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GOOD GRIEF
Re: George Neumayr’s The Sheehan Spectacle:

“The Sheehan Spectacle” is just one more example proving that George Neumayr is one of the best columnists in the business today. He alone is worth the price of subscription to The American Spectator. Whenever I see his byline, I make sure to read to piece that follows.
Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

Sadly, the stiff upper lip has been replaced with the quivering lower lip in our nation. It came into full flower during Bill Clinton’s 8-year lip-biting feel-your-pain-fest.

Cindy Sheehan’s group has brought with them all of the mournful accoutrements of the Viewing Room of a mortuary — white crosses, flowers, message balloons. But her grief has been over-shadowed by her strident political stand. It’s hard to feel sorry for a bully on a search and destroy mission.

When Cindy has finished her vigil in Crawford, for political perspective she might drop by the site of Janet Reno’s Slaughter of the Innocents in the Waco/David Koresh debacle. Can’t blame Bill Cinton for that. He was out golfing. (“Uh, I didn’t know she was gonna do that…”) When Mogadishu became a bloodbath, he fired Les Aspin. As the men were being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, what occupied Bill’s mind? Getting in touch with Arkansas troopers to get an affidavit from Paula Jones, saying she was never in that hotel room. There’s a time-line, if you’d care to check it.

You could have rolled Bill Clinton, Cindy, but stop trying with George Bush.

But about grieving as a cottage industry — why is it that within fifteen minutes of a high school senior, in her new Lexus, plowing up forty feet of cyclone fence, killing herself, we are saddled with ten years of dreadful floral festooning of what is left of the fence? Within that same fifteen minutes her school is a-swarm with grief counselors. Students gather in the schoolyard to hug, in case a local TV cameraman should arrive on the scene.

We have become a nation of victims and mourners and if there is nothing to mourn at the moment we engage in that smothering, enveloping, and emotionless hug with the accompanying back-rub. These theatrical displays of “caring” are as phony as the plastic flowers on the fence.

Bill Clinton’s legacy: the trembling lip, the tear in the eye!
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Mr. Neumayr’s opening sentence seems to differentiate between Sheehan (an axe-grinder) and the media (the cynics). I don’t see the differentiation. Axe-grinders get on television and in print because they have axe-grinders in a position to put them on…regardless of how hot it is outside.
Stu Margrey
Denton, Maryland

I cannot help but feel sorry by Ms. Sheehan. It seems she has been taken captive by liberals and is spouting the things she hears them say. It is almost as if she has acquired the same syndrome some mothers take on called Munchausen by Proxy. In this syndrome the mother will actually cause harm or physical hurt to her child in order to acquire sympathy and attention.

Ms. Sheehan now flaunts her son’s memory and dishonors the country he served, as well as the President who was his commander-in-chief. She wants to be a celebrity in a ditch in Crawford. She needs medical help just as those mothers with Munchausen by Proxy must have help.

As the mother of a son in the military I can only pray that she is healed. She is hurting so many others and making the war more dangerous to those serving there now by giving our enemies fodder.
Beverly Gunn
Texas

Cindy Sheehan has become, as some others have suggested, the poster child for surrender, giving up on our policy of support for Iraq. Americans though don’t like surrender as an option. Our exit from Viet Nam was supported by many Americans because the withdrawal was viewed as a corrective action to a wrong or failed policy. Had the withdrawal been viewed as surrender, I doubt nearly as many would have supported it. Fortunately for us, Ms. Sheehan and her handlers on the left don’t realize that they have framed their anti-war protest in the wrong light and that Americans detest giving up. So let the spectacle continue.
Howard Hughes

Is it only me or do you a disconnect between a son who volunteers for the service, writes home that he is proud to serve his country, and a mother who pees all over his sacrifice when he is no longer here to defend himself? Where is the father of this man, Casey Sheehan?
Annette Cwik

Cindy Sheehan’s grief has been made to seem a lunatic symbol of the anti-war movement. Perhaps at one time she would have taken to her bed with doctor prescribed laudanum to dull her pain. Today, drugs are passe, and becoming part of the entertainment industry, that as our opiate of choice, might do the job for her. Yet, guys, to trash grieving mothers, even as they trash themselves, does not seem quite the thing.
Kate Pitrone

In modern America we should not criticize a liberal with facts or truth. Rather, we must be emotionally qualified to have standing. Since my decorated father was KIA in war when I was a teenager, perhaps the media will allow my comments. The following are my thoughts and those of my family and nearly all associates and friends: 1. Cindy Sheehan seems to think she is the first and only American to experience a loss to the immediate family due to combat. Her arrogance is astounding. 2. Her charges against the country and the President are absurd, inflammatory, and stupid. 3. Additionally, her attitude (hiding behind hurt feelings) and her outrageous false charges about the President of the United States are totally uncouth. In summary, she is arrogant, stupid, and uncouth, and the media share the same definition for their exhaustive coverage of this demented woman.
W.A. Kiehl
Alexandria, Virginia

“Women clearly in the grip of the delusion that they know something, have some policy, and wisdom not given to the rest of us to know — to grab the spotlight.”

Let’s add the Hollywood “stars” and big mouth singers to this list that think they know something about everything.
Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

I still, even after spending a great deal of time over the past 40 years trying to do so, have not figured out where people like George Neumayr are coming from. The issue is not Cindy Sheehan herself, and even less her grief. Cindy Sheehan is angry, not grieving, as are the great majority of us now. This war is wrong, it always has been wrong, and Cindy Sheehan’s question is about the war and its rationale. The Bush administration has lied to us continually, and you guys at The American Spectator know that, so you print articles trying to demean a woman who knows her son died a pointless, needless death.

Don’t focus on Cindy Sheehan the individual because that distracts from the real purpose here, which is to stop this war on terror which actually makes us more vulnerable, and hasn’t really done much for poor Iraq that ten thousand generations can’t resolve. Do you see the irony in turning the Garden of Eden into a wasteland? It is my hope that Cindy Sheehan is only the first in a long line of average Americans who will camp out at George W. Bush’s doorstep until he, for once in his incredibly unsuccessful life, does what is right. It is not right to lie about the reasons for sending young Americans off to their deaths. It is not right to change those reasons as previous lies become public knowledge. And not only is it not right, but it simply does not make any sense to remove basic privacy rights in this country to protect the freedoms for which those awful terrorists hate us. Have George Neumayr write an article explaining convincingly that Casey Sheehan died for a noble cause, but please don’t write any more articles about the people behind the message. By the way, Mr. Neumayr might want to look a little deeper into the message that the “Jersey Girls” were promoting. From what I can see, he’s using what other people said about them but hasn’t really taken a reporter’s skepticism to the whole story. If he is truly a reporter he might think about that.
Garry Puffer
Riverside, California

AIN’T IT GRAND?
Re: Enemy Central’s Back in Business:

Like Bill Clinton, Rafael [Palmeiro] often speaks in sentences that are literally true but which leave a completely false impression. Take another look at the quote from your piece naming him enemy of the week. Not a single falsehood in it!

“I think, for the most part, fans know who’s telling the truth and who’s not. I think my reputation means a lot, and I think it carries a lot of weight. It’s tough to defend yourself in the public’s eye, but I think that my actions and how I defend myself stand on its own.”
Michael Zelenty
Stirling, New Jersey

Thank God the EOW has returned! Mark Steyn and Ann Coulter finally have some competition again. I have certainly missed the EOW. It’s been a brutal hiatus for me. For belly-aching laughs I resorted to reading the NYTwits and afterwards trying to flush Maureen Dowd’s recycled columns on recycled paper down my autographed Al Gore 0.25 liter reclaimed water flush toilet bowl (it takes 30 flushes per Dowd column). Boy, I hope those Gitmo toilet bowls are on eBay when the Democrat glitterati and their sycophants close the terrorist lovers’ hideaway. If I’m the high bidder at least I’ll be able to get a Dowd column down faster!

Great choice for EOW. Mr. Palmeiro’s Congressional testimony in March was his doctoral dissertation and thus he has earned his Ph.D. summa cum laude from the Angelos-Clinton School of Shameless Frauds. With this high distinction, he’s a shoo-in for a Medal of Freedom award from the next Democrat president. I just hope John Kerry doesn’t get any ideas and try to toss Mr. Palmeiro’s hard earned medal in the Potomac. But if history is an indicator, Raffy has no worries. Sen. Kerry throws like a girl and the medal will fall far short of the Potomac.
Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida

BOWING OUT
Re: James Bowman’s review of The Great Raid:

I’ve disagreed with James Bowman before, but his latest review is an exercise in over-analysis. Sit back and enjoy the movie, Jim! This was a great film!

The public loves this movie, and their reviews (posted all lover the internet) are completely out-of-synch with “the critics”, who seem hell-bent on condemning this film for all sorts of bizarre reasons. Saying that Benjamin Bratt didn’t look rumpled enough (despite the fact that he does bear a passing resemblance to the real Colonel Mucci) is one I’m loathe to understand.

I do understand the left’s impulses where this film is concerned; they can’t stomach anyone’s patriotic pride in their nation at this stage in our history (you know, that “unjust” war in Iraq and all…), especially if the source of that pride is a war movie. But Bowman’s response puzzles me.
Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey

I agree with Bowman on most points, and I add that The Last Raid also suffers from being much like the conventional movies of WWII, including a “showdown,” man to man fight between a cruel Japanese officer and one of the good guys. One point of disagreement. Fact is that the raid WAS as flawless as it was depicted, a military masterpiece — sort of like the Japanese air raid on our Pacific fleet, just like something from a movie.
unsigned

My 14-year-old son watched this movie with two of his friends. I was going to take my boy four days later, but the dad of one of his buddies was willing to take them that day and so off they went. My son, who is an avid history buff, had a lot of his knowledge and understanding of this war reinforced —- especially due to the power of the big screen.

We live in an extraordinarily leftist town (80% of the vote went to Kerry or Nader!) and his buddies don’t have the same type of, ahem, “historical perspective” taught to them in their homes as does my son. They NEEDED to see this movie in order to better understand why the atom bombs were dropped — we needed this war ended ASAP!

Did I need to see this movie? No, but it is my opinion that many other Americans do and on one day this summer four of them did. A great movie? I don’t care, but it was good enough and necessary enough.
Michael Nevins
Oak Park, Illinois

I saw The Great Raid the day it opened in theaters. The theater I attended was only half full but as I waited for the movie to begin I began looking at the audience. It was not filled with young adults but rather 70% of the audience was men and women of that “greatest generation.” The movie both opens and closes with vintage footage of the war in the Pacific. I could see that the film moved these veterans and they moved me. I felt like standing after the movie (which received a long applause at its conclusion) and saying thank you to them all. No, the movie may not qualify as great but their service to our country does.
Patrick Rita
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

While your critique of the movie The Great Raid does include some of what’s wrong, I find it overall to be quite incorrect. I saw the movie this weekend and I have read the book. It’s a movie, not a documentary. It’s going to miss some points, exaggerate others, and downplay some. Yes, it comes up a little short in places, though the battle scenes were pretty well done in my eyes and imparted a sense of the actual attack. By the way, in the actual raid, they did kill lots and lots of Japs while losing only a few of their own. The bottom line is, I enjoyed the movie. I was happy someone did produce it and that it did incorporate a good portion of the actual facts. Though I would like to have seen a movie about this event that depicted it as it happened and as it was portrayed in the book, however, this movie did move me and the ending was quite good because it showed the actual people involved and their return to freedom. It also showed that love, honor, commitment are virtues that require sacrifice at times but are worth it. That was the message of the movie. My father was in the Philippines when this event took place. He had been in the Pacific 3 years slogging up the island chains with MacArthur, serving in the 43rd I.D. He was sent home in July 1945 with malaria and honorably discharged. Maybe that is why I liked this movie more so, because to me WWII is more than a history lesson. Events like this remind me of what our men went through, since most of them refused to talk about it (even my father).
Pete Chagnon

A LITTLE BIT SLUSHY…
Re: Stephen Slivinski’s Don Young’s World:

Mr. Slivinski, while nodding in the right direction earlier in his article, ends by pinning the highway bill slush fund bloat on Don Young. It is my thesis that he is wrong in doing so. History teaches that Congressmen and little rug rats will do precisely what they are allowed to get away with. In the case of misbehaving bratty children, the fault lies with their parents that, while they may threaten, never truly and effectively discipline them. In the case of the misbehavior of Congressmen, the fault lies with a President that, while he occasionally threatens, steadfastly refuses to use the discipline of the veto. Even a veto that is over-ridden makes a point. Alas, Bush 43 cannot bring himself to do anything that might hold down the growth of the federal government into an even more gigantic monolith.

Georgie sweetie, the compassionate president, just couldn’t resist working with Ted Kennedy to create a huge new entitlement — the drug re-imbursement plan within Medicare. He threw a tantrum about how we didn’t need a new government agency to supervise the War on Terror here at home — then caved in and delightedly signed the bill creating Homeland Security. Bush screamed that there was no need to raise the head of Homeland Security to Cabinet status — then acquiesced — again. Dubya went nuclear about how we certainly did NOT need a new bureaucratic level appointed to head all intelligence. There was no reason that someone should intervene between him and his CIA director. Now we have an Intelligence Czar and I expect that he will soon be elevated to Cabinet status. I could go on listing the endless list of backdowns and cave-ins by this POTUS.

Excuse me, Mr. Slivinski, but can you show me one instance where George Bush has acted to teach the Congress to respect him as regards budgetary matters or matters of reigning in the growth of government? Not that the Congress is blameless, mind you, and I particularly refer to Sen. Limp Frist here.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

REILAND’S SHEIK-DOWN
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s The Jihadi Bomb

So Osama got a fatwa authorizing the use of nukes against us? From a Saudi Sheik? Who is that sheik? Why was his name not plastered across headlines as preaching open war against us?

And what has the Saudi government done about him and the others like him? Why has the Saudi Ambassador not been beaten about the head and shoulders with the pro-murder pronouncements of these bloodthirsty Wahabis?

Mostly, what are we doing protecting a regime that hates us more than the Russians ever did?
Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

It is interesting that Russia is mentioned in the first two paragraphs of the story, but never again. As such, the story is incomplete. Here’s why:

Al Qaeda has more than the casual link to Russia mentioned in this story (that being Russia’s sloppy security allowed nuclear material to fall into the wrong hands). I believe Russia had, and still has, malicious intent, regarding supplying al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with the nuclear materials to make good on their threats to do much damage to the US.

According to an article on geopolitical analyst J.R. Nyquist’s website, in an interview between Poland’s FAKT and Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, Litvinenko (who served in a high FSB position before defecting) states: “The number two person in the terrorist organization al Qaeda, who they are crediting with the series of explosions in London, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is an old agent of the FSB. Being sentenced to death in Egypt for terrorism and hunted by Interpol, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 1998, was in the territory of Dagestan, where for half a year he received special training at one of the educational bases of the FSB.”

Mr. Nyquist, in that same article, recalls an earlier interview he had with a former Russian intelligence official about the possibility of nuclear weapons being detonated on American soil. The official told him: “If you ever hear that Arab terrorists have attacked an American city with nuclear weapons don’t believe it.” The attack, he said, would be from Russia.

Whether through direct attack using al Qaeda as a front, or whether al Qaeda hires “former” spetsnaz troops to do the detonating for them (there is considerable skepticism among some analysts whether or not these weapons could be maintained and used successfully without help from the Spetsnaz troops who are trained in doing just that), such a possibility cannot be discounted.

The only reason we do not think about such possibilities is that we do not want to. We want so badly to believe that Russia is our ally. The question that must be asked is this: Why would the Kremlin have trained most of the infamous terrorists from the past, and even currently active terrorists (like Ayman Zawahiri)? Just for kicks? Or to serve some higher goal that is not in the United States’ or the West’s best interest?
Mark Pettifor

A GRAVES MATTER
Re: Rev. William H. Marchl, III’s letter (under “Honor, Loss, and Dignity”) in Reader Mail’s Everyone Knows It’s Cindy:

Mr. Marchl (8/15/2005) needs to re-read Goodbye to All That. There is no “tear jerking and treacly plea for pacifism from a maudlin little Edwardian grannie (that) provided levity even in the trenches”. It’s a treacly anti-pacifist plea for continued war. Graves hated “Letter from a Little Mother” and the whole slaughter of World War I. George Bush majored in History. He ought to remember the idealistic crusade of Lloyd George and the “War to End War” today.
N.P. Stevenson
Australia

A BETTER MOOSE TRAP
Re: Campbell Laidlaw’s letter (“Proper Speech”) in Reader Mail’s Everyone Knows It’s Cindy:

If you pronounce about as aboot instead of as abowt then that means: You come in from ootside to see the cat chase the moose (mouse) aboot the hoose.
Steve Skeen
Americus, Georgia

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