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America’s Best

Honoring General Westmoreland. Plus: Rough golf. Roberts rules. CIA's eternal Plame. Hard worker, easy rider. And much more.

7.22.05

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HONOR AND DUTY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Gen. William Westmoreland, RIP:

I was privileged to serve under General Westmoreland as a paratrooper with the first brigade (Separate) of the 101st Airborne Division in 1967 and 1968. We all thought of him as a hard charger who cared deeply about the welfare of his soldiers. While I, as an NCO, never had the opportunity to get to know him, I did meet him once during the Tet Offensive for a brief time. He was, for that moment, concerned only with me. He directed his fierce gaze into my eyes and asked two questions: "Are your men in good shape?" and "Do you have what you need to carry this fight on?" I answered in the affirmative; he shook my hand and went on about his business. He did his job, and well.

In my opinion, he was vilified by the media because, like all who served there, he was the "old" America. It was about service to country; honor and duty to us. This, at a time when a new American morality (amorality?) was coming into vogue, which required nothing at all from the citizenry and hated the values we soldiers did then and still hold in our hearts. To the new America it was "what's in it for me? Don't ask me to suffer for anybody. Just send me off to college so I can practice free love. And by the way, pay my tuition, and don't tie that to any grades."

That attitude is amply demonstrated in Democrat rhetoric to this very day. They are anti-values; anti sacrifice; anti-American, and hopefully the last and sad vestiges of the selfish seventies. William Westmorland, like Dwight D. Eisenhower, would have made a hell of a President.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, FL

Thanks, RET, for your defense and remembrance of William Westmoreland. A man not to achieve the fame and laurels of MacArthur, Ike, Patton, et al., but in their league nonetheless for having given his all in a worthy but unsupported cause. Moreover, he was the essence of grace and class for enduring endless calumny. History will be kinder -- it wasn't the man it was the effort.
-- Dick Sheppard
Jersey City, New Jersey

Thanks for a great article.

I'm embarrassed to say my views of the General were greatly formed by the media over the years and I had no idea about what was evidently an incredibly intelligent man with great integrity.

Many lives were lost in the quest for freedom, and continue to be lost today. To think of those lives being lost and the resulting pain over politics is such an incredible shame. I'm glad to hear that Gen. Westmoreland fought for the former.
-- Steve L.
Benton Harbor, Michigan

As one who served in Vietnam -- thankfully before it was a serious shooting war involving Americans -- and as one who saw the whole thing unfold, I have to say I think the politicians never ever had the resolve to win. From Eisenhower, who got us into Vietnam, to Nixon, who had to get out "...with honor," it was just a game.

No president since Harry Truman, except for the two named Bush, has ever had the stomach for a real fight. And Truman flinched in the end, failing to clean up North Korea. Eisenhower commanded the war in Europe brilliantly, but I doubt that he would have gotten into it if he'd been president.

Come to think of it, Bush #1 flinched too, having the Iraqis on the run, he gave up and didn't finish the job.
-- Roy W. Hogue
Newbury Park, California

Excellent eulogy for the General. I know what you mean, but there was nothing "nice" about the way liberal politicians and intelligentsia screwed up Vietnam and "pulled defeat from the jaws of victory." The liberals of today are the same as the ones in the '60s and '70s, or kindred spirits; but, they are better defined, thanks to the Spectator, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, et al. This time, God willing, liberals will bite the dust.
-- Wade White
USMC, RVN '67-'68

UGLY AMERICANS
Re: K.E. Grubbs's A Tale of Two Prime Ministers:

K.E. Grubbs is exactly right to call the White House media on their disgraceful performance. How insulting to those two prime ministers to ignore them and their important countries to ask stupid "gonna getcha" questions of President Bush. Out of respect for visiting dignitaries -- and their fellow citizens who watch the questioning on television -- the White House should limit questions at future joint press conferences to matters of interest to both parties.
-- James Graham

ROUGH STUFF
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Best Major:

Poor Lawrence Henry is depriving himself of enjoying the U.S. Open by placing too much emphasis on birdies and low scoring. The score is relevant only in comparison to other competitors. The elegant Frank Hannigan once dismissed the arguments offered by the Henry's of the world with a simple, snappy bon mot. Asked if the USGA was trying to humiliate the best players in the world, Frank chuckled and replied, "Why, no, son, we're just trying to identify them." Both Opens, ours and theirs, represent the very zenith of Western Civilization and are truly splendid. Relax and enjoy, Larry.
-- Guy Green
St. Paul, Minnesota

Couldn't disagree more with Mr. Henry. Watching pros finish a tournament twenty, twenty-five under par is sort of like watching someone shooting fish in a barrel. I find the Masters and the U.S. Open far more compelling to watch -- make them earn their par! Getting the professionals' opinion on the subject of course standards is like asking a home run hitter in baseball if the power alleys should be 375 feet or 390 feet. Alas, we are in a period where offensive statistics and high scoring, driven by fantasy geeks, is the sexier preference.

I once worked at a country club where members used to complain about the tall, thick rough. The course superintendent would respond, "Then hit the ball in the fairway."
-- Anthony Mastroserio

Why do people insist on "dumbing down" golf? The scores can't get low enough for some people. In an era of "Big Bertha" drivers, titanium "irons," metal "woods" of all kinds, a nonexistent rough at the Masters (a so-called "championship" course), and boutique golf balls manufactured for personal use by Tiger Woods, Mr. Henry wants to cheapen the game further by making the U.S. Open, the one remaining true test of Golf in the USA, easier. What's wrong with tight fairways, deep rough, and fast greens? You SHOULD have a much more severe shot if you were careless enough to hit your drive off the fairway or your approach shot off the green. Ted Williams observed that the game of golf couldn't be too difficult. After all, the ball isn't moving when you hit it, like in baseball.

Mr. Henry would probably like to see Aluminum Bats in Baseball, with shorter fences and a flat pitcher's mound. He probably would like to see the diameter of a basketball hoop doubled also. Even if these things came to pass, it wouldn't make much difference. You see, baseball and basketball are complex athletic endeavors. Golf is not. You play against the course, not other contestants.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

If there is anything more boring than watching golf, it's reading about it. Be sure to thank Mr. Henry for reminding me of this fact.
-- Todd Stoffer
Richfield, Ohio

LITMUS FITNESS
Re: George Neumayr's Antireligious Tests:

The perfect exchange:

Leahy: Mr. Roberts, you are a practicing Catholic are you not?
Roberts: Yes, Sir every day.
Leahy: Do you not see a conflict in your personal affairs in light of the 1st Amendment?
Roberts: In light of the fact that recent court decisions have defined a wall of separation between Church and State entities, the mere fact that you have asked the question Sir, in a government edifice, is certainly a violation in fact if not in spirit of that separation. Do you have another question?

But alas we shall never hear it.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Roberts is nominated for the Supreme Court. At his nomination, I was impressed with him, and had no idea he was a Catholic. For some reason, Catholic Dems seem to think that being a practicing Catholic is something to be ashamed of. I think it is time for those "Catholic" like Kerry, Kennedy, and Leary to either change religions or uphold the one they profess to have. It really upsets me when someone who isn't Catholic, asks me about Catholic views based on those men. I certainly hope that Dems will try to understand that they are not the legends they think they are -- no one cares what that pompous ass Schumer thinks!
-- Betty Wiggins

When W. began his second term, he must have been pretty sure that he would put someone on the Supreme Court. Now it may be THREE. The Bush court may well be interpreting the Constitution for the rest of George W. Bush's life.

You have to wonder, considering the talent advising the president, if we're not witnessing brilliance at work with the nomination of Mr. Roberts to go first. You can feel Leahy, Schumer, and others sniffing like cadaver dogs, looking for anything to justify opposing him. And they will find something because they must, and it will harm their perceived credibility and integrity. Each confirmation will exhaust them a little more. And the White House, I'm betting, will be sniffing too, like wolves, for signs of exhaustion and weakness in their opponents. The more they sense frailty in their prey, the more conservative the next nominee sent to the Senate will be.

It's a great time to be on our side.
-- Allen Hurt

Unfortunately, John Roberts may have anticipated the anti-Catholic questioning of Catholic Judge Pryor by people like Leahy, Schumer, and Feinstein, by stating that nothing in his personal character or convictions would prevent him from upholding laws in favor of abortion. In effect, Roberts answered a question that Judge Pryor effectively and correctly declined to answer, since the line of questioning amounted to an unconstitutional religious test for holding office. On the other hand, one could argue that Roberts was simply affirming that his moral and legal convictions provide that he would respect legally decided laws even if his own moral judgment about abortion was negative, but without thereby explicitly, unethically, and illegally pledging not to overturn those laws in cases that might come before him and any court. One may hope that John Tabin is right today that Roberts only supports vertical stare decisis regarding Roe v. Wade, not horizontal.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

The Dems and the abortion-Nazis think they have a "gotcha" because Mrs. Roberts is pro-life. Where is it carved in stone a husband and wife are always mirror images of each other? Apparently, they've never heard of Mary Matalin and James Carville!
-- Robert Auskalnis
Portage, Indiana

Your essay of "Antireligious Tests," is incisive as usual. However, allow me to enter a quibble and some supporting fire.

First, I must quibble with your assertion that "...everything for the Democrats comes down to Roe v. Wade," a claim, in similar phrasing, I have seen on a number of websites in the last few days. I maintain instead that the central and defining issue of the Democratic Party is not abortion, per se, but instead libertine sex in general. Without mass, uncontrolled sexual indulgence, abortion would be an irrelevant non-issue. Instances of abortion sought to prevent severe genetic deformities, such as spina bifida or Down's syndrome are a minuscule portion of cases. Were a legal compromise offered outlawing most abortions, while making specific provision for abortion in the case of genetic deformity, the pro-abortion Left would find it as unacceptable as the anti-abortion Right, probably even more so. No embarrassing pregnancies, no need for abortions. But just as important to the Democrats are the other two "secular holies," homosexual sex, and that peculiar technique which has become known as "a Lewinsky". Standard heterosexual activity runs a close fourth, particularly if it involves some kink such as an underage partner. Consider just three careers: Bill Clinton, Gary Condit, Scott Ritter. All three pushing the age barrier, and one breaking it. So it is illicit sex as a totality which comprises the political core of the Degenerate Nihilist Committee.

As for the issue of anti-Catholic bigotry, I do not understand why we accept it (note in passing, I am not Catholic myself). If any politician or any other public figure is even suspected of bigotry against Blacks, Mexicans, or Asians, or against homosexuals, the cry goes up that such a person is unfit even to show his face in public and he is hounded from the public square. Anti-Catholic bigotry is no less bigotry. Why do we not thump the podium and demand that bigot Leahy, bigot Schumer, bigot Reid, and other bigots resign their offices? And if you remember Bob Costas, then a host of media news reporters should be fired for overt anti-Catholic bigotry.

Or will Catholics and conservatives just give them a pass yet again?
-- George Mellinger

CENTRAL INCOMPETENCE AGENCY
Re: Mark Goldblatt's Scandal Behind the Scandal:

Mark Goldblatt raises some interesting questions about the CIA and the Valerie Plame fiasco, but misses one big question: Why was the CIA so out of touch that it needed a special investigation by an amateur like Wilson?
-- David Moshinsky

Still another question: What on earth motivated the New York Times's op-ed editor to assign/accept Wilson's loopy contribution? You do wonder, as one supposes Judith Miller does.
-- K. E. Grubbs Jr.
Sacramento, California

The current Wilson/Plame dust-up is just one element in a series of actions by CIA employees to 1.) tarnish the first Bush administration; 2.) to work against his reelection; 3.) to continue to work against their/our Commander in Chief. A subset -- or perhaps a major component -- is the continuing antipathy between CIA and State Department.

It is incredible that Bush won given the massive opposition by government employees, unions, media and the outrageous statements of many elected officials, especially congressmen.

Goodness, what a web of conspiracy theories we could play with.
-- E.G. Tripp
Cincinnati, Ohio

MADE IN AMERICA
Re: Jay D. Homnick's The French Conniption:

Jay Homnick can turn a phrase, but there's more to Lance Armstrong's six victories at the Tour de France (and the impending seventh) than just surrender jokes.

The difference between Lance Armstrong and his European opponents is the difference between the United States and Europe. The reason Armstrong has won six Tours after surviving cancer is that he works harder than anyone else. The French think it's cheating. But the reason you see so many of Armstrong's former teammates as team leaders or otherwise high in the rankings is they've learned from Armstrong and work like he does.

Before Armstrong, riders started preparing for the Tour in February -- Armstrong started in November. He and his director and his team ride recon on all the critical stages; last year, Armstrong climbed the feared Alpe d'Huez something like fifteen times in training, even though he'd raced over it at least a half-dozen times previously and knew every corner. While Jan Ullrich was going to discos (and getting bagged for drunk driving), Armstrong was in the wind tunnel testing little adjustments in riding position.

The team matters too, and Armstrong's team prepares equally well. Every one of the eight teammates (selected from a squad of about 24 riders on the team) is selected to do a specific job to protect and assist Armstrong. They've got total buy-in to the team concept (which Armstrong helps cement by doing his part as a support rider for teammates during the spring classics, when guys like George Hincapie are the team leader going for the win and Armstrong is just getting some race miles under his wheels).

Then there's technology. There is an entire team of experts in aerodynamics working in that wind tunnel, and they talk to the team of experts in materials science and making bicycles and parts lighter, stronger, and more aerodynamic. They've got nutritionists and physiologists not only guiding Armstrong's training but that of his teammates too.

It's the American way as compared to the ways of old Europe -- gather good hard-working people without much thought of where they come from, set a goal, work longer and harder than anyone else, invest in technology, and win. It works for our economy just like it works for a bicycle race.
-- Matthew Mitchell

REIMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Re: Doug Bandow's Bad Boys From Brazil:

The main thrust of this article I have no quarrel with. I agree that some sort of action needs to be taken against Brazil. What I would like to point out is, in this and numerous other articles by conservative opinion writers concerning drug re-importation, it is stated that the R&D for new drugs is shouldered entirely by the drug companies, with no mention of the contributions made by the United States government, particularly in the case of antiretroviral AIDS medications. Again, this is not a defense of the actions being taken by Brazil, as what they are doing is wrong.

That being said, I think it is also wrong to imply, suggest, or simply state that the entire R&D expense for new drugs is funded privately by the drug companies. I have no way of knowing what sort of percentage is contributed by the government, although I feel confident it is significant. Also never mentioned are the significant contributions of private charities, such as the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and other groups that raise funds from the American public on a continuing basis specifically for the purpose of research. Also not mentioned are the indirect subsidies in the form of aid to other countries to fight AIDS (billions to the continent of Africa as an example).

I think that opinion writers need to be more honest on this subject. I have read a lot of articles defending the pricing practices of drug companies. I have not read even one article defending the American taxpayer who is funding a portion of the R&D, while also paying the highest price in the world for new drugs. Is the government ever reimbursed for the funds it provides, or perhaps paid a dividend from the profits of successful research it supported with taxpayer funds?

The "perception" that drug makers are treating American consumers unfairly is a fact. The pricing problem drug companies face will not be solved by trying to convince the American public that in order to continue to have lifesaving new drugs, they must pay the highest drug prices in the world to an industry that is subsidized by our taxes and private charity. Pressure regional and world trade organizations to enforce agreements regarding intellectual property rights. Sanction those countries in violation.

Drug companies got themselves into this situation by caving in to demands to sell patented drugs to other countries at discounted prices -- a practice they are free to pursue. In keeping with the capitalist ideal, the American consumer should also be free to pursue the drugs they need from the least expensive source anywhere in the world. Placing restrictions on American consumers is just a different way of subsidizing the drug industry. The issue of drug safety is just a cover for maintaining the status quo. Importing imposter drugs not produced by the patent holder is not and should not be legal. Importing authentic drugs produced by the patent holder should not be an issue. Suppose drug companies refused to sell new patented drugs to Canada at discounted prices. How much lower would US drug prices be if Canadians had to buy their drugs in the American marketplace?

The drug companies have only themselves to blame. Is it any wonder that after caving to the demands of Brazil, the demands just got greater? The thinking that American consumers can be charged enough to offset lower revenues in other countries is what really drives the price discounting to other countries. Largely due to the advent of the internet, a world marketplace is developing and consumers are taking advantage. Rather than doing the hard work of rethinking their pricing policies and imposing prices around the world that reflect true worth, drug companies are spending precious dollars lobbying against re-importation. Is the Cato Institute, normally a defender of free markets, being lobbied by the drug industry?
-- Jim Mathews
Colorado Springs, Colorado

LIKE A GOOD DONKEY
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's The GOP Fights Back:

Well all I can say is better late than never. If the GOP would do this all the time, the left would cut back on some of their hi-jinks. Bullies do NOT like to have someone stand up to them, they are usually cowards and will put their tails between their legs and run. GOOD SHOW.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

STAND BY YOUR MAN
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Operation Overrove:

Read with interest your article on Democratic skullduggery in relation to Karl Rove. I seem to recall a certain Rep. Robert Torricelli "outing" CIA agents in Central America. The Junior Senator from Massachusetts, again from recollection, leapt to his defense and labeled him a "hero." When he resigned from the Senate under an "ethics cloud," not one Democratic Senator stood by him, including Mister Kerry.
-- Bob Montrose
United Republicans Club of Fort Lee, New Jersey

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