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Reflecting on Genuflection

Blessed are the humble. Also: Syria -- kapow! President for life. A military policewoman. Coming clean on Kosovo. Plus much more.

7.21.06

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BLESSED ARE THE HUMBLE
Re: Ben Stein's A Precious Morning:

Thank you for your wonderful column, I feel the same about our soldiers.

I just wonder what has happened to Hollywood. I remember wonderful movies like Exodus and The Pawnbroker, amazingly patriotic stars and studios that loved their country and fought for the underdog. What happened to "Never Again"? With Hollywood, the MSM and the Democratic Party, I don't know if we can win this war and worry about the future of my children and grandchildren.

Thank you for all you do.
-- Yvonne

Ben, you're a treasure. I've never heard of, or read about, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, etc., experiencing such genuflection. And, this is not the first time. You've shared these moments with us several times before. And, while I take your point to heart and action, and I'm deeply moved by this demonstration of your fine character, I'm concerned that you may be beating yourself up, which is not so good. We do not help those risking their lives for our sake, by nurturing guilt in our own lives. Their sacrifice is in vain if we lose our own souls over it. Thanksgiving, gratefulness, yes, for our own consciences, but joy and a reaffirmation of freedom are what honor them most.

When they come home, even if they are not whole, what will they most want to see in our faces? Love, thanksgiving, sure, but let's not forget, confirmation. Confirmation that that they did was worth all their efforts. Knowing they finished the task they set out to do, and confirmation from us that it was worth doing. This is their peace and we can give it to them. Rejection for all they've done would be unthinkable, for that is what some will do whose bitterness knows no bounds.

Be thankful Ben, and keep encouraging us, with your honest heart, to be humble and get our priorities straight, but remember to keep perspective for their sakes. When their demons come in the night, and they will come, let us have the courage to give them the greatest gift of all, peace in their souls for daring to call evil for what it is, and to confront it face to face.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

"I was thrown to my knees to pray to God to thank Him for sending these magnificent men and women who put their lives on the line and my own trivial nothings into perspective."

We pray to him as well Ben.

Support Our Troops AND Their Mission!
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Ben is a National treasure. I love his work, wit and patriotism. Don't ever let him leave.
-- Rich Settimo, LTC U.S. Army, retired

GETTING SYRIOUS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s They Asked for It:

I am waiting for the day when George W. Bush steps to a microphone to say:

"Good evening America, and also to the people of the nations of Syria and Iran. Today our military suffered a technical glitch which sent a few of our armed missiles into the homes of Syrian president Assad and some Iranian mullahs. Fortunately, these 'errant' warheads were armed with only conventional explosives and not 'noookleer' munitions, which would have taken the entire region down as well thousands of your people. For those citizens hurt or killed we're sorry.

"As you may know, occasionally, even the best deterrents sometimes need testing and well, the testing is 'hard work.' If you don't believe us, ask North Korea. We 'really tried' to target them elsewhere but, that's the breaks. The United Nations has informed us that they will be along anytime now with rescue personnel and rebuilding supplies. Missile technology is 'hard work,' it really is. Ask the North Koreans if they think accurate missile technology isn't 'hard work.'

"The good news is, according to our commanders on the ground, they have informed me that they now have the 'problem' fixed, and it probably won't happen again.

"God Bless America."
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

When Hitler rearmed and occupied the Rhineland, it was a violation of the Versailles Treaty. When Hezbollah failed to disband and occupied southern Lebanon, it was a violation of U.N. Resolution 1559. Hitler called for "Liebensraum," and the West responded with "land for peace," Czechoslovakia, just as Israel negotiated a "land for peace" deal with Palestine. And yet, we had and have war anyway. Similar attitude by the miscreants, and similar responses from the good guys. Laws (treaties, agreements) have to be enforced, because there will always be those who test the resolve of those who abide them. Israel is enforcing 1559, just like we enforced the umpteen resolutions respecting Iraq. It has to be done.

I've had it. Let's see if Bashar Assad really has the cojones to keep this going. Bomb Syria!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Thanks, I needed this -- sweet, direct, and to the point. I can use this concise, fact-loaded article to make all my points against stupid, "can't we just get along" appeasers.
-- Janell Kimberly

CULTURE OF LIFE
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III's The President Stands Up for Life:

Thank God for Bush's wisdom. Our Senators who voted for this bill show us how far they have fallen for the rhetoric. Embryonic stem cells have shown no medical break through, but adult stem cells show tremendous strides. All life is God given -- who are we to destroy it for medical research. Just imagine how many children who were not given the chance for life, so much has been lost. Again, thank God for President Bush in his veto!
-- Kathy
Arizona

If ever there were a study in contrasts consider the recent action of President Bush against the backdrop of his predecessor.

Bill Clinton said that abortions should be safe, legal, and rare, then proceeded to make them as available and prevalent as possible. (Why they should be rare if there's nothing wrong with them is a question that doesn't need to be asked as it answers itself. Clinton's statement, like all his others, is just so much cowardly doublespeak.)

George W. Bush, on the other hand, promised to veto the legislation allowing experimenting on embryonic (key word there) stem cells and, in fact, did so. President Bush did not do this to appease his pro-life supporters as Bush does not need their votes now, or ever. He did it out of moral conviction.

As Mr. Mehan so eloquently put it, in doing so President Bush reminded us that science serves humanity, not vice versa. Neither this country nor anywhere else should accommodate Mengele-like embryonic experimentation, fetus farming, or any other form of growing and harvesting of humans as spare parts.

To President Bush I say: Cheers! LeChaim! To life!

To Mr. Clinton I recommend mud in his eye -- that was one method used by Jesus to cure blindness.
-- R. Trotter

I haven't stopped wondering over the past many months why the simplest argument of all hasn't been pounded out over and over: if embryonic stem cell research is so viable, why aren't private capitalists tripping over themselves to be the first to make real progress in the field? In other words, why do researchers need federal grants (a.k.a. your money and mine) to keep the Double Helix Express rolling down the tracks?

If embryonic stem cells could really be parlayed into cures for Alzheimer's, and paralysis, and Parkinson's, and this, and that, and whatever the latest malady a celebrity has been diagnosed with, the field would be more lucrative than any other medical field has ever been before. Right? Merck and GSK and Pfizer and Genentech and all the others would be racing toward that fortune if it they thought it existed. Right?

We see real progress being made with stem cells from chord blood, adult nasal tissue and other sources, and all the while the politicians keep shouting from the rooftops about the promise of embryonic stem cells. Heck, even here in California enough people thought it would be a good idea to buy a bond to fund research specifically in fields not currently explored (i.e., embryonic stem cells) so that we could attract the research labs before they set up digs elsewhere.

Isn't this all akin to asking that tax dollars be spent on exploring for oil on the Moon? No one in the private sector thinks there's a promise of finding anything there, so they focus on proven sources. But by God if we could find oil on the Moon it can't harm any wildlife, so let's spend federal money on the exploration!

Am I missing something? Is there something else barring the private sector from doing the research? Or have we really reached the point where none of our representatives believes in the capital markets?
-- Erik Litvinchuk
Sacramento, California

Bravo to President Bush. He has shown the moral clarity and courage to resist the false promises of embryonic stem cell research. I shudder to think what would become of the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life under one of his opponents administrations.
-- John Gronke

THE REAL KOSOVO
Re: Doug Bandow's Blind Eyes Over Kosovo:

I've read your article Blind Eyes Over Kosovo, reporting from and on Kosovo and Metohija. Thank you.

Sadly, there are not many media/reporters who are either keen to investigate and find out what is actually taking place in Kosovo and Metohija or, are aware of the necessity and dare to disseminate unbiased information.
-- Tatjana Lazarevic, a Kosovo Metohija Serb

I was generally favorably impressed with Doug Bandow's article of July 20, 2006 titled: "Blind Eyes Over Kosovo."

Actually, I was not only favorably impressed, but also quite amazed that you would actually publish an article containing some truth about the situation in Kosovo.

However, I would like to correct an extremely popular misconception that Bandow reiterates regarding Slobodan Milosevic's speech of 28 June 1989 in the Kosovo Field. Mr. Bandow states: "...two decades ago Slobodan Milosevic launched his grab for power in a speech in Kosovo that played upon Serb nationalism."

Sadly, I find that Bandow follows a tribe of analysts, wordsmiths, reporters, and even tribunal prosecutors who have made such statements without so much as reading that speech given by Milosevic.

I quote from that speech, and ask if, even by the most cynical interpretation can these words be described as "playing to Serb nationalism"?

St. Vitus Day address from Kosovo Field, June 28, 1989 as delivered by Slobodan Milosevic and interpreted by U.S. Department of Commerce:

"...Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, as in the past, members of other nationalities also live in it. This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage...After all, our entire country should be set up on the basics of such principles. Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the condition of full equality for all nationalities that live in it."

Nevertheless, I must reiterate that I am perplexed as to why you would, at this time, publish an article which contains some truth regarding Kosovo. I imagine it is because of the upcoming status decision. Still, your addressing the truth comes as a jolt. Perhaps Bandow could have asked why, when daily we see stories about incidents in France, Bangladesh, et al., wherein a soul has been slaughtered or succumbed to an accident -- since 1999 -- not one report has shown up in the "mainstream media" about the DAILY killings and property destruction re the minorities in Kosovo.
-- Gwynne Sykes
Canada

I am always amazed, when reading articles about Kosovo, that it is assumed that the area has forever been Serbian, and that Albanians are late-coming intruders. In fact, Albanians are the descendants of pre-historic Indo-European invaders, while the Slavic element appeared in the Balkans much later, c. 500 A.D.

Since then the "ownership" of Kosovo has changed hands often, with Turks, Greeks and Serbs all attempting to control it at various times. To assume, as Bandow appears to, that Serbian sovereignty is historically justified is simply false.

Regardless of who "ought" to have sovereignty in Kosovo, one thing is certain, however -- we should be doing our best to prevent Muslim terrorists from taking it over. The Europeans appear useless in this regard, and I'm afraid that Dubya's present passivity in foreign affairs holds out little hope for American intervention.
-- Richard Donley
New Lyme, Ohio

SWIFT JUSTICE?
Re: Christopher Orlet's The Real Suzanne Swift:

Sir: Please be advised that Susan Swift was not a military police officer. She was a military policeman (or maybe woman if they've PC'd that term). A military police officer is a commissioned officer in the Military Police Corps. An enlisted person such as Susan Swift is a military policeman. Thank you. Keep up the great work you do. I love Ben Stein.
-- J. A. Derie, retired military

A correction to the Real Suzanne Swift article is required: Military Police Officer Suzanne Swift enlisted in 2003, for three years in the military. Swift drove humvees and patrolled the streets of Karbala, (south of Baghdad), protecting those entrusted to her care from Feb 2004 thru Feb 2005. While serving honorably and protecting others, Swift was repeatedly sexually assaulted and sexually harassed by three sergeants while performing her duties as a U.S. soldier. "Command Rape" is a treasonous crime when committed in a war zone. Both active and non-active military personnel are supporting Suzanne and the thousands of other men and women who have been sexually violated by military personnel. Twenty-six percent of women and 3 percent of men according to DOD's own reports.

And yes -- many who want the U.S. out of Iraq are also against military sexual violence. One can be for or against this occupation of Iraq and also against military sexual violence. It is logical and reasonable for humanity to want to hold the DOD responsible for putting military sexual predators behind bars. I seriously question the motives of anyone who would not be for ending soldier on soldier sexual abuse.

I do not have time to offer other info but submit the following article for you and others to read.

Respectfully submitted,
-- Elaine Hayes
Springfield, Oregon

This Case is for the court to decide. Not a person who writes for the RNC -- how would he know what causes PTSD? He claimed in his post to this paper. You would have to see 1,000 of you brother in arms get hurt or killed. Sir it would take one time seeing a person blown to bit to have a case of PTSD. While I do not like her anti-war stand, you have no right to make the claims you did. People like you who never served in combat should not speak on things you do not understand.
-- Dale P. Peters, Republican Head of Veterans for Progress
Darien, Illinois

RIGHT ON
Re: Ben Stein's Eretz Israel:

It is a relief to be presented the facts rather than the constant liberal or conservative media spin or the election one-upmanship spouted by morally corrupt, self-interested politicians. As regrettable as the decades of conflict have been with the innocent loss of life on both sides, Ben is right on.

Regardless of the President's politics or lack of popularity this is a situation that cries out for our support as a people and a nation.

I have little interest in politics, am not Jewish and do not have any interests in Israel though I am hard pressed not to support and respect the stand the people and government of Israel have taken. It seems both righteous and courageous.

If Israel cannot resist terror, we of less resolve have no chance. This situation can teach all in the US how we might cope with the upcoming decades of radicalized terror often directed against the innocent.

Those who pray upon innocent civilians are not heroes to any religious or political cause. They are simply cowardly criminals and all too often vicious murders.
-- Peter Ventura

SHEER GENIUS
Re: The "Mensa Meat" letters in Reader Mail's Creatures of Habit:

Regarding Mr. Dorell's comments about members of Mensa: They may be intelligent, but in all probability they are not very smart. Intelligence is based upon knowledge, sometimes trivial, while smart is based upon life's experiences and what is learned from them. There are many intelligent people in this world who cannot fix an automobile, operate a computer or cook a meal, among other things. Smart people have learned from the lessons of life, without benefit of the loony tunes pap served up by so many of the so-called "intelligent" college and university professors (after attaining tenure!).
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

After suffering (not particularly gladly) the bloviations of Paul W. Dorell, it occurred to me to call the Mensa business office in Arlington, Texas -- and inquire as to the status of Mr. Dorell. I was informed that this poseur once had a "guest" subscription to "The Mensa Bulletin," but was never offered membership in the organization itself. He's naught but a wannabe.

As for his claim that membership turnover rate is "high" compared to what, exactly?), I was informed that both total membership and renewals are at all-time highs.
-- David Gonzalez (Member # 1043706)
Wheeling, Illinois

My eyes must be lying to me because I could have sworn that our dear friend, Paul Dorell, retired from letter writing to The American Spectator online.

Typical of those on the left. Either just don't mean what you say or flat out lie.

Or is he on his first official "comeback tour"?
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

MASKIELL POLITICS
Re: Nathan Maskiell's letter (under "You've Got a Friend") in Reader Mail's All Bets Are Off:

With reference to Nathan Maskiell's letter, there are many Australians like myself who see absolutely nothing wrong with Americans waving Ol' Glory and fearing God. As for America's "scorched-earth domestic politics," one need look no further than the Democrats and their media allies to see who the practitioners of personal destruction really are.

Maskiell should have pointed out that though Beazley (Labor Party leader) is not anti-American he was and still is opposed to the liberation of Iraq and has called for the withdrawal of Australian troops. Whether he did this to appease the leftwing loonies that still infest the Labor Party is neither here nor there.

According to Maskiell "the Iraq war and George Bush belligerence does not play well domestically in Australia." This is not surprising given that the majority of our journalists despise him in particular and conservatives in general. For instance, journalists working for Rupert Murdoch's Australian have described President Bush as a "killer," a man with a "cocaine problem," a Texas governor who corruptly favored Texas "oil producers."

The Australian is supposed to be a conservative rag, so you can imagine what the others are like, including the ABC and SBS.
-- Gerard Jackson
Noble Park, Australia

ERRORS OF THOUGHT
Re: Deane Fish's letter (under "Time Out") in Reader Mail's Proud Moments

Once again I must write to clear up errors of thought in your publication -- this time in your Reader Mail Section. Mr. Fish has gone out of his way to characterize my response as a defense of soccer. He should reread it and try to locate an example. I merely wrote to clear up errors in Mr. Collins' original fact-less article. Now I will do the same with Mr. Fish's trite little letter.

Mr. Fish begins with the odd misunderstanding that anyone living within 100 square miles of the Hall of Fame MUST be a soccer fan. Absurd.

He also writes that "Mr. Cadden has cited (presumably) published examples of spirited sideline assaults IN DEFENSE of soccer's appeal." I believe these examples were meant to refute Mr. Collins' statements in the original article. Again, this was not a soccer defense, simply a factual correction.

There is one point that Mr. Fish makes that is valid. I did refer to Mr. Collins "as a typical American sports fanatic". I regret that line. His implication is that my loyalties are to Euros and the U.N. My apologies to the typical American sports fanatic (of which I am one). They are extremely well versed in the subtleties of many intricate sports and they would rarely go off the deep end on abusing something that they know little about.

"...North Dakota... it could be boredom." Huh? Is there a point to that sentence? Why reference ND? Oh well, it must be an inside joke to yourself.

And, Deaney...You finished really strong, by going 0-2. It's a Bush/Cheney sticker on a Ford. I guess you must think that ALL of NY voted Democrat. For once try an educated guess. I read TAS.
-- Jim Cadden

MORAL EQUIVALENCY
Re: Matthew Omolesky's Israel and International Law:

In Matthew Omolesky's article on Israel and international law he chides French President Jacque Chirac for admonishing Israel for using a disproportionate response to Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers when Chirac himself used the same unbalanced response in the Ivory Coast two years ago. He accuses France of destroying the entire Ivorian air force while failing to mention that that air force was a parsley five planes.

Destroying five planes that were responsible for killing nine French peacekeepers is hardly the same as leveling entire apartment complexes in downtown Beirut.
-- Kevin Ellis
Tirrenia, Italy

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