Clothes Make the Nation - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Clothes Make the Nation

Re: George H. Wittman’s Headscarves and Helmets:

The genesis of Kamal Ataturk was his belief in the modern “secular” state. This is what has allowed Turkey to bridge “east,” as in Middle East, and “west.”

“Outside of the major cities, in the towns, villages and farms of the rest of Turkey, there is a deep belief in the practice of Islam. To Turkey’s secularists these communities breed willful ignorance. The image exists among metropolitan sophisticates that the “unwashed” of the countryside want to impose religious rules on everyday aspects of life. In other words the specter of a revival of Sharia law haunts urban Turkey.”

Any U.S, service member that has been stationed in Turkey during the Cold War, knows this to be an absolute fact. Like Algeria, Iran, Libya and Egypt, the descent into Sharia Law. Turkey’s balancing act between Islam’s insanity and Islam’s genesis was a shining hope that people dwelling in that region could benefit from modern and technical development, that they are losing, the shift back to the 12th century is no longer in the backyard scattered hill country, but in the schools, and now the universities.
S. in Severn

I found Mr. Wittman’s column to be extremely interesting. I think that it is terribly wrong to believe that we can totally understand the Turkish situation, what with our American/European mindset. I am not convinced that we can understand all the forces at work or the full ramifications of the various options available to the Turkish government or society. In fact, I am not sure that we understand the options that are closed off to them that we, in our society, would take for granted are available.

In this case Mr. Wittman proposes that the secular societal movers and shakers, along with the military are lined up almost totally against the allowing of the camel’s nose to get under the tent and stay there. We, in our Western mindset, would likely say something like, “Oh, what is the harm? It is just a head scarf. Can’t everyone just be reasonable?” Fortunately or not, the Turks are looking at the issue in the context of the events that have occurred, or are occurring in the Islamic crescent of countries. They are well aware of what happened when the Islamic fundamentalists threw out the Shah of Iran. They see what is happening with the whole Palestinian situation, and while they might not be highly sympathetic towards Israel, they don’t want that problem on Turkish soil. And again, they can surely see the hand of the Iranian mullahs in that mess. Fundamentalist Islam again.

The Turks, particularly their military, are well aware of the fate of Afghanistan when the Taliban little by little took power. They see the determination of the Taliban to get back in power, and the ends that they are willing to go to achieve that end.

They undoubtedly see what is transpiring before the world’s eyes in Pakistan. Musharraf and the military thought that situation was under their control. Then they let the Western world, especially the US, persuade them to “open up” their iron fisted rule. They allowed Bhutto to return to roil the cauldron, and we see how that turned out. Now the Pakistani Taliban is blaming the government, when the Taliban are the ones that killed Bhutto, and the uneducated Islamic masses are buying into that side of the argument. Musharraf let the Americans and Europeans talk him into an election when the country was not ready for one. Now the new government in doing exactly what Obama says he wants to do in America. They are emasculating Musharraf and the military. They are negotiating appeasement treaties with the tribes that are fundamentalist Islamists, and form the core of the Pakistani Taliban, as fast as they can. Those treaties virtually give away the store, and yet they are being violated even before the ink is dried. Yet the new government goes full steam ahead to negotiate more of the same and pretend that everything is just wonderful. In the meantime the new Pakistani government tells us that they are not concerned with what that does to the Afghan situation. They say that is not their problem, it is our problem. Now the Afghan situation is going to Hell in a hand basket, Al Qaeda is regenerating, rearming, reequipping, retraining, and launching cross-border operations in conjunction with the Taliban into Afghanistan, and our NATO partners can only wring their hands and wail. I don’t think for a moment that this situation is going unnoticed by the Turkish military, or Turkish business community.

Then you have the situation with the Kurds that straddle the Turkish/Iraqi border. They certainly are not making life any easier for the Turks. It is similar to our border problems with Mexico, only times ten. Now I happen to be very favorably inclined toward the Kurds, at least the Iraqi Kurds. That does not, however, prevent me from seeing that the fundamentalist Islamic troublemakers in Turkey are using the Kurd agitation to their own advantage, pointing out to the negatively affected Turkish citizens that none of this would be happening under Islamic rule and Sharia law.

Do we really think, for one moment that, if the scarf thing is allowed, that the Turkish Islamists are going to be satisfied, that they will just blend peacefully back into the woodwork, and stop stirring up the dissatisfied lower classes against the government? They will take that concession and step even harder on the accelerator of societal agitation. It will end up being simply one more nail in the coffin to bury individual democracy and modernity in Turkey, and return the Turks to the laws and ways of the Caliphate. As an American, I can readily say, “What harm can a scarf do?” Trying to see the situation from the Turkish context, I am not so ready to write off the concerns of the military, the business community, and the modernists in Turkey.
Ken Shreve

Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Teacher’s Pet: Big Oil:

“[Gov. Doyle of Wisconsin] if he gets his way, will place a ‘surtax’ on Big Oil, which will promptly pass the cost on to Wisconsin consumers, thus ensuring that the huge investment by the Wisconsin teachers union goes — up.”

Umm…since when does taxing something result in its producers getting higher profits? In reality, Big “Education” will indeed profit from any such tax, because somehow the Wisconsin government will find a way to hand them the proceeds, but nonetheless Lord’s argument is seriously off the rails.

Better to just see it as that Wisconsin’s government is less dumb, and more dishonest, than it seems.
Roy Koczela

Re: Robert Stacy McCain’s Who Needs Ohio?:

The only thing that is more interesting than the GOP party slow motion “train wreck” is watching the Democrats spinning themselves into the ground faster than a “viper-lawn-dart;” leaving only a smoking hole and some unidentifiable wreckage.

Either way, the “most qualified” candidates are not, or will not run for office, and those that have been running, are “ruled-out” by the MSM before the majority of us even had a chance to vote in the primaries.

This is NOT American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. But it is what the MSM wants.
S. in Severn

Robert Stacy McCain asserts that “Obama looks competitive in…Nevada”.

It sure doesn’t look that way to me. Last Saturday I took my son to hang out with our GOP friends from next-door Douglas County at their booth at Carson Valley Days. Nearby the Douglas County Democrats’ booth was staffed most of the day by “women of a certain age,” but amid all the literature and signs promoting their candidates, there was absolutely nothing of support for their presumptive presidential nominee.

Stick a casino buffet fork in him, he’s done here.
Howard Hirsch
Chairman, Lyon County Republican Central Committee
Dayton, Nevada

The Democratic National Committee has faith that their (young) man from Illinois can take the White House without Florida, Ohio or even Pennsylvania? Blasphemy, you cry? Oh, ye of little faith. Havenʼt you heard Our (latest) Messiahʼs sermons? Have you not seen the crowds cheer? Have you not felt the electricity of this man?!? Obama will win come November without Pennsylvania. Without Ohio. Without Florida! You say impossible. But miracles happen. Just believe. Just believe.
Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Re: W. James Antle III’s Marital Discord:

Attacking gay marriage by attacking adoption — are you completely nuts? Why is there an anti-adoption bias in conservative circles? Fear that it reduces the stigma of out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Eugenic fears? Racism?

Adoption is a profoundly conservative practice through which a baby or child is given a loving home and parents who raise him as their own, usually without government assistance.

In addition, of course, in order to be adopted, the baby has to live. For the “fetus” who is truly unwanted or whose biological parent(s) absolutely cannot care for her, there are only two options: death through abortion or life through adoption. You can’t be wringing your hands over a biological mother placing her baby for adoption and pro-life at the same time.

For the child born overseas, there may be a third option: life in an orphanage, with many variations in quality. Although some older children might choose to stay in an orphanage, no one in their right mind would want a child to spend all their childhood in one and never experience what a family means.

The American system of adoption exemplifies all that is good and innocent about our country. In addition, the people who pioneered transracial adoption were conservative Christians, particularly Harry and Bertha Holt, who were called to adopt from Korea.

So, yeah, eat your own. Tell pregnant women that adoption is God-awful, tell the 100 million Americans touched by adoption that it’s horrible, focus all your Pat Buchanan-like fears on someone’s DNA and not knowing the Olde English/Chinese/Korean/Russian village their ancestors lived in since the BC’s, and wonder why conservatives are losing.
Mary Wardrip

W. James Antle III replies:
I in no way attacked adoption. Adoptive parents do a very noble thing when they provide a home for a child. “God’s work,” is how one of the articles I approvingly linked described this practice. Choosing life over abortion by putting one’s child up for adoption in unfortunate circumstances is a brave, often difficult, but unquestionably right thing to do. But adoption is a humane response to an already existing tragedy — the loss of a parent, one way or another. No sane person would want to bring about that tragedy deliberately. Yet that is precisely what I was objecting to — creating children who at least one natural parent must by design abandon to accommodate unions that cannot naturally produce children. Strangers selling lives to same-sex couples who will intentionally raise them without a mother or father.

As I wrote in my column, life is complicated and children will be raised in all kinds of environments. Many of them will be loved and well cared for in nontraditional arrangements. But everything we have learned in the last few decades of family breakdown suggests that we shouldn’t make marriage more about the comforts, desires, and emotional satisfaction of the adults involved at the children’s expense. Everything we’ve learned suggests it would be a mistake to rewrite the basic assumptions of marriage and family law to put the deliberate creation of fatherless or motherless children on the same level as the two-parent family. And these same lessons show that it is no attack on adoption to support the fundamental responsibilities of biological parents to the lives they bring into the world.

Re: Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar’s Against the Grain:

I agree that hoarding is a problem and thanks for pointing it out. However, when the world’s largest agricultural producer forces its people to burn their food in their cars, can you really blame less fortunate countries for protecting their food supply? It seems to me the problem is GROPEC, Getting Rich Off Producing Ethanol from Corn.
Les Rensink
Freeman, South Dakota

Re: T.C. Gunter’s letter (under “Managerial Style”) in Reader Mail’s SCOTUS Pocus:

Your correspondent T.C. Gunter extols Barack Hussein Obama’s qualifications as a successful manager and a leader. Well, he started out as a “community organizer” (that’s the new name for a welfare pimp). Then he was a lawyer for welfare pimps; and finally, he was a law instructor for future lawyers for welfare pimps. Then he was elected to the Illinois legislature, and finally to the US Senate. His wife is University of Chicago VP in charge of “community relations” (what exactly is that?) at an annual salary of $320,000. Is she a world-known scientist — perhaps a professor of thermodynamics or of atomic particle physics — to be worth $320,000 a year? If an academic year is 12 months — or is it only 9? Mr. Gunter is thrilled with the phrase “Obama ’08-16”! Perhaps he envisions nationalization of oil companies, automobile companies, utility companies, plus much increased subsidies for wind mills and solar panels, plus imaginative peace treaties with Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea with American war reparation payments to them. He will also enforce the old saying “From everybody according to his abilities, to everybody according to his needs” – the basic dogma of every professional welfare pimp. I’ll bet that in that span of 8 years many new-borns will be named Barack or Hussein.
Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Wolf Terner’s and Jack Wheatley’s letters (under “Caveat”) in Reader Mail’s Burden of Proof:

While I don’t take necessarily take issue with Wolf Terner’s and Jack Wheatley’s responses to Robert Stacy McCain’s Tim Russert article, I would invite both gentlemen to read Thomas Sowell’s reminiscence of Mr. Russert in Tuesday’s RealClearPolitics, “What Made Tim Russert Special.” Dr. Sowell’s closed his appreciation of him with this statement: “How people treat those who cannot do them any good or any harm reveals a lot about their character. For me, Tim Russert scored high in that department as well.”
Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Wolf Terner, in his letter, states that it is not polite to talk of the dead. Is it OK if I point out a couple of things to the living?

It is perfectly polite to “talk” of the dead, Mr. T. It is considered extremely poor taste to speak ill of the dead. In light of Mr. Terner’s opinion of Tim Russert, his condolences to the family seem insincere at best.

One wonders how Mr. Terner came by his ability to judge towering intellect. Twice in a short letter, he used the hackneyed “enough already” and referred to Ed Murrow as Morrow.

If Mr. Terner never cared for Tim Russert as a journalist/moderator that is his business, but to deny others the opportunity to mourn the loss of someone whose life enriched theirs, whether on Sunday mornings, in his books or just by his jovial smile, seems a little — what is the word? — crappy.

I look forward to the day MSNBC hauls out the video of Tim in a baseball “stroll down memory lane” with the likes of Yogi Berra, Roger Maris and other greats. His delight at being in the presence of these legends of the game was evident. He grinned from ear to ear as they told tales on each other. Talk about your Inside Baseball!!! I don’t know a thing about the game and I loved every minute of the hour.
Diane Smith

Thanks to reader Wolf Terner for having the courage I lacked, in being one of the first to place the canonization of Tim Russert in its proper perspective. While civility and decorum for the dead and his family caused me to pause in my criticism, the over the top adulation of Mr. Russert by the M.S.M., talk radio, and even the conservative blogs has just been too much to take. Mr. Terner, to his credit, has succulently and accurately summarized Mr. Russert’s career, as it really was.

I too was never much impressed with Russert’s “gotcha” journalism, and to add to Mr. Terner’s observations, many times Russert deliberately edited quotes out of context. I remember a specific instance a few years back, when Sec. Rumsfeld was misquoted by Russert. Rumsfeld however, in his forward thinking, came prepared, and pulled out a copy of his exact remarks, which he read, while a chagrined Russert merely looked down in silence. I would add one final comment; and that deals with Mr. Russert’s participation in the criminalization of Bush Administration policies, with his carefully crafted testimony, that helped convict Scooter Libby, in that most shameful of American prosecutions.
A. DiPentima

Re: Mike Roush’s letter (under “There He Goes Again”) in Reader Mail’s Burden of Proof:

Geez, all Mike Roush has to say about Jay Homnick’s column is “are you willing to impose the same standards on the Right, Mr. Homnick?”

Guess what, Mr. Roush, this was not about The Left or The Right. It was about human decency and the lack thereof regardless of which side of the political spectrum it comes from. Why couldn’t you just agree with Mr. Homnick that the book is appalling? Because deep down inside you thought, well, I agree with what the book says therefore it’s not so bad — which is exactly the problem. The same problem Obama has with his church. When you agree you really don’t see a problem, right?
Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

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