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In the Trenches

War and other open hostilities, including Carolina basketball.

8.5.02

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DAVISSED
Re: George Neumayr's Resisting the Anti-Business Riptide:

I find it exceedingly disappointing that I reside in a state where 45% of any poll wishes to allow Gray Davis another term as governor. I think it's time I moved to a remote island in the Caribbean.
-- Dan Swogger
Southern California

TRENCH WARMER
Re: Enemy Central's The Bills Come Due:

Too bad Billy boy wasn't in the trenches when they came across the Saigon River during Tet in 1969. I always will wonder which unfortunate poor white boy or person of color without political connections took our future President's place in the draft -- and whether he was a casualty or came back whole. Ah well, Alec/Billy Baldwin should play that part in a TV mini-series... with Jane Fonda as the love interest...?
-- Mike Horn
LTC, Military Intelligence
US Army, retired
Tracy, CA

It's probably true what Clinton said. After all, short of major tectonic movements during his lifetime, Iraq will never cross the Jordan River. He might as well have said "if Hawaii attaches to Mexico." Of course, if Iraqi troops crossed the Jordan (probably even less likely, when you compare the two armies), Clinton will have promised nothing.

Of course, there is the possibility that Iraq, having obtained massive new weapon shipments from China, and having a new set of soldiers who can move forward as well as to the rear, might invade Israel and annex some of its territory, in which it could be said that Iraq had, indeed crossed the Jordan. In which case our former coward in chief would undoubtedly have one of his servants dig a trench so he could grab a rifle (nothing said about actually picking it up) and jump into said trench....

Which leaves the "fight" part -- undoubtedly the hardest one for him. But since he's already called himself a fighter, in the context of political races ... he may be able, by his own definitions, to meet this requirement as well.
-- unsigned
Chapel Hill, NC

I didn't see all of that HBO puff piece on Lyndon Johnson recently, but didn't it portray [EOW winner] Bill Moyers as a whiny, sniveling, lackey?
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, TN

DINNER ENTERTAINMENT
Re: Lawrence Henry's History vs. Hollywood: A Beautiful Mind:

Thank you for the inspiring article "History vs. Hollywood: A Beautiful Mind." It is beyond comprehension the length critics will go to in the attempt to distinguish themselves as articulate naysayers on almost any subject. Is it not obvious that movies are designed to entertain, that they are fantasies, pictures drawn by discerning hands simply to entertain, not enlighten or educate the public.(which is what documentaries are for)?

I own and operate a small inn, where we serve our guests a prix-fixe menu every evening. One evening my very talented chef served sea scallops, perfectly pink in the middle. They were delicious to me and to a few of my quests. However, most of the guests were horrified to find any fish served pink in the middle. While discussing this unfortunate incident with my chef, I was informed that regardless of the diners' objection, this was the proper way to serve scallops. I replied then as I do now, "It is not our job to educate the public in the proper way to eat scallops. It is our job to delight the public with the quality of our food."

For the cold hard facts read the book; to be entertained go to the movies.
-- Elle Haynes
Mendocino, CA

WHO YOU CALLING CRAZY?
Re: Jerry Carter's The Crazy Congressman:

Somehow Zioncheck and Traficant, crazy as they may be, seem less crazy than the "in control types" that are able to maintain their demeanor in the madhouse commonly known as the U.S. Congress.
-- Tom Golding

DEAN DOME COME
Re: The Prowler's Dean's List:

Regarding your comments on Dean Smith supporting Skipper Bowles' kid: Dean's politics aside, he did support two-time Republican loser Richard Vinroot in the '96 and '00 governor's races. Vinroot was a former player. His fundraising tends to be more of a personal favor than a political favor. Being good conservatives, you should applaud the fact Coach Smith has George W.-like fund-raising abilities, and saved the state taxpayers from having to pay for the building of the Smith Center. Contrast that with the more "conservative" NC State in Raleigh, which asked taxpayers to fund the bulk of the $200 million arena.

And your point about him containing Jordan is way off-base. Jordan averaged 20 and 19.6 ppg his last two years at UNC, in the pre-shot clock era. Add to that the 40-minute game rather than the NBA's 48-minute game, and his statistics were by no means "held back."

Stick to politics. You're stuff is great, and I love the McVain story
today. Too bad it wasn't dug up before the Bushies caved...
-- Geoffrey Hawkins
Alexandria, VA

As a Vajenyan, born and bred, and UVA alum there've always been myriad reasons to hate Dean Smith -- the "four corners" stall-ball, all that "Heaven and the Sky are Carolina Blue" stuff, yada, yada, yada. But this latest news on the perfidy of old Rat Face Dean takes the cake. Maybe Dean and "Irksome" Bowles can figger out a way, after Bowles has his hat handed to him by Liddy Dole, to resuscitate the Heels as they're pounded once again this season by the Dookies and that fine Republican Coach Mike Krzyzewski (that is, of course, after the UVA Wahoos and Coach Pete Gillen get done with 'em)!
-- Bill Harrison
Arlington, VA

Someone must have left a N.Y. Times stylebook lying around the Prowler editorial office. How else account for the liberal Elizabeth Dole being described as a "moderate" in "Dean's List"? Dole -- wife of the former tax collector for the welfare state and current Pepsi drummer -- has enjoyed a successful career as a big government politician who's whooped up all manner of social engineering and buttinsky government programs. (Recall her triumph as Secretary of Transportation -- requiring American cars to have a third taillight. Hives and hemorrhoids!!! Cars need a third taillight like Dolly Parton needs a third -- well, you get the idea.) If Elizabeth Dole can't be labeled a liberal in The American Prowler, perhaps it's time to retire the word from sheer lack of use.

If the current testosterone-free Republican Party is ever to be a conservative opposition, the last thing it needs to do is weaken the gene pool with the likes of Elizabeth Dole. (I've only recently stopped high-fiving my conservative chums because Lowell Weicker was defeated -- and, while we're up, what about trading Lincoln Chafee to the Democrats for a cracked bat and an autographed picture of Jim Jeffords?) Perhaps some Republicans set store by being able to say, "Our liberals can beat your liberals," but I don't see the point.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

VIAL BODIES
Re: Jed Babbin's Dancing at the Naysayers' Ball:

Mr. Babbin's analysis of Saddam Hussein's intentions while I agree with them are undercut by his statement that small pox is common in the Middle East. The reason Saddam would have to get small pox vials from Russia is that the disease has been wiped out in the general population all around the world, which is also why releasing it again would be a crime against humanity.
-- John J. Vecchione
Washington, D.C.

Jed Babbin replies: Thanks for catching my error, and you are entirely correct. The disease common there is camel pox, from which Saddam is trying to create a weapon. He may also be attempting to genetically modify it to increase its potential as a bio weapon. Mr. Rumsfeld's pointing out that his biowar labs are now mobile, and that some WMD assets are hardened, shows how serious they are. It may also be an indication of the success of the effort. Assets that are not valuable are not worth hardening or mobilizing. We have very good reason to fear what Saddam is doing.

AGREE WITH BABS
Re: Jed Babbin's Stalled at the Euphrates:

Jed Babbin's diatribe and irrational call to fire the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army is as illogical as most of the politically appointed Whiz Kids who we suffer to direct our military strategy.

Believe me, we still suffer from Mr. McNamara's legacy and the bean counting lunacy we inherited from the goofy war. Now the iconoclasts in the cabinet push undergraduate generated business models to track military readiness (charts and bubbles), and denigrate the professional military as unqualified to understand what war is about. Dune buggies and M16s rate up there with Special Forces doing cavalry charges on horseback.

Mr. Babbin hoists himself on his own quill when he reluctantly admits he agrees with Ms. Boxer that those who oppose the will of the Secretary of Defense should be fired. Anyone who identifies with her logic is not a "Talking Warhead on MSNBC" but closer to a gobbling airhead. After all, this was the woman who was to lead the California National Guard in a mad charge to plug the Mexican border against illegal immigrants. General Babs didn't get it then, and age has not improved her military acumen.
-- J. Perry
Anaheim, CA

Jed Babbin replies: Let's not laugh at Spec Ops leading cavalry charges on horseback. That's how we won the battle at Mazar-e-Sharif. My piece may be disagreeable to some, but it's not irrational to call for the resignation of White and Shinseki. They are the main stumbling blocks to Mr. Rumsfeld's effort to transform the army.

What we need now is not another condemnation of those who are trying to run our military and win a war. Mr. Rumsfeld is no bean counting whiz kid. He's simply the best SecDef in living memory. White and Shinseki don't want to follow the boss's orders. In earlier days, men of honor would either follow orders or resign. They are doing neither. We need to get rid of both, and soon, or the Army won't be able to do what we need it to do in the coming campaign in Iraq. Shinseki is a Clinton holdover. That means he was hand-picked for political correctness by the Clinton White House, which means Hillary. Need I say more?

OSAMAWATCH
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Osama Is Still Dead:

My guess is that he was spirited away by aliens who are at this moment cloning him so that he will be appearing on every continent on this planet and two or three times in Europe. Maybe he can be available for Jesse Jackson's VP when Jesse attempts to become Emperor of the world.
-- H. Huber

JESSE KIDDING
Re: Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder's The Jesse Jackson Delusion:

Raoul & Jackie ask: "...how does anyone have a baby by accident?"

The following exchange from The Last Boy Scout seems relevant (Joe -- Bruce Willis -- has just found out that Mike was sleeping with his wife):

Mike Mathews: "It just happened, Joe."

Joe Hallenbeck: "Sure, sure, it just happened. You tripped, fell on the floor and accidentally stuck your ..."
-- Rich Rostrom

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