Staying the Course

FROM MANILA TO BAGHDAD
Re: William Tucker’s Iraq and Counterinsurgency:

There was another factor about the Philippines — the German navy was waiting outside Manila Bay, waiting for us to leave. And if Germany hadn’t taken the islands, does anyone believe Japan would not have, a society growing as militaristic as Germany?

I’m not saying the war was worth it — but there were a lot of hard decisions to make.
John Lockwood
Washington, D.C.

I would be happy if you could pass on the following to William Tucker, who made a very good comparison between the American campaign in the Philippines, and the current mess in Iraq.

For a little of the dark side of all that, see The Military Order of the Carabao and Swish of the Kris, about the Americans fighting the Moros, who, 100 years later, are still classified as “Terrorists.” They invented suicide fighters 100 years ago, but nobody remembered their history.

I don’t agree that America has a manifest destiny to rule anybody, and I very much dislike, as an Englishman, being tagged here in the Philippines, constantly, as an Americano. But that’s only a personal opinion.

Kipling was a good pote (sic) but was out-kipled by a cockroach (see here).
Richard Parker
Siargao Island, The Philippines.
(My website is about the island and its people, coastal early humans, fishing, coconuts, bananas and whatever took my fancy at the time. You might notice I quote Kipling’s pome, in the Siargao guide section.)

William Tucker has set himself up as this generation’s Henry Kissinger, advising us of the unwillingness of the American people to deal with the hard realities of foreign affairs.

The original Kissinger advised Richard Nixon that Americans would be disinclined to make the sacrifices and expend the patience needed to defeat Soviet hegemony. I’ve often wondered at the degree of chagrin he must have felt upon seeing Ronald Reagan lead us to victory over the USSR. Apparently he learned nothing, however, for he has recently declared the Iraq war un-winnable.

So it is with William Tucker, who left for embedment convinced the war was un-winnable, and who has arrived home with his opinion intact. Along the way he tried to convince our forces they were fighting in vain, I wonder with what degree of success. Perhaps during WW II the Battle of the Bulge would have convinced him of the futility of attempting to finish off the Nazis.

His advice to us, reduced to essentials, consists only of this: “It’s going to be a tough job, so give it up, never mind the effect that failure in Iraq will have on fanatical Islamists around the world. Take the easy way out, America. Surrender now so as not to risk losing the 2008 election. So what if before we’re through with the terrorists we’ll have paid for Iraq many times over.”

Shortsighted? The word is too mild. Tucker shows no foresight at all.
Richard Donley

William Tucker’s otherwise excellent “Iraq and Counterinsurgency” is marred by his mistaking Commodore (later rear-admiral) Matthew Perry, commander of the 1852 expedition to Japan for the victor of the Battle of Manila Bay, Admiral George Dewey, in 1898 also Commodore, but later rear-admiral.

Tucker also errs when he says “The Philippines were an isolated country on the other side of the world while Iraq is a cauldron of ethnic and sectarian conflict smack in the middle of the most volatile sector of the planet.” This suggests that the Philippines were culturally and confessionally homogeneous, which could not be farther from the truth.
Jeff Ewing

ROMNEY ROCKS, PART I
Re: David Hogberg’s Mitt’s Epiphanies:

Romney was for states determining it [gay marriage] — state legislators — and so saw no reason for any constitutional amendments. His position changed after the courts all of a sudden grabbed the issue. You need to learn more about your subject before you write. I also think the author was actually referencing statements from the ’94 campaign — when it was even less a concern — and not from 2002. Also, saying Romney considered himself a seasoned politician when he was running in ’02 is just silly. He was a businessman. Your anti-Romney agenda is showing as bad as is the mainstream liberal press’s. What is your real fear of Romney? That’s the real question with you guys. Either that or you’re just fools who aren’t really very serious.
David Anderson

PART II: MITT’S MEDIA CRITIC
Re: David Hogberg’s Mitt’s Biggest Flop:

Another half-assed hit job from this Hogberg guy. Totally pointless, for Romney had said before he signed the law — and ever since — that it had the problems this genius points out (and this genius does NOT point out were demanded by the Democratic legislators) as well as more important flaws the author is unaware of or just doesn’t mention! I would have liked to have been informed on the recent outcome of the price of premiums and whether they came in above or below expectations. Bad reporting again. Kid stuff. I think I’ll stop bothering to check this once very well done magazine/site. I don’t think you could possibly be having any real influence on current thought with this high school level junk anyway.
David Anderson

LEFT BEHIND
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s Elderly and Abandoned:

I read with interest the article written by Mr. Colebatch.

It seems that Southern Rhodesia in the ’60s was a favorite of the British. I went to the Pathe website not long ago, and saw a film that showed the country in an enthusiastic light. It reminded me of the days when my wife and I as young Rhodesians could pop into Britain and work awhile with no formalities to speak of.

Later when we decided on advice from my Father to leave Rhodesia for good and return to Britain, we were not only denied this in South Africa (Rhodesia was then under sanctions and had no British representation in Salisbury), but were given a lecture on democracy by a young slip of a girl. This to an ex self-supporting Church Worker!

We remained in Africa awaiting the politicians to fight it out. My perspective is that if politicians dislike each other, it’s often the public of their respective countries, trying to live a normal life, who pay.

Several times we tried to return to the U.K. for our children’s sake, always there was some reason or other. We immigrated to the USA as my wife is of American stock. There we were welcome.

Finally we decided we would like to consider living our retirement out in the U.K., as we have children, grandchildren, and a great grandson there, and would like to have spent our sunset years with family, but now we cannot return as we are not wealthy Americans, or using Zimbabwe as a citizen platform, Zimbabwe no longer being a member of the commonwealth.

I love living in the USA, and probably would not return to Britain if given the option, but I would like the option to say “No.” My wife misses close family dreadfully.

We Rhodesians are portrayed as spoilt, privileged and so on, but I saw the other side, people who used to take down curtains to make a new dress for a function struggling to make ends meet and only after years of battling being what some silly journalist calls privileged. If other folk worked as did our folk, they, too, would have what they call privilege. I see this phenomenon of putting successful folk down is called leveling. If you can find it, a good read is: Next Year Will Be Better (life on a Southern Rhodesian farm).

Being a Rhodesian was fun, hard work, rewarding and great to see a country grow from very little. Yes, we had help, but that didn’t mean we sat around, we simply did more. There was a bad side to it, I must confess, but the good side overshadowed it, as is the case in the USA today. I am dismayed when the bad side of a country, any country is amplified and the good side diminished. We had great values, believe it or not, still do. I will never regret growing up there and the life and comradeship shared. It cannot be taken away. Whilst Zimbabwe is in a bit of a mess today, it is still a wonderful place peopled by wonderful people. Make no mistake.

However, those left behind both white and black deserve a lot better than they are getting. It makes my heart bleed. Communism run amok.

There are numerous charities trying to support Zimbabwean Pensioners, and I ask you and your readers to seek them out on the web and consider them seriously, please. The rewards are great, British politicians, it seems, won’t.

Keep well.
Dennis Rawson
California

Everyone will express shock and dismay when in one of his senile fits Mugabe turns his street thugs loose to slaughter the “Rhodies” who are sabotaging his little paradise. Of course the AU and the UN and the ACLU and any other group with initials will swing into high gear, hold meetings, and declare the situation to be deplorable.
Chris Buckley

CAPTIVE NATIONS
Re: John Tabin’s Hostage Enrichment:

Three questions keep coming to mind every time this British Hostage situation comes up.

1) Why don’t the British military personnel fight back?

2) Are they ordered to not fight back or are they not issued ammo?

3) Will they be able to fly the French flag the third time they are captured and put on parade?

The Iranians certainly know how to milk this good cop/bad cop situation they created but if any British government official has the courage to answer these questions I’d really like to know why your forces keep getting taken without a fight?
Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

I recall that the Iranian regime got its start in a blaze of hostage taking. Wouldn’t it be appropriate if the regime now came to an end because it did the same thing?
Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

NOT AFRAID
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s It Must Be Easter:

Lisa Fabrizio makes a good point, in how Christianity is trashed in our news and entertainment media. It’s not just the news and art galleries anymore, either. The kids have to be propagandized, too.

I have lost count of the number of cartoons in TV and movies where clergy and believers are portrayed as spiteful, bigoted morons, or useless cowards.

Anytime I see hate-the-Christians junk, I think, “You wouldn’t dare do that to the Moslems, or traditional American Indian religions.”

And our baby-boomer media types even think they are so brave when they do this! Attacking Christianity — how brave, how daring, how original.

It’s always Christianity that gets attacked, the racists are always white, the conformist town is always a right-wing suburb and never a left-wing campus—you get the idea.
John Lockwood
Washington, D.C.

I had never noticed that anti-Christian films, shows, and television tend to be released during the Easter season until Lisa Fabrizio’s article about the “Chocolate Jesus” and the Obama as Savior art. I looked up the date of the Da Vinci Code release. May 19, 2006 in the United States. Easter in 2006 was April 16. So a big chunk of the advertising, discussion, and pre-release promotion was during Lent and Easter. The Anglican Archbishop denounced the movie in his Easter Sunday sermon, which tells you something about the buildup that was in place. Same with that show about the supposed “tomb of Jesus” with the television special in the United States shown during Lent this year.

I think Lisa Fabrizio could have pointed to a stronger source showing the Catholic Church’s awareness of the problem of the anti-Christian media. I am not Catholic but read John Paul II often. This quote is from John Paul II’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope. The question was whether God’s hand was at work in the fall of communism and he talks about the media in it:

“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17). The fall of Communism opens before us a retrospective panorama of modern civilization’s typical way of thinking and acting, especially in Europe, where Communism originated. Modern civilization, despite undisputed successes in many fields, has also made many mistakes and given rise to many abuses with regard to man, exploiting him in various ways. It is a civilization that constantly equips itself with power structures and structures of oppression, both political and cultural (especially through the media), in order to impose similar mistakes and abuses on all humanity.

How else can we explain the increasing gap between the rich North and the ever poorer South? Who is responsible for this? Man is responsible-man, ideologies, and philosophical systems. I would say that responsibility lies with the struggle against God, the systematic elimination of all that is Christian. This struggle has to a large degree dominated thought and life in the West for three centuries. Marxist collectivism is nothing more than a “cheap version” of this plan. Today a similar plan is revealing itself in all its danger and, at the same time, in all its faultiness.”

So, according to John Paul II there is a plan, the plan is in place and moving forward, the plan is a greater threat than “Marxist collectivism,” and the media is especially a locus of that plan.

Keep up the good fight Ms. Fabrizio. “Be not afraid.”
Greg F.
Delray Beach, Florida

Ms. Fabrizio makes a good point here. We get much anti-Christian liberal pap at all Christian sacred days. This diatribe is force fed us by what Rush Limbaugh labels the drive-by media. “Drive by” is an apt description because these messages are designed to kill Christianity at least in the U.S.

Why would anyone want to do this? The answer, I believe, is quite simple. Radical liberals learned from Hitler, Stalin and Mao that if you can destroy the folk mores and religious beliefs of a people, their god becomes the state. Ordinary Germans murdered millions of people because their “god” ordered them to. Without the constraints of Christian morality this mass murder was entirely acceptable.

Radical liberals are even now seeking to surrender the country to forces of pure, white hot evil. Ms. Pelosi is now telling the Syrian dictator, who has financed the murders of thousands of Jewish school children that America will soon be taken over by forces friendly to radical societies and that she will radicalize America.

But why is only Christianity being attacked? Most Americans are Christians and if they can conquer our moral beliefs the remainder of the population will fall quickly. This “god is government” movement has been going on since the sixties and it will continue until this nation is destroyed or the radicals are permanently removed from office.

But in a wonderful irony radical democrats have sewed the seeds of their own destruction. They have elevated the cult of Allah to the level of a real religion. Its thugs propagate many children, each being inculcated with a murderous hatred of all non-Muslims as well as the duty to kill them, each and every one. They, happily, do not except from that need to annihilate American radical democrats.
Jay W. Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

I saw a squib — and on Fox News, yet — mentioning that Pope Benedict was celebrating Palm Sunday on the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. Even a little thought should have reminded them that the Pope was celebrating another anniversary…
Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

ON COURSE
Re: Quin Hillyer’s The Palette of The Masters:

Mr. Hillyer, your article had the effect of putting the reader on the scene. Great writing. Thanks for the guided tour through Augusta National.
Nolan and Kay Clinard

I had a hard time keeping a straight face as I read Mr. Hillyer’s gushing description of that gigantic well-mowed lawn known as Augusta National Golf Course.

It may be beautifully landscaped, with rolling hills and tiny picturesque greens but it fails miserably as a real test of golfing skill. It has no rough. None at all. It rewards the big hitting golfer (golf’s equivalent of the dunkmeisters in basketball) at the expense of the shorter but more accurate hitter.

The U.S. and British Opens and the PGA tournament are much more rigorous tests of golfing skill.

By the way, does anyone know why the Stuffed Shirts who run the Augusta Country Club put the word “National” in the name of the golf course?
Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Quin Hillyer replies:
Mr. Keiser obviously hasn’t been paying attention. For better or worse, Augusta National began growing rough along the edges of its fairways several years ago. As for short hitters winning The Masters, it is only in the past two or three years that course changes have given a significant advantage to the long bombers. As recently as 2003, comparatively short hitter Mike Weir won The Masters. Through the years, numerous less-than-long-bombers have won, from Ben Crenshaw and Jose Maria Olazabal twice each to Larry Mize and Gary Player (three times). And if the course stays dry so that the balls roll a decent distance, a short hitter might well win this year as well.

THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING

“The First Day Of Spring” we used say,
Speaking of The Masters opening day.

“The Eagle Has Landed”, was the sound
As Hogan addressed his initial round.

Slammin Sammy, The Golden Bear,
Arnie’s Army, they all were there.

To Augusta have come the Legends of the game.
A youngster named Tiger sought to tame

This hallowed ground, and added his name
To the successors of Bobby Jones’s humble fame.

Who in future will join this glorious list?
It’s the greatest of golf lore. It’s not to be missed.
Mimi Evans Winship

ANTI-SOCIAL GOSPEL
Re: Mark Tooley’s Methodists for Jimmy Carter:

As a life long, 63-year-old Methodist who has, within the past twenty years, come to know and understand the Bible’s blueprint for my life, I stand amazed that my church would allow heretics to run rampant at the highest levels of leadership. The likes of Bishops Sprague and Hicks are heretics, not because they have dangerous and vitriolic liberal bias, but because they deny the authority of Scripture. In fact, it is the denial of that authority which leads to their cockamamie social and political views.

Liberal Methodists wail about the growing “schism” in our church, lamenting the “radical right’s departure” from mainstream theology. Only a fool would not see that their liberal theology bears little resemblance to that of our founder, John Wesley. My guess is that Wesley has already wallowed out a hole in his casket from turning over so many times.

I pray each day that the Bible believing Methodists of my church will rise us and say “enough is enough” and separate themselves from the liberal devils who, for decades, have had a strangle hold on our denomination. Like a cancer that eats away at our body, liberal theology gnaws at the Body of Christ with a fury and vengeance not seen in my lifetime.
In Him,
Mike Butler
Jackson, Tennessee

BLAME CANADA
Re: Bev Gunn’s letter (under “Illegal Screen”) in Reader Mail’s Keep On Truckin’:

I read Bev Gunn’s letter about illegal Canadian Immigrants and was stunned. She’s from Texas. I had no idea we Canuckis were so ambitious.

How, where and why Canadians are flocking to Texas? For medical treatment? Wow, considering we have apparently free Medicare here and it covers most U.S. medical bills. One of the myths we have up here is that if you are unlucky enough to give birth in the USA you and your Provincial Medicare plan will be hugely over-billed by rapacious Americans. God help you and Medicare if you have an injury car accident in the USA because all the bills will be Texas super-sized. Some of us believe that American hospitals and doctors charge two separate rates, one for Americans and a much higher one for us dirty furriners.

I am curious; do these Canadians come down in the summer? Only crazy ones would do that, and please no comments or jokes about only crazy people would live so far north. We think only crazy people would summer in boiling, humid, muggy heat.

Maybe Mrs. Gunn is confusing Mexicans with Canadians. To a Texan all non-Texans look the same. Mrs. Gunn, do these Canadians call you Gringa, speak Spanish and wear a sombrero or do they speak a funny frenchy language slightly like Spanish, call you Madame or Mademoiselle and wear a toque, kind of a wool hat? I am from Alberta, also big cattle ranching country, and if you had that latter kind of Mexinadien I would understand.

I hope Mrs. Gunn writes again to explain. I hope she travels up to Alberta some summer to see that Albertans at least work hard and are not moochers. Oh, and that Alberta beef is much tastier than Texas beef. And did I mention that Alberta is only 13,316 sq miles smaller than Texas out of 268,601 sq miles and only because we got robbed by those sneaky British Columbians?(look at a map – that south west bite out of our province should have been ours) And that we are emptier, more scenic and have way, way, way more oil than Texas ever did? And all of our kids are smarter and better looking? And that we are already have lots of Texan visitors, and would welcome more?

One final thought. I’m glad Mrs. Gunn is proud of her son or daughter the pilot and proud to say so. I am often ashamed that we Canadians do so little and I know that pilot is protecting me and my family too. I shall pray for her family and continue to lobby my political leaders not to be such cowards.

Cheers from the great white North.
Fred Z
Calgary

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