Outstanding Work - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Outstanding Work

Re: Ben Stein’s How to Loose to Terrorists, David Hogberg’s They Haven’t Changed, and Jeffrey Lord’s Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform:

Most days, I’m happy by finding one article worth copying, and reading offline. Today, however, I hit the trifecta.

Jeff Lord just sliced and diced the Cape Cod Orca’s (a.k.a. U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy) self-serving column in Sunday’s Washington ComPost. Pointing how the senator’s 180-degree shifts in the confirmation process should be proof enough of the senator’s hypocrisy.

Then David Hogberg sliced and diced the GOP members of Congress and their efforts to rein in spending. Finally, there was Ben Stein’s comments on the Israeli-Hezbollah War pointing out the hypocrisy of the left.

Keep up the outstanding work.
Tim Wise
Arlington, Virginia

Re: Ben Stein’s How to Lose to Terrorists:

Ben is once again right on the money. When Germany, notice I didn’t just say the Nazis, attacked unarmed civilians in Europe and bombed civilians in London the appropriate response was to bomb the heck out of German cities to not only to destroy their military capabilities, but to demoralize the civilian population. The same population that allowed Hitler to rise to power. We, the allies, killed thousands of civilians, but what would have been the result if we hadn’t. The same situation existed in Japan. If we hadn’t fire bombed the cities and annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese with nuclear weapons, the Japanese army and civilians would have fought to the death rather than surrender which would have meant hundreds of thousands U.S. military personnel would have died. Like General Sherman said, “War Is Hell,” and those who perpetuate it must be dealt with appropriately.
Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

Here, here, Mr. Stein! How to Lose to Terrorists! Mr. Stein hit the ball out of the park on this one! I know as a loyal American, I agonize over our losses in Iraq. We do the same for Israel when one of their brave sons are lost, so why doesn’t the MSM understand this and recognize their one sided coverage? Mr. Stein writes about the inhumane way Hezbollah has killed people worldwide. He shows our past history and why ‘Nam was lost. We need to wake up and understand we will all die, as the Islamic terrorists have promised, if we don’t change our tactics and forget “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”! It is a leftist tactic that will destroy our freedom and in time of war, kill our people. War is not humane, and our enemy understands that. Let our military do their job. You never tell a professional how to do his job. It is an old adage that works well.
Jan McCallister
Washougal, Washington

Ben once again captured the essence of the debate over the current conflict in the Middle East. I used to believe that the intellectual elite, liberals, leftists or whatever label you want to assign them were simply misguided knaves operating from a false view of human nature. While that is true, there is something else in play here. As much as I have resisted the idea, I am now convinced that these people are incapable of distinguishing right from wrong because they filter everything through the lens of relativism. That is why they adopt ridiculous slogans like “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Because of this jaded view they cannot discern the difference between the actions of terrorists and those of a nation trying to defend itself against unprovoked attacks.

Of course, I could be overlooking a more sinister possibility. Maybe these folks just hate democracy and view this as an opportunity to undermine a political system standing in the way of their plan for world domination. Wait a minute, that sounds suspiciously like what a terrorist would think! Hmmm…is there a connection here?
Rick Arand
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

If we have the patience we will not have to stoop to “terror for terror” tactics to win this war. These maniacs will sooner rather than later attack us in a way that will unleash the dogs of war such as has never been seen before. Living as I do within 15 miles of a nuke plant, a nuke sub refueling base, and across the river from one of the few liquid natural gas terminals on the east coast, I am well aware that my family is put at risk by this strategy. I believe it would be better to let it all unfold with out compromising our basic principles. I love you, Ben.

To date I haven’t heard one word from the UN or Kofinancially and Morally Corrupt Anan crying about civilian deaths in Israel from rockets being launched from Lebanon or Gaza. Please don’t tell me it’s because the intended recipients are Jews! The UN would never sanction that, right? Two thousand years of Christianity in Europe and fourteen hundred years of Islam in the Middle East and their governments and people are still morally bankrupt. The only ones worse are leftists without religion. And just marginally, at that!
Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Ben is right on almost all counts (as usual), but he shouldn’t call the Israeli response ‘terror tactics’, which it most certainly is not. What Israel has done is respond forcefully to provocation, including a great number of indiscriminate missile attacks on civilian targets in Israel. It is entirely fair and right for them to respond with all the force they have, until they win.

The responsibility for civilian casualties in Lebanon rests on:

1.) The civilians who choose to remain in the vicinity of Hezbollah’s launching pads;

2.) The Hezbollah combatants who deliberately hide behind civilians in contravention to the rules of warfare;

3.) The Hezbollah leaders who use such tactics then cynically exploit the victims by using images of them in the media war.

Ben’s tone was a little pessimistic. All is not lost. Here are a few encouraging lessons from the conflict thus far:

A. The markets (including the crude oil market) liked what they saw in the first days of the conflict. Why? Because the first days’ fighting showed how fundamentally weak Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Taliban, etc., etc., are, when confronted by a single-minded foe who is not cowed by the media or other PC considerations. The markets last week “priced in” their hopes that the United States would follow Israel’s lead in unrestrained warfare. The upcoming week may tell us if the U.S. will indeed follow Israel’s lead, or, if it will foster the Iraq-quagmire mode in this conflict. Look for a downturn in the markets if a cease-fire takes place. Look for stability if the conflict continues.

B. If the United States were to join in, this whole thing would be over in a matter of weeks. I base this opinion on the tremendous progress made by Israeli forces in so little time.

C. There is no substitute for total victory. Any “cease-fire” requests should be perceived as tactical time outs for Hezbollah.

D. We really need to be out of the United Nations. Tom DeLay is beginning anew a push to bring to the floor HR 1146, the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act,” authored by Ron Paul in 2003. We all should support it. Leaving the UN is the ultimate “Idea Whose Time Has Come.” It is no longer hyperbole to say that the UN encourages terrorism and foments corruption and war worldwide. It is just fact. Americans want no part of it. Henceforth, candidates who promote HR 1146 are not only going to be considered mainstream, they are going to start getting elected.

E. The difference between the way Israel is approaching the war against Islamic fascism, and the way the United States is approaching it, is simply that the Israelis make no bones about the fact that their survival is at stake. The American people deep down know their survival is at stake, too, but they are obtuse about it. Americans will continue to be obtuse about it until some unspeakable catastrophe occurs, or, until they noodle out what a serious threat they face. Let’s hope they noodle it out before the catastrophe.

F. What needs to be done by the United States is simply implementing what the President has said, “You are either with the terrorists or with us.” It was, if you think about it, a helluva(n) ultimatum on his part. It meant that we cannot be neutral in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. We must join forces with the Israelis. Otherwise we are, on his terms, siding with Hezbollah. If it means enlarging this conflict to involve the destruction of Iran’s nuclear plant, and maybe more, then, that needs to be done.

G. Occupying Iran, or Syria, or Lebanon, or Iraq, etc., is unnecessary. Occupation is conducive to further conflict. What is needed is destruction of the terrorists’ ability to wage war, mostly by destroying most of them, along with anything and anyone standing nearby them. Is it a surrender on our part to no longer want to help create democracies in the Middle East, as were our plans in Iraq and Afghanistan? No, democracy-building was a typically magnanimous, American “grande idee” that did not fly, because the people we were trying to help did not really care to live free and in peace. (Does this remind anybody of another time and place?)

H. The American people (the President, too, I believe) are facing up to the reality that these people enjoy being primitives. They enjoy being in a constant state of warfare, hatred, poverty, conflict, co-dependency, envy, manipulation, cowardice, oppression, ignorance, and self-destruction unto death (which they call martyrdom). It is their culture, and they will be the first to tell you that they are proud of it. And a great part of their dysfunctionality, their “mass psychopathology,” is in their perpetual engaging and testing of their perceived opponents. If they test them and see weakness, they advance. If they see resoluteness and force, they cower and crumble and run. They are that hard to read. We need now to disengage from their sick game. It is not America’s game. America’s game is peace and work and prosperity. Theirs is eternal strife, laziness, and blaming others. War is about the most productive thing these people can do.

I. This whole thing can take weeks, or it can take decades. The world saw last week that it might take weeks, and it was relieved. So was I, and so were most of my colleagues at work. So were the President and Condi and “Blair”. Let’s make it take weeks.
Francis Dillon

1.) It’s beginning to look as if Hezbollah is not so much terrorist as a popular civilian army recruited in response to the Israeli army’s barbarism on their last tour of Lebanon.

2.) One apology too many and one begins to question whether it is genuine or just the thing to do.

3.) For those who hear nothing but spin eventually it comes down to human values. Watching the school yard bully beating the 90 lb weakling who wont stay down eventually puts one in a philosophical frame of mind and leads to a re-consideration of the well known law of nature — Might is Right. It has been done before and those who did it remain satisfied with their choice — think WW II.

If Americans had seen WWII in real time — the thousands dead at Iwo Jima, Omaha Beach, and elsewhere — it’s debatable whether the outcome would have been the same. Ignorance is not only bliss, it is victory.
David Govett
Davis, California

Thank YOU.
The Pattons

Re: Jed Babbin’s Israel as George Bush:

Jed Babbin is almost 100% right. But, alas, he misses a key point when he says that “such media operations are just as important as the combat operations.” In this era of the 24 hour news cycle and agenda driven media, there isn’t such a thing as just as. A proactive, forward leaning, and positive public information offensive must be an integral part, an integral front, if you will, in the overall war effort. It must begin on or before the military effort and continue without let up until hostilities cease and the battle is truly over. Mark Twain once remarked that a lie can travel twice around the world before the truth can get its pants on. Hezbollah’s bravura use of the information weapon in this conflict proves Twain’s accuracy and the importance of the media weapon in today’s environment.

As viewed from these humble precincts, Israel has made two absolutely fatal errors in this conflict. The first was its belief that air power could somehow “surgically” uproot and destroy a fighting force that was dug in (at depths up to 100 feet) with massive amounts of weaponry amidst civilians literally held hostage as human shields. The second was its abject failure to mount a massive public information offensive from the very beginning. If you are facing the equivalent of an Okinawa with a tunneled enemy, you must have boots on the ground and a willingness to accept the necessary casualties to root them out and kill them; it’s the only way to win. You must also be willing to use your information weapon as a vaccine against enemy disinformation on your flanks and to reinforce the reasons why you must fight.
Frank Stevenson
Williamsburg, Virginia

I keep thinking that I am going to read a Jed Babbin column and totally disagree with it. It hasn’t happened yet. Jed sure hits the sore spot in today’s column.

I have been of the opinion that it would be impossible to find an administration that is as inept at waging the PR war as the Bush administration. I didn’t think that it was possible to mess up this aspect as seriously as George Bush has done.

Now I am not sure. Israel certainly is competitive in this aspect of messing up a war plan. I am not sure if the world media hates George Bush or Israel the worst, so it is hard to handicap the outcome. Israel, however, is in the region and is a small country compared to America, and the populations are not comparable, so the result of failing the PR war test are much more dire for Israel.

There is one other thing about all this negative PR about “civilian” casualties and “innocent women and children” that I have not seen discussed. How many of these “civilians” are the wives and children and relatives of the Hezbollah warriors themselves? Maybe that is why so many of them do not leave the area. Jed indicates that Hezbollah won’t let them leave. What if Mamma and the kids simply don’t want to leave Pop during the fighting?

I think that the analysts and talking/writing heads, including Jed, may be underestimating the extent to which the general population is in total support of Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. as far as exterminating Jews and wiping out the Western culture. Now I don’t get paid significant money to think these thoughts, but I have been around for a rather long while, and I have observed a few things. I am very skeptical about how many people that adhere to the Islamic faith actually oppose the Jihadist and their aims, and that includes the ones that are American citizens.
Ken Shreve

Mr. Babbin is entirely correct concerning his analysis of the current situation in Lebanon and there are two major reasons why.

First, warfare has changed since the Second World War. Now, wars are fought as much on our television screens as in the field. And that opens up an entirely new front in any war. In Iraq, does anyone remember the pictures of the mass graves, filled with the bodies of thousands, being unearthed? No. But everyone remembers the picture of a pyramid of naked men who where never physically harmed. From Vietnam, does anyone remember the entire villages slaughtered by the Viet Cong or the thousands murdered after the war by the North Vietnamese government during their cleansing and re-education of the people of the South? No. But everyone remembers the picture of the young girl running down the road with her clothing blown off by U.S. bombing. And what about the thousands of pictures and hours of video tape and film of U.S. troops and their allies helping the civilian populations of Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere? Did all of this media simply disappear into the Bermuda Triangle? The media war can never be won by anyone who acts in good faith for the good of a greater number and it can never be won by any free government in the world. Why? Simply because those who comprise the news media stand against everything that freedom involves and for authoritarianism. For this reason, when faced with serious situations, governments should not even bother to try. They should simply do what must be done to satisfy their duty to protect their citizens and worry about public opinion later. After all, if a man is firing a rifle at your family through your living room window, are you going to poll your neighbors to see how they feel about allowing you to shoot him to terminate his potentially deadly behavior? It is the responsibility of the Lebanese government to evacuate the non-combatants in the area. Israel has given them the corridors to use and safe conduct, which is much more than Hezbollah has done.

Second, Israel cannot carry the fight to either Syria or Iran alone. And, she has no allies who are willing to commit military resources (troops) to that endeavor at the present time. Even her staunchest ally, the U.S., is not willing to carry their assistance that far. So far, the U.S. has engaged in foot dragging and even active intervention in the UN Security Council, and elsewhere, to allow Israel the time it needs to hammer Hezbollah into the ground in southern Lebanon, as well as re-supplying Israeli munitions stores at a phenomenal rate. The U.S. has their own plans with regard to the threat posed by Iran and committing forces to an invasion of either Syria or Iran is not a viable option at this time.

Finally, Israel is very much alone in this endeavor. At home, their appeasement factions are crying for a return to the status quo of three months ago. The Lebanese government will not help for two reasons. First, it is not a truly free government. To a large extent, Syria still controls that country. Second, the Lebanese army, what little of it is not sympathetic to Hezbollah, has no stomach for a fight. The Arab states, though fearful of the Iranian menace, have internal problems of their own. The Europeans have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo in the region for as long as they can, for both economic reasons and to pander to their own radical Islamic populations, and wish to see the fighting stop before there is an Israeli victory. Russia and China see the situation in the Middle East as to their advantage as long there is no decisive end to radical Islamic terrorism in the region. A low level terrorist conflict is viewed as a means of pinning down the United States while Russia and China, in particular, go about their own activities. Access to oil is a consideration for the U.S., as it is with most industrialized nations.

This has been a long way of agreeing with Mr. Babbin, for which I apologize. He is absolutely correct to say that the Israelis have got to turn off their television sets, ignore everyone else, including the U.S., and move forward with the objective of clearing Hezbollah out of Lebanon, even if takes leveling every building from the border to Beirut. Otherwise, they will have lost and sacrificed lives and international good will for nothing. Non-combatants must be protected as much as possible, but this is war not the police dealing with a lone barricaded subject. People who do not leave the area are liable to get killed. And if the Lebanese government is unwilling or unable to provide for the safe removal of non-combatants, then they have as little reason to exist as the group holding non-combatants as shields.
Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Re: David Hogberg’s They Haven’t Changed:

Just to let David Hogberg know, yes I am sitting out the election this year because I feel we have been duped, double crossed, ignored, and taken for fools. I thought the conservatives won the election in both the Congress and the executive but I was wrong. It was all about saying one thing to get elected, as usual, and then doing just the opposite. What ever happened to fiscal responsibility, a comprehensive energy policy that really means something other than finger waving, and border security. No thanks, I’ve had it. I can hardly hold my head up in the watering hole when my Democrat drinking companions chide about the failures of the U.S. President and Congress.
Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

David Hogberg points out the wild spending spree of other peoples’ money by the Republican Congress, even as the average peon labors almost half the year to finance government excesses. He might also add to the Republican Congress’s debacle the build-crash repetition of failed Constitutional amendments to stop homosexual marriage and flag-burning, and the awe-inspiring nonsense of Congress attempting to take the pledge of allegiance out of judicial hands. This sleight-of-hand idiocy is intended to deflect attention away from the financial fiascos they created, the illegal alien invasion they allowed to happen, and the out-of-control government regulations strangling the average business person and individual dealing with government bureaucracies. The out-of -touch arrogance of Republican politicians making the rounds of lap-dog talk show hosts is another way they drive Republican to stay home come election time. Is there even one Republican elected official willing to stand up for the average American?
Caroline Miranda
North Hollywood, California

Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform:

In his self-indulgence, he killed a woman. In his self-absorption, he left her entombed in a Buick while he conferred with his advisers to confect his story. Nothing about his behavior since manifests any indicia of reflective thought on the gravity of his actions and, now, he is an elder statesman of the Democrat party. He is the lurid princeling foster child for the socialist nanny-state; living by the credo “Do as I say and pay no attention to what I do.” His erratic behavior on the Judiciary Committee is wholly in character and if he can lay off killing someone so easily, why would he care that he fosters the destruction of the judicial appointment process. Clearly, he does not think that deeply…and if he does, then he chooses to suit his immediate needs, kinda like with Mary Jo.
Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

Senator Ted Kennedy has pontificated with half-truths so long it seemed that his distorted repetitions would eventually become dark threads of truth woven into the fabric of our lives.

Jeffrey Lord’s rebuttal was a joy to read. There is much to be said for accountability.

Hats off to Jeffrey and The American Spectator!
Donna Sweere

THANK YOU for exposing the spoiled brat KENNEDY! Your ability to express by knowledge of the issue was extremely well articulated. Not only should he resign from the Senate Judiciary Committee, he should be impeached and treated as a TRAITOR to our country for past action accordingly. I am sure there HAS to be more capable candidates in Massachusetts to be Senator, hopefully a Statesman! The only reason he is there is his family ties and money access. I personally have not forgotten the drowning issue of an innocent young girl many moons ago. How can any population trust such a person is beyond my comprehension…

You are applauded, hope you continue!
Jude Thibault
Crossville, Tennessee

Very nice rebuttal to Senator Kennedy’s nonsensical article.

However, it is embarrassing to see that someone of Mr. Lord’s stature and intelligence does not know that the singular of “media” is “medium.”…
Elliot Yudenfriend
Metamora, Illinois

It just amazes me that the Democrats would put someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee that let a young lady drown in his car at Chappaquiddick and not even tell about it until the next day. Yes Teddy, the swimmer, Kennedy is just the right person to be asking anyone about their moral character. What a laugh.
Elaine Kyle

What an excellent piece. I would like to convey to the author how much that needed to be said and the fine way he said it. Right on Mr. Lord.
Tom Callahan
Chicago, Illinois

Brilliant. Keep up the good work.

Re: Mark Tooley’s Nothing New Under the Sun:

The creation of the Ecumenical Climate Initiative is little more than an amusing public relations stunt, having the authenticity of — say — Bill Frist courting the hip-hop vote. I doubt few Evangelical voters will experience the epiphany envisioned by the Greens.

A few years ago, the Economist magazine showed that once a threshold per capita income is attained, people begin to demand cleaner technologies — resulting in measurable improvement to the environment. The tipping-point was somewhere around 2,300 gringo dollars per up-and-coming-capitalist-pig, as I recall. Consider: if someone can afford a propane stove, are they more or less likely to deforest the land for firewood? The goal of sincere environmentalists should be to promote economic freedom in order to maximize individual wealth.

Just as the 1970s panic of global cooling petered out, the current global warming fad will follow suit in due time. I can state with some confidence that the next Green movement will be catastrophic climate equilibrium. Saving ourselves from it will naturally require a radical socialist agenda. Nothing new, indeed.
Jacksonville, Texas

I have been sitting here in my non-air-conditioned mountain home sweating and thinking about global warming, which, when I was a child, used to be called summertime. One reason the Globaloonies are continually successful is because we in the “loyal opposition” accept their terms of battle. (Not all our fault. The MSM, who seem to have all been indoctrinated at Goebbel’s knee, are the tail that wags and wags and wags the dog on this.) When the Chicken Littles first began gaining prominence, sulfur-based contaminants in the atmosphere seemed to be the pollutant. Remember “acid rain”? When that went out of favor, carbon monoxide became the biggie. When it was shown that dying vegetation was a major source of that lethality, the media and their fellow eco-travelers pooh-poohed that information (poor doddering Ronnie Reagan) — but hastily moved on to other villains. The ozone layer, etc. Round and round we go. Now they have settled on a favorite that would seem to be perennially unassailable. Carbon dioxide, that stuff we all exhale (and which plants need to live) is now the culprit-du-jour. So far, I have seen no (and I have been watching) description from an ethical (read: non-political, non-grant-receiving) source that describes how carbon dioxide is going to kill us all. But I know it will, it will, if Ahmadinejad doesn’t get us first.
Lawrence James
Lost City, West Virginia

The Bible teaches clearly that we are made in the image of God. That means we are primarily producers, not primarily consumers. The key to dealing with large-scale poverty is not a focus on limited consumption, but focusing on expanding production. Production requires energy. The poor in third world countries would be far better served by the Church if we were prophets for justice rather than energy consumption limits. I wonder if the evangelicals who signed the ECI statement are still running the air conditioning in church on Sunday morning.
Jim Whittle, Pastor
Douglasville, Georgia

It is time that someone wrote a sequel to The Screwtape Letters to include the idea that the Great Commission could be morphed into a jihad on global warming. At the very least, the original purpose of the church would be hollowed out and whatever vitality was available would be diminished.

Even if global warming is a fact and even if mankind had substantial control over the phenomenon, capitalism would provide the best solution to the problem, not a controlled and directed economy as the socialist are prone to prefer.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Thanks, Uncle Walter:

Cronkite’s liberalism emerged clearly the night he reported the GOP’s nomination of Barry Goldwater. The “Father Image of our Country” appeared ashen-faced as he informed the nation in a trembling voice of the Goldwater ascension. His trembling demeanor left no doubt as to his leftist tilt. I remember it well.

Thanks for the great piece on Walter Cronkite and the way it wasn’t.

The American people need to be reminded that in 1963 Cronkite reported right after the assignation of President Kennedy, that Barry Goldwater was in Indiana attending a political rally. It turns out that Goldwater was in Indiana helping with the funeral arrangements for his mother-in-law. And Goldwater had to personally call Cronkite and tell him that he had just reported a lie. Cronkite offered the excuse that somebody had handed it to him prior to the broadcast, and that he had not checked it out. That was the real Cronkite then and now the real Cronkite, the anti-Christian bigot, who compared John Ashcroft to Tomas de Torqmada. Great article.

Thanks again.
Lynn F. Hutchinson

Re: David Gonzalez’s Letter (under “Fee Happy”) in Reader Mail’s Rack and Roll:

I doubt you’re interested in turning your fine publication into a venue for back-and-forth discussions regarding the minutia of firearm laws. Furthermore, I will happily concede that Mr. Gonzalez appears to be better versed in such than I.

However, his parting statement seems to suggest that in the U.S. it’s easy to legally own a fully-automatic weapon. Specifically, he wrote that in states where there are prohibitions against owning fully-automatic weapons “one can circumvent the prohibition by applying for a Class II Federal Firearm License” and as for other states, “one need only pony up the $200 transfer fee to satisfy the federal law.”

While that may indeed be accurate insofar as the letter of the law is written, the application thereof is entirely different. As I understand it, to acquire such the local law enforcement has to sign off on it. And doing so is entirely up to their discretion with no recourse should (when) they decline. Also, again, while I am no expert in these matters I suspect Mr. Gonzalez’s meant to refer to a Class III license (i.e. dealer) vs. Class II license (i.e. manufacturer).

In the end, none of this much matters as, despite Hollywood’s depictions to the contrary, in this country private ownership of fully automatic weapons is extremely rare.
R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

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