Reader Mail

A Spring of Leaks

The Barrett Report is taxpayer-owned. Also: Night patrols. Crisis control. The Derbyshire Metrocon Lexicon. And much more.


Re: Shawn Macomber's Night Raid!:

Mr. Macomber is a breath of fresh air. While the MSM would have us believe that after such a raid as described in Mr. Macomber's article, American troops would shoot the males, rape the females and the cut off and roast the most tender cuts of children, Mr. Macomber makes it to be just what it is. Terrified civilians, scared soldiers and purpose. Let us not forget for a minute his only passing mention of the AK-47 on the table. Not a few of those are turned on our soldiers and the Iraqi police every night.

But most important, let us not forget for one second that there are hundreds of Josef Goebbels propagandizing this war against murderers to make this country weak and promote the "America never" philosophy of the Democrat party.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Welcome to Iraq. Your article provided an accurate description of a night raid. Another thought that enters this old soldier's mind is how precious are the young lives of my battle buddies and how short our friendships might be. Also my unscientific observation is that the death ratio is at least ten innocent Iraqi civilians to one Coalition Force troop.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Free the Barrett Report:

Leak it. Now. We taxpayers paid for it.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

Thank you for today's column regarding the suppression of the Barrett Report. I mailed letters early this week to a handful of House members from Houston -- and both Texas Senators -- urging them to seek the immediate release of the document. I will now add Mr. Frist and Mr. Hastert to my list. We (taxpayers) paid for it; we have every right to see it. And the sinister cabal protecting the Clintons has operated far too long as well.

Please stay on this issue. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
-- Alan S. Ecton, CPA
Houston, Texas

Some of my tax dollars paid for this report and I want to see what I have helped pay for. Our spineless Republicans need to get this out. By the way, you do have a majority in both houses. Or do you even know what that means?
-- Elaine Kyle

I had read previously that the report was at least 400 pages. After ten years plus, a 120-page report from the government. Does not compute to me.

Anyway, thank you. Please do not let this slip into oblivion. We need to get our "Great Country" back.
-- Dan Beene
Port Murray, New Jersey

With all the governmental leaks lately why can't someone simply walk out with the Barrett report in his or her underwear as good ol' Sandy "Burglar" did or even secreted in a body cavity to put even a more "Clintonian" aspect to it. That, of course, raises another question, why is rumpled ol' Sandy not in the hoosegow? Then again how about Bill and Hill? I guess it would never end if someone wanted to seriously consider these issues.
-- Jack Wheatley

Your article is on the mark. If the Democrats keep demanding an open and transparent government, they should start with themselves. From what is leaking out lately, the Clinton Administration was no better or worse than others at having Federal agencies, including the IRS, do their dirty work for them. The problem with the Democrats lies in their hypocrisy. It is alright to demand investigations of the opponent for perceived violations of federal statutes, especially those that pertain to civil rights. When the shoe is on the other foot, they seek deception and go into hide and seek mode. It would be nice if the full report were leaked. Though it may not be legal or ethical, it would see the light of day. It would be nice, but not necessarily right. Our only hope is that the confused and befuddled Republicans can wake up, stop being so collegial to the Democrats, and demand full disclosure. Let the American people decide.
-- Peter Bella

Re: Reid Collins's Hatfield and McCloy:

Oh boy, do I know that feeling that the command post for the rescuers of the trapped miners knew. I did command post duties in the USAF for over 20 years; my first aircraft mishap with fatalities was in 1980. My last (that I worked) in 2000. I can assure you, as can anyone else that has ever done something similar in real life -- you only know what others "feed" you. And caution rules. Cell phones were just getting popular when I retired; the rule then was no cell phones or radios in the command post (other than the fixed base radios and land line telephones we already had installed).

Real life, there was once an aircraft crash in another country, a military transport aircraft, there were people injured and people killed, you know it took two days, over 36 hours after the incident to have the "positive" confirmation on the exact number killed, and the number and types of injuries the survivors received. My commander (and some of his senior staff), had to physically go to several different hospitals (actually walk into the buildings and seek out medical authorities) with a translator to "get the complete facts" so a final report could be sent to the National Command Authorities of the incident. This final report is the entire incident, usually with a timeline of the incident and the response, and contact information from where other follow-up information will come from.

From what I have heard and read, someone on a cell phone with someone inside the command post overheard in the background the report "they've been found." Somehow this got turned into "they found them all alive." From there it was spread like wildfire, everyone that had a cell phone was on it to someone else. The original cell phone conversation (one between someone inside the command post and someone outside) was not an official notification. With the decreased contact with the rest of the world outside of the crisis response, yea, taking 20 minutes to hear that a rumor is out of control is rather quick actually. More often it's from a higher level of command that tells the command post about it.

I have heard and read that it took sometimes like 42 minutes to get the one positive survivor out of there, and then send in more teams and wait....

The wait is endless, and it also can go quickly. Forty-two minutes out to confirm, it was only one still alive and we got him, (treat the person, transport out through a cramped, narrow, low cave like passage way with obstructions, in the dark and cold, with survival gear). (Hey it's hard enough to carry a stretcher 60 feet on level ground while someone is getting medical treatment, I know, I've done it.) Then something like another 40 some minutes for a second team to go in, take or try to take vitals and to get out to tell the command post. Let's round it so the math is easier, 45 + 45 (remember 60 = 1 hour), so two and a half hours of just "waiting," and I am sure that it was at least a few minutes from the initial word that someone was found alive. That is where the whole three hour delay came from. The initial and unconfirmed report to the final count, before telling the families was NOT that long of a delay for those of us that do this (or have done this) for a living.

I have both read and heard that state police were dispatched to the church to make person to person contact with the pastor, to have the families waiting separated from the crowd and to start telling them, "all was not good" but there were more teams with medical folks going into the mine... As someone that has had that wonderful duty herself (make face-to-face contact, to prepare people for the real news) it is hard, very hard to find the "right" person and to start the process.

I am the grand-daughter of a coal miner that survived a similar type of mine explosion when he was only a teen; we had other family members that mined coal for decades. I have heard the stories second and third hand from my family growing up. I extend my condolences to the families of these miners.
-- Sandra Dent

Re: J. Peter Freire's When the War Comes Calling:

Regarding Herman Obermayer's anthology of his letters as a young GI in the World War II ETO to his family, and reviewer J. Peter Freire's admonition that "a sense of propriety would be the best example to follow," it should be considered that Mr. Obermayer's work is one of the final examples of Phase II of any historical reporting. If Phase I is during or after action reports, then Phase II is the more reasoned, less tending to propaganda, later testimony of living witnesses to the events. Natural mortality is rapidly closing the door on Phase II for the events of World War II, and soon leaving us with the final phase where all historians can do is sift the parchments of the past and hope to find either previously unpublished information or more likely attempt to improve how it has all been said one or more times before.

Mr. Freire notes "French ingratitude to American intervention has long been a popular anecdote." Perhaps one of the most authoritative witnesses to both the liberation of France and the subsequent liberation of Belgium, and the stark differences in the reaction of the respective populaces, was the peerless Chester Wilmot, an Australian reporter for the BBC, who parachuted with the British 6th Airborne into Normandy in the night of June 5-6, 1944, and continued with lead British units through the end of the war. In his Struggle for Europe, published in 1952, page 474, Wilmot wrote:

By late afternoon the Guards were entering Brussels, and as they drove nearer the heart of the city the crowds thickened and the tumult grew. Only an hour earlier the streets had been bare and deserted, except for the last departing Germans. Now the buildings were plastered with flags, streamers and placards which the Belgians had prepared long since for this very day. In one square the tanks were halted by the throng and the Brussels police attempted to move the crowd back, but they could not restrain one little old woman who wore on her drab black dress her husband's medals from another war. She made a quick dart across to the nearest jeep, took the hand of the driver, kissed it, and said, "Je vous remercie, Tommy. Je vous remercie." And into his hand she pressed what was obviously all that she had -- three cigarettes.

And to the comparison of reactions:

It was in this spirit that Belgium welcomed the Allies. Nowhere in France had the British troops been greeted with such great warmth and real gratitude. It had been difficult for the French, so proud of their military past, to admit that they owed their liberation to the Americans and British, whom they had always regarded as their inferiors in the art of warfare. The French had been thankful to be free but, even in Paris, they had not been able to bring themselves to show their appreciation with the enthusiastic spontaneity which the Belgians demonstrated in Brussels and in every hamlet.

Freire calls the French ingratitude "anecdotal." But the evidence is that it was, and is, systemic.

And I intend to express my gratitude, even reverence, for Mr. Obermayer's service and attention to history by placing a book order immediately after hitting the SEND key.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Right-Wingtips:

At first, I was inclined to agree with Mr. Judge -- or at least lend some sympathy. That is until I reflected on his comment on T-shirts and jeans and his praise of JFK.

As much as we might wish for more than the standard Baby-Boomer uniform, we must come face to face with the deficiencies of the "suit." If T-shirts and jeans mark one as a slob, most sensible people know that there is nothing worse than a slob in a suit. Modern acolytes of the suit speak as if there is some sartorial transformation into refinement and taste when even the most average of men don the holy robes. The unvarnished truth is that instead of looking like Cary Grant most men resemble Otis on the old Andy of Mayberry show after one hour.

In addition, simply because money is involved, the better-dressed captains and lieutenants of business management reflexively believe they are more logical and grounded when the opposite is the truth. Precisely because money is involved leaders in the business class are given to silly superstitions and the next "management theory" fad to come down the street. They will court various snake oil salesmen, pay them loads of cash, and praise their solutions even after the deck chairs have been rearranged to no discernable effect. When "blue collar" types refer to their "leaders" as "suits," there are solid reasons why they don't mean it in a good way.

And of all the people to set as an example, why use JFK? Yes, old Jack did dress well and could wear excellent casual clothes with a great set of sunglasses to beat the band. But, while Kennedy had many exceptional qualities, deep down he was also a jerk and a failure as a human being. He was the living stereotype of the worst we associate with the "great American metrosexual" -- he was a user and a fraud.

All these sugarcoated tributes to the "common man" Judge talks about send me in to diabetic shock as well. But those of a more meticulous cut could do with more humility as well.
-- Mike Dooley

I think this article is in some ways, quite thought-provoking. As I have grown up (some), I have tried to clean up my image, I have become a serious Christian, I have tried to watch my language and my behavior so my kids and peers have a better opinion of me and my faith, etc. But doggone it, somewhere along the way I picked up a liking for country music, and I kind of like the loud cars, and I still wear sweats around the house. I read C.S. Lewis, but I also like the Cable Guy. And I still don't know who the Brooks Brothers are? Maybe a country group I just haven't heard yet?

I think the bottom line is to be comfortable with who you are without bothering those who also are comfortable with who they are. If you consider yourself a good conservative metrosexual, as far as I'm concerned that's a better philosophy than being a liberal country hick, like my fellow Hoosier John Mellencamp.

Also, I don't understand why the media (well, yes I do) wants to create something out of the wiretap thing. I for one am happy that this administration is willing to (maybe) bend the rules to keep us safe. I don't feel as if I have anything to lose because somebody might be spied on. I would be far more offended if the government were NOT doing whatever it takes to keep the terrorists out of here. After four years without another attack here, they must be doing something right!
-- Mike Storer
Wavetucky, Indiana

At first I was a little taken aback by Mark Gauvreau Judge's metrocon piece. I thought it judgmental and foppish. But then I got the joke. It's obviously satirical. Heh, heh, heh, Old Spice to Polo as the measure of civilization. Good one Mark.

I really knew it was all in fun when he mentioned that his turn to conservatism coincided with his return to Christianity. I reread the beatitudes and, just as I remembered, there was nothing in there about "blessed be the natty dresser" or "the buttoned-down shall inherit the earth."

In fact as I recall the folks who seemed most concerned about the "finer things in life" seemed to be the Pharisees and their ilk, such as the rich young ruler.

So thanks to Mr. Judge for a good belly laugh.

I'll sign off now as I have to go slop the hogs and I wanna get it done so's I can do some banjo pickin' and afore wrastlin' comes on the TV.
-- Brian Bonneau

Yo, Mark Gauvreau Judge, that's ****MY*** word!!!!!
-- John Derbyshire

Mark Gauvreau Judge replies:
Nice piece -- and indeed, Metrocon as meaning Metropolitan Conservative as opposed to Metrosexual Conservative has more staying power I believe.

"Metrocontradictions" letters in Reader Mail's Judge Not:

Have said it before, and I'll repeat: What a sensational readership you enjoy! And I enjoy your readers' terrific observations and occasional musings. James Bono's letter especially was most welcome -- EXCEPT for his knock on pro-wrestling!!

As a former ring announcer back in the days (and daze) of Freddie Blassie, Iron Mike DiBiase, Doctor Gerry Graham, and Superstar Billy Graham and the Baby Blimp, they actually paid me copious cash for what I'd've done gratis, it was that much of a kick.

Still, I continue to marvel at your readers' humor, insight, and diverse (God, I hate that word, but this time it's appropriate) approaches at the simple art of living. Damn, this is a hell-of-a-life! I'm 71, going on 23, and each day is so much fun...

So, thanks to you AND your friends.
-- Jonathan. B. Frost

Wow! The venom aimed at Mr. Judge for his "Right-Wingtips" is shocking and awe inspiring! However, much of it judges Judge's intentions, which is what the left does, not those of us on the right. For the left, good intentions are everything, regardless of the death and destruction left in their wake. (Of course, they assume that only they possess good intentions.) The right knows that only God can clearly grasp the motives deep inside a man's heart. So, assuming good intentions on Mr. Judge's part, we should admit that he makes a valid point: We ought to strive for excellence in every aspect of life. At the same time, we need to guard against a type of materialism, which C.S. Lewis warned us of in The Screwtape Letters, that exhibits an excessive fondness for the finer things in life.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Mark Gauvreau Judge replies:
Amen, amen, amen. But I can take the venom, it's nowhere NEAR what it is on the left. You readers are articulate and funny even when outraged.

Re: Bob Johnson's letter (under "Natural Selection 101") in Reader Mail's Leakology 101:

A point that William Dembski and others have made is that there is not enough time, monkeys, or word processors in the universe to type more than a short paragraph by randomly striking the keys, nor could there be enough, and for the same reason random changes in DNA cannot produce more than a miniscule portion of all the possible DNA sequences. Dembski's No Free Lunch has an excellent explanation of why this is so.
-- Merlin Perkins
Bridgeport, Washington

Re: Ben Stein's Good Morning, 2006:

Ben, I very much admire your work. Keep ringing that bell. Best to you and your family for 2006.
-- Sonny

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