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Separating Fact From Fiction

General Giap’s gap. Debate distortions. Ordinary genius. Pershing’s pig link. Plus much more.

9.27.04

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CREDIBILITY GIAP
Re: Jed Babbin's The POWs Speak:

The column "The POWs Speak," by Jed Babbin, which first ran in the April 2004 issue and was published on your website September 7, presents a quote that Mr. Babbin says is from an essay by General Vo Nguyen Giap, about the contribution of the anti-war movement to the Communist victory in Vietnam.

The quote does not come from any essay by Giap; it comes from an essay "The Fall of Washington," written by an American named Danny Schechter.

Look at the words. When General Giap writes about the Vietnamese Communists, he calls them "we," not "they." That is why the essay from which Mr. Babbin thought this quote had come was titled "How We Won the War. The passage quoted, written by Schechter, calls them "they."

The confusion arose because when Recon Publications, an American outfit, decided to publish an English translation of the essay "How We Won the War," by Vo Nguyen Giap and Van Tien Dung, it decided to include Schechter's essay in the volume, as an introduction to the essay by Giap and Dung. The portion of the volume written by Schechter is from page 11 to page 19; the passages quoted above are on page 18. The portion of the volume written by Giap and Dung starts on page 21.
-- Edwin E. Moise
Professor of History
Clemson University

Jed Babbin replies:
Prof. Moise's note caused me to dig out my copy of the Recon document. He is correct, and it is my rather embarrassing error. The passage quoted is from Schechter, not Giap. My thanks for catching it, and my apology for the error.

SWAGGERLESS
Re: David Hogberg's Bush's to Lose:

Interesting analysis of Hogberg's -- particularly "Can he lose? Sure …" -- and then he cites the "if he gets complacent" angle. Hasn't four years of observing Bush shown him "complacent" is not in Bush's, Rove's or Karen Hughes's vocabulary?

What I'd like to know is, who insisted on the individual rules of the Debate? "Participants may not leave their podiums". Well, that would be OK, if we are deciding an election by the tallest guy getting your vote. But "NO CAMERAS SHOWING REACTION OF OPPONENT TO REMARKS MADE"? Damn. That means I can't add to my library of Famous Past Debates -- none of Al Gore's orange make-up enhanced by glistening flop sweat, no heavy sighs of exasperation, nor menacing stalking of the President. No dismissive nod by Bush followed by the famous smirk

Facial expression and body language are at least as important as words. And we don't know which of the debate negotiators demanded that rule! It would be instructive to find out. Except, of course, if it were James Baker. And I can't imagine it would be. I was looking forward to George Bush's unspoken "I hate to skin you, but I need your hide..." the amiable greeting of Texas poker players as they sit down to a high stakes game.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

REBALANCING
Re: Peter Flaherty's Texas Smear Machine Targets DeLay:

The Texas Democrats have been rabid ever since they began losing control of the state. Tom DeLay is in my district, an ultra-conservative district that no Democrat has a prayer of winning. I believe that is the real reason they didn't bother naming DeLay in the indictments; it wouldn't hurt him in this election. We were happy here with his help given to our state legislature. Prior to redistricting, Republicans here in the Lone Star State were woefully underrepresented in Washington. Hopefully, the representation of Republicans and Democrats from Texas will finally be more based on the actual constituency balance here.

Thank you,
-- Pam Burton

OBSERVING PROTOCOL
Re: Eric Peters's Blair's Hot Air:

Mr. Peters is quite right in blasting Blair for his global warming-hurricane hypothesis. But, he gets carried away in his article and now lumps Britain as part of "old Europe" ( "..the stagnant economies of the so-called 'old' nations of Western Europe, most notably Blair's UK, France, and Germany"). Who on earth has ever included the UK in "old Europe" leave alone characterized her economy as "stagnant"? Far from stagnant, the UK has an enviably high growth rate (around 4%) and a historically low unemployment rate. Instead of sticking to the stupidity of Blair's ideas about global warming, Mr. Peters goes "postal."
-- Kenneth G.D. Allen
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

In spite of economic studies that show disaster, many states are implementing the Kyoto Protocols or major portions of them. Here is a link to the Scientific American article on June of last year. I still have not figured out if the implementation is because they did not believe the economic models or they just did not care about the economic models. At the root is probably a deep mistrust of Capitalism and human ingenuity to solve complex problems in the absence of government good intentions.

Apparently, going it alone is noble only on environmental issues.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Nice article. Here are a few sites that you might want to have. Google provided them quickly.

Downward trend.

Increase temp = less
hurricanes
.

Outline of why "increased" numbers of wildfire, heat wave, hurricanes are not linked to global warming.

Just so you might have a few sites. Some have pretty tables/charts too!
-- unsigned

ORDINARY PEOPLE
Re: Lawrence Henry's Regular Folks Know a Lot:

Sure they do. And there is a whole class of people who don't know it.

Anybody with what has been, to date, a one-way communications system is clueless. Clergy, stepping outside the realm of theology, don't know that at least half a dozen members of the congregation are thinking, "bulls--t" and are ready to tell their friends. Reporters, who think anybody who objects is nuts and thus only nuts object, don't have a clue that their shortcomings, deliberate and otherwise, are visible.

Teachers, who can flunk a student for the wrong attitude, don't know how many kids are pretending to believe, while snorting in derision after class.

Politicians have the same view as reporters. Only nutcases object, so any objection is from a nutcase.

Things have changed and the class of people who didn't get it show signs of disorientation.
-- Richard A. Aubrey, Jr.

Excellent article. Can it really be that these people are so isolated and so unused to using their own gray matter that they require an "expert" to tell them the sun is shinning? Evidently! My spouse or myself of done most of the things listed in the article. Kind of sad -- they have eyes but cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear; they have a mouth but cannot speak; they have a brain but cannot use it unless someone else tells them when, how and why. If that is the world they live in then no wonder their collective noses are in the air. After all we don't have "handlers" so therefore they take it upon themselves to "think" for us.
-- unsigned

A good recap of the Rathergate affair. I believe that it goes beyond experience what CBS did. We now know that there were 6 documents not 4. And their supposed 'experts' at best only saw any 2 documents at once, but never the whole set. My impression is that CBS was shopping for a defined answer to put on the air.

This event also validates the ole saw "I know someone who knows someone that can solve this problem." Only now it is accelerated by the use of the Internet. We are reaching the point where an expert panel on anything can be assembled at anytime by darn near anyone.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Mr. Henry makes excellent points about the knowledge possessed by an average citizen in today's world. It does bring up another question: Shouldn't a person who has been working in the news business for over 50 years be more familiar with the evolution of printed material than a 46-year-old lawyer? In 1972 Buckhead was 14. He might have taken a high school typing class. Dan was 40 he'd been using typewriters professionally for at least 20 years. It doesn't seem likely to me that someone who probably started his career on a mechanical typewriter could look at those documents and become nostalgic for his old Selectric circa 1972. It might be that Rather never bothered to look at them, but if he did, he knew. Now he's so sorry he got caught. He really thought he'd get away with it.
-- Roger Patterson

...It required making an ordinary observation: "Hey, these things don't look like they were typed in 1972."

You are quite correct when you point out that only very little technical knowledge is necessary to see immediately that these documents are incredibly clumsy forgeries. Yet Dan Rather does not have even that little knowledge. In fact, he seems to be so ignorant that he simply did not understand the objections that were raised within hours. That's why he kept claiming that maybe the documents were "authentic". Rather is a very old man so may that's all understandable. But it's incredible that no one on his staff could tell him to stop these really stupid statements. Now it's too late. Retire Dan.
-- unsigned

If someone at CBS News who was involved in the story had spent time in the military back then, maybe CBS and Dan Rather wouldn't be in the pickle they're in. If they'd ever seen orders or any other documents produced by typewriters the Army used-and presumably the other services-in those company clerk's offices, battalion headquarters or out-processing offices, they'd have known something was wrong.

Too, whoever vetted the documents could've gone to John Kerry's Web site and looked at some of his service records from that era.

Maybe CBS News just needs an old vet or two to be their military-docs proofreader -- or some "regular" folks on their staff?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

I'll bet Sandy Berger is delighted ol' Dan is turning on the spit! How soon we forget. Only last month we were forgiving the absent minded Sandy for packing his pants with purloined papers. Where did that story go? Bloggers must have had no interest in sand-bagging Sandy. Were the papers he stole real or copies? Were the papers he kept backed up by originals> What were the papers he kept? Who knows? Who cares? By October, we will have lost interest in Dan and his bloodhound producer Mapes.

The more I see of today's news coverage, the more I admire that juggler who could keep twenty plates spinning. None of today's news sleuths I've seen could manage two plates and certainly not two news stories. To prove the point, it took crack producer Mapes five years to strike that mother lode of lies in Baird TX.

Don't get me wrong -- I'd like Rather and Mapes brought to justice. But no more than I'd like Berger fried.
-- Diane Smith
So. San Francisco, California

Certainly the possible backgrounds laid out for us by Mr. Henry are accurate, but it is the ability to communicate quickly and in depth with one another that has made all the difference between this decade and the previous ones. It isn't the underestimated common sense and judgment that is frustrating the Liberal Elite, rather, it is the ability for all of us "commoners" to get together and pool our knowledge and understanding that turns the trick. When I read a typically slanted AP "news" story in the daily paper, I can quickly and easily find the other side (often, the right side) on the Internet. Corporate history is littered with the corpses of companies which, after long holding a monopoly on the buying public, suddenly found themselves in a desperate battle with a competing entity, and could not find a way to compete. This is what is happening to what we used to call The Mainstream Media. They are "mainstream" no longer.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

PAIRINGS
Re: The Washington Prowler's On Life Support: Will He or Won't He:

"Will He Or Won't He?" indicated that Bill Clinton will emerge from recovery in time for the last weeks of the campaign for president. Teresa Kerry says Osama bin Laden will emerge at the same time, unfortunately for Democrats, captured by forces currently working for President Bush. In the words of some of my favorite Democrats: Can this just be coincidence? Mrs. Kerry's statement indicates a collusion between Osama and President Bush, rather like that between Kerry and Clinton. Do you think Osama is supposed to go "barnstorming" with the president? This could be a very interesting campaign in those last weeks.
-- Kate Pitrone

BLIND LOYALTIES
Re: Shawn Macomber's I Am Not a Criminal:

Great critique of the conservative/libertarian feedback you got about your arrest. That type of irrational, emotional, babble is expected from liberals as they obviously have no clue about the way humanity or government power really works. These conservative/libertarian folks have obviously lost the point of their beliefs and just want to "beat" the other team. As a conservative/libertarian I think it is an important challenge to be able to step up to the plate on issues like this and say that this police activity crossed the line.

I'm not a big fan of the addition of Miranda to our rights -- should a murderer really go free because some random officer didn't spit forth some phrase or recite the constitution before jailing him? That aside, arresting people under those conditions in anticipation of some minor bureaucratic offense is absolutely wrong. Just because "your team" committed the blatant "face mask" doesn't mean that this time the ref should ignore it.

Frankly what a great resume builder for a true conservative/libertarian -- wrongly imprisoned by excessive government. :-)

Great work and keep up the fight!
-- Steve Dye
Altoona, Wisconsin

PERSHING AND THE PIGS
Re: The "Pigs in a Poke" letters in Reader Mail's Liberty at Stake and R. Emmett Tyrrell's Brute Control:

Here is a link about General Pershing and the Philippines. Thanks,
-- Chris Graham

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