Mass Movement

CONFINED TO BARACK
Re: The Washington Prowler’s “Obama 24” item in Compromising Mitt:

Pres. Wayne Palmer = Sen. Barack Hussein Obama? Perhaps, however the diehard 24 fans will recall that the character of Wayne Palmer has been shot at and has shot back at terrorists. Also Wayne Palmer was a U.S. Marine. Senator Obama gives me the feeling he wouldn’t know an NCO from a commissioned officer. The Wayne Palmer character is a lot less of an empty suit then the real life Barack Obama.

And don’t forget that 24 is a fictional program, not real life. The producers tend to go over the top for the sake of the story. We will know how well the fictional President Wayne Palmer will perform in about 18 weeks. I think we can see how well Sen. Obama will do right now.
Ned Brickley

What 24 showed is you cannot make a deal with terrorist. When Palmer was releasing all the terrorists from prison, he should have taken them out and shot them one at a time. After all he was releasing them to keep the terrorist from killing more Americans and all he did was release the ONE man that could set up the suitcase bomb. I love 24 and we could use a few Jack Bauers instead of the turncoat Dems.
Elaine Kyle

At the risk of lowering the discussion to Whoopi Goldberg’s level I nevertheless feel compelled to point out what the word “berak” means in Malay (Indonesian), the language spoken in the world’s most populous Islamic nation, as well as its neighbor’s. While the word is spelled differently from the junior senator’s name, it’s pronounced the same, taking into account rolled r’s, accents, and whatnot. To save you a bit of work let me just say that it refers to a bodily function common to all.

And curiously, apparently the junior senator spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, from ages 6 to 10. If he spoke any of the native language during that time he must have endured quite a bit of tormenting. Aren’t the Democrats concerned about giving power to someone with such pent-up latent anger towards Muslims? Conversely, if the junior senator was unaware of such teasing do the Democrats want to put such an insular, clueless boob in a position of power? After all, they’re the ones constantly bragging about how worldly wise they are.

And what happens if the Barack Senator has to meet with representatives from Southeast Asian countries? The image of their dignitaries struggling to remain dignified and not burst out in laughter seems like something straight out of a Monty Python skit.

Now, as for his other names, as alluded to by the laughing Democratic Senate staffer, well, no further explanation is required. However, surely it merits some sort of discussion? What if, in the height of WWII, there was a politician with the name Merde Tojo Hittler? Or Poopoohead Hirohito Muzzolini?

I mean, true, we’re above such lowbrow childish antics, but what of our cynical potty-mouthed comedians? Isn’t there concern that, at the very least, this might bring Andrew Dice Clay out of retirement?
R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

May I interrupt the 24/7 Obama News?

Barack Obama will fade quickly from the scene as soon as it is widely known he is a HEAVY smoker. To liberals everywhere, smokers are worse than pedophiles. If you don’t believe how heavy Mr. Obama’s habit is, look at his lips. The cyanotic color says he smokes heavily!
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

The Prowler scribbled, with regards to TV’s 24: “…some are wondering if this year’s President Palmer isn’t a fictionalized view of a future with Sen. Barack Hussein Obama in the Oval Office.”

And I thought it was a portent of the Tiger Woods administration.

Oh well.
Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

FLOP CITY
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Compromising Mitt:

Mitt is the King of flip flops (media wise anyway). After pursuing gun control and outright confiscation in signing a rifle ban in his home state, Walter Mitty appeared to shake hands (Hand sanitizer, anyone?) at the 2007 Shot Show in Florida. This is the largest gun and sporting goods trade show in the (probably) world and old Mitty tried to assure everyone how strong a supporter of the Second Amendment he has ALWAYS been! Kind of like hiring meth heads to guard a pharmacy…The sad part is that no one at the show or in the glowing press releases saw fit to mention this embarrassing little factoid and the NRA might embrace him for ’08 if he gains traction. Just don’t expect him to “stay the course” on anything behind enemy lines..
Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

What would be refreshing is to hear Romney question how much we are spending on embryonic stem cell research versus the therapeutic results to date. For example, one of many government agencies, the National Institutes of Health, in 2006 spent $25 million (all tax money) on embryonic stem cell research, but what results did that buy the American taxpayer? And, yes, there is a common misconception that tax dollars can’t legally be used to finance embryonic stem cell research, but the reality, since 2002, is the American taxpayer shells out millions every year for embryonic stem cell research. Take a computer stroll through the research grant database of the NIH and get that misconception out of your system.

Science has created a “straw man” argument claiming religious objections are inhibiting the expected breakthrough toward miracle cures from embryonic stem cell research. However, so far, the research in other countries not subject to the so-called “religious right” has produced “bupkas,” “nada,” and “zip” toward actual therapeutic uses of embryonic stem cells. Therapeutic uses means you are actually cured (or at least helped), not killed or your infliction made even more serious after injection with stem cells.

Frozen “leftover” embryos are needed because cloning has a very low success rate which requires thousands of human eggs. Some studies indicate serious side effects, including death, from repeated egg donation. Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, the Korean stem cell researcher who lied about his results, reportedly pressured younger female colleagues to donate their eggs. Contrary to his published research, he needed hundreds more eggs than he claimed to produce his fictitious “custom fit” stem cell lines. And, you don’t see American female scientists or medical practitioners rushing forward en masse to volunteer their eggs for this supposedly promising research.

When the public believes a miracle cure is imminent, reason, facts and logic are out the window. But, the truth is embryonic stem cell research hasn’t produced therapeutic cures and may never produce any. Scientists don’t debunk the exaggerated claims of miracle cures because they like the taxpayers’ money. Also, the opportunity to patent new biological techniques is an added perk. Eventually, when the public is politically and psychologically ready, politicians will jump on the bandwagon and demand an accounting of the vast amounts spent for the meager results achieved. It would be interesting to see Romney take the lead in this effort.
Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California

THE MASS HAS NOT ENDED
Re: Thomas J. Craughwell’s ‘Bishop, I Have the Pope on Line One‘:

The beauty of the Latin Mass has always been that one could attend Mass in any country in the world and know exactly what one was going to get. And don’t whine that Latin is a dead language; everyone in my generation took Latin in school, and besides being very useful for church purposes, it also opened a wide door to liturgical music stretching back a thousand years, and not incidentally made English grammar and spelling (not to mention word definitions) clearer. I remember the first word in English that I decoded using my knowledge of Latin: ramification.

In 1993, I attended a music camp where the students knew in advance that we would spend ten days singing the Haydn Harmoniemesse. This session was so popular that scholars were chosen by lottery to attend. Nevertheless, a lot of time had to be wasted in teaching more than half the scholars to sing a Latin mass — and the explanations of why this particular Mass was so popular left them with their mouths hanging open…because the Harmoniemesse stands the solemnity of the traditional Latin Mass on its ear, ending with a raucous Dona Nobis Pacem that never fails to bring the house down.

Of course, in this day and age when university has become a trade school and a classical education is considered something for socialists and girls, nobody has time to appreciate the beauty of the Latin Mass, and Americans who refuse to learn any language but English and not even to learn to speak that language correctly are not likely to embrace Latin for any reason. Nevertheless, I hope that His Holiness is successful in bringing back one of the most beautiful and dependable services to the view of a generation that needs to put some beauty back into its sordid, squalid, utilitarian life.
Kate Shaw
Toronto, Ontario

Be still my heart! If the old Latin Mass comes back, I may just GO back to Mass. I quit going about 10 years ago simply because I just could no longer stomach that awful handshake crap, always wanted to end the Lord’s Prayer at “…and deliver us from evil. AMEN,” and insisted on kneeling while others stood for Communion. And the priest never seemed comfortable placing the Host on my tongue. The whole process just became too painful, especially considering I had just RETURNED to the Church after staying away for about 15 years.

But hey, what do you expect from an old altar boy who learned the Latin responses and actually UNDERSTOOD what was being said. We used to mumble the responses until a new priest caught us out and implemented testing before you could serve as altar boy at Mass. Not only did we have to say the actual Latin words, and say them correctly, he insisted we understand what the words meant in English. That was a challenge, but ultimately well worth it. The new Mass just never had the impact on me as the old Latin rite.

Confiteor Deo, Omnipotenti
Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

Ah yes, just what Catholics who don’t regularly attend Mass want…the leader of the congregation, back turned to them, mumbling in a dead foreign language, while an occasional bell sounds to tell them to stop knitting, or saying the beads (praying the Rosary, for the more reverent) and thump their chests with their right hands, thusly…

I am 47 (nearing 48) years old. I was baptized into the pre-Vatican II tradition, my first memories of Mass are sketchy, but they usually involved getting stern looks and promises of spankings if I didn’t sit still and above all BE QUIET. Mass was a joyless thing. Somber, hyper-reverent… lots of genuflecting, women wearing lace doilies on their heads…men wore suits (some not recently dry cleaned), ties, hard shoes… I never remember anyone smiling.

Yes, I agree that the 1969 Mass might have gone a bit too far, and frankly some of the spinning around looking for reassertions of “reverence” are beginning to wear. The newest thing is the proposed set of “translation modifications” that make it sound like a new age encounter with the great continuity, instead of a beautiful prayer to God.

HOWEVER…

The New Mass is not the problem. Frankly, the Latin Mass is going to attract a small percentage of the folks who are already in the pews. And most will be pretty old. It is nice for the Pope to give the oldsters back their Latin Mass, I cannot fathom why Paul VI virtually banned it. But the return of the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass is not going to solve the problems that the Roman Catholic Church faces. It will just make the already faithful feel a little better, and give them some insulation against the ravages of the rest of the world. (Maybe that is a good thing, I don’t know.)

The problem that the Church faces is that it has a tool box built for pre-20th century humanity. The assumption that the precipitous fall off in attendance and reverence is due to the “relaxation” of standards starting with John XXIII’s miracle of Vatican II is fallacious reasoning. Who knows, if Pope John had not instituted Vatican II, perhaps the Roman Catholic Church would be a minuscule side bar of far fewer attendees than 1959, when I was born. Vatican II happened. The changes occurred, and history is what it is. It is fruitless to indulge in fantasies of perpetual continuums of Tridentine devotion.

The world changed in the 196’s. The Western world has become secular. It has actually become reflexively anti-religious.

The Roman Catholic Church’s challenges are manifold:

A.) It must figure out how to deal with its dying priesthood. I am not going to get into deep discussions of the discipline of celibacy, only note that in the modern world, few people are willing to eschew their chance at family. Families are much smaller, and vocations are less attractive for parents to push that last one or two of seven kids…into (and don’t tell me that didn’t happen…because it did…it was almost an obligation.)

B.) Catholic lay people are not receiving a real intellectual understanding of the Catechism. Unless someone is a convert, like my wife, most religious education stops just after Confirmation. Unfortunately often, instead of reasoned debate and open discussion, the church falls back on the old brow-beating tactics of faith threats. More people are literate, and can read for themselves. The dangers of self-interpretation of the Holy Bible are plain in our sister Christian sects. The results are fragmentation, argument, and dogmatism. There is little real effort to explain, educate, and inform.

C.) The West no longer responds to the “dictatorial” model of personal behavior. People want to know why they are being told not to do something. And they need to be told consistently. The Church rightly preaches against abortion, but it does little to correct or punish the behavior of those who publicly flout the ban.

D.) The Priesthood is isolated and the hierarchy hears only its own voice. Bishops should live in the smallest parish in their diocese, maybe rotate parishes. Parish and Diocese should be managed by professional business and management specialists who account for funds, allocate resources, and manage the day-to-day plant operations of parishes in the diocese. Priests and Bishops need to concentrate on that vocation, because it is a difficult one.

C.) The New Mass does need to be stabilized and standardized, but weird searches for “better” translations usually means “new ways to impose unseriousness.”

D.) Get the girls off the altar. They are not going to be priests, and should not be directly serving Mass. Emphatically and permanently deal with the apostate notion that women should be ordained. Priestesses are the first step in a recipe for a trip down the Episcopalian Trail. HOWEVER, women deserve a greater role in the operations of the church, and the functions of parish life. They also deserve a place in the hierarchy. There has to be a way, in a Church where a woman is so amazingly important, and considers itself the “Bride” of Christ, to find its faithful female worshipers a more satisfying role.

E.) If the Church is saying Mass in the vernacular, it needs to stick to that rule. No more Spanish Masses, and dual parishes where it is “Everyone Else in English” and the Hispanics form their own separate and distinct parish within a parish. This is a disaster.

There are many other things… but only one of them is tangentially caused by the lack of a Latin Mass.

Until the Roman Catholic Church fixes what is truly in need of repair, the pews will continue to empty…and the influx of Hispanics will not change that, they don’t go to church that much, either.

I will continue to attend Mass, and practice my faith. I am not perfect, the New Mass isn’t either. But it is most definitely God centered, and for those who bother to listen to Him. God still speaks volumes at a whisper.
John W. Schneider, III
Bristow, Virginia

I have never really understood Einstein’s theory of relativity…E=mc2; and I have never really understood why any practicing Catholic would object to anything as intrinsically beautiful as a sung Latin Mass.
Joseph W. Holmes
Cedar Park, Texas

For the Catholic Church to return to traditional mass, the only thing that can be said about that is, “Thank God.”
Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

ON SPEED
Re: Eric Peters’s Speed Limit Senses:

Speed limits aren’t arbitrary. The faster you go, the harder it is to control your vehicle — even if you’re a skillful driver. If you have to stop on a dime (what if a car suddenly pulls out of a driveway?), you’re less likely to do damage at 25 mph than 45 mph. It’s called physics.

Here in Reno, we have numerous 25 mph zones. There is one in particular, on a downward curving street named California Avenue. Lots of drivers go 35 to 45 on this stretch of road. The problem is, as you drive eastward on the gradually sloping grade, it is very easy to pick up speed without noticing it. Then, all of a sudden you must negotiate a sharp turn. At this point drivers have been known to lose control and slam into thick trees lining the street. People whine about speed limits, but on some roads, there’s actually a reason for them.

I’ve been driving since 1978, and have yet to get into an accident. I obey speed limits. Sadly, the sort of “don’t tread on me” sentiment expressed in this article has led to tens of thousands of fatalities.

There is also a troubling moral relativism expressed in this article. If it’s OK to go 35 in a 25 zone, then it’s OK to go 75 in a 25 zone. Where do you draw the line?
Robert Ellis

I, some what, agree with the idea discussed in the article that we are all old enough to access our own driving skills and are capable of deciding what speed is safe for us. I tend to worry about the innocent victims of those who have made an error in judgment and have caused a wreck. A little less than eight and a half years ago, my parents were killed by an eighty-six year old man who felt it was safe to drink and drive regardless of the laws which say it’s not.

It’s unfortunate, but we all have to live under some arbitrary laws which might deter the less responsible from breaking the law and hurting the innocent.
Randall Allison
Abilene, Texas

When I lived in Montana during the 1990s) we had a “reasonable and prudent” requirement rather than a posted numerical speed limit (during the daytime) but like most good things it did not last very long. Most folks in Montana can’t afford a Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari and pickup trucks tend to start shaking apart when the driver approaches 85 mph, so nature imposed its own speed limit regardless. The courts finally imposed a numerical standard because one notably obnoxious crank challenged his speeding ticket (he was going in excess of 100 mph and triggered the reasonable and prudent standard) on the basis that it was unconstitutional to have anything other than a clearly defined numerical limit, so the party was over. But, it was fun while it lasted.
Daniel McNamee
Somerville, New Jersey

Great article. I, and probably every other rational being in the United States, agree with you that the way we set speed limits is crazy. The phrase “arbitrary and capricious” leaps to mind. What you are proposing is what a lawyer would call a strict liability standard. If you have an accident, you are guilty. No explanations. No excuses. Sounds pretty good, and it should work great when only one vehicle is involved in an accident. Things would certainly get more interesting when multiple vehicles are involved.

But that shouldn’t be a real problem. The time that police now spend sitting at speed traps could be spent sorting through conflicting stories as they do accident investigation reports. And lawyers should love your proposed system. Think of all the new litigation it would generate as people scramble to avoid being named as the guilty party. Who doesn’t like the idea of more lawsuits?

The other problem, of course, is that if we let everyone decide their own speed limit, then the bad drivers will pick speeds way above what they can safely handle (that’s part of what, per se, makes them bad drivers). Your system would then inevitably result in some truly horrific accidents as the bad drivers smash themselves and, unfortunately, innocent bystanders into oblivion. Giving tickets in that scenario, people being dead and all, doesn’t seem to be a very enlightened solution to the problem. Although I suppose the gene pool would eventually improve, as we weed out the bad driver gene through the process of elimination, literally.

All that aside, and even though I dislike the present system, I would like to take a stab at defending it.

To begin with, as I see it, driving a car is less a right, which is an absolute, than a privilege, which is conditional. And conditions are necessary because society has a legitimate interest in setting restrictions on driving. It seems reasonable that if you want to strap yourself into a vehicle weighing ton or more, and then go hurtling at high speeds down a roadway paid for by taxpayer money, then we, society collectively, should be able to make sure that you, individually, do not damage the person or property of other taxpayers. Of course, if you restrict your driving to private property and private roads, the government can go take a hike.

So if you drive on public streets, the government has a right to regulate driving.

But is setting speed limits the best way for government to regulate driving? Is excessive speed dangerous, even to good drivers? The answer to that question would seem to be “yes.” Even if you are the best driver in the world, you are not alone on the road. Even exercising extreme diligence in watching your fellow travelers cannot save you from some situations.

Example: A kid just learning to drive may be more interested in dialing his cell phone than paying attention to lane markings, and wham! You, the good driver, are hit. In this situation, is it better for the vehicles involved to be traveling faster or slower? Remembering the old maxim “Speed Kills”, I think its intuitive that high speed causes more damage in accident situations. Speed is what differentiates a fender bender from having your car totaled.

From that standpoint, less speed is better. To run the example to a ridiculous extreme, it would be safer for everyone if we all traveled at 5 mph. But that isn’t practical, and in spite of how it might seem, I believe that governments do try to be practical. They don’t often succeed, but they try.

So speed limits are set. In urban areas where there are many crossroads and lots of pedestrian traffic, limits are lower. On expressways, where people should be paying attention to driving, higher speeds are set. Where, exactly, the limit is set is debatable, but if you agree that public safety is a valid consideration of the government, that set they will be.

And once set, the limits have to be obeyed by everyone. Allowing good drivers to ignore the limits only encourages the morons to do the same. The legal term for that is “monkey-see-monkey-do”, although I’m sure it sounds more impressive in Latin. In the interest of safety, I believe that a uniform enforcement of speed limits ultimately benefits everyone, good and bad driver alike. Safe roads may not be fast and efficient roads, but that is a compromise that we have to live with.

Do governments use speed limits to generate revenue? Absolutely. It’s a horrible abuse of the system. And that kind of abuse should be terminated with extreme prejudice, to borrow a favorite phrase from the cheap spy genre.

But until you can flesh out your idea for unlimited speed a bit, I think we need to stick to the present system.
Robert F. Casselberry

We’ll also never see the “reasonable and prudent†standard because so many drivers are neither. It may be difficult to accurately determine safe speeds for each vehicle type on every road, but to throw up our hands and abandon all efforts to standardize would create only chaos.

And of course, there is much to be said for the ability to predict an oncoming car’s closing time as I pull out of a driveway. If what appears to be 10 seconds of space turns out to be 2 seconds… well, you know what happens.
Erik Litvinchuk
Sacramento, California

STANDING BY BUSH
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Don’t Burn Bush Now:

Bravo Zulu Mr. Hillyer. Had conservatives stuck with the President over the last year terrorist appeasers would not be in control of Congress and Islamic imperialists would not be so confident of victory. Now is the time to get behind the President and our military (as a member of the military I do not believe you can support the troops and oppose the mission) to succeed in Iraq . Defeat doesn’t mean an end to American casualties in the Middle East it just means the next phase of the war against Islamic imperialism will be harder and bloodier. It also means that the war will be brought home in a way that will threaten our democratic system and future.

Republicans and conservatives say they want political leaders who stand by their convictions and damn the polls or vacillating public opinion. They have just that in President Bush. Whether one always agrees with him or not they have to admit he has stood by his principles regardless of the current fad or media inspired frenzy — he has never raised taxes (Reagan did 7 times), he is the only US President to wage war on Islamic terrorism, he has stood firm on Iraq despite the public’s war “weariness” (gag) and suicidal desire to lose, tried to save Terri Schivo despite the publics Nazi like disapproval, is firmly pro-life despite Michael J. Fox’s lying PR, is doggedly determined to reform and save Social Security though it is a Republican albatross and has even bucked a sizable minority of his base to support comprehensive immigration reform following the Ronald Reagan model. Agree with him or not President Bush is a man of firm convictions with a spine of steel and hide like a rhinoceros. You better appreciate him now, because future conservative and Republican leadership will not be so resolute or independent.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Excellent column. I hope you faxed it to the entire Republican delegation in the U.S. Congress.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of that delegation is composed of spineless wimps who hold a wet finger up to the wind before any public pronouncement. Then, they wonder why conservative voters stayed home in large numbers in 2006.

As for the Democrats, I gave up on that gooey group of leftists a long time ago. When Zell Miller left the Senate, the last of the old-time patriotic Democrats left a void in their party. It is my fervent hope that the moonbats will be exposed for what they really are. Unfortunately, there are great numbers of Americans today who expect, even demand, that the government solve all their problems.

I blame this on the present system of education in this country. “Ask not what you can do for your country, demand that your country take care of you”, seems to be the motto of many American ‘citizens’ today.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Fathers gave us “A republic, if you can keep it”. Those Fathers must be turning restlessly in their graves.
R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

I wish I could more fully embrace Quin Hillyer’s advice to rally around the President now as he implements his new approach to Iraq, but it’s hard. As has often been said, failure is not an option. The problem however is that an apparent majority of Americans believe that it is an option. Even the President seems to concede this inasmuch as he has made the success or failure of our efforts in Iraq the responsibility of the current Iraqi government. This is not leadership, this is political pandering and a transparent attempt to create a “whipping boy” should we in fact fail in Iraq.

We all know there’s a way to win the war on Islamic terror. Brute and merciless force starting in Iraq and spreading to Iran and Syria and elsewhere as necessary. But we cannot or will not (I don’t know which is worse) effectively engage our enemies. This with a Republican president and Congress up until very recently.

You know, I used to think the survivalist types who were always looking for black helicopters were completely wacko storing food and ammunition and the like. Now I just think they were ahead of their time. Things are going to get ugly on American soil sooner rather than later.

I’m ashamed of a great portion of my fellow citizens. They are completely ignorant of American history. Ignorant of our Constitution and how a republic should properly function. Ignorant of the threats to our survival. They’re fat and lazy and selfish. And as a result we’re all gonna’ pay one hell of a price. Damn them.
Dave Mills
Rolla, Missouri

“Don’t Burn Bush Now,” by Quin Hillyer, is a wonderful article! I am weary of hearing people antagonize the President’s every move. It is important to be united in difficult times. I have never thought that the President ever abandoned me, when he was my governor, he always did things to help the people of Texas, like tax free day and allowing us to sue our HMO. Now, it’s time for me to stick up for him and be in his corner when things are tough.

I have told people that if I am the last person to do so, I will
continue to stand by President Bush. Now, thanks to Quin Hillyer’s article, I know that there will at least be two of us.
Adam Jones
Arlington, Texas

Quin Hillyer replies:
I appreciate the variations of opinions in the four letters above. It is worth noting that I have now seen several pieces by people who are not big fans of Bush or of the invasion who nevertheless think the surge can work. Most prominent among them, perhaps, was Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, writing over the weekend in the Washington Post. The president is ordering the surge whether we like it or not. It behooves all patriotic Americans to do what we can to make it a success.

DOWNRIGHT SERIOUS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Getting Serious:

I sincerely hope the president is getting serious about winning the war in Iraq, but I have my doubts. There is a word for how the president has behaved both politically and militarily, and that word is cowardice. He has shown an ability to start fights — most often good fights –both domestically and internationally, while displaying a complete lack of nerve in doing what is necessary to win those fights. Because of this he has angered his existing enemies, created scores more, and then shown he won’t fight back effectively when they attack. Hence, he’s being eaten alive. It’s sad and dispiriting, but more than that it’s contemptible. Our president is a coward; there, I’ve said it.
Scott Stambaugh
Murphy, North Carolina

I trust Lisa Fabrizio’s judgments, thus I hope that President Bush will keep a steadier hand on the helm in Iraq than has been apparent thus far. I say apparent because the war as reported in the MSM is not the war this generation of America’s best kids know they are fighting.

My son, graduate of one of New England’s best private schools is currently an undergraduate in the Middle Eastern studies program at Emory University and an ROTC cadet at Georgia Tech (because Emory has no such program). He is a “high speed” cadet in that he maxes out his physical fitness scores and he is a dean’s list scholar … but his shooting needs work. So we drive down to Fort Benning to shoot on the club range down there about once a month.

It’s a very collegial place. The club is open to the public (under certain restrictions) but is intended primarily for military leisure shooters. It has the atmosphere of a golf club in some ways, with a lot of interaction and sharing among shooters. As a former Recon Marine, I am welcomed as a fellow warrior, and am happy to report that some Recon Marines are actually instructing down there.

We regularly talk to kids at the range who tell us we (the U.S.) are winning in Iraq. They should know; all of them have been there at least once. They know why they are there: to keep the fight on terrorist ground rather than on our own. They are remarkably sanguine about the fact that most Americans don’t even think about what they (the kids) are doing to keep the Nation safe. They feel that if we don’t keep the pressure on the Islamofascists, the bad guys will have more time and energy available to do bad things here. They are right.

The President seems to be acting on this imperative. I hope that Congress and the American people don’t let him and these fine young people down. I have a bumper sticker with a Vietnam service ribbon on it that says, “I don’t know what happened, we were winning when I left.” I pray these kids won’t have to buy the same bumper sticker with Iraq/Afghanistan service ribbons on them.
Paul Neuman
Atlanta, Georgia

BORDER SKIRMISH
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Tancredo’s Dubious Allies:

It is interesting to note that in the Prowler’s hit piece against Rep. Tom Tancredo and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), “Tom Tancredo’s Unsavory Backers” [sic], he does not offer a substantive refutation of immigration policy positions taken by Mr. Tancredo or FAIR. Rather, he is obsessed with second and third degree associations with groups that appear to support his other bugaboos, like maintaining legalized abortions and stem cell research.

For the record, FAIR takes no position on issues like abortion, stem cell research, or whether the Earth is flat or round. We are an immigration policy organization that has led the fight to end mass illegal immigration and establish legal immigration policies that serve the interests of the nation and the American people. Our views on immigration are so mainstream, in fact, that we draw political and financial support from individuals and foundations across the political spectrum.

In the age of Google, anyone who can connect to the Internet can dig up tired and discredited allegations that have been floating around for some 20 years. In spite of the Prowler’s overactive imagination and search engine, there is no cabal to create a Brave New World led by a genetically engineered master race. All there is, is an out-financed group of Americans who cling to the seemingly archaic notion that a nation should control its own borders and destiny, and protect the interests of its citizens. It is an archaic notion that just happens to enjoy the support of about three-quarters of the all Americans, according to polls.

Tancredo’s decision to enter the 2008 presidential race, and run on an overwhelmingly popular immigration platform, clearly has more than a few special interests worried. With record speed, the long knives and the recycled attacks have been dusted off in response to Tancredo’s announcement.

FAIR has a 28-year record on immigration policy that includes dozens of appearances before congressional committees chaired by Republicans and Democrats; hundreds of publications on all aspects of immigration policy; thousands appearances on radio, television an in newspaper articles. Tom Tancredo has an equally public record, now entering his fifth term in Congress. Surely, if FAIR and Tancredo were part of some unsavory cabal, smarter people than the Prowler would have figured it all out by now.
Dan Stein
President, FAIR

You describe FAIR’s policy positions as “extreme and repugnant.” For the millions of Americans who are burdened with billions of dollars in tax payments provided to the 30 million illegals who have invaded our country, it is LaRaza, LULAC, MeCHa and other open border advocates (a.k.a. shakedown artists) who better match the adjectives you attribute to FAIR.
Kathleen M. Appell

LAST WORD
Re: William Tucker’s Lost in the Woods:

Thank you, Mr. Tucker, for the essay, and thank you, editors, for publishing it.

Most readers, like most Americans, will have fixed opinions on Iraq that will be tough to change. But a calm, low-key approach like yours in this piece may actually open up a few minds.

Sincerely, a conservative (not neo-con) former Marine,
Bill Wagner
outside Shepherdstown, West Virginia

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