OUR MEN DOWN UNDER
Re: Jeremy Lott's Kerry Loses Australia:
Just a note of thanks to the wise Aussies who know a threat to their survival when they see it. Also to their brave leader John Howard who stood for honor over a political career. Now if we Yanks can get 50.1% of our people to do the same, the world will be a safer place for all of us. Thanks again!
-- Robert C. Cooper
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
To celebrate Prime Minister Howard's victory in Australia's recent election, I added a case of Foster's to the shopping list for Saturday night's cast party. Anyone who asked why got to hear all about it.
What the Monty Python lads once said in jest, I now say in earnest: "Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you. Amen."
-- Stephen ("Bruce") Foulard
Re: William Tucker's The American Chamberlain:
Comparing John Kerry to Neville Chamberlain is unfair to Neville Chamberlain.
Peter Townsend (the fighter pilot they didn't let Princess Margaret marry) wrote in Duel of Eagles about the order of battle affecting Chamberlain's policies; Donald Kagan supports this view in On the Origin of War.
The thought was that there was no effective defense against bomber aircraft (the slogan among defense planners was "the bomber will always get through") and that bombers would lay waste to cities. Combined with Britain doing defense on the cheap in the '20s and '30s, the idea was that making a stand against Hitler in that state would be national suicide, and the motivation behind "peace in our time" and selling Czechoslovakia out to the Germans was to buy time rather than the wishful thinking regarding Hitler's intentions many made it out to be.
As it turned out, a determined civilian population could be rallied to withstand bombing attack through measures such as shelters and a stoic determination to withstand casualties in wartime, and a fighter defense net, even if imperfect in blunting the onslaught of bombers, could through attrition impose serious costs on the attacker. But the Battle of Britain was a near thing that depended on completion of the Chain Home radar net, high-octane gasoline, some good decisions by Dowding and some bad decisions by Goering, and Churchill's willingness to trade civilian casualties for the lives of fighter pilots and the protection of aircraft factories (the pilots being the "few" that the "many" owed so much to, but the many had to pay a price in blood to prevent the few from being utterly annihilated). Judging by the high casualty rate of fighter pilots in the Battle of France, Britain may not have been able to defend its homeland if it had taken a stand over Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain may go down in history as making a tragically wrong decision negotiating with Hitler, but the bad decisions were made years earlier when defense budgets were written on the expectation that Britain had years to rearm and when it looked away when Germany stopped fulfilling its treaty obligations from the last war. Chamberlain was acting in what he thought was Britain's best interest given difficult circumstances.
The problem with Mr. Kerry is that I don't believe he thinks much about anything beyond promoting himself, and the sense of duty, service and reflective thought that guided British politicians, both the failed and successful leaders, is completely absent. Mr. Kerry's appeal that we can fight the War on Terror on the cheap is not based on any calculus that America cannot afford the price of taking a stand -- it is what Mr. Kerry thinks will get himself elected.
-- Paul Milenkovic
A fine article. However, I have to disagree with one statement.
"In other words, if we just ignore them, they'll go away. And if we don't ignore them but fight back, then it's our fault." I think this misses the point that the Dems are trying to make, albeit a precise point. They are not trying to "ignore" terrorism, they are trying to "contain" it. The point they want to make is that if we just "contain" them, then we can minimize (but never eliminate) the threat. This is in keeping with their position on Saddam Hussein. They believed that he was "contained," and that attacking him only placed us in greater danger.
This is the same position they had with the Soviet Union. It's the same with drugs, hunger, over-population, and brush wars. They don't advocate ignoring the problems, just containing them. Of course, their idea of containment is an illusion, a skillful bit of lawyering. They will redefine "containment" to suit their agenda because they always realize too late that "containment" never works. They tried to "contain" the corrupting influence of money in politics with the latest round of so called campaign finance reform. We now see that the money was not "contained." In fact, the money is out of the control of the established political parties and in the hands of political freelancers like www.swiftvets.com and www.moveon.org.
So it is with the terrorists. The military aggression of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria has been "contained." However, Moslem fanaticism has not been "contained." Support that used to go to established nation states and their armies is now being funneled to freelancers like al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The Egyptian Army will not risk another war with Israel. Hamas will. The Democrats' idea of containment makes political and military freelancing unavoidable. The Moslems who think it is their duty to destroy Israel and America organize without the support of nation states. They continue their war against Israel and America, and will continue until one side wins a final victory.
I know this sounds like nit-picking, but it is vital that you be precise when explaining the weakness of the Democrats' position. Democrats are obsessed with control, and they foolishly believe that they can find ways to control every threat. However, al Qaeda used our own notions of control and containment against us on September 11, 2001. Walls, checkpoints, airport security screeners, and police dogs can't stop them. They will find a way to get through. They must be killed in their beds before they can pull of another attack. It's the only way.
-- Guy L. Evans
So Richard Holbrooke, John Kerry, Matt Bai, and other "Democratic foreign policy experts" believe the War on Terror is akin to the War on Drugs, or the War on Poverty. As any fool, or Democrat (but I repeat myself), can see how utterly we've failed, and are failing, to defeat both illegal drugs and poverty, in spite of the trillions of dollars spent since the '60s, I have to assume that liberals believe going into this "metaphor" that we're doomed to lose it.
Please, please, with that thought in mind, vote early, and vote often, for Dubya. I'm not sure that this country can take another Clintonian round of "police work" perpetrated this time by John "Clouseau Kerry, when this enemy intends -- no, demands -- our complete destruction.
-- Tim Jones
Re: H.D. Miller's Senator von Munchausen and the One That Got Away:
Did Field & Stream ask John Kerry if he bagged his 8-pointer when he fired from the prone position with his double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun, his self-acknowledged respective deer-hunting posture and weapon-of-choice-or was he in some other position with some other weapon?
When he's next in southern West Virginia, he should pick up that Remington shotgun the United Mine Workers gave him on Labor Day-the type he would outlaw through the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003 (S.1431), which he co-sponsored-and go deer hunting.
While he's here, he can see those National Rifle Association highway-billboard ads that show him as a prancing, white, frou-frou French poodle -- it's really big-dressed in a blue sweater with a pink bow on its head. They're eye-catching, powerful and genuinely funny. The signs say: "That dog don't hunt" in huge black letters. Beneath that: "John Kerry says he supports sportsmen's rights. But his record says something else." Beneath that: seven thumbs-down actions he's taken. Then, "If John Kerry wins, you lose." Maybe he could get a photo-op of him waving that shotgun beneath one of the billboards.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's George Soros & U.S. Sovereignty:
Ralph R. Reiland might have asked George Soros a third (and quite reasonable) question: Mr. Soros. Are you (or your crowd) squeezing the energy markets?
-- Jack Hughes
Did you notice how Mr. Soros replied to the question, "How would you combat terrorism?" His answer, not to have elected President Bush and join the Kyoto protocol and International court. I am no brain surgeon but for the life of me I can find no possible terrorist deterrent in any of these three non- solutions. This has to be the dumbest most hair brained answer on how to fight terrorism ever conceived. It may even come close to Clinton's and Halfbright's brilliant North Korean solution. Soros must be in some early stage of dementia. I pray that his millions of dollars spent trying to influence this election will go down the drain along with his ideas for America.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Re: B.J. Coleman's letter ("Hewitt and Dornan") in Reader Mail's Outlaw Nation:
B.J. Coleman's analysis of the Hewittian rationale in today's Reader Mail was informative, and his thesis, I think, largely correct. But it should also be noted that Hewitt has never hidden under false colors.
Those who listen to Hewitt's radio show hear frequent references to the "Center-Right" coalition that he's trying to build, and of which he is part. Any bridge to the center that starts from the right must inevitably arc left.
Hewitt's strategy differs from the one used by people to his right (like Ann Coulter and Alan Keyes) because he's an Establishment Republican (West Coast division) and they're not. Come fundraising time, Hewitt's genial Christian vision doesn't rattle potential donors as much as Coulter's looks or Keyes' oratory. Behind curtain number one: a bright man with a web site, a microphone, and an operator's instinct for working a room so that even people who disagree with him will invite him back. Behind curtain number two: a beautiful woman known mostly for her rhetorical knife work. Behind curtain number three: an exceptionally eloquent man with a fondness for first principles and a political career that peaked in the Reagan administration.
Call them the operator, the surgeon, and the prophet, if you like. No point in getting frustrated with one or the other. We need them all. So long as we're willing to chide our own avatars when they need a boot to the head, "big tent" Republicanism has a future.
-- Patrick O'Hannigan
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS
Re: Charlotte Erickson-Rempfer's letter ("Can't We Get Along?") in Reader Mail's Outlaw Nation:
It's called humor Charlotte, something of which you obviously have no concept. I haven't seen anything in the definition that would exclude intelligent thinkers from putting it to effective use. Perhaps you should look it up sometime, that is, if you can see the dictionary from atop your high horse.
-- Chuck Lazarz
"Issues such as a woman's right to choose, right to life, stem cell research, marriage and ANY attempt to legislate morality do not fall into the arena of governance..."? ANY attempt? So, we should strike from the books all laws pertaining to child molestation, which many argue is 'merely' a moral issue? We should eliminate any law concerning prostitution, or illegal drug use, or even murder, all moral issues at heart? How about civil rights legislation? That's a moral issue as well. Hate crimes?
I suspect 'that voter' wouldn't agree, and really wants to define, and then legislate, only those 'moral issues' she agrees with.
Sorry, 2 letters in one day. I couldn't help myself.
-- Tim Jones
It seems that the writer of this mostly socialist prattle about what she perceives as the functions of government lacks a fundamental understanding of our Constitution and what it says. The powers of the federal government are few and specifically enumerated. Not only that, in the Bill of Rights, Amendment X, states that (I'm paraphrasing here) if it is not in the Constitution, it belongs to the individual states to decide, or to the people at large; in other words, if it doesn't say SPECIFICALLY that the federal government can do it, then it is PROHIBITED from doing it! Now, there is NOTHING in the constitution about setting up government schools (which makes the Department of Education unconstitutional), setting up a federal retirement (Ponzi) scheme, setting up a national health insurance system, guaranteeing everyone an "adequate" wage -- the list of all these unconstitutional intrusions into the lives of the citizens of the USA just goes on and on. I, for one, intend to vote for candidates that respect our Constitution, and oppose the illegal and unconstitutional intrusions into our lives, not for candidates that continue to feed and support the nanny state until it gets so large that it completely smothers us and our freedoms. If you want a Swedish government, go live in Sweden. Don't force the rest of us to live under a similarly failed system.
-- Bob Schwartz
Buffalo, New York
While I agree with much of what Charlotte is trying to get to, she does make a statement about areas of Government involvement that I feel compelled to respond to. She makes the statement "Issues such as a woman's right to choose, right to life, stem cell research, marriage and ANY attempt to legislate morality do not fall into the arena of governance."
I agree that morality can not be legislated, but unfortunately here in the U.S we have 2 legislative bodies: Congress and Judges. I don't believe for a minute that our constitution allows Judges to create law, but unfortunately they do. Because of these improper actions we do not have a represented Government. For this reason, the other legislative body has to intervene when law is imposed on the citizens of the U.S.
I agree that morality can not be legislated, but punishment for improper choices has to be legislated. It is the responsibility of Government to provide punishment for people that break laws. If you or I do it, that is being a vigilante, and that is wrong. In the U.S., it is still illegal to murder, and if you are caught (and convicted) you will be punished. It is also wrong to steal, speed, cheat, etc.
Now, let's look at Charlotte's statements. A woman's right to choose/right to life -- she had her choice when she chose to have sex. I realize that pregnancy via rape happens way too much and that rape is not a choice. But abortion for any other reason is murder. The court system chose to legalize murder and only our Government can choose to stop it. I find it interested that stem cell research is a major issue and yet methods to conduct stem cell research using methods other than aborted fetuses are totally ignored.
In the area of marriage, once again our wonder court system is trying to create law. The definition of marriage is, was, and must continue to be between one woman and one man -- for life. Just because we have allowed our selfish desired to interfere with the definition of marriage by freely allowing divorce, doesn't mean we should continue the trend and allow marriage to be abandoned. Our society is harmed everyday because families are not functioning properly. We as a society are failing our children because we are too selfish to learn how to do our jobs as parents and spouses correctly.
Yes, Charlotte, Government should not be involved in legislating morality, but neither should the court systems. Unfortunately because the court systems are involved, it has become the responsibility of Our Government to fix it.
When I vote on November 2nd -- I can assure you that my criteria for who to vote for will include their stands on abortion, supporting the war on terrorism, stem cell research, support of marriage, and the freedom to worship God in the manner that He chooses.
-- Randall Herzog
While reading Charlotte Erickson-Rempfer's letter, I was struck by the unique saintliness of "This Voter" who is at such great pains to assure us she is uniquely free of concerns for peoples' dress or physical appearance. Perhaps she is the last remaining truly good person in this entire country. However, I have observed that while skin color is generally beyond one's control -- except for Michael Jackson, and that recently photographed orange-skinned guy -- most other aspects of appearance are chosen very much by ourselves. And in recent years, progressives and other truly good people, have elevated to a high art, the choice of one's clothing, hair style and appearance as a means of "making a statement." If I see a woman dressed in sensible shoes, a prim business suit and hair cropped shortish, I believe I can form certain presuppositions that her attitudes are different from her sisters dressed in "high Goth," "hooker chic," "classic biker," or "traditional rodeo." Just a few years ago, "This Voter"'s friends in the Clinton administration made much of Paula Jones' big hair look, which they considered to place her beyond the pale of decency. The practice focusing on the superficial aspects of debate rests mainly with the media elites, who were observing such things back 44 years ago, when they dwelt on John Kennedy's boyish charm, and Nixon's 5 o'clock shadow. Superficial anyone?
As for the concern that it is "the central duty of our elected officials to govern our country for the good of all the people -- all citizens" that earns "This Voter" a gold star and an "A+" in her civics class. In real life things are different.
"This Voter" may object to the legislation of morality, so long as it is not her morality. I bet she'd love to legislate against that which she considers "pure and simple bigotry, hatred, and intolerance," and probably a lot of other items of the PC agenda, which she judges simple progress, but which this other voter considers to be none of her damned, hyphenated business.
-- George Mellinger
Daschle-occupied South Dakota
Charlotte Erickson-Rempfer opines:
"Issues such as a woman's right to choose, right to life, stem cell research, marriage and ANY attempt to legislate morality do not fall into the arena of governance."
Morality doesn't fall into... Oh heavens, that's silly. What Charlotte seems to be forgetting is that most of our law is *designed* to "legislate morality". Our country has laws against corporate fraud in order to legislate against the immoral practice of lying. Laws against theft are in place because thievery is wrong, not because it's untidy. "Blue laws" restricting alcohol sale on Sunday exist in order to legally enshrine the fourth commandment in the Bible -- a moral principle. Murder laws for the sixth commandment. One of the miscreants who built the pyramid of butt-crack in Abu Ghraib was convicted of adultery -- there's the 7th.
Every day in Congress, our representatives debate whether a given piece of legislation is "right" or "wrong" for the country. On a good day, our government passes laws that reward moral behavior (eliminating the marriage penalty, for instance), and discourage immoral behavior (corporate fraud reform).
Where things get messy is that there are many good people who have differing opinions about some areas of right and wrong. I think it's right that a conceived human embryo be allowed to develop even if the mother doesn't agree, and I think it's wrong to terminate that life under almost any circumstance. I think that stem cell research is great, but I think it's wrong to deliberately create embryos and destroy them in order to conduct that research. I think that marriage is right, and I think it's wrong to try to redefine a several thousand-year-old foundation of civilization to accommodate a small number of gays and lesbians.
Charlotte may disagree with me -- that's her right. She may believe that certain subjects should not be dealt with by legislation. (Perhaps she'd rather that they be decided by the courts?) I believe that's what the legislature is there to do. We send our representatives to the legislature to argue all day long about what's right and wrong -- moral and immoral, if you will. I want my representatives to fight for what I think is morally right. We may not agree on what's moral, or what the source of that morality may be, but let's not pretend that morality lies outside the bounds of what government is meant to do.
-- Michael Hammond
Perhaps rather than having forgotten why we elect officials, many voters have finally remembered. At another point in History I might be moved to praise Ms. Erickson-Rempfer's attitude as one of glistening hope. Today, in the world in which we live, her naiveté has lost its charm. I would remind the lady that Hitler thought he was doing "good for mankind." So also did Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse-tung, and many, many others. Her political attitude seems to have been scripted by Rodney King. You know, "Can't we all get along". I point up the dangerous world in which we live as an object lesson. One of the reasons that it is so dangerous is the liberal philosophy of tolerance and relativism. If all the bills are worth the same, then what's the difference between a 100 and a 5. Oh and one more thing, who decides what is good for mankind. As I have already pointed out, and to quote a bygone era when Ms. Erickson-Rempfer would have been quite at home, "different strokes for different folks". I'm quite sure that the world is a better place because the West would not allow Hitler to indulge his "different strokes".
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
Dear Charlotte: Your letter is two parts -- political extension of into private life and hardening political events during an election cycle. Take the hard one first, right to life, woman's issues, et al.
As a conservative, as a conceptual issue I agree that the state has no business intruding into private affairs, be it abortion, sodomy, etc. But as a conservative and a reasonably religious person I believe also in the sanctity of life. I don't know if life begins at conception as I have not met my maker to ask the question so I err on the side of caution and assume it is. On that basis it is the states' interest to prevent murder. That is the moral question is it not? Or would you strike that statute down as well? And it is the crux of the argument that has existed before and after Roe v. Wade. And probably will never be solved. But open your mind to the argument that it just might be wrong to commit abortion.
As to the election vitriol I will take a stab at it but I am a poor substitute for Michael Barone. With the exception of Geo. Washington's first election, or should I say ascendancy, there have been election cycles that have been extremely caustic. The first that comes to mind is Jefferson. Rumors were flying around about his liaisons leading up to election (shades of Gary Hart). The Wm. Harrison campaign was noted for being raucous and prone to violence during the campaign. The Cleveland/Blaine election was a doozy too! Cleveland pointing out shady railroad deals by Blaine. Blaine exposing the out of wedlock siring of a child by Cleveland. Times being what they were then that was pretty heady stuff. The Johnson/Goldwater fight was also feisty. Who can forget the nuclear blast ad accusing Goldwater of being a hot head ready to push the button? The 1968 Democrat convention was notable as it was the Hippies vs. the Pigs on the streets of Chicago.
Point is, Charlotte, American elections have always been knock down drag out affairs. Some more vitriolic than others but nasty none the less. And to an extent this actually maybe good. Like a Greek tragedy in 3 acts you get to see it all within a year with a cathartic end on Nov. 2nd. As a nation we gnash our teeth, bring out the verbal bats, and go at each other. Sometimes the best candidate is the one who lost, but our process weeds out the weak both in candidates and voters. On Nov. 3rd most of the electorate is glad to see it at an end having expended our angst in the run up to the voting booth. I know for myself, I feel a sense of release. But we the voters pretty much put it all behind us and get on with our lives till 4 years hence.
But Charlotte, one thing does concern me and that is your desire to vote for what is the good of the country regardless of the candidates background, or political leanings. First it might be noble but it is misdirected. I quote -- "Sooner will a camel pass through a needle's eye than a great man be 'discovered' by an election." Is this Lincoln, Roosevelt or Harding? Actually it's Adolph Hitler. It takes more than competence, piety and pluck to pick the President. One has to look into a candidates actions and past as well. Is his/her mind focused on what is good for you as an individual? For only through this can any of us get a measure of the candidate. Vote what is good for you alone, your interests and desires and who best reflects them. In the masses of the voting that occurs the desires of the nation is determined. To vote to what is a belief in the 'greater good' is to lead to the same mentality that gave rise to Adolph Hitler. Have faith in your fellow citizens that we all do what is 'right' collectively, but we do so by voting our individual needs.
-- John McGinnis
Re: Can't we get along? Charlotte Erickson-Rempfer:
In a word -- NO!
-- Peter Amato
Palm Harbor, Florida
A GEORGIA PEACH
Re: Cathy Thorpe's letter (under "Weekend Package") in Reader Mail's Outlaw Nation:
I loved the speech that your reader, Cathy Thorpe of Columbus, Georgia, wrote for W. She could be a new Peggy Noonan.
-- Mike Novak
Ellicott City, Maryland