laurie Mylroie and Ayad Rahim's At Home in Baghdad:

This is a very interesting article. The document is an outright admission, by someone in a position to know, that the Hussein regime harbored terrorist groups and had re-established relations with some of them in 1991. Saddam Hussein is concerned less with whether the U.S. knows about this support already, than with the possibility it may use it (and particularly Abbas's presence in Iraq) as another justification for sanctions.

Hussein's casual reaction to the plan to make it look like Abbas has left for good implies that he assumed Mr. Bush knew his regime was harboring terrorists, but was willing to ignore it. If so, that would be consistent with the administration's reluctance during its last months to respond with effective force, no matter how Iraq provoked the U.S. by repeated, blatant violations of the peace terms it had agreed to.

Interestingly, Hussein's attitude as to Abbas would also be consistent with the fact that, about a year and a half later, Iraq did not even to try to conceal that the now-wanted Abdul Yassin was living there. Just as Hussein seems to have sensed that President Bush was not willing to re-start the Gulf War over Iraq's harboring of a terrorist who conspired to murder one American on the Achille Lauro, he may later have sensed that President Clinton would not do much about its harboring of another terrorist who conspired to murder six more at the WTC.
-- Mike Hollins
Los Angeles, California

NO EXCUSES
Re: Quin Hillyer's Why Inept Republicans Can Win:

There are more than enough reasons why conservatives should flock to the polls this November and vote for Republicans. This President and Congress have NEVER raised taxes. The deficit this year will be 2.5 percent of GDP and on the road to being balanced by the time he leaves office (Reagan's deficit was 5.9 percent of GDP and Clinton's record is only slightly better than W's). Unemployment is consistently below 5 percent. The Misery Index under Ronald Reagan was 13.38 under W it is 7.78 (the national average since 1945 is 9.5). President Bush is the most pro-life President in U.S. history bar none and on social issues from homosexual sodomy being equated to marriage to burning the flag he is standing firm against the left. Government spending under President Reagan peaked at 23.5 percent of GDP and when he left office it was 21 percent of GDP (it was 18 percent when he entered the White House) under Bush the peak is 20.1 percent and we're at war. He is the only President in modern history who has appointed only conservatives to the Supreme Court. President Bush is the only President to actually fight terrorism. The record is clear that President Bush is governing primarily to the right of Reagan. While some conservatives are not unlike the radical left in their unwillingness to accept a difference of opinion on immigration issues (Hutchison-Pence is evidence that a workable compromise can be reached) they fail to realize that the Godfather of wide open borders was Ronald Reagan and even on this Bush is to the right of him. Conservatives need to stop falling prey to the drive-by media's propaganda designed to depress conservative voter turnout. Time to see the glass is half full and slowly filling up. Finally, the left has shown us what they want -- his name in Ned Lamont. That should scare us to the polls to maintain and increase the GOP majority.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

We have a two party system. The evil party and the stupid party.

This "lesser-of-evils" stuff stinks -- and then Denny Hastert and his RNC friends send me supercilious "surveys" as an excuse for begging cash?

Noooooo way -- the Republican Party is totally undeserving; growth of government goes way up -- and even George Will pointed out that the spending/pork/"earmarks" increased well over 800 percent while congress has been under control of the GOP!

They think they're deserving of reelection?

And with Dubya's "containment" (not a "WIN" policy!) style in Iraq -- that should've been mopped-up within a year, max. It's been Condi's subversive State Department, the wimpy Pentagon and CIA ineptitude contributing to the mess; and that sad excuse for a president took 5-plus years to simply acknowledge that our "border problems should be addressed," probably in a "comprehensive" plan -- pardon the vernacular, but that makes me want to puke.

Aside from the tax cuts and a brief appearance immediately following 9-11, Bush has been an awful, a terrible president.

That said, again, I'm still very much relieved that neither Gore nor Kerry got in -- that "lesser of evils" crap again...

Methinks we deserve better. Yet, given the very sorry state of our educational system (is history even taught anymore?), I wonder why one should expect any better.

Sorry, gang, but we're in that proverbial World-of-Hurt, and I wonder whether Barry Goldwater might be reincarnated -- God knows, we need him!

So, yeah, I'll vote for Dr. Ron Paul's reelection to congress, but that's because he's more of a Libertarian than a Republican.

So, please, Quin -- enough with the sorry excuses for the sickly status of the Republicans. They've become just about as bad as those demented Democrats. Worse, in a way, 'cause we expected so much better. Can you say "betrayal"?

I'm now 71 (going on 23) and one of the more optimistic types -- but things sure aren't looking any too good these days...
-- Brandt

I have to disagree with Quin Hillyer's conclusion about how the Republicans can lean on conservatives and limp over the electoral line this November. It's too heavy on the "but the Dems would be so much worse" rationale.

Your set up for the piece showed how the governance of the GOP has been horrible, inept, ineffectual and in many cases, down right fraudulent. Sure, the Dems would be worse but to what degree? One hundred and ten percent worse? At least when those monsters are in power they actually use it.

I also disagree with his assessment of post-war Iraq. I think we've made major strides in a short time given the history of the Middle East and the nature of their western determined states. Also, I don't see Iraq as a war but a battle in the bigger war on Islamic fascism. Iraq is smack dab in the center of this hornet's nest and a good place to make a stand. I do agree we aren't being as forceful as we could (using silly diplomacy and fighting more in the press than on the ground when it comes to Iran and Syria i.e. the Israel-Hizzbolah conflict) but I don't think it's a disaster.

I'm also tired of the conventional wisdom on Katrina. Of all the places hit hard by that hurricane only New Orleans, with its inept mayor and dependent populace, was a mess. And FEMA did what it always does -- write checks. And to the point Congress prodded them to write faster only to wake up with a spending hangover once the bill came due. The major failures rest on the shoulders of the city of New Orleans (who wasted decades of flood control money on local politicians) and the governor who showed amazing incompetence as she dragged her feet signing the simple forms to allow the federal government to do more. The military personnel saved the lives of thousands and you never hear that story.

But as a conservative I can assure Mr. Hillyer I'm not going to help them out again. I'm tired of fighting on the front lines only to watch our leadership run away with white flags waving when some Democrat says, "boo." Thanks to the feckless GOP voters and leaders in Tennessee we have Bob Corker as the Republican candidate to fill the seat of Bill Frist (what a wuss he became). Gee thanks. I voted for Ed Bryant, a true conservative, but since Van Hilleary was also in the race he took just enough votes away from Bryant to let Corker get in. Corker did start spending a lot of money early but it was the GOP establishment that wanted him in or somebody could have appealed to Hilleary to get out. This the same establishment that helped Gov. Bredesen win against Hilleary in 2002 (and who will get reelected again easily this year). Jim Bryson is running against Bredesen (he filled the state senate seat vacated by Rep. Marsha Blackburn who, thankfully, will win again by just being on the ballot) but it's more for name recognition before he really runs hard in 2010 for governor.

This is the same GOP establishment that helped us get Lamar! (again over Ed Bryant, but not by much in the primary) in 2002. Gee thanks. Lamar! and Bob Corker (should he win) are perfect bookends. Charlie Brown has more spine that these two combined. But the same type of voices as Mr. Hillyer's are saying to me, "but Harold Ford, Jr. would be a lot worse" or, "if you don't vote for Corker you are helping Ford win," blah, blah, blah.

Give it a rest. The Republicans failed. They can't govern. Decent conservatives left politics being so sick of it all. And now, except for the recent primary in Michigan, they don't want to try and get back in the game. So why should we give the same old moderate to liberal Republicans our votes? Because they talk conservative as Bob Corker did?

Fool me once...
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

DODD ON ARRIVAL
Re: Shawn Macomber's Bully Democrats:

Kos-hack said: "[Sen. Chris] Dodd helped create the Lieberman monster," Moulitsas writes. "He should do whatever he can to get him out of the race."

If Kos-hack believes that Ned Lamont exists in CT Dem politics without the tacit approval and blessing of Chris Dodd, then Kos-hack is the living embodiment of P.T. Barnum's famous observation...
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

While checking out other websites take on the Ct. race and comparing them to TAS's interpretation, I get a sense of doom among the conservatives in most cases. I really don't know why. Is it really all that bad Lieberman got knocked out in the primary? He wasn't stomped, he was edged out 52-48. Like Shawn stated in his article, that does not bode well for the Lamont team and they know it. During the upcoming general, the voters are going to have more on their mind than the rantings of the loony left and Lieberman will prevail. All this hand wringing by the same "experts" also, who predicted Bush's demise in the last election, is really a joke. I'm not an expert but I have been around long enough to know a little something and that is that most of these experts are basically people whose predictions are clouded by their own arrogance and bigotry. The republicans will maintain, I am sure, because we, the voter, would rather have inept people we know than the dangerously radical fools in the democrat party. By their tossing out Lieberman, they have put themselves squarely outside the mainstream and with their rantings, they will turn off more voters than convince. Let them crow now, come November, they will be eating one.
-- Pete Chagnon

RESENTFUL LIMO LIBS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Moderation? Oh, Please!:

I do believe Jeffrey Lord hit upon a truth here: "One of the reasons George W. Bush is so hated by the Left is that like FDR he is perceived as a 'traitor' to his class...in this case class being defined as a class of liberal sensibility."

Exactly. How is it conceivable that Bush -- blessed with privilege and pedigree -- would prefer to clear hardscrabble brush when he could be absorbing the enlightened wisdom of progressives? Bush has the intelligence not to waste his time around an intelligentsia comprised of self-deluded snobs. This snub must be quite irritating to our effete friends at the Times, judging from the near universality of negative opinion there.

I find more honest journalism at TAS and a few other non-MSM sources than all the MSM relics combined. You can take the Times, Dan Rather, Reuters and the rest of them, wad them into a big ugly ball, and toss the whole mess into the dumpster.
-- GnuCarSmell
Jacksonville, Texas

I didn't have a chance to read TAS this morning, first thing like I usually do. Instead I read about terror threats everywhere, a husband traveling and in the nation's capital and whether a son would be back at war before I could tell him goodbye. Then I open TAS and read this article about the NY Times. Didn't it used to be called the world's newspaper or paper of choice? It is irrelevant. So, too is the Washington Postand the rest of the liberal media's play toys.

These papers have suppressed news, made up news, used slight of hand tricks, supported terrorism while my son and many other sons and daughters have been fighting to keep terrorists off our shores. I told my son yesterday that I am not sure anyone in America will wake up until terrorists hit our shores again. Then, of course, the NYTimes will be telling us it was our fault and because our President made the terrorists mad.

If we aren't smart enough to wake up and tell the liberals to shut up and sit down and let our fine men and women do the work and come home, then we deserve the destruction that will be sewn on our shores. If we don't pursue those who leak information to the enemy and arrest and detain them for trial, we are not really serious about winning.

If we don't close our borders and throw out many here whose allegiance is elsewhere and who are taking funds from us with smiling faces, then we deserve what we will reap.

This mother loves her country with her whole heart. But we have to consider that Islamic Terrorists are in a category of hating and killing. We don't have to call them Al Qaeda or give them names from other groups. We just need to understand that hate and killing is being taught by most mosques on our shores and we are breeding our own terrorists. We need to become as serious about this war as the men and women fighting it.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

LOW AP-TITUDE
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's You Can't Spell Pap Without the AP:

Usually, I have a pretty positive outlook on life in this world. Even with current events seeming to converge into Maelstrom III, or IV if you prefer, I take as much in stride as I can. After all, none of us are promised tomorrow, although of course, I don't plan on leaving the planet anytime soon. Now, though it's been in the works for some time, the good ol' AP has become one more brick to add to a wheelbarrow of disappointments which began to accumulate post Maelstrom II. So, I'm asking myself, when in our nation's history, since the Revolution, and I include the Civil War (I know I'm sticking my neck out here for those of you scholarly types to chop off if I miss the target), have the issues of our very survival been more clear, and yet, less understood or acknowledged by so many of our fellow citizens? We can survive Maelstroms. We cannot survive ignorance, such as the ignorance of those, like Mr. Hanley, who says by his deceptions, that ignorance is bliss.

Ann Coulter stated it this way in her article today, Big Foot, Scoop Jackson Democrats and Other Myths; "The free world, which is rapidly boiling down to us and Israel, is under savage attack. Treason is rampant in the country. True, Democrats hate Bush, but they would hate anybody who fights the war on terrorism. It is a hostile world, and there is now a real question about the will of the American people to survive."

What can you do for a people who prefer slavery to freedom?
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

TAKIN' ON TEDDY
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform:

Proud of you! You said what many, many of us true Americans have been saying for years, but only to each other. Kennedy needs to go, has needed to go and I hope he gets the hint... He's no true American and I'm ashamed of him sitting in that swivel chair portraying to the rest of the world that he's what America is about. The rest of his cronies need to go out the door with him. And don't let the door hit ya on the way out...Again, proud of you -- good job!
-- unsigned

LOST AND FOUND
Re: Neal B. Freeman's NR Goes to War:

No WMD found! What's this Freeman guy talking about! I thought the revelation of a few months ago that over 500 chemical shells have been recovered so far put a end to that stupid argument. In appears that not everyone has been informed yet.

A better complaint is that the U.S. government should not have hidden this information from us. I had to bear hearing to this stupid (No WMD) argument for three years now, only to learn a few months from the halls of Congress that our government found Saddam's WMD over three years ago and didn't think the American people needed to know that information.

The "We did not go to war to free the Iraq people" is an equally stupid argument. We have been going to war to free people since the Mexican-American war of 1847. Mr. Freeman needs to bone up on his history. President Bush sited many reasons to go to war before the war, yet Mr. Freeman insists we did not go to war for many reasons.

Mr. Freeman is obviously an isolationist, but isolationism has not been our foreign policy since the late 1930s. President Bush reasons for going to war with Iraq have proven to be correct and happen to follow the lines of America's foreign policy of the past 100 years. He needs to rethink his position. 9/11 like Pearl Harbor before it, proves that we cannot afford to go back to isolationism just yet.
-- unsigned

CONNECT THE DOTS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Connecticut's Shame:

It seems to me that CT Democrats woke up on the morning of August 9th and had to decide whether or not to wake up Ned and smile at him or chew their arm off and leave quietly. I don't believe they've quite figured out that decision yet on this simple-minded one issue candidate that they went home with.
-- Kurt Pederson
Glastonbury, Connecticut

FICTION READINGS
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's The Real Case Against Mel Gibson:

Hal G.P. Colebatch's "The Real Case Against Mel Gibson" lives up to its billing and is the best thing I have yet read about the Mr. Gibson's imbroglio. Mr. Gibson does have much to answer for.

One quibble: Is it wise to recommend Wikipedia as an antidote to Hollywood's falsehoods? Fictions abound from both sources. There must be more reliable options.
-- Amy Ridenour

People sweating the silly Mel Gibson thing while that bunch of Hezbollah criminals lob 3,000-plus missiles into Israel -- where the hell are the priorities?

And, maybe -- just maybe, if Dubya-the-Disaster were to augment Tony Snow with a few people like Ken Shreve, and those two Texas ladies, Elaine and Beverly? For too long I've feared that Vicente Fox was our president -- he needs that type of help. Badly!
-- Brandt

While what Mr. Colebatch says about historical inaccuracies in Braveheart, The Patriot, and Gallipoli is quite evidently true, it begs the question of whether such films are have been presented as some kind of exposition of the true events, or whether they were presented as works of fiction.

I submit that the answer is that any movie not labeled explicitly as a documentary should be assumed by reasonable viewers as a work of fiction, albeit in some cases as a work of fiction based on fact.

This is not to say that the viewer of films that are explicitly labeled as documentaries are somehow relieved of the responsibility of crosschecking any facts presented. On the contrary, a viewer has a very real and concrete duty to seek confirmation of any and all facts presented in a documentary.

And therein lays the point: a work of fiction requires little or no crosschecking, precisely because it is a work of fiction.

To see anti-English bias in works of fiction such as Braveheart is easy, and probably quite valid, but to imply that said bias is something that requires an answer, or that it is some kind of moral outrage or crime is to deny the right of artistic license.

The movie The Passion of the Christ is a different kind of thing altogether, as it was presented as a historically accurate retelling of the last few days of Christ's death. One can argue the artistic merits of the film, and whether or not accuracy required such explicit depictions of Christ's torture and death, but there is no denying that any failure to present this bit of history accurately and correctly would be reason to question Mr. Gibson. This, however, has not been the case. In all the reviews of The Passion I have read, no serious claims as to major inaccuracies have been advanced.

In summary, allow me to reassure Mr. Colebatch of two things: The Passion of the Christ does fulfill his criteria (stated thusly as):

it would seem to be both the responsible and Christian thing to make such a film in a way that these accusations would not be possible, for example by making the point that Christ was crucified as a result of the machinations of a small "political" group rather than by the Jews as a whole and that only partisans would take a work of historical fiction (such as Braveheart) as some kind of documentary.

That "Christ was crucified as a result of the machinations of a small political group rather than by the Jews as a whole" is made quite clear in The Passion. Furthermore, it was made clear that there were Jews who were strongly opposed to the crucifixion on both moral and ethical grounds, and that some Jews even took risks with the intent to alleviate, to the best of their ability, the agonies
that Christ endured.
-- John Stevens

It is surprising that when arrested Mel Gibson did not accuse the arresting officer of being English rather than Jewish.

One film with Gibson involving hateful anti-English historical falsehoods may be co-incidence; two starts to look slightly suspicious; three looks more than slightly suspicious, especially since he was the major creator of the second two.

It is depressing that Gibson's claque of supporters seem unable to realize the long-term harm such films can do, and that historical truth apparently means so little to them.
-- Ms. Kay Stevens
St Kilda, Victoria
Australia

UP, UP, AND AWAY
Re: Tim Clark's letter (under "Friendly Skies") in Reader Mail's Political Fronts:

Tim Clark writes: "I wonder if the people so upset about having to wear seat belts in cars wear them when flying? If so, why?"

Because the crew will not let the plane take off until everyone obeys their masters in this mostly useless exercise of authority, Tim!
-- Craig C. Sarver, behind enemy lines
Seattle, Washington

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