Reader Mail

Hearing Ben

Bush and after-Bush: Who will carry on? Also: Israel after Gaza. Iraqi indifference. Bush vacation. Fox's 24. Plus much more.

8.19.05

Send to Kindle

SMART STUFF
Re: Ben Stein's Bulletin From Ben:

I thank God that the Left has nobody even half as smart as Ben Stein!
-- Robert Byrne

Bravo Ben! You said it all in few short paragraphs. I think Condi is Bush's true heir apparent -- tough, smart as hell, and better prepared than almost any Presidential candidate in history. It's true she's a bit of a blank on domestic policy, but winning the war on terror must be the priority, and her dedication to the cause is clear and unmistakable. What other Republican can you say this about?
-- Larry Kaufman
Madison, Wisconsin

I could not agree more with Mr. Stein. He is absolutely correct about the motives of our current President. It is refreshing to read something that is so supportive of George W. Bush, especially given the current media blitz regarding "Cindy's World" in Crawford, Texas. I hope and pray we do find and elect a leader who, as Ben says, sees and recognizes the difference between good and evil. Keep up the good work.
-- Kathleen Korber
Waynesville, North Carolina

If I were to forward this to some of my liberal friends, I can make the following predictions with assurance. The more reasoned and moderate, will simply state their disagreement, albeit some quite strongly. But there others, at the other end of the spectrum who, I fear, could be driven to a near catatonic fit.
-- Thomas Edelman
Santa Monica, California

It's amazing how simply and beautifully put Ben Stein's essays are. How moral they are, how nuanced. I miss him on non-news TV (and my 14-year-old daughter really, really misses his quiz show), but if the result of his absence is wonderful stuff like this "Bulletin," then we'll all just have to live with that.
-- Richard Szathmary

Oh dear, it's a pity that you are so attached to your political Bush comfort zone. Your bulletin is anything but information. It is down and dirty and I mean dirty political right wing cant. Seeing the world your way and not trying to detach from your biased and deeply political view of reality. You should spend some time reading Prof. Frankfurt about Bull and Bullsh... since you are such a expert in the art of jejune political cant.

The wrong message does not get better after being repeated for the n+1th time. Get over it Ben and breath real free air.
-- Robert Gagnon in China now and soon in Vancouver, Canada

Who will replace George Bush? Pray to God in heaven that it is not Hillary or anyone on the left for that matter. It is heartbreaking enough to watch Israel surrender to the terrorists. It would be doubly heartbreaking for America to surrender to terrorism. And that's exactly what a president Hillary or a president Lefty would have America do. I don't care what your religion is folks. Just get down on your knees every night and pray to God above that Hillary or someone else on the left does not gain control of the White House. Be forewarned, should that happen, we can all kiss America good-bye!
-- Jim L.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Ben Stein: Rudy.
-- Greg Richards

Zell Miller for President!!!!
-- Fred Edwards

Ben Stein's article on George Bush's recognition and oppostion to evil expresses my sentiments exactly. And his question, Who will stand up to evil in the future, should keep us awake at night. I see no one at present on the national scene that is capable of filling George Bush's shoes. One possible candidate, although unlikely to run, would be Dick Cheney.
-- Mel C. Montgomery
Joplin, Missouri

Praising George Bush? Comparing him to Abraham Lincoln? I love it! How un-PC! Need we look further? Ben Stein in '08! No campaign financing problems... What better use for Ben Stein's money?
-- David J. Serbin

Thank you Ben Stein, when George Bush was running I was not a fan, but could not bring myself to vote for Gore. When 9-11 happened I sent a big 'Thanks to God' that we did not have Al Gore as President. I am not happy with the border problem that Bush is doing nothing to help, but agree with most of what he is doing.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Once again Ben "nails a subject." When oh when is the world (including the Clintons, Kerrys, Gores, and their ilk) going to recognize that the almost childlike propensity of the Islamic nations to follow kooky and evil tyrants is endemic in that part of the world? Their ferocity to even the most minor imagined offenses is also childlike if not also often evil. The answer of course is these democrats will never recognize the truth at least publicly as long as they can fool almost half the U.S. public with the willing help of the media.
-- Jack Wheatley

Enjoyed you article about good and evil and George Bush's fight for good. Couldn't agree more.
-- P. Denson

Another very well done article. You are, indeed, a very good writer. George Bush does, in fact, do a good job of differentiating good and evil in many instances. The problem is that he is inconsistent. He stubbornly refuses to see evil in the virtual invasion of criminals, drugs, potential terrorists, and welfare cheats looking for Nirvana who cross our southern border.

Is not the killing of law enforcement officers in the American Southwest by Mexican assassins not an evil to be effectively defended against? Is the rape and murder of women and children by Mexican illegal immigrants who then escape back to Mexico not an evil to be defended against? Is the establishment and growth of deadly violent Mexican gangs such as MS-13 not an evil to be defended against? Is the provision of, and growth of illegal immigrants for cheap labor in jobs such as nanny, gardener, and household servant to the upper middle class and wealthy elite classes such a positive good that it must be promoted and expanded by a disguised amnesty program?

Mr. Stein, you are a talented writer and a man of great compassion. Please do not let your innate compassion obscure your logic and the demand for justice for Americans citizenry, even to the detriment of some non-citizens that our Constitution does NOT demand that we subsidize in ways antithetical to the welfare of our citizens.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

I just want to thank Mr. Stein for making me cry. This is exactly how I feel about our great President. As Rush said on his show last Friday, instead of TGIF it should be TGIB. Thank God It's Bush!
-- Jennifer Winfree
Lancaster, Tennessee

The comparison of George W. Bush to Winston Churchill is very apt. I was a young boy at the time of the Battle of Britain and I remember it well. The gloom was very deep. I especially remember the closing days of the New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows. We passed the darkened pavilions of Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939 and knew in our bones that the world was entering a very dark period. How would it all end?

Many members of British royalty outright admired Hitler and what he was doing in Germany, including the Duke of Windsor. Most if not all of Churchill's cabinet saw no hope in standing up to the Nazi juggernaut. After all, look at what the Wehrmacht had done in Europe. But Churchill dug in his heels and provided the spine that ultimately denied Hitler victory over Britain. What if we did not have the platform of the British Isles for the invasion of Europe? The world would have been a very different place. It was essentially one man. Who was it that said that the history of the world was made up of the biographies of men?

George W. Bush is at the ramparts. We have large numbers of liberal democrats and assorted other enemies of the U.S. doing everything they can to undermine our country. There are politicians on the other side who would not mind seeing Bush fail because it means gaining political advantage, never mind what it does to the country. If Bush and his policies are overwhelmed by the left could we be entering a dark age. We could.
-- Albert Gaynor
Menlo Park, California

"There is one great man standing between us and this capitulation to evil: that man is George Bush."

Amen.
-- Tom DesJardins
Lucas, Texas

My only response to Ben Stein's latest Bulletin: Amen.
-- Sheryl DeMille
Pittsburgh (yes, sadly, in the heart of blue PA)

I have just one word for "Ben's Bulletin": Amen.
-- Jim Karr

Amen!!!!!!!
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

ISRAEL-LITE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Sharon's Magnanimity:

Mr. Tyrrell wrote, "Yet neighboring Arab states attacked these Jews to rid them from the region, setting off Israel's War of Independence." Oops! Israel did not fight a "War of Independence." What Israel fought, and won, was an ordinary war of survival against invading Arab armies.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Palestine came under the control of the United Kingdom. In the late 1940s, the United Kingdom voluntarily ceded control of the region, in accordance with a United Nations resolution. Israel was established the following year without firing a shot.

If there was a war of independence, it was the nasty guerrilla war that the Israelis waged against the British. It was likely a major factor in convincing the British to give up control of the region!
-- G.G. Helms

First thing's first: There are no Arab indigenes in Israel or former Palestine. A thousand years of invasions and conquest do not make temporary victors or squatters indigenes. No more so than white Americans are indigenes of this continent. And that is why whites call American Indians "Native Americans."

Second: The Arabs have established only a single town in all their years in the area -- Ramallah. All others are simply corrupted names of the original Jewish towns and villages. The land remained barren for them and has only bloomed for the Jews, the deeded owners of this land. After all, all lands in the world are held by conquest. Only the Promised Land is listed in a biblical deed.

Third: The government of Israel has certified itself as illegitimate and representative of only Israelis and Arabs, not Jews: no one can give away Promised Land. By doing this the Israeli government has legitimized Arab claims to the land. The religious Jews in the settlements bear witness that there is no rejection of Jewish claims to this land. Not now, not ever.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Israel may have given up the occupation of Gaza, but they have not given up control of Gaza. Therein lies the genius of the withdrawal. Should the Palestinians succeed in governing themselves, Israel will have a success. Should a successful Palestinian state not emerge, Israel will face the same problem they have always had minus 5,000 or so relocated Jews.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

Somehow, I cannot get rid of the idea that Sharon's moves in depleting the settlements in the Gaza strip are not only guided by military strategy and an attempt to reach peace on his terms, but also a political strategy to divide local Palestinian politics. I would call it a bet on: George Orwell's "Animal Farm" encounters J.K. Galbraith's "Poverty trap."

It centers around the point that Hamas differs from other Palestinian factions in having a political program. Hamas is today also the party dominating local politics in the Gaza strip.

Hamas's mixes religious fundamentalism and rigid moral conservative social values, with a local political style of the old-fashioned socialist left cookbook. They organize the poorest groups in their society with an emphasis on hardship and struggle, while establishing a charity style social support. As this type of classic socialist political mass-movement is practically non-existent in the USA, it is often difficult for Americans to grasp its political attractiveness in other countries.

Such a political movement will thrive, as we have now learned from more than a century of experience with like examples. It was succinctly demonstrated by Orwell, survives in its support as long as the party cadre is able to keep corruption out, and maintains a sober life style.

Hamas gained their huge popularity in the Gaza strip, not quite by their bombings, as they have quite a lot of youth mindshare competition from the other factions in that respect too, but primarily by their local redistributive, socialist solidarity style of bottom-up popular organization and charity. Their party leaders today still demonstrate a sober and unluxurious style of living, contrasting sharply with the now easily observable kleptocratic behavior of the late Arafat's entourage.

If Hamas's image becomes tainted with corruption too in an aftermath area grab in the depleted settlements and the 'poverty trap' kicks in, the political outlook for the Palestinian people will be changed completely.
-- Hendrik Rood
Delft, The Netherlands

You do not really know the Jews that live in that part of the world. As enlightening as your thoughts are, there is one thing the Arabs better pay attention to. If they cause havoc from their new homes in Israel, they will remember it for a lifetime. The government of the Israeli people will hit them with such havoc the world be shocked.

I guarantee this. If they thought the Jews were soft for moving out they are making one of the world's biggest mistakes since the bomb was dropped on Japan. I would bet my house on it. And anybody with a true understanding of that State would back me up.
-- Paul Filler
Ada, Michigan

Is the prize for attempts to have peace or for achieving it? I believe any prize awarded to Sharon should instead be given to the displaced persons of the evacuated areas. THEY are the heroes! Perhaps the definition of "peace" should be changed too.
-- Ben Gifter

DIFFIDENT INDIFFERENCE
Re: John Connly Walsh's Constitutional Indifference:

If, as John Connly Walsh says, the average Iraqi doesn't care, why should we? Don't get me wrong, I voted for George Bush both times. I can't imagine having had anyone but him in the White House for the past 5 years.

But I'm sick and tired of the U.S. paying with blood and treasure to free the French, or the Germans, or the Afghanis, or the Iraqis, or the Bosnians, and then have them all throw their ingratitude back in our faces. I'm sick of our country sending billions of dollars to Egypt, for example, only to have their people scream for our destruction. I despise everything Cindy Sheehan stands for, and I have nothing but admiration for the men and women of our military, but when I see this anger and resentment in the face of our continual selfless sacrifice, I have to ask the same question. Why do we keep doing this?

Somebody tell me why we shouldn't pull all our troops out of every other country in the world and station them just inside our borders? Enough!
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

I just finished reading the piece by John Connly Walsh on why the Iraqis do not care whether or not they have a new constitution. I found it quite interesting that, according to one Iraqi, the indifference stems from the lack of safety and security in their country. Perhaps it would be productive for the American diplomats in Iraq to give the population at large a few lessons in American history, particularly focusing on the time period of the writing of our Constitution. It might interest them to know that during the writing of our Constitution there was relatively little security or peace for our citizens also. The formation of new governments, and the creation of safe and secure environments, takes time, patience, and understanding. Perhaps with some understanding of what is to be gained the apathy will subside.
-- Nathan Whiting
Logan, Utah

GIVING AND TAKING A BREAK
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Bush Vacation Bashing:

Ms. Fabrizio's article is fine as a test answer for a college course in contemporary journalism. I am sure that it is as accurate and well-researched as the articles devoted to her subject each year of the Bush Presidency. Ms. Lisa even makes the obligatory comparison to and complaint about the favorable press coverage of Pres. Clinton in regards to the same behavior.

My question is, "So what?" Is this supposed to be information that we don't already know? Are there any of us left that do not understand that Clinton is an absolute super-hero to the majority working media? For those of us with a little age through which to filter and contextualize this data, there is not a dime's worth of difference between the way the media treated JFK and Camelot and the way that the same scribes treat Bill Clinton and Mz. Hillary today.

So what? It is a given. Understand it, isolate it, learn to work around it, and go forward in an efficient and effective manner. In short, quit whining about something that you can't control. This is extremely old news.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

How can the people of the U.S.A. complain about President Bush taking a month off? Our MPs and Prime Minister Tony Blair have a summer break that lasts 90 days this year. That's not including Christmas or Easter breaks. All told, they are away from Parliament for over 1/3 of the year. Even the bombings in London could not bring them back from their free holidays, for when they give a five minute speech in a foreign country, it's classified as a part of their job. Our prime minister and his family rarely pay for their vacation -- they scrounge from anyone they can. In Italy, they are known as La Scroungers.
-- Doug Hastings
Liverpool, England

Since President Bush is not being forced to live in this 100 degree heat, just shows how tough he really is. LOL! Wonder if he has ever been wind surfing?
-- Elaine Kyle
from hot and humid
Cut & Shoot, Texas

ALL FOR 24
Re: Paul Beston's Getting Dirty in Real Time and the "By Jingo" letters in Reader Mail's Heroes and Hellraisers:

I'm reminded of the Jack Nicholson monologue in A Few Good Men where he tears into Tom Cruise, telling him that the Marines "on the wall" are doing a dirty job that no one else wants to do, but is essential, even in a free society. I wish I could recite it -- it was the high point of the movie.

Of course, leftist Hollywood made Nicholson's character the bad guy, and the moral at the end was that the Marines were supposed to take care of the weak. But of course that's not true. It's Hollywood that can't handle the truth, that Marines do better than anyone that which every armed force in the world should do -- break things and kill people. They protect the weak by killing the evildoer, exactly what they're supposed to do.

And that's what Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer does -- protect the U.S. at all costs, even the cost of his humanity. More power to him.
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

The fundamental reality check underneath 24 is that too many of us assume we live in a civilized world. But our enemies totally embrace the logic of total war. They will murder mothers and children and they will murder their own to achieve their ends. Yet too many charged with our protection insist the answer lies in proper procedure and the trading of documents. High toned international conferences are held where experts discuss and dissect "the problem" where only one conclusion is agreed upon: modern superpowers are not to meet violence with violence.

But the bewildered individual sees a world that at any moment could wrap him in hopeless danger. The civilized authorities can't or won't help him. If we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, we could easily be that frightened captive getting his head cut off for all the world to see on television. We go to bed each night hoping and praying that somewhere there are real Jack Bauers who care enough to move heaven and earth to rescue us.
-- Michael W. Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

In the article and subsequent letters regarding the outstanding series 24, it brought to mind a play/movie that truly represents the pre 9/11 world: A Few Good Men. While watching it recently I realized that while I was supposed to be horrified by Jack Nicholson's Guantanamo Commander, I found myself sympathizing, agreeing with, and cheering for his true understanding of the nature of the real world. His words, like Jack Bauer's actions, ring true, "you want me on that wall."
-- Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

24 provides the very worst lessons for any viewer, of any age, to absorb, and Paul Beston goes way, way off the deep end bending in homage to it. Rather than rubbing my fingers bloody enumerating relevant examples, I give you one that closes the book on anyone with conscience, never mind with a sense of the law, on Jack Bauer and 24. That would be his murder, pure and simple, of fellow CTU man Ryan Chappelle in Season Three. With that action, Jack Bauer proclaims to viewers that ANYTHING goes, even murder of your own totally innocent teammate. Not for me, thanks.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

ONE IS THE ONLY NUMBER
Re: Tom Bethell's Challenging Conventional Wisdom on Cancer:

Tom Bethell's article on the politics of grants for cancer research from the NIH is good. There are also parallels that speak volumes to the recent 9/11 (Omission) Commission's politically expedient position of Intelligence Chief.

Once all power over cancer "facts" or all power over intelligence "facts" rests in a single pair of hands, decisions must be made and alternate ideas will no longer be allowed to officially exist.
-- Jim McMurry

I enjoyed reading your article on aneuploidy and cancer. I was surprised that you didn't mention retinoblastoma, a cancer for which loss of function of both copies of the RB1 gene (by mutation, or by loss of a chromosome or portion of a chromosome) appears to be sufficient for causation. In any event, I hope you have had the pleasure in the course of your research of talking to Al Knudson (who established the primacy of silencing the RB1 gene in the etiology of retinoblastoma) at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He is much smarter than Bishop or Varmus and is also the nicest (and humblest) person I have had the pleasure of meeting in the field of cancer research. Talking to him about mutation versus aneuploidy would be much more rewarding than talking to Bishop or Varmus. I never missed a chance to hear him talk when he was at the NCI (even if the topic was one I had heard him talk about before), because I learned something new from him at every occasion. Keep up the good work.
-- Bob Tarone

CROWING IN CRAWFORD
Re: George Neumayr's The Sheehan Spectacle:

With regard to "The Sheehan Spectacle," the author seems to have omitted a very disturbing manifestation -- Mrs. Sheehan's anti-Semitism, which has nothing whatsoever to do with her son's death. However, this omission appears to be somewhat common among some Conservative columnists. She brought up several points which clearly demonstrate her overall attitude and mental state:

1. The Iraq war is being fought for Israel's benefit: As an American citizen living in Israel, I am well aware of the fact that Israel had defeated the combined forces of Iraq and Jordan in 1948 and 1967 (That is the reason for Israel's presence in the West Bank). That, coupled with Israel's successful air strike on Saddam's Osirak Nuclear Facility makes it obvious that Israel does not require US military intervention in its affairs.

2. Mrs. (soon to be Ms.) Sheehan demands that "Israel leave Palestine" in order to eliminate terrorism. Her euphemistic statement implies that to end terrorism, Israel should be willing to commit national suicide. The disappearance of Israel would bring peace. Discounting the fact that the Arabs have used this argument since 1948 (one can find this implication in the PLO Covenant of 1964 and 1968), it is a basic tenet of Arab nationalism.

The absurdity of this argument lies in the fact that terrorism didn't begin with the establishment of Israel in 1947 or 1948. In 1920 and 1929, the Arabs murdered religious Jews in Hebron and throughout Israel. They kept attacking Jews throughout the period of the British Mandate. They could always depend upon the support of the Arab regimes during the period of the War of Attrition, as they do now. Terrorism was a tool used by the American gangsters during their heyday. It is used by gangs in all the major US cities. It was, and still is, the favored mechanism of white supremacists, and racist organizations in the US (the Oklahoma bombing, for example). The Arab and Muslim terrorists are as anti-West as they are anti-Israel. It doesn't take a political scientist to see these facts.

Furthermore such a specious argument implies a chauvinistic and anti-Semitic attitude in that it denies those rights to Jews which it demands for Palestinians. Israel's existence is legitimate. It was the Arabs who rejected a State, and simultaneously sought to liquidate it and its inhabitants (liquidation of a State, or politicide, necessitates an element of genocide.) Thus, advocacy of Israel's disappearance, by any means, and her replacement by an Arab-Moslem State is anti-Semitic -- notwithstanding any manipulations, semantic or otherwise.
-- Stuart Hersh
Kiryat Arba, Israel

ILL-WILL
Re: Andrew Cline's Racist Paternalism at the NCAA:

I'm a graduate of the University of Illinois, which is affected by the NCAA's recent decision to bar "hostile and abusive" nicknames such as "Illini." I've read a lot of articles and editorials on the topic of allegedly "hostile and abusive" nicknames and mascots during the past 10 years but Andrew Cline's "Racist Paternalism at the NCAA" is one of the best. He is obviously a gifted writer and very persuasive. Congratulations on an exceptional editorial piece.
-- Richard Stockton

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article