Reader Mail

Cartoonish Gestures

One Intifada too many. Plus: Onward Christian soldiers. Fighting strength. Finding the divine. And more.

2.13.06

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Please see all Reader Mail regarding David Hogberg's article "Not Funny" as a separate document, "The Great Coulter Debate."

FOOTBALL FOLLIES
Re: John Tabin's Decidedly George Allen:

Earth to GOP.... Running someone who speaks in obscure, gridiron metaphors is about as smart as running Bob Dole again. Either drop the gridiron and speak English, George, or get out of the way so we don't end up with Hillary.
-- Cynthia Wilcox
Austin, Texas
Conservative reader of The American Spectator since I was 2

FIGHTIN' WORDS
Re: Jed Babbin's The Cartoon Intifada:

Right on the mark with "Cartoon Intifada"! No other writers seem to have noticed that Danes are not Muslims, and therefore not required to obey Muslim principles. The terrorist fringe in Islam wants to engulf the West in dhimmitude as they have their own Christian and Jewish minorities. In response, every newspaper and magazine in the U.S. should publish the cartoons and we should all go on a Koran flushing binge!
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

"Be careful what you say in Europe, and who you say it to. In too many places, 'hate speech' is a minor crime."

Be careful what you say in the United States. A young woman was recently arrested in Alabama and charged with "ridicule by race" for comments made to a worker at a Taco Bell.
-- Robert Davidson
Atlanta, Georgia

Very well written, perceptive article. Once again, Europe is interested only in refusing to face a problem.

In the late '70s, I was in an audience of naval officers being addressed by Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf. He had just returned from a tour of Europe and found little there to cause optimism. His perception was that Europeans only worry about danger when "They see a man with a gun in their garden." The present danger to them is even worse, and they don't realize it.

Even worse, here in America, we refuse to wake up. Any rational country should be vigorously prosecuting a war against all our enemies. Iraq and Afghanistan are only a start. Syria and Iran need to be warned once, in plain undiplomatic language, that we are fed up. If they don't heed same, there should be extreme consequences.

Spokesmen for the left in America should be mocked when they commit treason, i.e., Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, etc. Both of these two need treatment for their current mental illness. Of course, most Americans just sit idly by and dismiss all this, because we are nearly as meek as the Europeans. Sadly, it will take a second attack to wake up America.
-- unsigned

Mr. Babbin ponders, "It's hard to gauge who is the greater threat to freedom." Then he asks, "Is it the cowards of Europe or the radical Islamists of the Middle East?"

Shouldn't we also include politically correct, liberal establishment within our own sovereign borders, as well as the mainstream news media, be it domestic or foreign?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

NOT WASHINGTON'S ARMY
Re: Angelo M. Codevilla's The Atheist Foxhole:

Two things come to mind about Mr. Rumsfeld's and the Air Force's hypocrisy.

First, the oath that any soldier takes upon joining the Armed Services -- and certainly the oath Rumsfeld took as an officer -- ends with "So help me God." That's a prayer, a very public one.

Second, in 1776, Gen. George Washington issued a General Order about the U.S. Army Chaplain's Corps, whose motto is "Pro Deo et Patria" ("For God and Country") and which counts its official beginning as 29 July 1775.

The general's order read, in part: "The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor so to live, and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country."

Evidently, Mr. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Air Force and -- dare I say it? -- the president in their individual and collective political correctness have all forgotten or ignored this very noble and honorable charge given by Gen. Washington.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Promulgating the new instructions shows a lack of oversight from Rumsfeld. The larger story, however, is who the people are who setting about the task of studying the situation and preparing the order for the signature of the secretary.
-- Dave Ward
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Codevilla is correct. My experience in the military taught me that, although the military (even 30 years ago) is not overtly religious, every soldier I met in three years except one included "under God" in the patriotism that sparked his enlistment. In college and law school, I met a few secularists. Each of these people hated the military -- the American military especially. These folks considered patriotism to be jingoism and the nation-state to be outmoded. These secularists seemed to love only self. They believed in the right not to be offended (this applies, of course, only to their carefully selected groups and individuals). An individual who believe that the world ends with his or her death is not likely to understand the soldier who gives his or her life for an ideal, for America, for family, for God.
-- Bob Byrne
God's Country, Kansas

Chaplains should be governed by the dictates of their religion. Who in the military complained about the behavior of chaplains, or is Rumsfeld's new edict the result of political correctness run amok, an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist?

He risks alienating the larger part of the American people who populate the American military, those who still believe in "God and Country." Sensitivity training, indeed.

He's either tired or losing it.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Read with interest the piece on the "Atheist Foxhole" and thought it well done. Here is a similar piece I did for our local daily religion section here in San Antonio. Since I did my undergrad in journalism, I write for them from time to time.

I was amazed at the inexplicable vitriol in reply, especially from one of our local rabbis. I would think abridgment of our free practice of religion would diminish us all, regardless of faith. Alas.

Interesting, the AF has now backed away from their blatant secularism in a new policy. My sources, which included some very senior staffers of the original policy confirmed that my take on the AF approach was correct -- and that they were not in favor of it, even on the grounds of "good order and discipline." Oh, and just so you know, I'm an AF line officer (24+ years; not a chaplain) who entered the ministry after retirement, hence, this issue is close to my heart on several levels. And, interestingly enough, most AF decision-makers would not agree with the unamended version that Prof. Codevilla references in his excellent work. Of all people, the military these days feels the need to call on the Almighty with regularity. May they continue to be able to do so, without the PC police placing them at a disadvantage.

If I can ever be of service to your publication, I would be very pleased to do so.
-- The Rev. CB "Chip" Harper

RESERVES AT FIGHTING STRENGTH
Re: Stuart Koehl's letter (under "Tougher Vets") in Reader Mail's A Show of Hands:

One can only presume that Mr. Koehl has no idea what he is talking about. Two main points he should be taken to task on:

1. Levels of PTSD: If Mr. Koehl were to read the book On Killing, he would be aware that the levels of PTSD tend to be related to the training we've given our soldiers to overcome their natural tendency to not want to kill their fellow man -- not the fear they face on a daily basis. Studies have shown that as intense as combat in WWII was, normally up to 50 percent of the combatants (on the U.S. side) never fired their weapons. We have corrected that to the point where upwards of 95 percent will now engage the enemy. In Vietnam we were not prepared for the long-term effects this would have -- we are more so now. Soldiers receive screening before leaving the theater, and also receive follow-on screenings. As a result, I would anticipate that the levels of PTSD for OEF/OIF will be much lower.

2. His assertion about Combat Support/Combat Service Support (CS/CSS) PTSD morale levels being low due to them being National Guard or Reserve is crap! To begin, National Guard units are not predominately CS/CSS. For the USAR that may be true, but the Guard tends to be heavier in combat arms. After the Gulf War, many of the CS/CSS units of the Guard were transferred to the USAR and many of the combat arms units were transferred to the Guard. If there is a morale issue with CS/CSS troops it is more than likely an issue of focus. Combat Arms units tend to be very focused on the conduct of the war, and have the daily interactions with both locals as well as the ability to just "get out" of the "Fort Apache" syndrome. CS/CSS troops, lacking the constant exposure often have a unique lack of situational awareness as to why they are there. Ironically, this may be due to their proximity to "Higher HQ." Commanders often assume that the troops in the rear are more aware due to their proximity to the HQ, and so tailor their information to the troops out in the field. The assertions about training -- also bunk. Reserve Component soldiers receive the same Basic and AIT as their Active Component (AC) counterparts.

For years our military has suffered under the myth of the superiority of the AC vs. the RC. While there may have been issues in the past, and not all RC units meet the standard (neither do all AC units), the past four years have proven most of those myths baseless. Mr. Koehl needs to catch up with the times.
-- Pat Collins
Honolulu, Hawaii

DIVINE BEAUTY
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Right-Wingtips Revisited:

I've read both articles by Mr. Judge. The first did seem a bit snobby to me, but his point is well-taken.

I believe in live and let live and don't believe in imposing my preferences on everyone else; however, I do cringe when people come to church looking like slobs. Raised Catholic where we dressed up every Sunday (remember "your Sunday best"?) to attend church, I still find myself wishing the casual Sunday thing that started in the late '60s early '70s would go back where it came from.

I have also lived in many of these 50 states: Illinois, Colorado, Texas, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Each state has its own flavor, but the major differences are between Connecticut and say Colorado. Colorado is an "outdoorsy" state where people dress in jeans and shirts and down jackets -- it's part of the cowboy, laid-back culture of the state. Connecticut (at least the Hartford area) is more urban, and people dress more like the working mass of New York City: dark clothes, business attire, and are more concerned with the way they look.

But, I think Mr. Judge would be surprised in many areas of the South. The Junior League, the casual dress parties where "casual" does not mean jeans is also a Southern tradition, and most still dress up on Sunday.

Lowbrow entertainment is also part of the culture of an area. NASCAR started in the South as bootleggers tried to escape the G-men. It's a "freedom" thing that the South is proud of, but it by no means occupies the lives of most Southerners.

I remember hayrides in the Midwest that ended in a wiener roast over a roaring outdoor fire under a clear, star-filled sky with a hint of frost in the air. That too is a beautiful thing, and I remember feeling as close to God then as at any indoor Mozart concert.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

WHAT MODERATE ISLAM?
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Angry Young Men:

Islam may be a religion of peace, but it is reserved for fellow Muslims. Actually, intolerance is its foundation. They would slit the throats of Christians/Jews/Buddhists/Hindus/Shintos as soon as look at them. The Muslim wars against the Buddhists/Sikhs/Hindus were grizzly and merciless. Contrary to the ecumenical fuzzy-wuzzyness of today, all they are saying is "give jihad a chance."

Islam claims it is the perfection of the practice of monotheism. Muhammad is the "seal of the Prophets," and the Koran is the final word mandating the five pillars of Islam. What has enraged the Muslim nations is the fact that the two inferior practitioners of the "Word" (Christians and Jews) have been so materially successful, so inventive, and so wealthy. How could Allah allow the kafir to be so far more advanced than Islam.

Islam hasn't invented anything in at least two hundred years. They rely on the know-how of the infidels (computers, cars, TV, WMDs, airplanes, etc., the list is long). Even their suicide bomb belts were probably made in China, as were the explosives.

Islamofascists (watch how the Iranian Army marches: goosesteps) use religious xenophobia to distract their young male population from their abysmal poverty. They are cut off from women since it takes money to attract a suitable bride.

Europe has essentially trapped their Muslim populations in ghettos, separated and isolated from the culture. This becomes a breeding ground of anger, jealousy, and resentment especially when you are taught the superiority of your religion. Do you hear the deafening silence of the so-called moderate Islam? There is a tacit agreement between that invisible segment (moderates) and the radical Muslims. They are only separated by degree of action. All they are saying is "Give Jihad a chance."
-- FCE

ROCKED
Re: Doug Powers's Rock the Vote Crumbles:

What a great column by Doug Powers -- such a way with words... and they are all true! Enjoyed it. Would like to read more of him.
-- Evie Roberts

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