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What Have We Lost?

Replies to Ben Stein. Also: Is America for sale? Or just our Air Force? Plus: Evangelical enviros. Husky senators. And much more.

2.23.06

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NEVER FEAR
Re: Ben Stein's We're Losing:

Does Ben Stein ever write anything that is less than brilliant? His one page exposition of why "We're Losing" should be required reading in every Western capital and TV newsroom (as a visual medium, TV has even more responsibility than newspapers in broadcasting the cartoons).
-- Larry Kaufmann
Madison, Wisconsin

Thank you. My feelings exactly. Looks like we are going to surrender ports in order to pacify 'em too. And that won't work either. MAD works every time.
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

We'll never lose as long as Ben Stein writes. You are in for another well-deserved torrent of "God Bless Ben" letters. But how can his many admirers not thank him for taking the time and selecting subjects that matter most to us and then writing about it in words so perfectly chosen?

Dear, wise Ben. Long may he wave.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Never fear, Ben! We can take the initiative back at a stroke, and win on all fronts. How? Simple! Convert to Islam.

This is not nearly the sacrifice it would seem to be at first. To be sure, the religion is strange and exacting for Western tastes -- or was, until we had the example that al Qaeda and Hamas have set. There being no central authority in the Muslim faith, they have demonstrated that Islam means any damn thing they want it to mean, and if you disagree with them, they eat your babies. If murder and torture and terror are blessed by Allah -- to say nothing of embezzling on an industrial scale -- then why can't we join up, too, and sneak in the odd beer and bacon sandwich?

Best of all, as a Muslim you command the instant respect (spelled F-E-A-R) of those who are so fearless in attacking all things Western. C'mon Ben, haven't you itched, deep down, to issue a fatwa, complete with bounty, against the likes of Jane Fonda and Michael Moore? The charge of treason holds no terrors for the poison left, but how 'bout blasphemy from people who know how to deal with blasphemers?

Wouldn't it be nice to call the war on terror our jihad, and to have the wholehearted cooperation of the French, the EU and the UN for a change? Imagine the fun of calling the Ayatollahs not psychotic murdering bastards, but actual heretics!

In all seriousness, there is more strength on our side than there is pernicious weakness on theirs. Believe it, and by all means keep on fighting the good fight. (But hey, just think of the fun that comes with four, count 'em, four wives...)
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

I nominate Ben Stein for President. Ben touches Americans of all faiths and races. Who else has put their finger on the issues facing our nation to the same degree that Ben has? Point them out so that I can support them if Ben will not run!
-- Brian
Crossville, Tennessee

Our side, the free-speech side, is losing this war anyway!! Here in Indiana, the Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, has been successfully sued by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. For what? For mentioning Jesus Christ's name in prayer in the people's house!!
-- John Sorg
Indianapolis, Indiana

I am writing in regards to Mr. Ben Stein's article. And I agree with everything said.

Unfortunately, there is an obvious timidity at play in the Western world we live. Most people are so cowed by the prospect of retaliation that they practically bath the enemy of our freedom with praise and respect. Just take a look at Spain: after the Madrid bombings they ran with tails tucked instead of licking their wounds and standing their ground.

With history as an example, those who are willing to buckle down and get dirty will most always win out in the end. Today's Western world, while technologically advanced and militarily strong, has become meek, and cringes at loud bangs. The simple "threat" of an attack finds us spending billions to throw up walls in defense.

Unless we prepare ourselves for a few cuts and scrapes, we will, eventually lose.
-- Derek Rush

There are clarions amongst us... we have only to hear them.

Ben's clear thinking will ring true for those of us who haven't surrendered, long ago, our ability to recognize wolves at the door and the homespun "bad weather's comin'" when dark clouds approach. Would the miracle of America ever have been if our ancestors had been fearfully pre-disposed to surrender the door to the wolf or to break down into impotent frenzy at a storm's approach? The answer is plain and the situation has only changed in its degree.

Wolves and bad weather exist and our mettle is being tested. Meekness is not in our best interest.

To timidly watch the wolves run amok, to just let go and be swept away by bad weather is foolish. To let our politicians, media or politically correct intellectuals rationalize meekly caving-in to a CARTOON-driven, terrorist seeded storm of anti-American, frenzied Islamic fanatics is disgusting and may be a clarion of the worst kind... I prefer Ben.
-- John Curtis

Ben Stein is the reason I subscribed today to the digital AmSpec, and I would like you to let him know that this is the case.

Also let him know how much I appreciated his personal responses to my email to him (some time back), regarding the legitimacy of Lincoln's actions during the Civil War. I hope he did get to see Gods and Generals, but if he has not yet read Roger Ebert's commentary on that film, he would save himself a lot of heartburn by avoiding it (Ebert's review, that is).
-- Clint Laing
Lawrence, Kansas

You are spot on! The reality is that Islam has always been spread through violence or the threat of violence. Here in Minnesota, a charter school has gone so far as to get a local Imam's input and approval of their grade-school art program. The children can no longer draw pictures of people or animals. If this isn't submission to Sharia law and dhimmitude, I don't know what is.

Do you suppose the same school will consult with local Evangelical Pastors to get their input and approval of the school's evolution curriculum? Or with the local Rabbi to ensure that the school's history books have an accurate portrayal of the Holocaust? Here's a link to the relevant news article.

Note how the local paper praises the school's willingness to "compromise."
-- Wes Hillman

Why not take the President at his word and accept that the war on terror is not a war against Muslims or Arabs. We have no hope of success if it descends to that level.
-- Rick Lockwood
Gainesville, Florida

Ben Stein is usually thorough in his analysis of events, but he seems to be caught up in the rush to develop strategy to fight the war on terror. A war is a constantly changing complex set of strategies that need to be tweaked, changed or that require reactive measures to the opponent. One does not open a game of chess and then sit and wait until the game ends. It's the same with decisions in a democracy or in our case a republic. We trust our government to make most strategic decisions in wartime, but occasionally the press and the public have roles to play. In the case of publishing the cartoons, a mistake was made by most of the media in not publishing for the reason Mr. Stein gave; First Amendment rights to publish trump censorship in most cases. There are situations when the press is asked to censor by the government for security reasons, or does it for political reasons. That was not the case here. So the press made a mistake and it may have been cowardly. But as in a game of chess mistakes are made resulting in the loss of pieces but a winner emerges maybe because the mistake alerts the actor to change strategy. I don't think it is time to talk of defeat but rather a battle lost and a warning that this war could be lost.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

It isn't cowardice that drives the appeasement crowd.

At the heart of the American left's refusal to fight against Islamic terror is not some fundamental disagreement with self-defense. The American left seeks to appease our enemies because by doing so the left can obstruct the work of a Republican administration and Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Economics, as always, is the driving issue for the left. Among the Useful Idiots, the hatred of the American way comes from their feelings of entitlement to constant hand-outs. The left's followers do not understand economics at the foundation level. They believe there is something for nothing, that wealth is the product of a magic-trick, and anybody who tells them different earns their hatred. Much of the Sheehan-Churchill-Moore crowd would gladly make allegiances with our enemies if it meant striking out at the people who keep breaking the bad news about Santa Claus. They can't handle the truth. The left's leadership, most of whom know very well they peddle lies, seek to increase their dominion over ignorant masses of government dependents.

The disgusting thing is the left is willing to whore itself to those who mean us harm in order to get what they want.
-- Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

Some observation on your above-referenced article published today, Feb. 23, on the American Spectator website.

Discretion being the better part of valor, most of the media, for reasons best known to themselves, have forborne showing those culturally-insensitive cartoons that has Islam in an uproar.

Instead on every newscast the TV shows the Danish flag being burned. Unfortunately, however, there being a dearth of Danish flags to be burned in Jihadistan, the holy warriors had to make do by making up some home-made version for the edification of TV cameras.

As for the groveling by the Scandinavian dhimmitude towards their future lords and masters, it is hard to believe that these are the descendents of the Vikings who once made the civilized world quake in fear (from the wrath of the Norseman Oh Lord deliver us). Even as late as 1864, when Prussia and Austro-Hungary jointly assaulted Denmark, the Danes fought back and even though they lost that war and had to surrender the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, they, at least, made them work for it.

Now a group of Danish(?) imams have called upon Jihadistan to wage a jihad against Denmark -- in less advanced societies this is known as treason -- but the only causalities so far are self-inflicted ones both the killers and the killees being among the faithful, thus nobody qualifies for 72 virgins.

Further a few hundred Danish Muslims have all but paralyzed Denmark, in fact, taking a leaf from their French counterparts, they have taken a part of the Danish city Aarhus as well as of the Swedish city of Malmo, and incorporated them into Eurabia where Sharia rules and the indigenous people have been reduced to the status of Dhimmis.

The fact is that the jihadists are ready to explode at any time on any occasion. I recall when I was in Tokyo in May 2001, there occurred an incident, which made the local news but was not picked up by the national or international media.

It appears that a garbage collector on his rounds came across a book printed in characters unfamiliar to him. Thinking it had been discarded he put it in his garbage bag and continued on his route. It appears that this book was a Koran and a bunch of Muslims stormed into the local ward office threatening to start a jihad right there and then and the Japanese never knew what hit them.

The situation was finally diffused by the Japanese officials profusely apologizing without quite knowing what it was they were apologizing for.
-- E. David Litvak

Well said, Mr. Stein. Your article on the radical Islamists' intimidation of some of the free press in this country illuminates their cowardice.

Shame on those in the media who don't hesitate to trash some groups, but cower in their offices and seem to accommodate others who delight in slicing off heads on camera and killing innocents.

Our military in Afghanistan and Iraq are facing and enduring danger and sacrifice daily as they courageously defend freedom and work to defeat the terrorists. It's sickening to think of the aid, comfort and encouragement the terrorists are receiving from many in the media. They can joyfully dish out the vitriol and ridicule but cannot put themselves at risk. What cowards and hypocrites! Are they so naive and oblivious to the risk we face -- or are they just afraid? It's difficult to tell but, either way, it's indefensible.
-- Donna Fuller
Gulf Breeze, Florida

Thank you Ben for finally saying what many of us have been thinking recently. Yes, we are winning militarily, but we're getting destroyed psychologically. Until we stand up and assert our economic and nuclear superiority and start dictating OUR terms, we'll keep losing our freedoms.
-- Gray Smith
West Orange, New Jersey

At least one TV outlet -- Fox News -- showed the cartoons that so inflamed the Muslim brothers. Except for that little inaccuracy, Mr. Stein's point is irrefutable.
-- KEK

GO BEN!!
-- James Wood
Templeton, California

SELLING DEMOCRAT SENATORS
Re: Barron Thomas's So When Do We Sell the Air Force?:

Reasonable people like Mr. Barron can disagree about the sale of the cargo management operations of the six eastern seaboard ports to a Dubai company, but his comment that, because President Carter, a retired politician, favors the deal, one should resist it takes the argument down a road he may not have wanted to go: That currently serving politicians with future ambitions like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and John Corzine who reflexively and unthinkingly oppose any Bush initiative are against the deal is a far stronger reason to support it.
-- Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Selling the Air Force seems a bit rash. Perhaps some baby steps first. How about subbing out our border patrol to the Syrians, and prison management to the Yemenis?
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It appears that President Bush has forgotten that perceptions matter.
-- Gerry Jackson
Economics Editor, Brookesnews.com

I'm wondering if all those opposed to the ports deal want to ban all Arab/Muslim investment in the U.S.? Do we want these same Arabs/Muslims to buy up America? Has Mr. Thomas, who wrote the article opposing the ports deal, ever sold property to an Arab/Muslim? Do these "experts" know how much Arab/Muslim investment there is in the U.S.? Do Arabs/Muslims have influence in any other business venture that could have an impact on America's national security? What should we do about that? I don't know the answer to these questions, but my guess is that those in an uproar don't either.

What I do know is that the UAE provides the U.S. Navy with excellent and secure port services in the Persian Gulf. That they have been a force multiplier in our military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. That the UAE, for an Arab/Muslim state, has been a good ally in the Global War on Terror.

Since our ports are so important to national security why are we ignoring the fact that the communist Chinese have a significant influence over our western ports? The current threat to the U.S. is fundamentalist Islam, but the biggest threat in the future is China. But there hasn't been a peep of criticism from Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer or Mrs. Bill Clinton to the Chinese gaining major influence over our western ports. If national security is so important to these people why are they indifferent to this potential threat? Let's not forget this is the same group that ignored terrorism throughout the 1990s.

If we don't want foreigners, who are potential threats, to operate ports in the U.S. then we need to change our laws and business climate to encourage American corporations to get into the game. Until we do that foreign owned companies are going to have a major part to play in the day to day business of American ports like it or not.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Barron Thomas replies:
Mr. Tomlinson brings up good points on the surface, but they are not sufficient in strength to change the dynamics of the Dubai ports deal, or to let our guard down. His points warrant deeper thought by all concerned to really get a grasp of this issue.

Yes, I have done a considerable amount of business with Arabs/Muslims. This experience is where I learned that Arabs are very good at doing the math in a deal and to see how it adds up for them first, and everyone else second. Let's not forget, that those in power in the Arab world critically need our support, just as critically as we need their oil.

The present power structure in the Arab world has serious threats from within, and, they are not capable of dealing with these threats strictly on their own.

Arabs are probably the world's best poker players in terms of negotiations, but the fact we need to remember is that most Arabs in power really want to stay in power, and they need us to help them stay in power.

Nobody is suggesting that we ban all Arab investment in the United States. This is beyond silly. We are in a global economy and they are big players. What Mr. Tomlinson, and many others are failing to discern, is the difference between business issues, and security issues. The ports deal is a security issue.

As my article stated, there are many, many profitable business deals that can be done everyday with the UAE. No one is suggesting for a second that this commerce stop. My article further suggests that the ports deal go forward minus these 6 ports.

Further, no one disputes that the UAE does an admirable job in running their port operation for us, and no one doubts that they are our friend.

To reiterate my point in the article, friends respect other friends' sovereignty over national security issues and assets. If the UAE does not understand this point, we will get a last lesson in just how much they are our friend.

Mr. Tomlinson's next point about China is important, but not a foundation for a weakness in vigilance nor is it relevant on this issue. The Chinese involvement on the West Coast is an arguably bad idea, but one bad idea should not be the excuse to allow more bad ideas.

Mr. Tomlinson's next comment about changing our laws to incentivize more American companies to get into port operations, and if we don't, then we are stuck with allowing foreigners to operate our ports "like it or not" is completely unfounded in fact. While I am not a huge fan of longshoreman and teamsters, they seem to have kept things running at our ports for the last 100 years or so. The fact that a cash-rich wealthy competitor can "buy" their way into the business doesn't warrant more government handouts, but when the cash-rich competitor is actually a foreign government with a clear history of mixed signals on terrorism, then it needs to be stopped.

Mr. Tomlinson, certain politicians, and many newspapers need to understand that American people are still in charge of this thing.

FANTASY-BASED EVANGELICALS
Re: Paul Chesser's Bible Bending Propaganda:

I am sickened by so called Christians falling for absurdities such as espoused by the cultist elites.

If these so called Christians applied similar criteria to a study of the facts surrounding climate change as they do to preparing their sermons, then they would immediately see the paucity of evidence supporting the cultist philosophy undergirding climate change. These same Christian educators would give low scores to ministry candidates for putting forth arguments that had as little support as they ask us to believe about so-called climate change science.

I urge you to set aside your emotions and rely on good ol' common sense to guide you. Can you remember the '70s when many scientists thought the earth was growing cooler due to the pollution? Where are they today? They repackaged and have jumped on another "crisis" bandwagon.

Wake up, America, before it is too late!!
-- Brian
Crossville, Tennessee

I guess there's a reason that "mentalist" is connected to environment. Leaving that thought aside, you would have done well to recall global warming present outside the city of Nineveh, you know, in the story of Jonah and the Whale. And the destruction of the wetlands as 600,000 Jews trampled the Red Sea floor bed, can you imagine the damage? Not to mention the water pollution caused by all those decaying Egyptian bodies. Or the misalignment of the solar system Joshua caused by ordering the sun to stand still! And all those Cedars of Lebanon cut down to build some Temple in a town that no one had ever heard of, Jerusalem. No to mention the genetic manipulation by Jacob of Laban's flocks to increase the amount of spotted and speckled sheep. And can't you just see the smog caused by a "burning pillar" at night leading to a "cloud" by day showing Jews the way to the Promised land. Those damned Jews, always at the root of problems. And the trash left behind from the multiplying fish feeding frenzy, that must have been something to behold. All those pointy fish bones, oh my! A true hazard for unwary, unwashed feet. And the thought of walking on water is enough to make one shudder... casting a giant shadow, disturbing the algae multiplying on the water surface on Lake Tiberias....
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

This is indeed a very timely article, in light of the recent appeals made by the likes of Christian cultural-icon Rick Warren (The Purpose-Driven Life) with regards to global-warming, and his exhortation to action for the purpose of preserving God's creation.

With more obviously divisive issues such as abortion and gay-marriage still too hot to touch, environmental causes are safe, soft-sell topics that would exert a strong pull on the kinder, gentler practitioners of the Christian faith. In addition, newer translations of the Bible are increasingly (and I believe, intentionally) lending vague interpretations to the original texts in an effort to appeal to the sensitive, and more socially-conscious "feel-gooders" among us. The word "stewardship", once defined as "to manage with discretion," is now being re-defined as the new-and-improved "to protect at all costs." I would prefer that these gung-ho protectors of the environment more publicly proclaim this new definition of stewardship with regards to the unborn.

Evangelical Christians would be better served going about their business of being examples of Christ's sacrifice and servitude to his fellow man, rather than focusing on periphery, as-yet unsubstantiated concerns such as global-warming. If they indeed trust that God is sovereign, then they should also trust that He would not allow his creation to be destroyed by anyone or anything else than but by Him, and then only in His perfect time.

As for environmental concerns; certainly, we should not be careless, but when it starts becoming apparent that in doing so, the "creation" is being exalted higher than the "Creator," a personal re-evaluation may be in order.
-- Mark Kalbach
Morton, Pennsylvania

Great one on God and global warming. You obviously know exegesis, hermeneutics, and the Author of the text.
-- Mike McDaniel

Nincompoopery. PC heretics.
-- Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

Preach it, Brother Presser! The ECI has embarrassed all evangelicals who care about truth. Speaking of which, shouldn't learning the truth about global warming and telling the truth be a priority for evangelicals? Guess not; they care more about supporting their beleaguered brethren on the left.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

CRIMSON ASYLUM
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Showdown at Harvard State:

RET at his Menckenesque best.

And a special award for the renaming of the institution, perhaps to be appended in just a few more years to "...for the Criminally Insane."
-- unsigned

UW'S FEW AND PROUD
Re: Thomas Lipscomb's Pappy Boyington Shot Down:

We are very concerned with the negative generalizations about the University of Washington over the last week relating to the memorial for Col. Gregory Boyington. Due to the failure in the Student Senate of Resolution 12-18, "A Resolution Calling for a Tribute for Col. Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington, USMC," many newspapers, radio talk-shows, and other public discussion forums have portrayed all of the students at the University as being opposed to the construction of this memorial, and have accused us of showing grave disrespect to our nation's veterans.

Many students do not share the opinion the Senate has expressed by failing this Resolution, and in fact many of us argued vehemently for the approval of this memorial. In the end the decision came down to a single vote and we want to stress that half of the Senators did support the memorial. The comments that were made by a few individual Senators during the meeting do not in any way reflect the opinions of us all.

All people should be respected and recognized for their hard work, their achievements, and the sacrifices they make for others. President John F. Kennedy told us to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Col. Boyington is an excellent example of someone who has done just that, and did everything that his country asked of him, and then more. He is a Marine who went above and beyond the call of duty, and sacrificed everything to defend the freedoms and liberties we cherish so fondly and we are proud that he was an alumnus of our University.

We are just as appalled as many members of the public by the openly racist remark that a student leader made. It is truly sad that four decades after Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about his dream for the future, there are still people who judge whether a person deserves to be commemorated based on his or her race, gender, and sexual orientation. We are truly sorry that such comments and thoughts continue to circulate in our society and that over the last week they have become associated with the University of Washington.

We have sadly found out last week that there are some student Senators who do not appreciate the immense sacrifices made by all veterans in order to preserve the freedoms that we so easily now take for granted, but many students recognize and deeply appreciate these great sacrifices. We are grateful to all servicemen and women, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country and we feel nothing but the deepest respect for them.

We can only hope that in the future all graduates of our University will be able to live up to the example set such people as Col. Boyington. We are very proud that our University produced one of the finest members of our Armed Forces, and will do everything we can to make sure that in the future UW graduates are associated with people such as Col. Boyington.

We feel truly sorry and apologize to all veterans and to those currently defending our country for not being able to convince the student Senate to make a decision that would make our University look deserving in the eyes of those who love our country.
-- Mikhail Smirnov, ASUW Senator
Paul Fleurdelys, ASUW Senator
Gary Stute, ASUW Senator
Yongwook Choi, ASUW Senator
Jonathan Evans, ASUW Senator
Charles Cadwallader, ASUW Senator
Andrew P. D. G. Everett, ASUW Senator
Brandon Gregory, ASUW Senator
Colin A. Thomas, ASUW Senator
Brandt Hofstetter, ASUW Senator
Sarah E. Cunningham, ASUW Member
Dan Lowry, ASUW Member
Nathan D. Badle, ASUW Member

It is interesting to note that while the people at the University of Washington will not erect a statue to this great American Hero, Pappy Boyington, just a few miles away on the other side of town (Seattle) there is a statue of one of the most bloodthirsty, violent and evil men to ever walk the face of the earth -- The Man of Lawlessness -- Vladimir Lenin. This eight foot tall monstrosity was donated by an "anonymous" donor, obviously donated anonymously as to not be outed as a Communist.
-- G. Sorrentino
Enterprise, Alabama

I am going off topic here but am desperate to provoke some kind of outrage!

There appears no place in America to express one's thoughts on the apparent refusal of the U Dub students to permit a statue of one its most distinguished Alumni: Greg "Pappy" Boyington. For readers who are unaware of his exploits, Pappy Boyington was one of America's leading flyers in World War II. He shot down perhaps 26 Japanese planes, was himself shot down, was "rescued" by a Japanese submarine, and subsequently imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese. He survived and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Truman for his heroic service to his country.

The University of Washington wanted to erect a statue honoring this great American who, with quite literally millions of others like himself, offered his all in the service of his country. The students don't want to erect a statue of "a man who killed people." I am so angry at these pea brained, sheltered, ignorant, weak-minded, little children who know so little about the world they live in they should have no voice in anything. This is the end product of a socialist education, in a socialist state: ignorance, pure, bright and shining!

These students are exactly like the Japanese. The Japanese never refer to World War II, they call it "a period of darkness" with no further explanation. These student idiots are too ignorant to know the war even occurred.

I ask the decent citizens of the State of Washington to raise a huge howl over this. For when we fail to honor heroes Like Pappy Boyington, we tell the world that his sacrifice was useless. And if his sacrifice was useless then this nation, one of mankind's greatest experiments in freedom and dignity for all men and women, is not worthy of sacrifice. Nations not worthy of sacrifice are not worthy of life.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

DOUBTING DUBAI
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Ports in a Storm:

I oppose the transfer of port authority to the UAE, and to any other Arab or Islamic country on principle. That principle is that these folks subscribe to a religion which has as one of its main tenets, the destruction of Christianity and Judaism. However, I am mystified that so many liberals indict the deal as a selling out of our security by President Bush. After all, these are the folks who have been recommending that we cultivate Islamic countries, thereby co-opting their bellicose tendencies, and making friends of them. Is there cognitive dissonance in Liberal Land?
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

My reaction yesterday to the Dubai ports deal was (like many others I suspect) driven by the feeling of being blindsided by an important decision that had already been made before I heard about it in any way. Public input can be rancorous but it is essential in our system of government and when the public thinks that important deals are being cut behind closed doors the reaction is usually tumultuous.

I know it is said that this deal was announced months ago however it somehow slipped down a memory hole in the media. The President vowing to veto any legislation that stops this was not helpful to him or to easing public apprehension that port security will be compromised and Carter being for it worries me.

An analogy would be, the City Commission decides in a private meeting to condemn your home. They then publish the decision on a board in an obscure office. You find out about it when the police show up with an eviction notice and a bulldozer. Your only recourse is to barricade yourself in your home and demand that they negotiate with you. We need time to decide if this "Hyperspatial bypass" is a good thing or not.

I believe the best way to proceed now would be to have a complete public airing of all matters concerning port security through Congressional hearings and public discourse in venues such as this. Not however a 9/11 commission style event where commissars inform the peons what is good for them. There may be aspects of this deal that can't be publicly discussed. When national security is involved there are always some things (like the NSA program for instance) that need to be kept secret. I understand that. We should still have a comprehensive look at how these ports and all the others are to be made as secure as a free society can make them. If Dubai Ports World is shown to be competent and secure then fine, if not then some other solution for running the ports will be found. The main thing in this post 9/11 world is to make sure the American people are informed and have a say in matters of our national security.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

PINK MEMORIES
Re: James Bowman's review of The Pink Panther:

This past Saturday night, a local television station broadcast the original Pink Panther. It had been many years since I had seen it. It occurred to me during many scenes how badly the movie dragged, especially the ones with David Niven and Claudia Cardinale. In short, it was a boring romantic farce punctuated with subtle physical comedy from Peter Sellers. Blake Edwards fleetingly understood he had a great character when he showcased Sellers next in A Shot in The Dark. He lost his comic touch after that with his Pink Panther sequels, which were insulting ham-handed attempts of the same formula. A Shot in The Dark and 10 were Edwards' best efforts.
-- Evelyn Leinbach
Colorado

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