This Great Land - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
This Great Land
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THE GRAND OUTDOORS
Re: Bill Croke’s High Country Hikers:

Bill Croke describes that the population of Cody, Wyoming, is changing as “Baby Boomers have started retiring, and are coming here in search of ‘recreational amenities.'” How sad it is that these people do not pursue these same types of outdoor activities in their own home areas, and contribute to those communities in the process, by volunteering as Scout Leaders. Mr. Croke notes that participation in the activities he describes include “No kids, as a rule, though they are welcome.” Kids can normally only be present when adults make the effort to schedule events when the kids are available, and take the time and effort to provide transportation and support for them. Scout Troops (and their overworked Scoutmasters) would gladly welcome experienced trail hikers to educate the youth in their organizations, and to lead them on a challenging outdoor event.

Even better would be for these outdoor enthusiasts to make a continuing commitment to participate in the operation of these units. Scouting teaches its youth members the concepts of character, participative citizenship, and physical and mental fitness. The method it uses to keep the Scouts interested while these concepts are being taught is by providing challenging outdoor activities. If we want to continue to have undeveloped natural wonders to experience, we need to have responsible individuals who can appreciate the need for them, and who will participate in the effort to preserve them. Scouting provides just these types of individuals to our communities, and our nation.
Harry E. Rimmer

I enjoyed Mr. Croke’s article on hiking Greater Yellowstone; I suppose I’m naive, but I would want to pack one more thing for any hiking in areas frequented by dangerous mammals, like wolves, mountain lions, and large bears: a short-barreled revolver, preferably in .44 magnum caliber or larger — just in case. Here in California, aging boomers who think of wild animals as simply “teddy bears and big kitties” have been seriously injured and in a few cases killed while indulging their fantasies that “nature is safer than Los Angeles.” The latter may be true in a larger sense, but for the typical greenie/liberal, most have no sense of the personal danger they might encounter on wilderness trails. In the city, predators may only want your money; in the wild, you may just be lunch. I understand that most National Parks do not allow firearms; but in many cases it might be prudent to carry one anyway — out of sight in a backpack. Incidentally, Cody is also home to one of the finest firearm museums I have ever seen — The Buffalo Bill Cody Museum.
Dave Repke

Let me know how to quit my job, move to Cody and become a High Country Hiker. Sounds like heaven.

I dream of what you wrote about in your article. You must be the luckiest people on the planet to be able to work and play where you live.

Great article.
Josh

WHAT IF, INDEED
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Come on, Conservatives!:

Well done, Quin! Well done! And, what if we were to remember this sobering point, too, there is no alternative? There is no alternative, one, because the Democrats are not an alternative, they’re an obstacle, and two, because, well, there is no alternative. Because, once we remember that, we’ll be more effective when rolling up our sleeves and getting done to business, like reminding our elected leaders of same? That’s what it comes down to, should any of us need motivation.
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Thank you, Quin for that inspiring rendition.

We conservative need hope that we can pull ourselves back from the abyss. We know that the conservative votes are out there in sufficient numbers; however, it seems that the Republicans need to be grasped by the ankles while dangling over the edge of darkness before finding their resolve to act forcefully to protect the interest of this nation instead of being cowed by the MSM. They have to do a better job of winning the PR battles and stop worrying about maintaining their cushy political careers; otherwise they don’t get voted back!
John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

Quin has described concisely the issues that the Republican Party needs to realize and do:

* Review past approaches and principles that made Ronald Reagan and other recognized conservatives so great and so appealing to everyday people;

* Learn how to communicate effectively to all Americans and present a commonsense approach to identifying real problems – then propose, communicate and work for real solutions, not necessarily big government;

* Plan the actions necessary to ensure that every hard-working citizen of this great land has an opportunity to succeed, but only if they are willing to work hard for that success;

* Work tirelessly to communicate and promote your ideas so that working people across the country understand that you understand the real issues that affect our lives daily;

* Forget about trying to develop a working relationship with the main stream media and the democrats as they will continue to undercut your every effort – they need and want people to be unsuccessful, otherwise they lose supporters and elections; and,

* Put faith in the fact that the American people want to hear positive things being spoken from their elected officials and that we will support a political party that puts the concerns of the country’s citizens ahead of their own desires for political gain.
Patrick R. Spooner, P.E.
Windham, New Hampshire

Regarding Mr. Hillyer’s article giving the ‘”what ifs” for Republicans…he’s totally right. My mama always says “act as if” you are going to succeed and you will. And the best way we conservatives can help is to call their offices and encourage GOP Senators to do what is right and what helps our soldiers.

This mother of a serving pilot has called both Republicans and Democrats this last week….some 10 a day to let them know they had better do the right thing and support our soldiers while they are fighting an enemy who wants to see us dead. If my son can put his life on the line it is the least I can do…besides praying for his safety and the protection of so many more.

So, how many congressmen/women have you called this week. We have that ability to call or write with the click of a button. Get busy and make a difference, folks! And tell others to do the same…..as Laura Ingraham says…Power to the People!!!
Beverly Gunn
East Texas Cattle Rancher
Proud Mother of Serving Pilot

Quin Hillyer has captured the essence of the real Reagan legacy — a sense of optimism. Reagan breathed a breath of fresh air into a conservative movement mired in a perpetually dour, defeatist and pessimistic mood. That’s why, despite moderate domestic policies and eight years of compromising with Democrats, Reagan is hailed as the conservatives’ conservative.

Unfortunately, we have fallen back into that negativity that undermined our movement for generations prior to Reagan. This is why despite a booming economy, low taxes, high employment, low inflation, sky rocketing home ownership, a shrinking deficit, success in the GWOT and protecting our homeland the GOP lost the mid-term elections to a group of corrupt (Harry Reid), arrogant (Nancy Pelosi demanding a USAF plane for her personal use), terrorist appeasing (Dick Durbin and Carl Levin), tax raising (Ted Kennedy) woman hating (Jim Webb), lazy (Bob Casey) kooks (Sherrod Brown) who are mentally sub par (Heath Shuler). Unless we fast adopt Mr. Hillyer’s and Reagan’s optimism and rally around the President and all that is good in our nation we can be assured that the opportunistic Democrats will be in power for the foreseeable future. Then where has all the complaining, grumbling and grousing really gotten us? Time to shun the mythology and pseudo-Reagan legacy and adopt the real deal of optimism and thinking big.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Having grown up in Hitler’s Third Reich I came — legally of course — to the USA in 1956. Why? Because this country offered more personal freedom than any other at that time. Freedom is what still attracts millions from around the globe to the USA.

Keep up the good work!
unsigned

SAFETY IN BUMBLERS
Re: Christopher Orlet’s Don’t Worry, Be Vigilant:

Perhaps Mr. Orlet might read — or reread — all of Philip Klein’s Aug. 25, 2006, TAS article, “No Terrorism To See Here, “especially the third-from-last paragraph: “The further we get from Sept. 11th, the more temptation there will be to become complacent in the face of the terrorist threat. In fact, this is precisely why terrorism presents such a unique danger and why it is much more effective at dividing our country than more conventional threats we have faced.”

Those conventional threats could include, I suppose, “overblown” books that suggest that terrorism is no big deal and that alarms are politically motivated?

And speaking of political motivation, perhaps America and the world might not be in this particular predicament if the administration and president that preceded the current ones had mustered the courage to confront terrorism — and real attacks on sovereign American property and Americans — with something other than legal briefs.
C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

One has only to read Bruce Catton’s depiction of Union soldiers panicked at First Bull Run by an imaginary corps of “black horse cavalry,” or H.L. Mencken’s acid commentary on the hysteria over imminent Spanish invasion in 1898, to realize that a case of the willies is nothing new to Americans in troubled times.

The new twist this time is that there were many more people ready to exploit the alarm, and turn it into Federal programs and Federal laws that suited their books and filled their wallets. But we’re stuck with it all as far as I see, even if it is a useless charade, by and large, even if it does more harm than good. I agree that hiring some cluster of mulletheads to paw through my underwear at the airport does nothing to catch Bin Laden — but not even Dennis Kucinich would be bold enough to suggest we fire them and get rid of the almost-strip-searches. There’s too much “supplementary” Federal funding in it, for one thing. For another, who would dare be wrong?

As Mencken also said, “the average man doesn’t want to be free. He wants to be safe.”

Unfortunately, he’s right.
Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

The problem for me is that prior to 9/11 we behaved as John Mueller says we should. In that time we had the first attack on the WTC, the bombing of Kobar Towers, the attacks on our African embassies and the bombing of the Cole. Each time our lack of response only encouraged Bin Laden to do more.

While I agree that the government’s response is an example of excess, that’s not a response exclusive to the threat of terrorism. Look how the federal government responded to hurricane Katrina.

The difference between an Asteroid and an Islamic terrorist is the terrorist is really out to get us. What bugs me is our reactions to the terrorist attacks are tactical while we need a strategic response. Trying to create a democratic government system in Iraq is at least a strategic response.
Some of the points in Mr. Mueller’s book may be perfectly reasonable. Then I see a book warning us about the dangers of a religious right theocracy coming soon to the United States.
Tim Tilden

While I might agree in a broad sense that our reaction to the specifics of 9/11 are overblown and have tended to help Bin Laden more than hurt his efforts, I think the ultimate threat posed by these people with a real WMD or nuke isn’t halfway appreciated by the bulk of the Democrat leadership and their voters. If they wanted to terrorize us using conventional means they could at great cost to themselves.

A couple of rank amateurs terrorized the D.C./Northern Virginia area a few years ago and Law Enforcement was a complete bust at preventing the attacks that went on for weeks. A private individual broke the case. Semi-pro battle hardened people willing to die for their beliefs could do a somewhat better job. Desperate people do desperate things but by an large even such people want to make their sacrifice mean something so the kinds of low scale violence we see in Iraq isn’t likely to come here unless they have nothing else to do somewhere more convenient like the Middle East. Leave Iraq and Afghanistan to their fate and the top terrorists organizations of the world will have nothing to do but come here to make their point.

I say that the nuclear threat is not appreciated by the bulk of the Democrat party not simply to pick on what has become in my life the anti-defense/anti-war movement but to simply illustrate that the leadership of the Democrat party consistently discounts the possibility of any such attacks when a Republican is President and parrots the same rhetoric as the Republican President when they are in power. The difference is important, the threat does vary with who the President is and action means something not rhetoric. Bill Clinton was the champion of rhetoric not matched by meaningful action.

While it is true that a workable nuclear device is highly unlikely to be assembled in a Bat cave some where by the local Osama bin Laden followers or a working one stolen from someone that has one and that the industrial capacity of a Nation State is virtually required to produce anything useful, it can not be said with any certainty that some Nation State will not provide one or make available one to either its agents or terrorist operatives. Both Iran and North Korea know that should some device magically explode somewhere in the world they would be the first ones in the Bulls eye of several W80 warheads or equals. Nevertheless, suspecting someone of such an act and proving it under Court Room standards would be very difficult given you would first have to have proof that the device and it radioactive agent came from said source. That would be difficult to do without knowing the signatures of their radioactive materials. What countries don’t comply with the International requirement to register said material? What country denied it had a Nuclear bomb program until it announced it had one? What country still says that and has a massive underground hardened infrastructure for producing weapons grade material? Detractors of all this all too often simply dismiss all this with something that says, “They won’t do this because we could blow them off the map several times over.” Mutually Assured Destruction only works against sane people that aren’t willing to take millions with them to make a statement to their concept of God…

…I think Christopher Orlet is entirely correct in that we need to be Vigilant more than worry excessively at this point in time, but I also think that window for doing this closes a bit every day Iran and North Korea march down that path they are on.
Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

FOR IT BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s War Dance:

I am a huge fan of Ms. Fabrizio’s prose and her cogent thoughts and opinions. Today she points out the utter bankruptcy of ideas possessed by the radical democrat party on not only Iraq, but by extension defense in general.

Unfortunately they happen to be correct in their observation that we are not winning. But this is because of execution. We are once again fighting Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson style wars. The rules of such a contest, established by democrats, are no shooting, try not to break things and for Pete’s sake don’t hurt anyone! And whatever happens do not take and hold ground.

Too many rules. There are only two rules in war. Rule one: bring the maximum force you possess; with utter surprise; to the smallest critical place. Rule two: repeat rule one.

This why we don’t win wars any more. Just like “articulate” is alleged to have some racial component, “war” means timidity in today’s radical left lexicon and the Republicans have bought into that.

To win, very simple. Tell the populace of Iraq that where U.S. soldiers are fired at, one square mile in every direction will be razed and the debris removed. Then do it. Over time this will drain the “sea” in which the murderous adherents of Islam swim.
Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

John Edwards, member of the Intelligence Committee in 2002 and then privy to all of the secrets, claimed on Meet the Press that he was duped on Iraq not only by Bush, but also by members of the Clinton administration.

“…I went back to former Clinton administration officials who gave me sort of independent information about what they believed about what was happening with Saddam’s weapon — weapons programs…”

“…the information that we got on the intelligence committee was, was relatively consistent with what I was getting from former Clinton administration officials…”

I guess it is finally started to dawned on Edwards that he will be running against Hillary Clinton, not George Bush, in 2008.
Laurence Louden

It really is enjoyable watching them stumble over their words and into each other, isn’t it?

Your jab at “you have to deck your opponent” Hillary Clinton — that “she is either an insincere panderer or an incredibly incompetent dupe” — begins to look applicable to all the Democrat Party’s presidential-candidate wannabes, not just the left-wingers like Hillary Clinton.

Thing is, if any of them or their centrist and right-wing party members had the courage to stop pandering and begin speaking clearly, at least they might articulate something someone, anyone, could understand and support. But, then, that’d mean they might no longer be all things to all people, everywhere, all the time, on all issues, world without end.
C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

SURRENDER OR SOUND STRATEGY?
Re: William Tucker’s Power Pointing to Victory:

William Tucker apparently forgets real fanatics, like Nazis, Japanese, and Vietnamese, who also were effective at waging war. The Muslims are only effective because moderns can’t take a hit without whining.

Tucker thinks that we should lose and negotiate with nothing more than a street gang. Imagine how afraid he would be if they were to drop a small nuke close to his home state.

Mr. Tucker makes a big deal out of Mr. Kagan’s power point format. I didn’t like Jim Baker’s mush. Moreover Mr. Baker’s “realism” is just rewarmed Kissinger incremental surrender and submission. Baker is offered up as a guru by Tucker, but Baker is corrupted by his Saudi financial dealing amounting to more than 100 million in assets for himself in the Carlyle group. He is disqualified from talking much less opining about the Middle East. He has become a double agent…

As for Kagan, so he does bullet points. Makes it easier for Tucker to find out what he wants to criticize, and he should be grateful. Also it makes it easier for me and other to recognize that Kagan is a patriot and cares about America’s future. Tucker doesn’t, he just wants to play clever and sneering.

In a war with an evil enemy, Tucker is just another surrender monkey, clearly revealed in his proposal for a “negotiated” solution with barbarians. On the other hand Kagan’s bullet points are a cogent and concise plan to win. Tucker would be so disappointed to see Kagan’s plan for America succeed.

Tucker would give us another Korea, another Paris peace accord. How many innocents would die with Syria and Iran parties to a treaty that determines the future of the Middle East? Nuts to that.
John Dale Dunn, MDJD
Civilian Emergency Physician
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
Fort Hood, Texas

William Tucker dramatizes the un-hilarious self-parody of the neocons and the Bush Administration in their “Strategy” for dealing with Iraq. Looking now at those who clamor for “Victory” in that artificially constructed sand-pile of unresolved conflicts, one wonders where the basics of conservative thinking might be.

For conservatives are supposed to be grown-ups who deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it was, as in “War on Poverty,” “Nation-Building,” “Affirmative Action” and “Universal Health Care.” However, the reality of what we Westerners call “Iraq” is that this former wasteland of the Turkish Empire NEVER has been a nation. Its population consists of tribal and religious forces which have pitted family against family and sect against sect since the dawn of time. Given a splintered, self-destructive culture of vengeance and domination that has progressed little since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, one reflects on the warnings from knowledgeable military and other professionals before our crusade against yet-to-be-found WMD: That we did not have enough men to get the job done. Or, as the once-derided Colin Powell put it to George Bush, “If you break it, you’ve bought it.” But there were those who evidently thought that war is a combination of video games and Sunday school….

In the end, there are only three real solutions in “Iraq”: 1. Do not “Surge” but dramatically reinforce our forces, terminate the self-destructive Maliki regime, secure the borders and hold down martial law until the locals get their act together (sometime in the next world). 2. Get out and save our precious few for more important threats (while we dramatically increase their numbers). 3. Re-read the Baker/Hamilton Report and then implement its recommendations, which are strikingly similar to the real means, not the popularly-understood ones, by which we ended the Vietnam War….
Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California

MERE MORALITY
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Lincoln and Reagan: Moving the Center:

Jeffery Lord’s take on Lincoln, the great emancipator, is off the wall nonsense. There are tons of writings, much of it from Lincoln himself, that shows Lincoln was not concerned with slavery beyond a moral notion. Only Harry Jaffa and the Claremont Institution people would support such a view. I suggest Mr. Lord research his history before leaping onto the “King Lincoln” legend. It’s dishonest and makes The American Spectator a bit shabby by printing such silliness.
— Stephen Bias
Chesapeake, Ohio

RECONSTRUCTION
Re: Letters under “Expressions of Csank’s” and “Not Federal Creatures in Reader Mail’s Power Pointers:

I find it hard to believe the vitriol directed at a man who passed away nearly 140 years ago. Leaving Lee’s decision to join the Confederacy out of it for the moment, there is nothing in the record to show that he ever acted in any way but honorably. He harbored no ill will towards those he opposed on the battlefield, referring to them as “those people” rather than as the enemy. When the end was inevitable, he did not encourage those under his command to continue fighting on in a gorilla war, rather he admonished them to accept their fate and return to their homes and behave as good citizens. Additionally he did not participate in anything which could be viewed as helping to create the desire for succession amongst the South. His role in the John Brown affair was strictly professional and in no way could be viewed as pro-succession.

When secession came he was faced with a moral quandary, deciding in the end that he could not take up arms against his native state and neighbors and those that fault him for his decision, are not giving him due credit for the position in which he was placed. The legality of his act can be debated but not the manner in which he behaved, which was with dignity and honor.

If there remain those who feel the need to revile someone so long dead, there were many whose behavior far more richly deserve their disdain than Robert E. Lee. Fire eaters like Edmund Ruffin and William Yancey spring to mind. It was the actions of men like these that lead to the war and it should be upon their heads that the blame lie.
Scotty Uhrich
Glyndon, Minnesota

Enough is enough. This Lee thing is getting almost as ridiculous as the South’s refusal to admit they did wrong or even lost the Civil War. The bottom line is that secession from the Union is not possible, the Civil War settled that question and regionalism died also. We are one nation whether you like it or not. Lee and the rest of the warriors have long since gone to their Judgment. It was a nice exercise in Constitutional reasoning but enough already.
Pete Chagnon

I thank Mr. Parnell for his correction, and note that that still leaves me with half the states of the Confederacy having been created by the Union.

I also think the word Mr. Coffey really wanted was “flouted,” not “flaunted.”
Ed Ahlsen-Girard

DAILY HOMAGE
Re: Ben Stein’s The Lynching of the President:

Wow, high five. Thanks for putting it so straightforward. I am so sick and tired of “celebrities” putting in their two cents worth and believe me that is more than their opinions are worth and theirs far outweighs the media’s. I was a die hard Democrat until the Texas Democrats really turned me off and into a Republican. It is such a shame that the Dems are so immature. They remind me of high school jocks, big in muscle and little in brain.

Thanks again,
Pat Stolte
Houston, Texas

Ben Stein’s article is excellent. The media and others are disrespectful of our President. Naturally he has to take the blame for all mistakes, but we should praise him for good results in his presidency!!!
L. Johnson

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