Re: Lisa Fabrizio's March Madness:
When I read this morning's American Spectator I realize how really out of touch Washington Democrats, unmen, and others who live unworldly lives are. I can understand this. We once lived in the Beltway. It was four of the longest years of our lives. Fortunately we traded our lovely two-story home in Springfield for a lovely home AND 33 acres here in East Texas. Though my husband was a military retiree working for a Defense contractor an hour away, we managed a herd of cattle, had our son learn to bale hay, beginning at age 12. He learned to work the land and I kept telling him it would build character as well as manliness. It did and he was a USAFA appointee and grad.
I have believed since I was in D.C. that we have the wrong idea about how Congress should work. First, it should only meet six weeks a year total. The rest of the time the members of the House and Senate MUST live at home in the state they are from. It will keep their feet on the ground; lobbyists would have to show up then where they can be seen by the elected people. Next, when living in D.C. for the times Congress met, a dormitory would house all the Congressmen/women, and Senators. Then, they could live in a more common fashion and be forced to share and live together, like the rest of us do. Most especially they would have to show up for meals at appointed times. Eating together forces good manners.
And finally, we would do away with retirement packages for them and they could live on Social Security (unenhanced) like the rest of us do. That would force them to think more rationally, as the rest of us do.
I also believe I need to bring some Congressmen here to work cattle, Texas Style. It would help them see life more rationally, quicker, while handling the bull in a cattle chute. Who knows, I might slip with my cattle prod...
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher, Military Mom
So the Democrats want to entice members of the military to violate the UCMJ. They are enticing a military culture that considers the standards of professionalism as relative and open to personal interpretation. If I'm not mistaken it was just such lapses in discipline that gave us the Abu Ghraib scandal we still hear so much about. Could the Dems possibly sink any lower?
Be that as it may I doubt we'll actually be witness to service members being brought up on charges. Imagine the New York Times running headlines, "Military Purges Members Who Question War."
But what about me and the many more like me? We outnumber the dissenters by the scores if not hundreds.
As UCMJ-abiding members of the military we aren't allowed to don our uniforms and mug for the cameras. Not that the MSM would give us the air time; Heaven knows they've had three years to ask us our opinion and well...
So the dissenters get their free air time. They get their celebrity spotlight; all with the protection that any move taken against them will be spun as something akin to a Stalinist purge. They'll be played as heroes, strong enough to break ranks with the "torturers" and the "baby-killers."
Then when the cameras are packed-up and the flags are tossed who knows where the dissenters will return to their units -- where us torturing baby-killers reside -- and we're supposed to welcome them back amongst us, to trust them with our lives in the next ambush and VBIED incident.
The Dems are so blinded by hate and so eager for short-term gains they fail to consider what the outright destruction of military discipline and professionalism will do.
-- R. Killleen
Somewhere in the FLNG
Great article. I wish Fox would show footage from the 2000 DNC Convention, where these "patriotic flag waving" Democrats booed the Boy Scout Color Guard.
-- Jackie Worthington
Just let the Democrats keep yapping and the Republicans won't have to do a thing but show up to win in Nov. It is just amazing to me how clueless the Democrats really are. A true oxymoron is Democrat "Real Security."
-- Elaine Kyle
WHO DO YOU TRUST?
Re: John Tabin's To Hell and Back With Them Hawks:
In the current dust-up between Mr. Lowry and Mr. Derbyshire, Mr. Babbin, et al., it seems to me that Mr. Tabin is trying to split the difference, albeit to the Lowry side of center. Let me just say that, in any contest pitting Mr. Tabin, Mr. Lowry, and the like with Mr. Babbin, my money and my good wishes are with Mr. Babbin. Mr. Babbin has the advantage of having actually worked at a fairly lofty civilian position in the Pentagon, AND actually having some very good contacts in the military itself, AND having and expressing common sense, an attribute in short supply among the elite and the chattering classes.
-- Ken Shreve
That radical Islam is itself the threat seems indisputable. But isn't it also orthodox Islam itself?
Whatever the case, I suggest that democratization in radical and other Islamic states, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, stands less chance of success than a snowball in hell surviving unless the Islamic terrorists are confronted and eradicated. In doing so, we must not show weakness or lack of resolve.
Perhaps when the Islamic terrorists are gone or neutered, those remaining Muslims who have the desire to see real change and want peace and safety for themselves will stand and be counted. Then perhaps they'll do something meaningful to reclaim their religion and countries.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
John Tabin, in defense of the democracy school for opposing terrorism, writes that with democracy, angry young men don't have to resort to violence. It would be more accurate to say that while they don't have to resort to violence, they still do. In the Middle East, you can have both your democratic cake and eat your violence as well. The sad, dismal story in the Middle East is that democracy does not forestall terrorism, it strengthens it and adds it legitimacy. People vote for the murderers, America haters and Jew killers of their choice. How nice of us to make the process easier for them. Thanks to the misguided, naive attempts to promote democracy in the Middle East, Hamas and Hezbollah and the cockroaches of the PLO have gone from underground terrorist organizations, to legitimate terrorist governments, and they hardly had to lift a finger because a bunch of clowns in Washington and the EU did all the work for them. Instead of being shunned, the terrorists are now part of the mainstream international system of governments. Condi Rice recently visited Beirut and she not only met and shook hands with a Hezbollah member of the Cabinet, but had her photo taken doing so. Only an out and out halfwit could fail to understand the impact that this would have in the Middle East -- there are plenty of these in Washington, it seems. If halfwits were bombs, America would never need to worry about a munitions shortage. George W. Bush and Rice couldn't have done a better job of undermining themselves if they had tried. If this were a game of football, the Bush team would tell the opposing team to go home because they would carry their own ball into their own end zone for them. This isn't a contest, it is a pathetic joke; it isn't even smart and the joke is on America.
The whole basis of foreign and security policy is to support your friends and oppose your enemies. Further, once a war has started, it has to be won -- there is no point in coming second, and there is no point in doing enough to start a war and then not doing enough to win it. (Don Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs, please take note.) Yet the Bush administration has done exactly that against terrorism and in Iraq. American foreign policy intellectuals can't understand these simple points and it does much to explain the fact that America has not won a war since 1945, when it did understand these facts and applied them ruthlessly against both the Germans and the Japanese at the same time. The Germans and Japanese never forgot, but America did. Maybe having your cities turned to rubble is a key part of the learning process, and America will have to wait until Manhattan or L.A. is reconfigured as a bomb crater before the message gets through.
Instead, for reasons known only to themselves, American foreign policy intellectuals think the be-all and end-all of wisdom is to undermine their friends and promote their enemies, and wars are something where winning is for, well, losers. American policy in Iraq, the Middle East, and against terrorism is a hopeless shambles because it repeatedly fails to understand these simple truths. America can't defeat terrorism until it has the will to do so, and it will never have the will to win as long as it foists itself with ridiculous and naive follies that have nothing to do with winning and everything to do with losing.
-- Christopher H
Re: James Bowman's Manliness and the Mindless:
The term "manly" may be so out of date it's retro and due for a comeback. My training NCO in the National Guard uses the term regularly and I've found myself using it the same way lately. Examples: the Mark 19 is a manly weapon (heavy and solid), to load the weapon you have to give the charging handle a manly pull (pull hard, wimps). You get the idea -- start mixing it into your every day speech.
-- Chris B.
In other words, the book was a bit over the reviewer's head. By the way, I love your movie reviews.
-- Tom Wolenski
FROM THE CLINTONISTA CLOTH
Re: Shawn Macomber's Doing the Hispanic Hustle:
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, is nothing more than a modern day snake oil salesman, who will pander to any political group to increase his political power. Just another careerist politician to fleece our pockets.
I don't know about you America aren't you getting sick and tired of presidential races that seems to never end?
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Re: Doug Powers's Belzer's Morons:
I received this article via email from a family member who is overseas serving our country and simply had to comment.
I agree that to say in the same breath that "one supports the troops but is against the war" seems counterintuitive. By definition, "support" means to promote the interests or cause of; to uphold or defend as valid or right. To truly support the troops then must mean that one upholds their interests and champions their cause. As a researcher, I would not find it very supportive for my colleagues to value my capabilities by declaration but deem my study findings flawed and unworthy of publication. In the same sense, I find it almost amusing that the troop-supporting war-protesting folks claim to be able to do both. As Mr. Powers said, it just doesn't make sense. Being in Los Angeles, I hear a similar remark almost on a daily basis and each time, it puzzles me a bit more. Don't they know that the "support our troops" car magnet they all display on their leased luxury car has to mean something more? Mine does. Perhaps advocating anything other than designer fashions and less trafficked freeways is beyond them, we'll never know.
-- Amanda S. Gilmore
Woodland Hills, California
CATHOLIC TOWN SELLOUT
Re: Christopher Orlet's Domino's Effect:
I really don't know against whom I have the stronger animus: Thomas Monaghan or Christopher Orlet. For as long as there are spineless and religiously clueless (near) billionaires like Signor Monaghan, and myopic journalists like Signor Orlet, it's really up for grabs. To begin at the beginning.
Tom Monaghan, former orphan and seminarian, had an idea: build Ave Maria University in Michigan, an educational institution that would adhere to the Catholic principles he considered important, nay, necessary, to build the moral fiber of our youth. A very fine idea, indeed. For reasons that need not detain us here, Monaghan wished to expand the campus to Naples, Florida, which, despite Mr. Orlet's contention, is not an area that would -- or should -- be characterized as "swampland."
Plans were drawn up and Monaghan gave his approval to lay out a town whose raison d'etre would be based on religiously informed Catholic social and ethical principles, something similar to, not as Mr. Orlet describes, Amish and Mennonite settlements, but more appropriately the Roman Catholic community of St, Mary's, Kansas. But there was the fly in the ointment: Katie Couric. I don't know who is more craven: Monaghan for his apparent retreat from such an idea after the inquisitional (I jest) questioning of "perky" Katie, or Mr. Orlet, for not recognizing and denouncing such timorous behavior. Monaghan's actions indicate strongly to me that he has, in this matter, the backbone of a chocolate Ã©clair.
If Mr. Orlet is correct, and Mr. Monaghan is "redefining his image," then I, for one, thank God for Katie Couric. Her clearly biased -- but successful -- browbeating forced a billionaire with an admirable idea to change his plans. In my judgment, such a retreat means that the conceptual plan could not have meant all that much to the former head of Domino's Pizza. As much as I can regretfully admire a TV celebrity, I can have little respect for the likes of Mr. Monaghan.
Perhaps before going on TV the next time, Mr. Monaghan should prepare himself and read Campion in the Tower, for, in this case, answers to questions about faith meant life and death, not redefining your image. But Monaghan is a post-Vatican II Catholic: attention to externals, including not wanting to hurt people's feelings, coupled with a weak faith.
As for Orlet, he should know better where the problem facing Monaghan lies: Res ipse loquitur -- it speaks for itself.
-- Vincent Chiarello
OPT FOR TOTAL WAR
Re: Jed Babbin's Endgame Conservatives:
I just wanted to add that there are only four options when it comes to war of any kind. You can make the enemy a friend, capitulate to the enemy, negotiate a settlement, or you defeat them utterly.
So in this case our side can't make them friends since they all want us infidels dead, you can't negotiate in good faith with brutal barbarian savages, we certainly are never going to surrender -- "Give me Liberty or give me death" and "Live free or die" and all of that. So option four it is. The whole argument is now reduced to how do we go about winning? President Bush was very clear that he intends to seek a victory as long as he is President so it's now a matter of how he plans on doing just that.
Our military is so far advanced from any other military that it is almost frightening. The problem is that we wield a sledgehammer at swarming mosquitoes. Ever try to kill a flying mosquito with a sledgehammer? Therein lays the problem.
They have been too effective and have not allowed the enemy to form into an inevitable cohesive fighting force. Once they do that then our military can then destroy them all in one big fight instead of this low level combat which is slower than molasses on a cold day.
When they talk about "gutting" our military they aren't doing that because of domestic spending problems. They do this because we no longer require massed infantry formations matched against other massed infantry. It isn't how many you have it is how aggressive they are and how effective they are. Our whole doctrine before was that we didn't do occupations so we were not prepared for this occupation. The U.N. did that job but as we have seen they are corrupt beyond redemption so we got hung out to dry on this one. Turkey also hung us out so we should not be too friendly with them. I think we should be fomenting even more sectarian violence and hope that is spreads into Iran and Syria. If they are busy trying to fight for power on their home lands isn't that better than all of them in that region trying to do another 9-11? The alternative is us flattening their cities with high altitude bombs and leaving a great big pile of smoldering rubble. Which is what should have happened back in 1979 when the Iranians declared war on us. That's when we showed that we were spineless and would not defend ourselves with zealous vengeance.
Re: Jim L.'s letter ("Losercrats?") in Reader Mail's Solid Verification:
Jim L. really rang my chimes with his letter. I'd like to differ with his characterization in one respect, however. "The party has a loser mentality." I believe that the Democrats believe fervently that they are winners and the Republicans are losers. What makes them losers isn't their mentality; it's their blind devotion to their own reelection.
They ascribe their losses in the elections beginning with 1996 to something other than their own failings. It doesn't matter just what; any excuse will do. They believe, based on past experiences over the past 50 years or so, that promising a "chicken in every pot" will bring a plurality to support them in this coming election.
When Schumer and Kennedy and their ilk run out of hot air lambasting Bush and the Iraq war, they will drag out the old promises once again. I can only hope that once again the American public will hand some more of them their hats and say, "Don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out."
-- Bob Johnson
George Mellinger's comments hit upon several key points about how the word "democracy" is used to means different things to different people. Like the words, "right" and "freedom," they mean different things to those on the left vs. those on the right in the political spectrum. All too often, we argue from two entirely different points of views using the same words to make our points.
At its most simple form, democracy is nothing more than mob rule or "three wolves and two sheep discussing the lunch menu." Every attempt at pure democracy has failed because human nature without bounds will eventually consume itself with self indulgence by the majority. This nation has survived this long as a democracy because limits were imposed on that indulgence from the beginning and the framework of our government was that of a constitutional republic not a mob rule democracy. There is a world of difference between a constitutional republic and a democracy that is lost on the bulk of our own population.
What the Framers of our government provided back in the 18th century was a framework that is a lot more consistent with the ideals of self rule, small government, freedom of, not freedom from and the "right" to act upon your own behalf for better or worse vs. the "entitlement" to that which "others" can provide for you. The core of our success rests on both individual economic freedom (property rights) and responsibility (personal accountability). These two combined give our citizens a "stake" in the outcome of the democratic process. Most of the failures of democracy outside this country rest on either economic freedom or responsibility being absence or divorced from each other. Collectivism or the socialist model so popular in places like North Korea, Cuba, China, France, Germany, California, Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, Blue states in general destroys over time the link between true Freedom and the required responsibility that goes along with that, or the "stake" in outcome. That's why socialist states, shed their "producers" when their populations are permitted to seek a choice somewhere else. It is not simply enough to say that "freedom is not free" but that it is a choice that carries a high standard of personal involvement and respect for the process. Democracies don't survive in uneducated backwaters of this world. They require well educated citizens in the principles upon which the nation was founded and a respect for the law. Where these don't exist, you get conflict and violence. The people that founded this country, made a choice to come here and build something for them selves, they had a "stake" in their efforts. All too often this ingredient is missing from third world nations. It is missing from many of the larger urban areas in our Blue States as well. You can't vote yourself a "stake" in freedom, you have to provide your share with the rest.
Democracy in and of itself provides nothing but majority rule which often is just a pretense for mob rule. Hitler came to power in a democracy with a horde of political parties to choose from. All the Socialist states "allow" or require their citizens to "vote" for the candidate of the state's choosing. France has voted itself into anarchy and its citizens aren't responsible for anything any more. As Churchill said, democracy is a terrible form of government but all the rest are so much worse. It is either some form of democracy and the cost of installing and maintaining that or 1000 megatons of airburst weapons expended to clean out the nest of vermin and start over. The latter option is still on the table should this nation be attacked by any form of WMD. Democracy is not an end into itself but a long term goal at best. The odds are in its favor but it is not foolproof. Right now it is being offered as the "carrot" I believe. Perhaps the "stick" needs to be more visible on the table to give some of the world's people a "stake" in their choices. It is clear that the Palestinian people don't understand that voting a terrorist government into existence isn't going to be respected just because they acted like a democracy. At least one would hope it is not respected by those pushing "democracy" as a solution in the Middle East. There is more than just being a democracy that is required and we need to use the proper words to define the outcome we expect rather then simple sound bites. We all have a "stake" in this process working out, even blue states.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
THE LIMITS OF CHOICE
Re: Tom Cabanski's letter (under "Rightfully Steep") in Reader Mail's St. Katherine Harris:
Mr. Tom Cabanski made some rather uninformed comments and I believe I must respond.
I do not "choose" to drive a low-mileage work van, my business requires it. I can't haul much in a tiny econobox like he seems to want us all to drive. And I didn't "choose" to live far from my work, I must go wherever the work is. High fuel taxes are inherently unfair to the overwhelmingly large percentage of people like myself who do not have Mr. Cabanski's privilege of "choosing" where we establish our place of employment. When fuel taxes go up I have the "choice" of charging my customers more (and Mr. Cabanski should understand the problems with that) or more likely I simply do with less while our government never seems to have that same problem.
I agree with the problem of unchecked suburban sprawl, but his own example of Houston shows that raising fuel taxes does little to stem the tide of urban flight. The people who are hurt the worst by high fuel taxes are the ones who can't afford to follow their jobs out of the city (something those of us in Cleveland are very familiar with while those in Houston have little knowledge of). Not everyone has the ability to "choose" where they want to live. If that were the case Cleveland would be almost completely empty by now. Well, I mean more empty than it already is...
Choices are a good thing. Unfortunately skyrocketing fuel taxes reduce the available choices to just about everyone. Everyone who can't afford to "choose" where they live and work, that is.
-- Todd Stoffer
ECHOES OF BEN
Re: Ben Stein's Missed Tributes:
This is, by far, the best editorial I have ever read in my life, let alone since the war in Iraq started. We should all open our eyes and start thanking God for what we have or we may not have it very long. We also should take the time out every single day and pray for our military who are fighting every day of their lives for our freedom to own and flaunt all our riches.
-- Patsy Sweat
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