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Hitting Rock Bottom

The bishops can hit, but they can't run. Spec Ops opportunities. Plus much more.

6.19.03

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THE BEST IS YET TO COME
Forty-eight hours after taking the oath of office, President Hillary Clinton will declare the entire staff of The American Spectator as "Enemy Combatants." Given this, go back and rethink the issues involved.
--Ramsey Haddad

BAD FOR BUSINESS WEEK
Re: David Hogberg's Spending Time:

I really appreciated Mr. Hogberg's rebuttal to BusinessWeek's misguided analysis of state government spending. I am a former state legislator, and a continuing fiscal conservative, who subscribes to BW. When I read the article, I knew it was "wrong." Seeing some specifics is very gratifying.

Thank you,
-- Mac Davis
Waukesha, WI

FACTORING IN
Re: Bill O'Reilly Is Dead ... Wrong:

I really enjoyed your piece about Bill O'Reilly. I agree with every word you wrote.

I used to watch the "Factor" simply because it was a refreshing change from Chris Matthews or Larry King...Yuck! At first I thought Mr. O'Reilly was on to something but as time went on I realized what a big jerk he is. That interview with Sullivan was awful. I thought Bill was a bigger jerk than ever.

Thanks for your great commentaries.
-- Linda Keiser
La Plata, MD

BRAVO
Re: Phillip W. De Vous's letter in Reader Mail's Defending Mahony:

I rarely feel the need to comment on a letter to the editor, but Phillip W. De Vous's thoughtful take on George Neumayr's "Cardinal Godfather" article was superb. Mr. De Vous captured the frustration that many devout Catholics feel regarding the current state of the Catholic Church, and the methods being used to correct these problems. And bravo regarding your reference to St. Augustine, sir -- if such a depraved sinner can become one of the Doctors of the Catholic Church, surely there is hope for Leon Panetta …
-- Judy McDonough
Nashville, TN

"The fact that such privileged relationships have been abused does not constitute an occasion for their diminishment or abolition."

Perhaps not diminishment or abolition but after the Cardinal repeatedly chose not to effectively act the scriptural millstone comes to mind. Why else would the Savior use such "ungraceful" language when admonishing the flock against harming a child?

The innocent care not if they are ultimately protected by a "media driven study" or the nonsurgical machete. After all, the Lord has indeed been known to work in mysterious ways.
-- Doc Watson

LET THEM EAT SNAKE
Re: Jed Babbin's Double Down:

Congrats on the column dedicated to the "Snake Eaters" and Amen, in general, to your conclusions and suggestions. (Don't fall on the floor, I am about to introduce a "Yes, but.")

First a disclaimer, I rely for my primary info and opinion forming resource on a cousin, a retired USMC Colonel. He has a bias that holds that all Marines are special forces and that, if the Army and Navy had done stuff right to begin with, the "Snake Eater" concept would not have been necessary. He thinks that his time living with the Montaignards during 'Nam are proof of that. My own entirely inadequate association with the USMC does lead me to be sympathetic to that thinking. My retired submarine CPO son, on the other hand, thinks that, if everyone would just get out of the way, the SEALs could handle it all without outside help.

I am a fan of what Rumsfeld is trying to do, in general. The SOCOM budget certainly needed upgrading. I even think that the new Army Chief of Staff appointment is likely to get Rumsfeld's message across to the rest of the Army old guard officer corps. Your points about procurement programs are well taken. That said, we need to not forget that it does often take sufficient, effectively trained and led Army "heavy" units to take and, especially, hold ground.

My concern lies in the expansion of the numbers of SOCOM troops. I am very afraid that, if it isn't done carefully and at a moderate pace, the eliteness (Is that a word?) of the forces will be compromised. I am afraid that, under pressure to produce results, the training and qualifications and acceptability standards will be lowered. I am sure that all involved will deny that such will happen, but history tells a slightly different story. In my mind, there are only a distinct minority of warrior patriots that are truly suited for this classification. I certainly know that I wasn't. I don't know what the number is, but it will take more than 4,000 trainee graduates to increase the total SOCOM forces by 4,000. The number would have to be increased by a factor sufficient to cover deaths and retirements and disciplinary losses as well as the overall numbers gain.

Ah, well! I sincerely hope that you are right in your assumptions and expectations. May the point of the spear stay forever exceedingly sharp and may we forever be blessed with enough such sharp spears in the force.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

BTW: I definitely do not consider "Snake Eaters" to be a derogatory term in any form or fashion.

A few years ago, probably more than I would like to think, it was conventional wisdom that career officers stayed away from SpecOps because it was a dead end to flag officer level. At the time I thought that that was such a shame in view of the dedication and downright courage SOCOM demands.

I have always been a Rummy fan and now my admiration for the man is boundless for his selection of General Schoomaker as army chief of staff.

There is a God in heaven....HOORAH!
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, PA

Outstanding! Two quick comments:

The pay in the enlisted ranks sucks! We ask these guys to do the dirty work, but we expect them (and their families) to live on nothing. Somebody needs to start a write-in campaign to Congress and the Prez about this sorry state of affairs. The average person has no idea what a military man makes a month. I haven't heard a word from the senator from Arizona about this, either. This isn't about the Democrats, the Republicans can get this done if they want it to happen.

The v-22 (it's not worth capitalizing) is a huge boondoggle. Not to mention a very unsteady aircraft, to put it mildly. Look, it's only 30 miles from here to Fort Worth, the v-22's home. But I wouldn't fly on the damn thing for 3 miles, much less thirty. (Even though we need the jobs.) There has to be a better way.
-- Mike Webster
Dallas, TX

I agree with your column, but would feel a whole lot better if this investment were made in the Marine Corps. The missions the Spec Ops guys were/are doing in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, are the same ones the Marine Corps has been doing for years. Sending these guys around Afghanistan working with the locals, teaching them how to fight (think of the Marines' CAP program in Vietnam), small teams calling in supporting arms and air (think of the Marines' Stingray program, again in Vietnam). It really does appear that the intent is to create a parallel military to do the Marine Corps mission. They're even organized like the Marines (who started this over 50 years ago) with indigenous air assets. And fer cryin' out loud, Marine Force Recon are the guys who trained the first Navy Seals way back when. So, what the heck is going on?
-- John
Portland, OR

Jed Babbin replies:
Times change, John. The missions that the SEALs, Delta and others now perform are extraordinarily specialized. I'm not saying that the Marines couldn't do them -- especially Force Recon -- but there would have to be a tremendous reorganization, and the breaking of many rice bowls to get there. I think the "effects-based" warfare we saw in Iraq is something new, and better. To do it, we need the spec ops guys. They are now a strategic weapon, and they need the people and the weapons to keep doing the job.

HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
Re: George Neumayr's Hit and Run Liberals:

Thanks for your wonderful treatment of the current state of affairs in the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. It is a true comfort in these terrible times to know that others are observing and acting, vice ignoring and equivocating, in response to the utter failure in Church leadership. God have mercy on us...

I was wondering to myself, as I heard of Bishop O'Brien's cravenness on the radio news Monday: "When are the bishops finally going to hit rock bottom? How much worse do things have to get before they start resigning of their own accord?"

Perhaps, after we hear the following alibi: "I didn't know the gun was loaded," or "That depends on the definition of 'is'."

Semper Fi,
-- Mark Stoffel
Arlington, VA

I really enjoyed George Neumayr's dead-on comments in "Hit and Run Liberals." But the Bishop Mahony shenanigans, the Keating departure, and the behavior of Bishop O'Brien has more implications than his article allows, or anyone will say. So I'll say it:

(1) The lavender mafia in the Catholic Church clergy is bigger than even the most pessimistic estimates allow.

(2) The size and scope of disordered homosexual activity among Catholic clergy is inarguably linked to pedophilia, and at this point is an explanatory variable with a very high statistical correlation. Translation: as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (rev. ed.), 2358, states, homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered activity, and it leads to permissiveness about other disordered activities.

(3) Because the lavender mafia refuses to confront their disorder in light of the revealed teachings of the Church, they remain disordered and this compounds and manifests itself in other disorders.

(4) Therefore the gigantic closet that the lavender mafia of the Catholic Church has created has also created a bunch of drunks as well.

(5) ...and a bunch of 'liberals' whose world view is diametrically opposed to that of the Church.

(6) Next thing you know, no good men go to seminary because they want to serve at the altar under vows as a path to heaven, not to join sodom's biggest bar/closet and go to hell.

(7) Result: clergy shortage and lavender mafia grows exponentially by default; "Catholic" politicians who support abortion are given communion from the Bishop's own hands, bone-headed Bishops become press releases for the left-wing of the Democratic Party, etc.

One can wonder why these behaviors that ultimately debase human beings and distort the witness of the teachings of the Church are so inextricably linked, but the answer is in Veritatis Splendor: "...the primordial moral requirement of loving and respecting the person as an end and never as a mere means also implies, by its very nature, respect for certain fundamental goods..."(see Veritatis Splendor, secs. 13, 48). You see, once you deny the fundamental good of truth, it ultimately leads to drunkenly running over a human being because he is only thought to be a '"cat."

It is time for Pope John Paul to appoint staunch conservatives such as Bishop Fabian Bruskowitz, Bishop James C. Timlin, and Bishop Paul Loverdale as Archbishops and to task them with rooting out the lavender mafia, first at the apostolic level of Bishops, and then at the clergy level of priests. If the Mahony's of the world can chase away the Keatings who are trying to clean things up, it only indicates an exponentially larger problem, and therefore more firepower.

Either that, or we Catholics can just wait around until most of our Bishops are (deservedly) in jail.
-- James N. Ward
Paris, France

It's called VATICAN 2. Get used to it!
-- unsigned

ONE MORE THING
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Clericalism's Comeback:

Now that Governor Frank Keating has resigned from the Catholic Bishop's National Review Board, the "watchdog" group is stacked with Clinton apologists.....it will be another cover-up. It's time for the local prosecutors to take over!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, IL

PARTING SHOT
No doubt there are many people in American society today who live their lives a lie. These are the ones who will by the piece of trash that Hillary had written for her. Who else could sit and read trash from a known liar?
-- Gene The Marine

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