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Desert Reports

Re: Doug Bandow’s Iraq’s Forgotten Minority:

I have wondered why our pastor does not remember Iraqi Christians in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. I’ve certainly asked him on many occasions to pray for them. Then I had a moment of enlightenment. The acknowledgment that Iraqi Christians are in need of our prayers would show that they are being persecuted by Islam. He has invited an imam to the 4th of July non-denominational celebrations and the imam has stated that the only way to God is through Islam. Most Middle Eastern Christians are being persecuted but news of the persecution rarely makes headlines. President Bush is sacrificing them to political correctness. Shame on him. Please keep them in your hearts and prayers.
Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

Well, well, well! What a surprise to find that the Bush Administration is turning its back on another group that has supported it! Doug Bandow reports that Christians in Iraq are now targeted far more than they were under Sadaam. Many thousands of them now desperately seek to come to the United States, only to find that our immigration laws are still enforceable and enforced, the experience of the Mexican hordes to the contrary notwithstanding.

At least those of us who were foolish enough to buy the “Bush is a conservative” bill of goods once had the option to withhold our support for him after the fraud was established. Our lives are not in jeopardy by his occupation of the White House. Pity the poor Iraqi Christians who had their relatively peaceful lives thrown into turmoil by Mr. Bush’s experiment in nation building, and now must fear for their continued existence.

I can only hope that the American people will think through all the consequences before launching any more military misadventures in pursuit of the neo-conservative dream world. What’s going on with Iraqi Christians as a result of this current escapade is a blot on our national honor, and will not be overlooked by any presumptive allies “in country” the next time we’re faced with a situation in which military action should have to be undertaken.
Mark Fallert
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thanks for your important and timely article. I hope it is widely read. Something I did not see in it that I think is a vital part of the picture is that the new Iraqi constitution supported by the Bush administration specifically designates Iraq as a Muslim Country that would follow Sharia law. I was shocked and disgusted to see this in a translation of that Constitution a year or so ago (a google search should reveal it).

In my opinion, it is not true that Bush is trying to avoid favoring any group; rather, he is trying to avoid favoring a particular Muslim group. But he has certainly made it clear that Muslims are to be favored over Christians in Iraq.
name withheld

Editor’s note: Charles Krauthammer, in a column that ran on September 2, 2005, had a different view:

The idea that it creates an Islamic theocracy is simply false. Its Islamist influence is relatively mild….

More specifically, the rule of sharia is significantly constrained….

The constitution writers in Iraq finessed the question of Islam…. No law may contradict Islam. But it also says that no law may contradict democratic principles and that the constitution accepts all human rights conventions.

Re: The Washington Prowler’s Blue Republicans:

Why all the worry by “conservatives” if John Warner loses his Senate seat? So what if VA and NH elect Democrat Senators? This is just another “opportunity” for “movement conservatives” to teach the GOP and George W. Bush (whose overall record is to the right of Reagan) a lesson. Surely those “principled conservatives” who were happy for the GOP to lose in 2006 will do all they can to insure their favorite liberal Nancy Pelosi has more time to secure power for the Democrats. Just because she’s moving fast to undermine the First Amendment is no reason to worry. This all part of the grand strategy of those brilliant “conservative thinkers” who spent the last 2 years complaining about the GOP and George W. Bush — if 40 years of Democrat rule produced Ronald Reagan and the Gingrich revolution then another 40 years in the political wilderness is sure to be good for conservatives. Happy days are here again and the left has the crack up on the right to thank for the gift. The new motto for conservatives should be “Let’s lose one for the Gipper.”
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

While the article is interesting, what would possess the author to describe Indiana Senator and bailed presidential candidate Evan Bayh as a moderate? Bayh voted against Alito’s confirmation for the Supreme Court, is a big proponent of cutting and running and his positions are generally to the left of everyone but Barrack Obama and Trotsky. The only thing moderate about Bayh is the state that he is from!
Ralph Alter
Carmel, Indiana

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Barn Yarns:

Maybe this hayseed from Southern California doesn’t understand the nuances of campaigning in a Northeast state, but she certainly understands the infamous Flim Flam man from North Carolina. North Carolina is familiar territory to me because of family connections. So Mr. Edwards, boy wonder, lives in the Chapel Hill area does he? That alone explains his corn pone “elitism” balanced by “his daddy worked in the mills” persona. Throughout that beautiful state they have pockets of “higher learning institutions” that are peopled by those who think they walk on water. Perhaps it is time for a true test of this phenomenon, how about proving the ability to do so? My guess is that they will sink like a stone and few of them know how to swim. He is a poster boy for why our tort system should be reformed. This ‘po boy with great hair should return to his estate, stay there and leave the rest of us alone.
Edda Gahm
Diamond Bar, California

Yessir, barn-raisin’ farmer-humanist-cynic-everyman John Edwards is sumthin’, ain’t he? Surprised we didn’t hear he’d said things like these — and these aren’t original though, perhaps, Al Gore and/or John Kerry might take credit for them: “The chickens have come home to roost for the Republicans. We need to get our ducks in a row. The fox has been guarding the henhouse.”

Personally, I don’t think Americans are going to buy either the pig in the poke Edwards is or his cock-and-bull story. His dog-and-pony show is already tiresome. And if Mr. Edwards thinks he’s in or going to be in the political catbird seat, his feathers are going to get ruffled because he’s barking up the wrong tree.
C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

Re: The Washington Prowler’s “Minimum Decencies” item in Blue Republicans:

While the rationale given by Blunt may be bogus, I would like to go on record as being against severance for the staffers who are losing their jobs. This is OUR money that these congresspeople are giving away so cavalierly. The turnover took place over two months ago and the staffers had plenty of time to get their acts together and get a new job.

Let’s use the severance for more bullets for the troops.
James Siegler
New York, New York

I just wonder who the staffers think pay their wages? Surely they have worked in government long enough to know the government does not have any money of its own. IT IS MY MONEY and when you go to work for the government you should know elections change things, not always for the better.
Elaine Kyle

Re: William Tucker’s New Year’s Greetings:

I can only wish William Tucker the best of luck in 2007.

He’s a good writer — his prose is always clean and sharp, his logic good, and his articles not convoluted but quite understandable. In this regard, Mr. Tucker’s writings on capital punishment are especially convincing.

And seriously, if nuclear power isn’t the trick for him, maybe copy-writing could be.
Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

Re: Enemy Central’s Enemy of the Year:

Good Choice as usual and one salient point made. Had Republicans worked as hard to preserve some of the other Senate seats as they did to support Lieberman, they might still have a majority. Chafee was no great loss, why the effort when others that mattered were given little. RSCC gets an EOY honorable mention from me anyway.
Media, Pennsylvnia

Re: Mark Sobolewski’s letter (under “Minimum Defenses”) in Reader Mail’s Resolved:

Mark Sobolewski of Falls Church responds to my letter thus:

“Finally, about the small businesses that his sanctimonious heart sympathizes with that needs to pay bottom wages or even illegals to keep afloat: ***** ’em. Sorry, but if their business model is that fragile, they shouldn’t be in business anyway. Your rational sounds a lot like a leftist subsidy or corporate welfare. If a large corporation can step in and pay higher wages and provide better service, I have no problem with that. Hey, shouldn’t I be the liberal here and oppose big business? “

Those familiar with the business environment of the People’s Republic of Falls Church (or readers of the local rag, the Falls Church News Press) will not be surprised by this outburst (it would probably surprise Mr. Sobolewski that I favor rigorous immigration controls and border security, so the illegal immigrant line is a canard plain and simple). His preference for big business solutions at the expense of innovative, entrepreneurial small business does let the liberal cat out of the bag, and goes a long way towards explaining why, despite highly touted economic development plans, this school district masquerading as a “city” (of 10,000 people) does not share in the booming economy of Northern Virginia. How long they can continue to avoid immutable laws of economics (like, say, “supply and demand”) is problematic. From what I can tell, the closest thing they have to a plan is building high-end condos (for all those minimum wage workers) to add new units to the property tax rolls. Meanwhile, the City of Falls Church remains out of land, money and ideas.
Stuart Koehl
Falls Church (the Fairfax County side of the line), Virginia

Mr. Sobolewski, five questions, if you please.

1. Aren’t the wages of higher than minimum wage workers increased when the minimum wage is increased?

2. Won’t the same people who earned minimum wage before an increase be earning minimum wage after the increase?

3. Do prices increase when the minimum wage is increased?

4. Will income and payroll taxes increase when the minimum wage is increased?

5. Do you think that retired people living on a fixed income will have less real income?

It seems to me that the answer to all five questions is: Yes.

Looks to me like the only beneficiaries of a minimum wage increase are
governments that receive more revenue without an increase in costs.
Nelson Ward
Cowles, New Mexico

Re: Ivan Osorio’s Bad Politics at a Minimum:

Perhaps the next time this subject is mentioned, you could get Mr. Osorio to address the problem of the Earned Income Tax Credit. It is my understanding that this tax policy compliments and is a better way of handling the problems of the minimum wage. If the minimum wage policy of neglect and reduction by inflation is a failure, why isn’t the Earned Income Tax Credit also a failure and open for debate?
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Re: David Lawson’s letter (under “The New Censorship”) in Reader Mail’s Resolved:

If the Russell Seitz whom David Lawson refers to is the person described on this link, then readers of The American Spectator ought to feel flattered that he takes the time to write. Even if you believe that Seitz suffers from an untreatable form of logorrhea on top of a terminal case of pedantry, he certainly has more to offer than other contributors on topics such as global warming. I personally find it refreshing to hear from someone who doesn’t like to reminisce about the good old days of William F. Buckley, Jr., the missionary position, chewing tobacco, preemptive wars, provincial America, etc. Besides, the guy’s an old codger just like the rest of us.
Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

In “The New Censorship” David Lawson (not, I somehow imagine, the one presently Secretary of the American Civil Liberties Union at Harvard Law School), writes asking, “Would it be possible to ban” certain “brilliant epistles from appearing in your letters to the editor” column “for at least two or three days?” suspecting the Editors are “writing them all yourselves under a handful of pseudonyms and employing a fictional Mr. Seitz as your foil” to generate “Pompous liberal tripe composed by a real or fictitious man literally in love with his own towering intellect, yet who somehow manages to write like a caricature of a pompous ass perpetually confusing regurgitation of liberal tripe unencumbered with citations to facts and unimpeded by resort to logic with making an intelligent point in an articulate way.”

That falls well within the Editors’ scope, but RET would never assemble 58 words into the subject of an accusatory sentence without having a verb up his sleeve. If Whit Stillman ever requires an example of conservative discourse sloughing into a karaoke version of Rush Limbaugh, you now know to whom to send him. Meanwhile, what could be fairer than my leaving “Cambridge” out of my address?
Russell Seitz
383 Harvard Street

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