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Spoilers

Plus Spoiled Saudis, those spoiling for a fight, and more.

8.19.02

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HARDBALL
Re: Enemy Central's Major League Questions:

Dick Armey is attempting to sabotage Bush because Armey blames the administration for his son's failure to win the GOP primary to replace dad on Capitol Hill. Bushies supported Scott Armey's opponent and purportedly leaked a damaging story to the Dallas Morning News during the last week before the primary vote.

Armey's efforts resemble Perot's attacks on Bush the Elder. With a little luck, maybe Armey can get a job in a John McCain Administration, or at least play Mini-Me to his Dr. Evil.
-- Mike Young
Dallas, TX

If they go on strike, I recommend baseball players be called up for duty in Iraq.
-- F. Elia
Sarasota, FL

IN FLIGHT SERVICE
Re: Jed Babbin's Will Kane and Hamlet and replies in Reader Mail's Heavy Loads:

Mr. Babbin's obsession with the RAF's aerial tanker fleet is puzzling, in particular as it amounts to approximately two dozen aircraft. One would think that the U.S. Air Force with its 500 or so KC-135s and 59 KC-10's (not to mention the Navy's and Marines' refuelers) would be able to handle all the tanking needs of an attack on Iraq. Yes, the Brits did make their tankers available during the attacks on Afghanistan, and yes they were gratefully accepted, but that was only because the vast majority of tactical aircraft sorties were flown by U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft (who use a different refueling system than the Air Force, as do the British).

In an attack against Iraq the vast majority of tactical aircraft used will be from the Air Force, and the distances Navy aircraft will be required to fly will be much shorter than in the attacks in Afghanistan, allowing them to use their organic air refueling assets (converted S-3B Vikings). In short, the U.S. can take on Iraq with its own forces, and must do so should the British (or any other Allies) get cold feet.
-- Patrick Bechet
Cape Town, South Africa

Jed Babbin replies: I agree that we can, we should, and we will go it alone should that become necessary. But our tanker fleet is old, and the aircraft have a lot of maintenance downtime. Moreover, and we don't like to advertise it, but the fact that Navy aircraft often can't fill from Air Force tankers due to connection equipment problems, has been in the public eye for years. I'm not obsessed with the Brit tankers, only with reducing the risk to those at the point of the spear. I think having the Brits along helps in that regard.

PRINCELINGS
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Saudi Paradox:

Perhaps another viewpoint of the Saudi military distinct from General Horner's might provide a contrast to that offered by Mr. Henry:

Back in the late '70s and early '80s I was an Air Force instructor pilot teaching advanced undergraduate jet flying (T-38). I had many Saudi students, all of whom seemed to be princes of the realm. Apparently they were very used to being pampered, as demonstrated with their lackadaisical attitude toward their training. They never studied the flight manuals and were rarely prepared for the day's mission. Our commanders of course knew this but ordered us to carry them to graduation regardless of their lack of effort or aptitude. And indeed that is what we did. Virtually all of them completed the program, even if they fell back several classes, whereas an American or NATO student would have long before washed out of the program. They did not exhibit very much military professionalism.

They would not fly with any of our female or Jewish instructors. One of these later became an astronaut, another the commander of the USAF test pilot school. Yet because of archaic prejudices like these they denied themselves to learn to fly from some of the very best pilots. There certainly was no "brotherhood of arms" there.

Years later in Saudi Arabia, managing aircrew scheduling for the airlift of troops and material back home after the Gulf War, I had a female Air Force bus driver assigned to me. One day we were to drive from our base to a neighboring one several miles away. After we passed through the gate to our base I had to take over the driving from my driver, because she was not allowed to drive on Saudi highways. She, along with thousands of other female U.S. military, certainly were not afforded any of the respect due allied soldiers by the Saudi military.

No doubt General Horner's dealings with the Saudis were on a level far higher than mine. Nonetheless I too had to be diplomatic in my dealings with them. And in light of those experiences there are other allies with whom I would rather fight alongside.

Cordially,
-- Paul M. DeSisto, Lt Col, USAF (ret)
Cedar Grove, NJ

Lawrence Henry replies: Most interesting. Gen. Horner describes many of those same situations in Every Man a Tiger. Apparently, the Gulf War sharpened the attention of a good many Saudi pilots.

WAR FEVER
Is this Lawrence Henry character an associate of Grover Norquist ? His article certainly looks like an inauspicious start to the Spectator's claimed war on terror.

I hope you guys are not coming out of retirement just so you can shill for the Arabs. Now that Grover has gotten all cozy with terrorists, he has to be flat-out dropped; I don't care how many votes he managed to deliver to W. in Michigan.
-- Daniel Mayost

MAP QUEST
Re: George Neumayr's More Cloning Around:

Mr. Neumayr: Thanks for keeping me and others on top of the latest moves to push through research on human embryos and cloning. I don't have the background or time to look deeply into these
subjects. But with your help, your words, I can see more.

Pax vobiscum.
-- Tom O'Marra
Elmira, Ontario, Canada.

DULY WARNED:
Re: Bill Croke's An Open Letter to Californians:

Having recently moved from San Diego to Port Orchard, Washington (near Seattle), and wanting to go to a conservative Republican state, and (finally) having looked at Wyoming for some time (based on Claire Wolf's articles) I thank you for alerting me to all the pitfalls and traps. I'll keep the article and look for ways to avoid them (if possible).

Thanks again,
-- Howard Pearlman
Age 46

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