Reader Mail

Stuck in Iraq

Cut and run -- and then what? Modern command. An appetite for Gorelick. Prius impiety. SLG signs off. And more.

4.13.04

CUT AND WHAT?
Re: William Tucker's Call It a Democracy and the Hell With It:

Journalism, for all I know, may be its own occupational hazard, so that even a serious writer like William Tucker should perhaps be permitted an occasional paroxysm of irresponsibility. Just suppose, however, that we take the advice of Mr. Tucker and of the perennially irresponsible lumpenintelligentsia in academia and the media. Suppose we cut and run, abandoning Iraq to the imbecilities of a vicious minority. Where do we go then? With a demoralized military and a world whose thugs no longer take American power seriously, where would Mr. Tucker propose we should hide?
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California

Tucker raises some important questions but it seems like his answer is to cut and run. He does a good job of offering the disclaimer of WWII and the Civil War because those wars were somehow more just than this current one. Why? Because the world back then was threatened by Hitler? What was the threat to the U.S. back then besides our European relatives living in capitulation? The Civil War threat was one of morality. It could be looked at as making right years of sanctioned wrong by the U.S. government. How are the European wars and our own Civil War different? Here at home we are still trying to pacify the spectacle of racism more than 100 years after the Civil War. It was only 40 years ago that we debated and legislated civil rights. After we liberated Europe and occupied Germany, how long did that pacification take? I don't know, but did our side suffer from the same type of insurgent attacks as now?

As for one segment of the Iraq society trying to impose its will on the other, isn't that what happens here all the time? Iraq was invaded because there was growing danger and that danger would have been cultivated in the next generation of Saddam in the likes of his sons. I wonder what the world would be like if we acted against Germany well before that cancer spread as far as it did. The costs of doing the right thing is sometimes very high and the sacrifice is also high. But if our foreign policy is to be analyzed strictly on accounting principles, what should the response have been to our being attacked by Japan?
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, CA

William Tucker's article -- "Call It a Democracy and the Hell With It" -- is one of the best articles I have seen to date on the U.S. involvement in Iraq. (I am a conservative Republican who sees the absolute lunacy of Bush's policies regarding Iraq, illegal immigration and out-of-control federal spending -- which is why I will vote for a third party at the top of the ticket in November.)
-- Brynell Somerville
Chillicothe, Missouri

A very interesting article. Perhaps we should be sending Massachusetts' Supreme Court Justices to Iraq rather than the Marines.
-- Bill McManus

Great article, Not P.C. but then the truth never is.
-- unsigned

AYE, AYE, SIRS
Re: Jed Babbin's A Day in Grootland:

One item that jumped out at me while reading Jed Babbin's article about the carrier Harry S. Truman: a single warship has 3 full captains aboard. No other Navy in history (including ours) has ever had more than one captain per ship. Apparently, that is no longer the case. Now, we have one captain who is the ship's nominal commanding officer, another is the Commander of the Air Group (CAG), and the third, apparently is the Executive officer (i.e. second in command)! Prior to 1983, the CAG was always an officer with the rank of commander and he reported directly to the ship's captain. This was changed after some screw-ups in air strikes against Lebanon (all of which were unrelated to the command structure on the carriers themselves). The Executive officer was also a commander. These arrangements had been in effect on our carriers through WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and had worked aboard all of the post-WWII supercarriers, including the Harry S. Truman's immediate predecessors in the Nimitz class. At a time when the Navy is heading towards 200 ships, isn't it just a little bit stupid to be the only Navy in all of history to have more than one captain aboard a single ship? Seems the command structure is more than a tad top heavy, particularly as the ranks of the subordinate officers have also crept upwards.
-- Anthony Mirvish

Jed Babbin replies:
Having seen how things run on this huge ship, I can assure Mr. Mirvish that I'd put three admirals on it if it were necessary to do things as right as they are done on the Truman. The question is not a top-heavy command structure. It's what our people need to get the job done right first time, and every time. Right now, naval aviation ain't broke. Please don't fix it.

NICE GUYS FINISH...
Re: The Washington Prowler's Jamie Gorelick in the Hot Seat:

When are we going to publicly acknowledge the facts? The GOP in general and the Bushies in particular haven't got the cojones to effectively and realistically wage political warfare against the Left in general and elected Democrats in particular. Never have, never will. They want to change the tone, remember? The Dems are playing major league championship level baseball and the GOP is playing recreational league slow pitch softball. Yes, I am talking about George Bush, Karl Rove, Sen. Hatch, Sen. Frist, and many more.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

FUELISH PRIDE
Re: Eric Peters' Kerry and the 2006 Chevette, "Engine Ears" letters in Reader Mail's Strokes of Genius, and "Planet Prius" letters in Reader Mail's Rice Capades:

What kind of BS was that article? Not the type of drivel I expected to read on American Spectator.

I am an automotive alternative fuels engineer and Republican with more than my fair share of patented technology on the road today. In fact, most of the innovative engineers in the alternative fuels and hybrid technology components industry that I have the honor to work with are Republicans and the few I conversed with who read your poorly researched article disagree with your opinions! Kerry is an ass, yes, but Bush allows freedom loving Americans to make their own decision. If gas hits $4 a gallon then people will buy more efficient vehicles and drive less. Strict CAFE legislation will give way to loopholes and fail for a decade.

Do your homework before disgracing me again!
-- Jimmy "Turbo" Cohen

I'm excited all those Prius lovers are happy with their smaller mid-sized vehicle.

Sorry, not the vehicle I want to drive at 70-75 mph down the interstate along side SUV's and 18 wheelers.

My Pontiac Grand Am SE is almost a foot longer, 180-200 pounds heavier, more inside room, more torque, more horsepower and an average of $2,500 less than the Toyota Prius.

And I get a solid 35 mpg on the highway and around 22-25 mpg city driving. At an average of 12,000 miles a year (mixed usage of 6K hwy and 6K city), the extra gas consumption, even at today's higher price per gallon average of $1.75 (which will go down again), is only about $30 more a month.

So the increased cost of the Prius, over a five-year loan period with the same interest rate, is about the same as the extra cost of fuel I would use for 7 years. So the fuel savings, to me, aren't worth a smaller and less powerful car.

And it's ugly in my opinion.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

IT'S RIGHT THERE
Re: Paul J. Cella III's Locke Box:

One need only read the passage, Chapter II, Sec. 4, of The Second Treatise of Civil Government to note that it was fundamental to his argument of the Natural Law of man. Without it the balance of the document would fail any relevance. For it is there that Locke defines the source of all powers bequeathed to the Sovereign. To wit is the relevant passage:

"To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

"A state also of equality wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that the creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty."
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

UNMOVED
Re: Todd M. Aglialoro's Gibson and the Neo-Gnostics:

I respectfully disagree with this piece and its interpretation and parallel. I saw Gibson's Passion and was not substantially moved by it even though I tried to be fair and objective about it. I tend to think that many Christians believe it their "Christian Duty" to embrace it. As a lifelong Christian, I think Gibson has given us his artistic rendition, not necessarily an accurate or factual account however much we (and he) would like to believe otherwise. I think we should accept the film this way, and this way only. Christ and his ministry, I believe, should be focused on its totality. The Gospels do not dwell on the manner of His death so much as the fact and purpose of His crucifixion. We err if we focus too narrowly on any aspect of Christ, including the manner of his sacrificial death.
-- James N. Anderson
Green Valley, Arizona

I thought the Gnostics, who were of the educated class, found many elements of the Christian faith attractive but were repelled by other elements; i.e. accepting from the Jewish law, its harsh penalties, prohibitions and general irrationalities! They also didn't accept that a divinity could be crucified, or that he would possess human passions; i.e., vanity, jealousy. Crucifixions were a once a year event, at Passover, almost a sacrifice! I think all of these conversations since the opening of this movie need a re-write, and some rational thought, not blind faith.
-- Edward Del Colle

SLG SIGNS OFF
Re: Reader Mail's Rice Capades:
The more things change, the more they stay the same? Guess so.

Back when I was doing interview/call-in/talk shows on the radio, only two subjects were forbidden - homosexuality and abortion. Now I remember why.

Seemed as if 35% of the folks were defending the gay lifestyle, a similar number hard-core against 'em, and the rest didn't really care one way or the other.

Then I found that there were about 5% of the hard-left nuts who were so far-out that they recommended abortions even if you weren't pregnant -- the "NOW" types and radical feminists.

Probably about the same percentage had sympathy with the murderers of abortion providers, the bombers, and similarly deranged. Call them "anti-choice nazis" maybe?

Then, I found, roughly 30% had no sympathy for the bomber/murder-types, but were adamantly against abortion, regardless of circumstances. They called themselves "pro-life" although a disproportionate number were for the death penalty -- go figure.

The remainder, about 40% were certainly not for abortion, but defended the rights of women to choose.

The reason for outlawing those two subjects for on-air discussion was simple. The advocates for each were never willing to even entertain anyone else's point of view -- there was never any instance I can recall where any person persuaded anyone else to change his/her mind. There were never any "discussions," only hard-boiled, inflexible opinions, often stated in the strongest, most hateful terms -- sometimes with demented threats included.

It appears that nothing's changed -- nobody chooses to "negotiate" or exchange ideas (in today's language it's called "dialoguing"). So, all you hard-boiled "anti-choice" advocates, go ahead and hate if you must -- but I think I'll remain a "Small-L" libertarian individual who certainly doesn't like abortion, but remains Pro-Choice. I'll answer to God; critics like these guys don't deserve any further thought.

That said, for the same reasons cited above -- the fact that no one seems capable of changing his/her mind, the "granite" will remain undisturbed -- and this will conclude my part in this series. Those wishing to make hard-headed charges Quixote style, futility hoping to change some minds, labor on.

I'd wager you don't win a soul to your cause, even though there's been a fair degree of eloquence expressed, even from those who seem to hate so vehemently. But, there again, people like Ted Bundy were quite lucid too.

That's sufficient -- fini.
-- slg (Sweet Lovable Geoff)

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