Re: Jeremy Lott’s Hold the Anvil:
I will let the calculus you propose stand. There is, however, a problem with that theory.
What if the next attack is Berlin, Germany? And the weapon used is a suitcase nuke? At that point will it really matter if there are diminishing returns?
— John McGinnis
Re: Quin Hillyer’s A Clear Plan? Where?:
It is understandable when a partisan weasel like Howard Dean demands instant success or complete surrender — shortening the time frame enhances frustration and the perception of defeat. It is less understandable when an often sane writer like your Mr. Hillyer loses patience. Demanding that Bush do something dramatic right away is wrong-headed and has the same effect as calls for a “timetable” or other device: it signals our enemies that we are not in it for the long haul.
The Marines say “Accept the Suck,” meaning that often sheer endurance is the only right response and the key to success. That attitude worked for Lincoln and FDR. We will only achieve quick victory when the enemy is convinced that we are not going anywhere anytime soon. We need to keep adjusting, keep working, keep thinking but mostly we need to persevere. Cynical demands for instant gratification and illusory promises put us on the road to Chappaquiddick instead of the road to peace and safety. Suck it up, Hillyer.
— George Tobin
North Potomac, Maryland
Send the Hillyer article of 9/13/06 to the White House.
— Mike Schewe
The plan in Iraq — now that Saddam’s hellish regime is no more, now that a democratically elected government is in place — is to stand with them until they can sustain, govern and defend themselves. As the Iraqis stand up, coalition forces will stand down. There is nothing very complicated about the plan, though the minutiae of ultimately achieving it are a constantly evolving thing. And so we evolve. The exact moment when the plan will be fully executed cannot be predicted, and I sense that is where much of Mr. Hillyer’s frustration lies.
The good news is the Iraqis’ willingness to step up in large numbers to join security forces and participate in government. They seem quite determined to realize democratic reform despite the setbacks. All the while, the Iraqis’ capabilities are increasing.
There is one thing the Iraqi government could do which, I believe, would change the entire dynamic. That would be to give every adult citizen a pro rata share of ownership in the national oil resources, and an annual dividend check — much as Alaska does. Doing so would give Iraqis a real stake in their country’s future. Of course, that is not a military solution and is not something Bush could impose on a sovereign nation.
Quin, I couldn’t have said this better but I must take a small exception with the choice of Grant as a successful example of military leadership. Grant was a butcher at best and had he had to work with the same limitations the Southern generals had, he would have lost more often than not.
In general, the North enjoyed a 3-5 to 1 advantage in manpower, material and finances throughout the entire war effort. In Lee and Stonewall Jackson’s most famous victory, Chancellorsville, the North enjoyed a 2 to 1 advantage. It was rare for the South to even approach parity on the battlefield. Add to this that the North lost a lot more men than the South and had a lot better medical services than the South. Grant’s performance at the Battle of the Cold Harbor in 1864 typifies his frontal assault butcher type tactics. He took 7000 causalities in the first 20 minutes and wanted to do it again. That his general staff and entire army refused to have a second go at assaulting dug in Confederates at Cold Harbor speaks to his tendency to just push pieces on a map rather than use his superior forces to out maneuver, cut off and overwhelm a vastly inferior force. Anyone can win with 2-3 to 1 advantage in manpower and material over 4 years time period. His men did the fighting and dying; He just had the courage to take reckless risks with their lives.
It isn’t so much the lack of aggressiveness of our current generals as the lack of combat infantry forces and material support from this Nation that drives our results in the War on Terror and Iraq. The people in charge know how long it takes to build and train the forces they have and simply will not engage in a war of attrition like Grant did given the limited force levels they have at hand. Grant was the best Lincoln could get out of the Northern Blue State forces. Stonewall Jackson would have crushed him with equal forces. We need more combat infantry forces and people in charge that these forces will rally behind. We need to be the meanest dog on the block where we place our footprint. Not another Ulysses S. Grant please.
— Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
I would like to say that Mr. Hillyer’s article is not only timely, but very much spot on. Unfortunately, the truth lies elsewhere.
First, this article would have been timely 2 years ago or so. That is when the Bush administration started showing signs that they wanted a more politically correct war. There should have been, in fact, a deluge of articles coming from the political right pointing out the extreme impropriety of the “Mission Accomplished” speech and photo op on the aircraft carrier. Wasn’t there a single adult in the White House that would stand up and tell little Georgie that this was not the thing to do?
But no, the political right was totally consumed with defending El Presidente against all the “unfair” attacks from the mean old Dems. Once again the GOP stepped back and waited to see what the Dems’ take on the speech would be, and then came out strong against that. Nevertheless, that was the time to be issuing the advice contained in the latest article by Mr. Hillyer.
Secondly, the war fighting plan and finding fighting generals (a.k.a. Lincoln) to implement it. I would like to seriously opine that there are a plethora of fighting generals ready, willing, and able to lead our troops on to a total victory is a relatively short time frame. They cannot do it, however, under politically correct rules of engagement, and politically correct rules of interrogation, etc.
And I will state my complete belief that the relevant decisions came from above Don Rumsfeld’s pay grade. It is an absolute travesty and total immorality to expose the finest military known to history to this pacifistic way of fighting a ruthless and vicious enemy. We will NEVER win the grudging respect of either our enemies or our supposed friends by this tactic. Instead they become more and more convinced that the United States CAN be bullied successfully.
I have written before that collateral damage (a.k.a. civilian casualties) are a terrible consequence in war. They are, however, collateral. Pardon me, but Anbar province is totally amenable to pacification. It is simple. First kill all the fighters caught with weapons on them. Second, root out and kill the “civilian” enablers. Third, make the rest of the population know that they are next in the food chain. Will that make them love us? No! Will it make them stop planting IEDs and ambushing us? Probably?
Can we get real for a change? We have an enemy that wears civilian clothes and lives and works among the civilian population. They, in fact, are the fathers, and brothers, and sons, and husbands of the people of the area. So how do you determine who, exactly, is an innocent civilian and who is truly the enemy. Oh, and you have a nanosecond to make the determination because the air is filled with AK-47 rounds and RPGs. Oh and another hint, one of the enemy is named al Sadr, and he needs to have a fatal accident. Hint 2, Sunni mosques are primary recruiting grounds for the enemy and are packed with weapons and ammunition. It might be a very good idea if some of the worst of these suffered mysterious explosions that utterly destroyed them.
A good first step could be to bring all the JAGs back home and put them to work finding and prosecuting the leakers of national security secrets in time of war, and also prosecuting the media (the leakees) that publishes such secrets. Then the warriors could once again be warriors.
A good second step might be a change in the POTUS schedule. Bush has been real good about setting aside time each week to visit the wounded in the service hospitals and has often scheduled private meeting with the families of our KIAs. That is truly great, but I am wondering if it has softened him to the exigencies of warfare and brought on this need to convert to a more politically correct way of waging the war.
Well, I am not a Spectator< columnist, just a concerned reader over the age of consent. This has gotten almost as long as the original article. Nuf’ said.
— Ken Shreve
Quin Hillyer replies::
Mr. Bateman and Mr. Shreve are both on target. First, Mr. Shreve: The better time for criticism, as you suggest, was indeed two years ago. And some, such as John McCain, did criticize from the right. (McCain undermined his own criticism by his witch-hunt against administration “torturers,” but he did at least argue for more troops and more military aggressiveness in Iraq.) Among the critics from the right was William Kristol. I was such a critic then, too, but have no way of proving it, because I lost out on all the editorial board discussions at my old newspaper whenever I proposed criticizing in the way Mr. Shreve suggests. As for Mr. Bateman, of course Grant was a bit of a butcher, and of course Stonewall Jackson (and “Old Pete” Longstreet!) were his betters in terms of tactics, etc. But that doesn’t detract from my point that Grant at least was willing to fight; since nobody else in the North could out-general the Jacksons, Longstreets and Lees, his solution did, militarily speaking, at least have the virtue of being successful. I am saying, perhaps not as eloquently as Mr. Shreve, that since we have not been successful using more nuanced tactics, now might be the time to fight like Grant… which is not a great solution, but is at least better than the alternative of failing to win. And since fighting like Grant requires the same over-preponderance of military personnel that Grant had, this supports my call (and Kristol’s, and Rich Lowry’s, and others’) for more troops to do the job. With those explanations, I thank both Mr. Shreve and Mr. Bateman for their intelligent contributions to the discussion!
Re: Michael Fumento’s Stunning Lies:
Michael Fumento complains molecular geneticist “Lanza has always been more salesman than scientist, constantly inveighing against the federal funding restrictions that restrict the growth of his bank account. Yet the media treat him as an impartial source on all things stem cell. Welcome to the world of ESC ‘science’ — about 10 percent research and 90 percent hype.”
In the course of selling his lethally mistaken book, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, Mr. Fumento, whose work as a war correspondent I admire, was candid enough to tell CNN “I have no scientific qualifications” a fact reflected in the number of his research publications — zero.
If the metric of credibility of “an impartial source on all things stem cell” is research divided by financial incentive, then Fumento had better be as complete an amateur as this attempt at science writing suggest, lest Lanza prevail by default.
So why don’t you send him a copy of Fumerto’s [sic] latest, and ask him to comment? In some quarters, this is known as peer review. Try it sometime — you may be pleasantly surprised.
— Russell Seitz
Michael Fumento replies:
I would be delighted that Mr. Seitz remembered a quote of mine from 16 years ago — had it actually been something I said. The closest thing I would have said would be that I have no formal scientific or medical training, but I do have something better — an impeccable track record. That includes my AIDS book, which was absolutely on target on every aspect. Mr. Seitz, on the other hand, can’t even spell my name correctly. Personally, I would rather have my car fixed by somebody who has been fixing cars for 16 years (actually 19 since I first began writing on AIDS) than somebody with a rotten track record like Lanza but has a degree in “car-ology.” Indeed, as I wrote, Mr. Lanza’s latest study has been criticized by virtually everybody who’s anybody who doesn’t work for Mr. Lanza’s company. That not only includes ESC research supporters but the very journal that published it, which has promised a correction. How curious that Nature won’t stand by Lanza’s work but Seitz will.
Re: David Hogberg’s Look Back in Anger:
Yes, I am angry for all the reasons you listed. Thanks for a great article.
— Elaine Kyle
My anger is focused mostly on the press. The network news and the news print publications have shown themselves incapable of presenting anything of depth or complexity. The networks give new meaning to the word “shallow” in their sound bite and agenda-driven culture. Objective truth is a foreign concept to the press. Five years after 9/11 and they still can’t present a factual presentation of the facts. Three years after the Valerie Plame affair broke and almost as long after the Special Prosecutor knew who leaked her name, we still don’t know what this investigation was all about. The print press is just one click above the National Inquirer in it usefulness on topics of National importance. Some may argue that the print press is below the tabloids in this regard. Congress declares war but we aren’t at war according to 48 percent of the population and their mouthpieces in Congress. The courts are running our war effort and no one in the press sees a Constitutional problem with that. Treasonous actions are taken by the press and no one goes to jail. The enemy doesn’t have a press corps so our Press volunteers to be theirs it seems. The press turns every war related death into a national tragedy while having no concept of how to handle a real tragedy like Katrina. It gives more airtime to its own fallen than any of those actually doing heroic work under extremely dangerous conditions. The only thing missing from this sorry state of affairs is Mike Wallace or Jimmy Carter interviewing Bin Laden on 60 Minutes. Stay tunedâ€¦
— Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
Mr. Hogberg’s “Getting Angry” piece lodges in this military mother’s heart and rings with resolve and determination that we finish and fight the good fight. After the last ten days of the Democrats’ whining, whimpering, posturing, and deliberately treasonous behavior, I had wondered if it was only military families who knew without moral ambiguity why we are fighting. After reading his piece I am now confident there is at least one more person who “gets it.”
Were we not in a struggle for our survival there would be plenty of time for evaluating missteps but we had better come fully awake as a nation and understand that some hate cannot be explained and even if it was the guiding emotion behind it is bigger than the ability to change the hearts of those who adopt its behavior. Frankly, I do not care if we ever understand jihad…just that we hold on to the nation built on the sweat and tears of many who believed in establishing freedom.
My first awakening to the idea that some people are guided by hate and other destructive emotions happened in Germany many years ago when a group of terrorists tried to kidnap our children. My husband was an Army officer and commander of an airfield and aviators whose mission was to mind the borders. When the attempt failed I didn’t waste anytime musing about why anyone would want to hurt our family, I simply gave thanks to God for His protection and became more vigilant. I understood that there are some things we do not have to understand, we simply need to oppose it as strongly as possible.
And so it is here in America. We face an election soon. Military families everywhere are wondering whether or not voters understand that one party diminishes America and would leave us weak. We would spend the next two years locked in impeachment with troops abandoned and our enemies attacking because they consider us easy targets. When I hear Democrat candidates talking about yanking spending on our military who are fighting the good fight to keep us free, I can easily imagine our men and women left to the hands of jihadists. It is a living nightmare.
Reasoned people would do well to listen to the voice of the Islamic jihadists. They offer death. They offer imposition of a Sharia ruled state with no freedoms for anyone. This election is important, voting is paramount and fixing our eyes on keeping what freedoms we have now, easily the most defendable. So as you vote, remember those whose blood is shed…just for the privilege of your well-being.
— Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher
I also get angry when I take a retrospective look at how we are fighting this War on Terror. One can parallel an American business model to analyze the war, and it would appear that government’s desire to micro-manage the entire effort hampers the efficiency of our fighting forces to efficiently kill the enemy with less cost, time, and lives.
The endless oversight drains the military of its energy to focus on the tactics and strategies of the terrorists much like over taxation and regulation kill business. It also taxes the public’s patience and resolve and clouds any progress our troops make by attempting to draw moral distinctions between us and our enemies.
The constant nit-picking and carping from partisans who failed to, or have no courage to make difficult choices stifles our military and diplomatic abilities to present a unified case. All this is being done to satisfy a constituency far removed from the battlefield that didn’t want to be bothered by any outside inconveniences that upset their pre-conceived worldview.
The government needs to get the hell out of the way and let Americans fight and WIN this stinkin’ war!
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Question: Where is your proof that “nineteen Islamofascist thugs murdered nearly 3,000 innocent human beings”… and I expect an answer which does not involve you shrugging your shoulders and grinning smugly. I expect a cohesive answer with your evidence and proof to back it.
Second Question: You go on about the heroism of your troops… but tell me this, what has 9/11 got to do with Iraq? I would be oh so pleased if you could tell me why 100,000 Innocent Iraqi’s had to die because of an event their country had NOTHING to do with. even if you are right about the 19 Arabs … THEY WERE ALL SAUDIS and MORROCANS… NONE OF THEM CAME FROM AFGHANISTAN OR IRAQ. FACT!
Third question: What the HELL do you know about Freedom… your country acts like a spoilt child rampaging around the world destroying the freedom of others. There are buildings in my country that are older than your country (i.e. Scotland), when your country is mature enough to gain respect rather than resentment around the world… then and only then will you be able to call yourself a great nation. Scotland is world renowned for its achievements particularly being a nation of only 5 million, we have a pride in our global friendships and relations, you only despise and are despised by others.
I will answer your question “Am I angry?”… Yes I am angry… I am angry at those who wish to erode and destroy our freedoms. I am angry at people like you, Mr. Hogberg.
You know the people of the world have a picture in their heads of what the stereotypical American redneck would look and act like… now I know.
— Bongo Don
WEATHER OR NOT
Re: Patrick J. Michaels’s California Retro:
I wanted to compliment Patrick Michaels on his piece about the Green movement in general, and global warming specifically. What he said in a short piece is what most conservatives with critical thinking skills have known for a long time: that barring a nuclear event or some other disaster, man has almost no ability to alter weather patterns. What most of us also know is that the global warming hoax is all about what most of life is about: money and politics (control). The fact that so many people have come to believe this hoax, and that it is being passed off by the media as “fact,” is not only a sad commentary on the ability of people to actually think through issues, but is downright scary.
— Glenn Hansen
I am going to be watching this with interest to see just how many companies are going to be heading to the CA border. They really do need a big fence along the whole California border with the rest of the U.S. to keep in all the fruits and nuts.
— Elaine Kyle
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s The Blame Game:
Instead of citing a defense of the Bush legacy, just ask any Dem this question: How can we expect the Dems to be tough on Terrorists when they are afraid of looking bad on a TV docudrama?
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
I really appreciated Lisa’s article “The Blame Game.” I often defend George W. Bush and grow weary of hearing people attribute things like the wane of the moon and the decomposition rates of landfill garbage to our president. I am glad that Lisa is trying to create unity in our party and support for our president.
Our president is doing a great job — we should be thankful for him and stand up for him.
— Adam Jones
Look at me! I’m attacking the most powerful man in the world. Does that make me powerful, mommy?
— David Govett
READER MAIL EXCHANGE
Re: Reader Mail’s Nervous Time:
In his letter regarding jihadist murderers, Mr. Warshawsky wrote, “As desperately as Tucker might try, there can be no denying the ‘clash of civilizations’ between Islam and the West.” I take exception to his term “clash of civilizations,” with respect to our enemies.
Western civilization, epitomized by the United States, consists of people living in a free society, governed by democratically elected public officials responsible to the voters, indeed, “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Other basic components of our civilization are freedom of religion, freedom of speech, equality before the law, the rule of law, and all the other freedom guaranteed, not “granted” but guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
Ours is a society that wants to see every citizen have the opportunity to live a full and productive life, in a manner chosen by said individual citizen, irrespective of sex, skin color, religious persuasion, or lack of same. (There are overbearing bullies in our society, but they account for a small percentage of the whole.)
Now consider the society our enemies, the Islamic jihadists would impose upon us. The Constitution would be replaces with the barbaric “law,” the Shariah, under which the so-called “clerics” of Islam would rule every aspect of our lives. Women would become chattels, religious freedom would cease to exist (submit or die!), criticism of these rulers would result in execution of the critic. We would descend from the free society we are today, to the abysmal depths of a 7th century theocratic totalitarian hell-hole. Bear in mind that the concept that it must replace all other religions, note that carefully, all other religions, is the fundamental concept of Islam. Even supposed “moderate” Muslims have stated publicly that their ultimate goal is for the United States to be come an Islamic state, with the Constitution replaced by the Shariah.
The reality is precisely what President Bush said on Monday night. This is not a clash of civilizations, because what our enemies would impose upon us, if they emerge victorious, is not a “civilization,” in any sense of the word. Our fight is to preserve civilization from an onslaught by uncivilized fanatics. We must defeat this enemy, no matter how long that may take, because the alternative is unacceptable.
I expect some comments from the usual gaggle of apologists for our enemies, those who do not want to recognize the reality of who the enemy is, and the extent of the threat that enemy poses, because they lack the courage necessary for the fight.
— W. B. Heffernan
After reading his second letter, it appears that Patrick Skurka really does have it in for Franklin Roosevelt. Consider the plot line. In his first paragraph, Skurka accuses FDR of holding MacArthur (a potential political rival) back by under-supplying him. In the second paragraph, MacArthur convinces FDR to approve an unnecessary all-out assault on the Japanese in the Philippines. In the third paragraph, the crafty FDR is now holding MacArthur back by, well, over-supplying him. And in the final paragraph, FDR is accused of wanting to stand by our allies when they are attacked. Oh, the humanity!
As for his final sentence, it doesn’t matter if America acquired the Philippines by cutting a deal with Voldemort. The Japanese at the time of World War II were still imperialists.
— Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
Re: The note from Elaine Kyle: Quite simply, the GOP has lost sight of what it should and used to stand for. They are now more interested in maintaining their majorities and staying in office. Remember — he who rules the chamber names the committee chairmen and can (in many cases) dictate the size and make-up of those committees. That’s why Specter was backed in Pennsylvania, and Harris was not backed in Florida. The first time gave us Mel Martinez, a worthless politician who has “I was a Cuban refugee tattooed on his back.” The second time she won the election and the Florida GOP is treating her as if she were a Communist for daring to defy the wisdom of the party elites. They didn’t think she could win in the general election. It seems that they would rather support a Democrat than a loyal party member who was instrumental in getting President Bush elected the first time.
The Chafee fiasco is no different. Nowadays, control is more important than representing their constituents. I disagree with RINO, however — he is more of a Republican WISH (When It Suits Him).
Between gerrymandering and the current primary election system, the electorate does not have a chance and the politicians don’t care what we think.
— C.D. Lueders
P.S. Don’t know what’s in the water down there in Cut and Shoot, but you really should write a book!
The reason we back the RINO’s against the Dems is to prevent Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi…2 steps from the White House.
— Elaine Cunn
Re: David Hogberg’s Losing Senate Races:
Mr. David Hogberg’s article, “Losing Senate Races,” analyzes whether the Republicans are about to lose Senate seats (answer — yes, they are), but does not say why.
A vote for the Republicans over the Democrats is a vote to complete the socialization of America in twenty years instead of ten.
A vote for the Republicans over the Democrats is a vote to lose or surrender the Global War on Terror ten years instead of five.
A vote for the Republicans over the Democrats is a vote for pro-life rhetoric versus pro-abortion action.
A vote for the Republicans is not even a vote for pro-traditional marriage rhetoric, except for about five weeks in advance of an election.
I’ll be voting with the Constitution Party this time. To those who say I’m wasting my vote, let me ask — what exactly do you think the Republicans will do with your vote once you give it to them?
— Byron Keith
Re: William Tucker’s Overprivileged Children:
If the only common thread between the SDS, the Beider-Manhoff gang, the Red Brigades and the Al Qaeda founder is a trip through the secondary education system of the West, then maybe the critics of the War on Terror are on to something after all. Maybe we DO have the wrong people chained up in Gitmo…
— Martin Owens