General Confusion - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
General Confusion

Re: John R. Guardiano’s Censoring Military Leaders:

Mr. Guardiano states that Lt. Gen. Elder was one of the senior leadership that was fired by Sec. Gates. This could not be any further from the truth!

In the story, he wrote:

“Generals and Admirals are afraid to speak in the climate created by Gates,” says Dr. Rebecca Grant, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute.
As Defense Secretary, Grant notes, “Gates has fired a service chief, [former Air Force General Michael Moseley]; two service secretaries, [former Army Secretary Francis Harvey and former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne]; and a combatant commander, [Lieutenant General Robert J. Elder, Jr., the former Joint Combatant Commander for Global Strike at the U.S. Strategic Command].”

We have contacted Dr. Grant, who said has never done an interview with Mr. Guardiano. He apparently contacted her and she declined to do the interview. She states that Mr. Guardiano pulled the quotes from an interview she did with another reporter, Nate Hale from the Examiner, then inserted the names himself, apparently not researching the topic at hand.

We request a retraction to the story and a written apology from Mr. Guardiano to Gen. Elder for his lack of responsibility as a reporter.

In your business we are certain that accuracy is paramount, and in this case it did not happen. The lack of responsibility demonstrated by your reporter is the reason we demand a retraction and an apology.
M. Erick Reynolds, TSgt, USAF
8th Air Force, Public Affairs
Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

John R. Guardiano replies:
I certainly want to be fully accurate and always aspire to be fully accurate. That’s why, prior to publication, I called and spoke with the Lexington Institute to confirm Dr. Grant’s remarks. I erred by not initially crediting the Norfolk Examiner with her quote.

The reference to Lieutenant General Elder was not made by Dr. Grant and should not have been bracketed within her quote. I regret these two mistakes, which have been fixed online.

However, based on my own independent reporting I stand by the substantive point: Lieutenant General Elder, I am told, was, indeed, forced into early retirement by Secretary Gates. This does not reflect poorly upon the General. He has, by all accounts, served our country with great honor and distinction. I salute him and his service.

Re: Philip Klein’s Wrestling with Capitalist Pigs:

It’s easy for conservatives and libertarians to agree that those who profit through fraud should be punished and that one of the few proper functions of government is to enforce the rule of law. As a libertarian, however, I must disagree with Klein’s conclusion that “For conservatives, prudent regulation focused on improving disclosure is a noble goal.” As Klein goes on to point out, “government regulators are also susceptible to corruption, conflicts of interest, and poor judgment.” What we need is LESS regulation and MORE personal responsibility. Caveat Emptor. Whether it’s a firm buying derivatives, a borrower agreeing to a loan, or an insurer guaranteeing against risk, let the buyer beware. More regulation creates a moral hazard whereby the consumer believes that risk has been magically eliminated by an all-knowing third party, and thus even risky practices are perceived as safe. Why does Klein believe that suddenly these regulations will work, when all of the previous regulations have put us in the position we find ourselves today?
Dave Peterson

Re: Peter Hannaford’s Obama and the Dogs of War:

The latest twist on enhanced interrogation techniques comes from The United Arab Emirates, where, it has been revealed, a prince of that country whose name I will not repeat, personally committed atrocities, which I also will not repeat, on a former business associate whom he believed had cheated him out of about $5,000.

And had it videotaped for his pleasure.

Although I will not repeat them, his enhanced interrogation techniques make waterboarding look like a child’s game in comparison, and waterboarding appears to be the most vicious technique we have used.

No outcry from our media. No outcry from bleeding hearts in the U.S. No outrage from the Obama administration.

There’s an even more important lesson here. In the worlds of terror, piracy, and threatened national annihilation, we are facing people who respect only strength and ferocity. They laugh at our timid, over-introspective, and legalistic approach to them.

We threaten prosecution. We “catch and release” pirates. We negotiate.

They behead.

I’m not at all suggesting that we adopt their enhanced interrogation techniques — just that we stop weeping copiously and flailing our backs in penance, and stop threatening to prosecute our own citizens for trying to save our country from terror attacks.

I’m also suggesting that we treat pirates like enemy combatants and start using force to reply to force. How many times do you think we’d have to show them that we will sink their boats on sight before they get the message?

Have they ever heard a .50 caliber machine gun rattle in their direction? A 5-inch gun? One of those and they’ll understand.

As it is now, the pirates are in a win-win situation. If they get away with the ship, they make money; if we catch them, they get released with a finger-wagging “no, no, no.”

Bullies thrive on weaklings. They perceive us as weaklings.

With good reason.
A. C. Santore


Waterboarding, sleep deprivation,
Celine Dion 24/7.
Bugs in a box, cold floors and no socks,
Pork pie for lunch. Great Heaven!

All these and more our military endure
In their training to defend and protect.
(I even saw a newsman go burbling under
Yet nobody seemed to object).

When the good guys on our side
Test these crucial methods out,
None Dare Call It Torture.
Their comfort’s not in doubt.

Electrified beds, sawn off heads,
Other methods too sick to mention,
In waiting lie for the captured GI.
Guerrillas know not Geneva Convention.

American softies, get a grip!
With you to lead us, we’re a sinking ship.
Bio chemicals and nuclear bombs don’t know
You’re the gentle appeasers who loved them so.
Mimi Evans Winship

Re: Ben Stein’s What I’ve Been Hearing:

You may not be aware of one benefit (there are not many, God knows) of Obama’s presence on the ticket last Fall. For the first time since Reconstruction days, Tennessee now has a legislature composed of Republican majorities in both houses. As you can imagine even though the governor is a carpetbagger from New York State, Tennessee is not too popular with the president these days. My home state may take a while to catch up with phonies (both Gore and his corrupt father) but once they do they do the right thing. The people of Tennessee are not only known as “Volunteers” but also as fierce individualists. Not many socialists there in either party.
Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

Re: Mark Hyman’s Penn State’s Anti-Veteran Bias:

Going with a proud tradition of using one’s words against the people who speak them, let Aaron Sorkin’s words speak, minus the irony: “We [U.S. Marines] use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You [liberal pukes] use ’em as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way.”

People, like Secretary Napolitano and administrators at Pennsylvania State University, are able to spew out their hatred of the American military because the American military has been defending the right of free speech from even before the First Amendment was inked onto the sacred document of the Constitution of the United States. (This irony seems to be wasted on the enlightened left and most of the world of academia; those who live in ivory towers are too far from the work field to ever smell the stench of the waste they belch out onto the real world.) As a proud veteran, I have never asked the public for thanks; the tax payers gave their thanks every time I drew a paycheck, and I have never asked that those who criticize the war to pipe down; their complaints help the public and politicians to remain vigilante. What veterans ask for, and certainly have earned, is the right to be treated fairly and with respect; no veteran deserves to come home to become part of a persecuted class. 

The American public is well served by remembering that neither fascist nor communist allows for freedom of speech. Their militaries are not voluntary; ours is. Speaking your mind in Russia might well end getting you placed in a mental health facility. The International Olympic athletes who attended the games held in The People’s Republic of China had limited access to read and post on the internet; the government actively monitored what could be sent and received. Restrictions of freedom are de rigueur for North Korea, Iran, Iraq under Hussein and any area controlled by the Taliban. Here, all (with the exception of those who attend colleges that have highly unconstitutional college speech codes) all are free to speak their minds. So, if you feel a need to criticize a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, in or out of uniform, please remember that the freedom to curse these people has come at their expense and not yours. 

If you prick a veteran, does he not bleed? No need for an answer: from the videos of war, the public knows full well veterans have, do and will continue to bleed for our country and our freedom. The public has given outcry for the blood that has been spilled, but crying for bloodshed is not the same as paying respect. 
Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Re: Chris Reed’s Greens Against Growth:

CARD needs to be disemboweled; it has become an agency of dictatorial proportions. Some of its policies remind me of Nazi Germany’s SS. This is an agency that has no elected members; it has no appeals process by which the public can voice their concerns that can be followed by legal process. Few of the public know the unbridled power which the ARB wields and how it affects them. A review of the ARB executive orders shows how they dismiss opposition of their  “new ” regulations and how their decisions adversely impact the general public as well as businesses.  “Public ” hearings are held at times when most people are working and cannot attend. The ARB apparently wants no publicity or public comment about their actions.

I needed a simple catalytic converter for a vehicle so I went online to the various automotive parts retailers. I checked their online parts catalogs, all said that they are not available in California, but are available in the other 49 states. I then checked with the manufacturers: none are available as of January 2009 for California because of ARB regulations. I asked when they may be available, but I got no specific answers. I then contacted the ARB via telephone and explained my need for a catalytic converter and that none were available from the manufacturers. The ARB told me that I could get an exemption for not passing smog tests. I told them that I was not trying to pass a smog test but that I was trying to get a part to replace a defective part, and that not being able to replace a defective part could cause engine failure and be a possible safety hazard. The ARB could care less. I asked who I could appeal my problem to, they could give me no answer. I then said that I all I wanted was for the vehicle to run as it should, and that if necessary I may go to another state to get the part that I need. The ARB said that I would then be in violation of California law.

No non-elected agency should have the power to impact the economy of a state with impunity. Before any measure that is proposed and adopted it should proceed through the democratic process…put on the ballot. 
Al and Jo

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