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Finding an Audience

Swofford's wayward Jarhead. Democrats in fear of WMDs. Dime store politics. Pennsylvania payjacks. Plus much more.

11.15.05

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MILITARY MYTH MAKING
Re: James Bowman's review of Jarhead:

Please don't take Jarhead seriously -- it is the work of a vivid imagination.

Like Swofford, I went through boot camp in 1989 and served in an Infantry unit in the first Gulf War. His book and movie are nothing but a collection of wild exaggerations, tall tales, and urban legends. The scene you pointed out where he is ridiculed for his reading material in a bathroom by a Drill Instructor is impossible. Recruits are not allowed, nor did we have time, to casually read literature. The only reading materials we have are manuals issued to us and a bible. Nor were we allowed to casually hang out in the bathroom and read -- you did your business and got out. Ridiculous scene.

There are small nuggets of truth wrapped in a thick layer of lies throughout the "story." Read the reviews by Marines at places like Amazon. Very few of them think Swofford is truthful and most are angry at how his lies depict us.
-- Chris Bramley

My son is in the army. This is from his personal blog:

"...if any terrorists are busy wasting their time reading this, well, whatever. Y'all want to kill me for having any opinion that doesn't agree with yours. Take your best shot while I'm over here, though. I wouldn't recommend trying it again in my country. Sure, it might be hurting right now, but you don't want to poke a wounded bear. You do know what a bear is, don't you? If you're online, you should do a Google search on what a grizzly bear is capable of doing to a person. Sure, a grizzly bear isn't exactly sociable, doesn't have wonderful manners, or like to be petted, or great company, or for sitting in one's lap, but it will survive extraordinarily harsh environments, massive amounts of trauma that would kill lesser creatures, and still manages to have some fun while living. Don't mess with the bear."

I'm sure this has been repeated countless times by his brothers and sisters in arms in all services. Swofford should be ashamed at the caricature he created.
-- Anastasia Mather
Staten Island, New York

Please convey my gratitude to Mr. Bowman; it is his willingness to view such drivel in my stead that spares me the need. I don't know how he does it.

I am a former Marine myself (1969-1973) and would only add that it is my understanding that the term "Jarhead" refers to the caps worn by Marines a hundred or so years ago because they somewhat resembled the screw-on lid on a jar...

Best,
-- Travis Martin
Lubbock, Texas

WRONG AUDIENCE
Re: The Prowler's In Their Own Words:

I think the document, "Iraq & Weapons of Mass Destruction: What the Democrats Said and When They Said It," would have been better served if it had been distributed at the Senate DEMOCRAT Policy Lunch, rather than the Senate Republican Policy Lunch.
-- Irene

I appreciate The Prowler giving us yet more quotes from Democrats warning us about the dangers of Saddam Hussein and his thwarting of UN resolutions and the threat of his weapons programs. It's about time the GOP stopped playing defense, got off the ropes and punched back.

Unfortunately this all falls on the deaf ears of the "hear no evil" left that care, ironically, more about power politics than they do the security of the great country they live in.

It's even worse given the dying liberal media, while still thumping their chests in proclamation they are objective, refuse to confront the same power hungry politicians because it will either help a president they openly hate or it will keep their agenda from advancing. The fourth estate is nothing but a card-carrying member of the fifth column.

The inability of these sycophants to even grasp the simple global consequences of fanatical Islam is stunning. They whine about the length of our stay in Iraq and the Middle East region while they forget all the troops we still have in Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc. They choose to ignore history and now relive the evil of fascism with their eyes wide shut.

I have no sympathy for them. I'm ashamed for them.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

With only a few exceptions, these quotes have been bouncing around the Internet for over two years. What took the Republicans so long to release them?
-- GP
Arizona

PENNED UP HOSTILITY
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Political Meltdown in Pennsylvania:

Great story by Ralph Reiland. All politicians benefiting from this cash raid should be replaced as their term expires.
-- Lamar Peek

RRR has got it quite right, but there is one more item to add to the mix. Fast Eddy and the legislature gave us a tax hike and a one-armed bandit scheme called Act 72. After the scheme was rejected by all but 2 school districts, Fast Eddy asked the bloated legislature to consider making it mandatory and ram it down our throats. Pennsylvania taxpayers are not fond of being treated like dummies and being soaked every time a Philly machine hack wants it. There is a genuine revolt underway.
-- GMS
Media, Pennsylvania

I'm happy to hear that the voters of Pennsylvania got "ticked" off enough to go after the supposed public servants (public self-servers?) of their grand state. I'm praying for it to happen here in Illinois, where whether it's local government (city of Chicago, under Federal investigation for corruption) or the state government (ditto), the politicians feed on the public trough as if it were their own private "piggy" bank. My late father, who taught political science at a local university, often chuckled when politicians voted themselves raises, given they stole far more on average than what they were paid. Further, from what I recall living in a free market society, as public servants, given they are somewhat exempt from the risk of market competition, they're not expected to collect the same level of pay for work done as the rest of us private sector professionals. Nor do they work anywhere near as hard, from my observations. Regardless, keep the heat up, you fine citizens of Pennsylvania, maybe you'll ignite a taxpayer revolt long overdue throughout the rest of the nation!
-- David P. Bennett
Chicago, Illinois

D.C. GUIDEBOOK
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Turning on a Dime:

Very funny, but the differences between Republicans and Democrats is much easier to discern at your local neighborhood watering hole than in that cesspool otherwise known as our nation's capital. You need a pry-bar and a come-along to see where one ends and the other begins.
-- Robert Welcher
Cow Creek, Texas

Perfect. Thanks.
-- Merlin Perkins

Wow, now I can explain why I am a Republican. Very good stuff.
-- Elaine Kyle

Just as I suspected, Republicans are just like Democrats. Actually, there's room for a 2nd Party that's "fiscally and Socially Conservative." I just hope there's enough time for these folks. What do you think?
-- Keith

LIFE IMITATING CARTOONS
Re: Patrick Devenny's The House of Kim:

It's obvious that Trey Parker's and Matt Stone's depiction of Kim Jong-Il in Team America, World Police was understated. Unfortunately there's nothing funny about the real-life version of this megalomaniacal psychopath.
-- R. Trotter

FULL DEMOCRATIC DISCLOSURE
Re: J. Peter Freire's Back to Base Tactics:

I am very disappointed in my two Senators, Cornyn and Hutchison. They love bringing in more workers from overseas and Hutchison voted for the terrorists and against our troops. We need term limits for Congress just like for the President. Then just maybe they would work for the voters instead of big business. The Republicans are all becoming RINOs. Why not just cut out the middle man and go ahead and vote for a Democrat? At least you know what they are going to do when you vote for them.
-- Elaine Kyle

Just as I suspected, Republicans are just like Democrats. Actually, there's room for a second party that's "fiscally and socially conservative." I just hope there's enough time for these folks. What do you think?
-- Keith

HOME SWEET ROME
Re: Thomas Lipscomb's The Peculiar Peculations of the PECUSA:

What has happened in the Episcopal Church will probably considered by historians someday to be an American tragedy. I am a former 4th generation Episcopalian who swam the Tiber along with my husband and newborn daughter in 2000. I must give heartfelt thanks to several of the writers of TAS for their share in that swim. They were among the first to help to open my closed mind to both the charms and the Truth of the Catholic Church. (Yes, the dapper Mr. Tyrrell can give religious instruction as well as sartorial advice to those who care to listen.)

The ironic aspect of the recent meeting in Pittsburgh is that too many present have been concerned for far too long that they might have the appearance of acting like schismatics. They been caught up arguing with who is the real expression of Anglicanism in America. The Anglican Church itself is schismatic institution. They broke with Rome. The act of ordaining the first bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in North Carolina was schismatic action against the Anglican Church. A little advice from someone who kicked against the goads for far too long: Just admit that you are part of a schismatic group and see where that truth leads you.

Warmest Regards,
-- Mrs. John B. Jackson III

NO CHURCH OF MINE
Re: "Baleful Machinations" letters in Reader Mail's Dwindling Anglicans and Thomas Lipscomb's The Peculiar Peculations of the PECUSA:

In a letter on the subject of the decline of the Episcopal Church, a writer, who's last name was, "Church," included "Now they get their unders in a twist when an openly gay man -- and in a long-term, committed relationship -- is consecrated? Give me a break!!"

It is the "long-term, committed relationship" part that is particularly odious. The creature in question divorced his wife of many years, abandoning her and his children, to live as an open homosexual, with another man with whom he had been committing the sin of sodomy for some considerable period of time. What was his marriage supposed to have been? Was that not supposed to have been a permanent relationship? So much for some people's concept of commitment.

As long as sexual perversion is one of the major sins one can commit, one that will earn you eternal damnation, the idea that one can be at the same time a homosexual, and a Bishop, even a Bishop of a Protestant "religion," is absurd. The idea that one could be a practicing homosexual and a Catholic, is a total impossibility.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

To the Letter Writers: Some interesting and provocative thinking here. And there is a lot going on out there in the blogosphere as well on this article.

But let me assure Mike Dooley so far as I know, there are no organizations of "adulterous, drunken, abortion-ridden heterosexuals" that have been trying and succeeding in taking over an established church for their special agenda. And if there were, it would represent demographics closer to 97% of church membership.

I know. Had there been one, I would surely have been invited to join and would have fit right in. I might even have deserved high office.

Are we all hypocrites? Of course, particularly in religious matters. We are, after all, questioning the nature of the virtuous life and human beings HATE being wrong more than sin. Ask any wife. As Wilde and Rochefoucauld put it: "Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." And mankind cheerfully pays up in full.

Mr. Church's parlor pink homintern argument founders on the classic "you're another" offense of the playground. Yes, we are all sinners. But some of us are trying to get over ours, rather than trying to make others accept our sins as virtues, much less canons of faith.

We at least acknowledge there can be no salvation on our merits without accepting Christ's sacrifice.

Anglo-Catatonic...?

Not hardly. We Anglo cats are leaving all that behind and moving forward in faith, and as we can see from Pittsburgh... picking up speed.
-- Thomas Lipscomb

CUT OUT UNCLE SAM
Re: William Tucker's Let's Solve the Healthcare Problem and "Don't Mandate Medicine" letters in Reader Mail's Dwindling Anglicans:

Tucker and most of your letter writers miss some points that we few remaining Canadian conservatives see as obvious:

-Demand for health care is infinite.

-Big spending on health care is not a sign of a problem. It is a sign of a wealthy society. I envision a time when we can spend 90% of our GDP on health care because the remaining 10% easily covers food-clothing-shelter-entertainment.

-Government funded health care invites the tragedy of the commons at high speed.

-Insurance funded health care probably invites the same tragedy, but at lower speed. Insurance companies live off the spread. They do NOT want lower costs. They want high costs, high premiums and a big spread. Insurance works better where there is finite demand such as one-off incident insurance -- car crash, fire, etc.

I think it was Steyn who quoted with approval: "[The best health care plan] is you look after your own [redacted] health care."
-- Fred Z.
Canada

CORRECTION, PLEASE
Re: Heather's letter ("The Political Courage of George H.W. Bush") in Reader Mail's Dwindling Anglicans:

In response to the attack on my letter about George senior, I never said he was a "coward." I stated that he did possess personal courage because of his WWII service. I merely stated that he lacked political courage. If you don't think there is a difference ask John McCain.
-- Barbara Anderson
Cincinnati, Ohio

GROOM'S REMORSE
Re: Jed Babbin's Fear and Loathing on the Confirmation Trail:

My wife's maiden name is Babbin. I'd much rather have you for an in-law than the ones I'm stuck with. Keep up the good work.
-- John Fallon
Andover, Massachusetts

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