Re: Jeffrey Lord’s The Ex-Ambassador From Jurassic Park:
To Jeffrey Lord’s list of men of physical courage who nevertheless failed to understand the nature of the enemy might be added the British Statesman Lord Halifax, who, though his reputation as an appeaser is exaggerated by some, certainly failed to understand Hitler and tried to negotiate up to the last possible minute.
Halifax was no physical coward. He has served as a combat soldier in World War I despite having a weak heart and despite being born with a withered arm and missing hand – men have had movies made about them for doing less.
Neville Chamberlain himself was also no coward. In the second volume of his war memoirs Sir Winston Churchill emphasizes his bravery, after he had resigned as Prime Minister, during the bombing of London and his refusal to quit his duties then. He climbed over smoking bomb-rubble to his office each day despite the fact he had been politically humiliated (Churchill, his most trenchant critic was now his chief) but more fundamentally despite the fact that he was dying of a particularly painful form of cancer. “Fortitude of Mr. Chamberlain” is a chapter sub-heading of Churchill’s book, and when he died Churchill, always moved by heroism, is said to have wept at his grave.
— Hal G.P. Colebatch
Magnificent article. I’m a class of ’58 guy, so did my government service in the US Marine Corps. (Fighter/attack pilot in the old Pappy Boyington Black Sheep Squadron, VMA-214.) My wife and I now live in SW France much of each year and find there very pro-American points of view which do not seem to penetrate Paris, the Upper Westside of NYC, nor most of California. As the leading Grande Dame of our village once said to me, “Kenneth, you must understand, Paris is not part of France. It is, in fact, the capitulation capital of all Europe. When the Germans attacked, Paris surrendered in five days; we here fought the bastards for five years.” As many of the French far from the capital feel Paris is not part of their country, I suspect many Americans feel academia is not a part of America either.
— Ken McAdams
I happened to read James Taranto’s piece on Mr. Jett’s op-ed. I enjoyed it much, as I do most of Mr. Taranto’s humor. But, Mr. Lord’s analysis and debunking of Mr. Jett’s feckless political nonsense is ever better. Mr. Lord presented a fact-based rebuttal that was at once humorous and ruthlessly insightful. Mr. Lord’s reference to famous defeatists like McClellan, Lindbergh, McGovern, Chamberlain and Laval was very good. Mr. Lord’s recounting of the sequence of events in the early to mid-1930s was truthful and accurate. Finally, Mr. Lord’s analysis and rejection of the notion that foreigners have more knowledge and better judgment about history and world affairs than American statesmen was excellent.
— Doug Santo
Mr. Lord’s writing helps to relieve much anxiety and give great comfort. It is good to know that such a brilliant mind as his is on the side of the “good guys.”
— Jim Jackson
When Jeffrey Lord was a White House “political director” the existential threat to America consisted in roughly four Soviet thermonuclear warheads or atomic bombs for every county in the nation. When Jeffery Lord was an infant, it consisted in Axis forces comprising millions of troops, and thousands of ships and warplanes of a tripartite alliance supported by colonial resources captured from several of the greatest empires the world has ever known, and one of the nations in that axis being the acknowledged technological superior of Great Britain.
Along comes a senior diplomat with service on three continents to remind us of the difference between that constellation of forces and nineteen fanatics with box cutters throwing one hell of a sucker punch at our less than vigilant nation. What does Mr. Lord do that Ronald Reagan did not? Adduce the lesser present danger posed not by a national leader, but a man without a country reviled by most of his own coreligionists as a justification for a greater diminution of liberty than the late President would ever propose or tolerate.
This really will not do, for the impression of invincible innumeracy conveyed by Mr. Lord’s first few hundred words is merely confirmed by the pages of self-justification that follow. Others have made Ambassador Jett’s case more cogently, but this is the weakest, longest, and least compelling defense of a bad historical analogy I have seen so far this year.
— Russell Seitz
Jeffrey Lord replies:
Many thanks to Russell Seitz for illustrating precisely the problem with the modern American Left. Says Mr. Seitz: “When Jeffrey Lord was an infant, it [‘the existential threat to America,’ as Seitz phrases it] consisted in Axis forces comprising millions of troops, and thousands of ships and warplanes of a tripartite alliance supported by colonial resources captured from several of the greatest empires the world has ever known, and one of the nations in that axis being the acknowledged technological superior of Great Britain.”
The question, Mr. Seitz, is just how did all of what you describe materialize in the first place when at its core was one lone imprisoned Austrian corporal who was quite decidedly mad? Winston Churchill spent an entire decade pleading with his fellow Englishmen to stop Germany from becoming, as you describe, Great Britain’s technological superior. As the record tellingly shows, he was rebuffed over and over again.
The decided split between Americans in this election is between people who, figuratively, would dine on McDonald’s and cigars every meal for years and wonder why they “suddenly” have both heart disease and lung cancer, and those who believe exercise and a proper diet are the key to good health and the prevention of very bad things physical.
The only way to stop 19 fanatics with box cutters on a plane from becoming a government selling or handing off nuclear weapons to terrorists is to stop the fledgling Hitlers in their tracks. Whatever will unfold in our future, Saddam Hussein will not have nuclear weapons. Having followed liberal sentiments through the graces of the Clinton/Carter psychology in North Korea, all the rest of us must now face the consequences.
That, sir, is the core of the debate as I and many in the country see the current situation. And whatever happens in this election the issue, disturbingly, will not be settled.
The one thing you would have going for you up there in those Harvard precincts (Massachusetts being my native state) is that you are (presumably!) a Red Sox fan.
Such a choice means a lifetime of serious thinking about how things came to be.
Thanks for writing.
Re: Joseph M. Knippenberg’s Crunchy Kuo:
I watched the Kuo piece on 60 Minutes Sunday night with the little voice in the back of my head saying, “There’s something very important you’re not being told here.” I have followed the reaction to the piece this week and, finally, today (Thursday) your Joseph M. Knippenberg’s piece provides the missing piece when he writes, “…someone who once campaigned for and interned with the Kennedys.” What gets me is I could swear they (60 Minutes) were pushing him as a disaffected conservative — as though he really could be that with such a background.
Thanks for scratching the itch.
— Reid Bogie
After reading this article and watching David Kuo on 60 Minutes, I have to say he is one creepy man. As a Christian conservative, I prefer more assertive men who stand up for what they believe rather than taking notes for a “back-stabbing book.” The prissy Mr. Kuo joins the prissy Jim Baker in regarding politics as way too dirty for their lily-white hands. Go home, David, we need real men around here who will stand tall with our party and our President.
May I ask one question? Who among us hasn’t rolled their eyes at some whacked out pronouncement by Pat Robertson?
— Judy Beumler
Nice to see the Spectator continues the fine traditions of journalism established in the David Brock days.
— Jon Hayden
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s The Battle for Britistan:
Bravo! Basically, we have no Christian or civic responsibility to extend special privileges to Muslims anywhere. We owe them nothing beyond requiring them to abide strictly by the Laws of our respective Lands, and to otherwise respect and reverence traditional Anglosphere norms and values. Additionally, now is the right time for the Anglo-Catholic Church to reassert itself as the premiere and foundational apostle of our enlightened, liberal, and Christian civilization.
— Carl Gordon Pyper
Very interesting article expressing eloquently the mass astonishment which I sense most of us now feel towards a totally unbalanced tolerance of Islamic extremism (or at best Islamic militancy).
When is something going to be done in this country to readdress this misbalance, and by whom? When is the government going to get in tune with what the vast majority in the country feel as so clearly reflected across the country’s media?
— Dominic Softly
Perhaps we should import some British and Australian liberals to this country to teach ours about minimal standards. As everyone knows our liberals tolerate everything (Ms. Pelosi marching with the head of cult of pederasts; their heroine Cindy, smiling mindlessly, piggybacking the midget dictator of Venezuela), and so are completely unable to STAND for anything. In fact our liberals are against everything American: Christianity; morals, honor and love of and service to, country.
It seems our overseas cousins are finally waking up to the fact that Muslims do not assimilate, they colonize. I have been told by an attorney where I work a Muslim must be allowed to pray five times a day. Christians, however, are not permitted to do this because open displays of religion might be offensive to some. To me this makes no sense, but thank X (I don’t think I’m allowed to use the “G” word in public) for a liberal friend of mine who explained it thusly: “Christians are so overbearing in their zeal that they offend everyone. Muslims are very quiet about their religion and nobody even notices them.”
Welcome to intellect on the planet ClintonKerry-Heinz.
— Jason Brutus Kane
Palm City, Florida
DR. STRANGELOVE, I PRESUME
Re: Christopher Orlet’s Nuclear Dominoes:
Orlet is correct that we can’t stop any nation from acquiring nuclear weapons of some sort and he is equally correct that a world of nuclear-armed nations is subject to the whim of the least stable dictator or national leader. However, once the technology becomes available, it is inevitable that sooner or later all nations capable of mastering the technological advance will develop the weapon system.
During WWII, the Germans, Japanese and Russians all had a nuclear weapons program under development. We got there first, but if we hadn’t the Russians would have had a nuke without our unwitting help. They had their own “Manhattan Project” east of the Urals and simply lacked the resources, not the technical skill to develop a bomb. In 1943, under the Lend-Lease program, the Russian purchasing section in Washington D. C. issued a requisition to our government for 6,000 pounds of uranium oxide, a sure sign they were developing a nuclear weapon. Wisely, we refused that request.
Being first to develop a new weapons system grants us no special privileges or confers any unique responsibilities. The Germans developed the first cruise missile called the V-1 buzz bomb and the first ICBM called the V-2 rocket. With their development of sarin gas near the end of the war, Germany had a weapons system capable of depopulating London or Moscow. It took America years to catch up with the Germans, even after abducting their leading scientists. We didn’t hesitate to follow the German advances in rocketry and biological warfare and rightly so.
Americans have been steadily indoctrinated with a superstitious awe of nuclear war that wasn’t there in 1945. As Churchill dramatically said about the atom bomb: “It’s the Second Coming in wrath” and we fervently believe that. In fact, the American war experience illustrates how easy it is to ignore international agreements and moral principles when it comes to weapons systems. At one time, we were against submarine warfare directed at civilian shipping and terror bombing of enemy cities. Once WWII started, we dropped all reservations and were, along with the British armed forces, the leading practitioners of both forms of warfare.
The lesson is we just aren’t a “super” enough superpower to control weapon acquisition throughout the world. America doesn’t have friends or international responsibilities, we only have “interests.” Our interests should be the protection of Americans, not president of the world bloc club. I hope the Japanese are lying when they recently said they wouldn’t go nuclear in response to North Korea. And, if they’re not lying, they should be.
— Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Karr Trouble:
What’s wrong with the U.S. Media? Tyrrell is quite right, thank GOD for him. The sick, perverted, slug that is JMK should be ignored and consigned to the trashcan of human memory. The Media is just as sick as he is by giving the creep airspace, and worse, money!!
If there is anything to indicate moral degeneration, it is the way the slimy socialist left Media (and some of its rightist opposition which can’t help itself in pursuit of salacious material) crawl to this piece of human excreta.
But worse! Who are the Americans, who we are told are largely a morally upright nation, who watch this absolute crap? If they didn’t watch openmouthed, no one would speak to the sicko! Shame the lot of you!
— Bill McCall
UNDER THE GUN
Re: Bryan Dilts’ letter (under “Gun Wars”) in Reader Mail’s 300 Million in an Empty Space:
I do agree with you, Mr. Dilts, that guns do not guarantee freedom, just as I believe that guns are not responsible for crime. I also agree that it is the great mass of people who refuse to take abuse and are willing to fight for freedom. But if we ever get to that point of having to fight, I’d prefer to fight for it with a gun, not a baseball bat or a pitchfork, thank you. Think tyranny can’t happen in America? It did once. And it took a revolution and guns to remove it.
— Steve Stern
New Castle, Delaware
I had to laugh at the order of your letters regarding Ben Stein’s article “Pedophile Nation.” Rick Arand writes “No doubt, the libertines among us will caution us that this problem is solely the responsibility of parents.” This is immediately followed by a letter in which Elaine Kyle blames, well, parents. I have not had the good fortune to meet Elaine Kyle, but I would hazard a guess she is no libertine.
Actually, I would settle for a world in which liberals blamed parents, because it would at least be an admission that there is a problem. The likely alternative is a gradual “progressing” in the direction of treating the open sexuality of children as normal and positive.
You must admit the Democrats are addressing this issue. After all, they just expended great political capital to ensure that minors will have unfettered access to abortion centers in (more enlightened) neighboring states. As they will be happy to tell you, they did it for the children.
— Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
Great article! Now, when are we going to be outraged enough to do something? It takes all of us to stand up and we must for our kids. Thank God when I was a kid I had a decent upbringing , because it was a total shock to me when I found out that 3 of my 6th grade friends were sexually active. I’m thankful Ben is out there and bringing this up, but I hope more action is taken. Parents need to step up, because TV is not doing a good job of raising our kids anymore.
How convenient that Mr. Stein decides to speak up AFTER the Foley affair regarding child sexual exploitation.
In typical “conservative” fashion, he conveniently blames society when a Republican proves to be less than moral. This is a classic Republican response and it is becoming quite a bit ham-fisted and crude.
It seems when liberals have a misstep it is a reflection of some fatal, innate flaw in their character but when Republicans show their true colors, why, it must be society’s fault. For Republicans would NEVER take part in such twisted behavior if they were not goaded into it by the liberal media, movies, press, etc, etc.
I am sure Mr. Stein is relieved to know that Foley never actually HAD sex with any boys on Capitol Hill. How sad.
— Bill Dominick
The reader mail addressing G. Tracy Mehan’s “Doing Our Part” has been nearly as uplifting as the article itself. In addition to the much-deserved hurrahs, a letter from a Mr. Dave Rodolff served up the encouraging prospect of the near-term extinction of the authoritarian, depressing, cheerless and delusional Left. It seems their creed proscribes reproduction ! Say what you like about old Charlie Darwin, but keep that selective pressure firmly applied to the wound. We’re making lots more new voters than they are, eh ?
— Paul Kotik
After reading all the letters to the editor under “The More the Merrier,” I have decided that Mr. Rodolff has chosen the correct path. I urge him to continue along it.
— Herb Flanagan
Perhaps any misanthrope “can see that almost all of the world’s problems are due in some degree to overpopulation,” as does Mr. Rodolff, as long as they buy into the canards that he throws out as undisputed facts. To be honest, one must admit that there has not been any conclusive, monolithic agreement in the scientific community on either side of the global warming debate, in spite of what the media trumpets constantly. Also, I would argue that many of the problems listed are results of demographics and politics.
Yes, one may guess that the world is overcrowded when standing in the middle of downtown Tokyo, but wouldn’t that same person come to a different conclusion while standing in the middle of a cattle ranch in Montana? In today’s electronically connected society, is it really necessary for people to live major metropolitan areas in order to make a good living? Perhaps you can’t find a Starbuck’s on every third street corner of Podunk, IA, but are you really deprived of any of the necessities, and most luxuries, of life? If U.S. farmers alone could feed most of the current world population (how many are getting paid for not growing crops?!?), doesn’t that point to a problem of distribution, driven by politics? After all, what would drive some tin-pot dictator to rape the wealth of his country to live in opulence while allowing his people to starve? Is it truly a lack of food from generous and wealthy nations, such as the U.S., or is it a perverse thirst for power?
While Mr. Rodolff and I may agree in our concern about the morals and values of our future generations of children, we would certainly disagree about the cause of poor citizenship. I would argue that a child from a family that is open to life, whether they have one or ten children, will be far less self-centered than a child from a family with one or two designer, center-of-the-universe children, whose parents frequently, and loudly, sneer at the large family. I’ve seen both types of families, and the attitude of the parents is not lost on their children…”You have six!?! I can hardly handle my two little monsters!” And what about those who refuse to either marry or have children so they won’t be inconvenienced by the little crumb-crunchers: “We can’t travel whenever we want,” “we can’t live where we want,” “we can’t drive the car we want,” “we can’t have the careers we want,” or “we can’t afford the things we want.” Are the truly productive members of society going to be those who’ve been cultivated in an atmosphere of a me-centered universe of constant praise, adulation and self-fulfillment? One look at the cover of People will convince you otherwise….
— J. Rushing
Great Article — we’ve had similar responses and we only have 5 children!
I especially hate the one — do they have the same father? — while they stare at children that all look so much alike!
And we have found our children to be such an encouragement when we’ve gone through times of family sorrow and problems.
Yes — they are worth every dime and tear!! Now, hopefully when married, our kids will do their part!
— Jeff and Yolan Payne
Congratulations on Tracy Mehan’s article about his 7 children and his family’s contribution to American society. I know of home-schooling families with 10 children. Demographically, fundamentalist Christians are producing more conservative voters and consumers than the libs who are aborting theirs.
— Sam Blumenfeld
My wife and I sympathize and agree with Mr. Mehan. We have trooped into restaurants in “tolerant” Seattle with our seven children, and heard “breeders!” directed sotto voice our way. We have also been asked the rude, dumb questions. My favorite question and response is when people ask “Are you done yet?” and I reply, with blank innocence, “Done doing…what?” It’s funnier to watch the reaction when they know I’m a preacher.
Our children, with their greater social skills, stronger relationships, and experience in serving/served will be among tomorrow’s leaders in their fields. The large family dynamic will help them. I won’t even discuss their advantage as home schoolers; it would almost seem like cheating.
— John Brotnov
Did anyone else notice that none of the letters about large families were written by the MOMS? Guess they were just too tired to bother writing. I only had three boys, but writing was not high on my to do list.
— Elaine Kyle
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Indifference Anthems:
It occurs to me that when John Mayer commands gravity to refrain from invading his personal space, he may be focused on the wrong culprit. The more appropriate lyric, which I’m sure he would have used had he known the word would be: “Gravitas, stay the hell away from me!”
— Robin Boult