THE FIRST THINGS
Re: Ben Stein’s The Cost of the War on Terrorism:
I just want to express my appreciation for Ben Stein’s perspective on the survivors of our fallen heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Stein’s patriotic spirit flows also in my veins and want to thank him for giving my feelings a voice.
— David Pendleton
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Ben Stein has distinguished himself in so many areas that my respect for his acumen could not be higher. Since he is so knowledgeable, perhaps he can tell me what has happened to “the party of compassion.” For so long we have heard how heartless we are if we are not part of the hive of liberal bees that buzz around current events, celebrating their compassion and generosity. How long has Hollywood, New York, and the rest of the blue fringe castigated all of us right leaning Neanderthals for our cold hearts and our war against the poor. Please, Mr. Stein, ask your compatriots in Hollywood.
— Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
Ben Stein puts into words what most of us can only vaguely feel somewhere deep in our gut. May God keep and bless him.
— Kent Batchelor
Ben Stein has to be stopped! In the last week he has ripped through Watergate nostalgia week. Pretty much laid bare Mr. Felt that he could be complicit in bribery should he receive money from Woodward or Bernstein. And now, now he shows us the sheer price of what terror costs. Has he no compassion to bury such things? Are we not to be worrying about Koran dunking, as our leftist “friends” keep reminding us?
I might wrongly assume that The American Spectator has a no pledge policy on Reader Mail. But, pardon the plug, Freedom Alliance has a scholarship fund for the children of servicemen and women. I give again, only this time in Mr. Stein’s name.
— John McGinnis
I imagine Mr. Stein gets many emails praising him on his writings that touch the hearts of his readers. I want to write him personally to let him know this piece he wrote (published 6/6/05) is just another that had the tears streaming. Ben Stein is a treasure to be cherished and protected. Thank him for me and the many who are transformed by his words. God bless The American Spectator and Mr. Stein.
— Curtis Szymczyk
Please convey my gratitude to Mr. Stein. My husband died from a service related illness — he made five tours to Vietnam, and my son has just returned after serving in Iraq in a Blackhawk squadron.
I am so grateful for the sincere words I just read.
— Patricia Cleveland
“So that the witches of Beverly Hills and Fifth Avenue can go on with their shopping” perfectly describes the attitude of liberals and leftist. But Ben, you left out Ivy League elites. I wonder sometimes if they even believe we are at war or support it or our troops. Basically, I believe the only thing they care about is their hate for President Bush and their lack of political power — country be damned. Watching our Senate in action is a perfect illustration. Thanks Ben for speaking for us so gracefully. Respect is the only thing we have to give. Thank goodness for our military.
— Ronald Biddle
Can Mr. Stein direct us how to give something to those children? Is there a foundation or association that accepts donations on their behalf or information that would allow a person to direct his appreciation?
— Paul M. Newcomer
I read Ben Stein’s article on the subject of TAPS and the survivors of the Iraq war and would like to contribute to the well-being of these children. Can someone give me the needed info for contributions?
The Editor replies:
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors website has more information on donating.
TWO WARS, TWO POLITICAL LANDSCAPES
Re: Jed Babbin’s D-Day SGO:
I read Jed Babbin’s “D-Day SGO” with great interest and agree with the basic premise that we have not taken the war on terror serious enough. However, his analogy comparing this with the mobilization in World War II is not relevant and is incomplete. There were only one or two dissenting votes in the entire Congress in the declaration of war in 1942. That is not the case now. Additionally, the tradition at the time of politics ending at the waters edge during wartime no longer exists. The opposition has so politicized this issue that for President Bush to even try and take more decisive actions would be impossible. The opposition’s actions in the media, in trying to gain a political advantage, has so diluted the facts that a large portion of the American public truly do not understand the seriousness of the war we are fighting. They have convinced many of these people that this is more like Vietnam. As such, these people believe this is an unnecessary war or even worse a war of aggression, not a fight for national survival. Both the politicians and the population in 1942 understood the stakes. Unfortunately, many of today’s politicians and much of the general population don’t understand this about the War on Terror. Finally in 1942 it was very evident who we were fighting, nation against nation. This kind of clarity does not exist today. Today we not only have to determine “beyond a shadow of doubt” what nations are involved and how, we even have to be careful how we fight the war. Terrorists can (and do) use tactics like attacking a uniformed military units then hiding in the middle of an innocent population to prevent us for taking them out. We even have to take special precaution against damaging historical or religious sites. In World War II we devastated entire cities. If only we had the clarity in the environment and the united support we enjoyed in 1942 more decisive actions could be taken.
— Tracy Welch, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.
“Neither our enemy nor our President has roused the sleeping giant. That’s one of the reasons why, almost four years after 9-11, the end of this war is not in sight. Nor is the identity of the victor known.”
Sadly and embarrassingly — and with great dishonor to the memory of those who’ve served in all of America’s wars and who still do — Mr. Babbin’s assessment is irrefutable. That Mr. Babbin can assert that the victor in the war on terror remains unknown reflects genuine crumbling of our national character and loss of a sense of proportion as to what matters and what doesn’t.
Why does the president remain voluntarily and consciously timid about rousing America? And why have he, in his unelected yet self-appointed role of theologian-in-chief, and his administration been afraid to embrace, and thus communicate, that this was of terror is one of Islam against Western Civilization, particularly Christianity and Judaism?
Their reticence and unwillingness to call a spade, a spade, fuels over-the-edge, knee-jerk, ad nauseam discussion and finger-pointing about the alleged desecration of the Quran used by some very violent men who hide behind the Quran, which they idolize.
But does anyone remember the advocacy media or members of a certain political party shouting outrage about the Saudi police/military not only killing and/or trampling Muslims in a mosque — and but trampling on copies of the Quran?
Or does anyone remember the deafening, protracted roar of outrage three years ago about Islamic terrorists, holed up in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, who reportedly used the Holy Bible as toilet paper?
Of course not.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Re: Ben Stein’s I Don’t Feel for Felt and Deep Throat and Genocide; the “Bad Day for Snitches” letters in Reader Mail’s Feltgate, “Stein’s the One” letters in Reader Mail’s Hear Them Roar, and Reader Mail’s Big Ben’s Finest Hours:
Please send Mr. Stein’s columns to your fact checkers in the future, to avoid repeating such embarrassments.
Ben Stein wrote that President Nixon “ended the war in Vietnam, brought home the POW’s, ended the war in the Mideast, opened relations with China…”
In fact, President Nixon ineptly and dishonestly prolonged the war for five more unnecessary years. Please look up the casualty figures: over half of our total casualties in the war were under Nixon’s command.
And please look up the whole of Richard Nixon’s career. He is as responsible as anyone that no American leader had been allowed to go to China previously. He was indebted to the “China lobby” from the start, and shared responsibility for so thoroughly cleaning the State Department of anyone with any knowledge of East Asia that there was no one to raise the alarm at what a disaster intervention in Vietnam would be…
As for the Mideast: what end?
I strongly urge you to find a better quality of revisionist.
— Neil Rest
I used to respect him until this article. He shouldn’t forget Nixon’s problems — he surely knows that Nixon hated Jews, for example, even calling them [names] on the tapes. Murder and arson were fine with Nixon, so why think he really cared about the people of Cambodia or Vietnam?
Let’s play for Ben’s money on the topic of Nixon… he doesn’t seem to know much.
— Eric Brewer
Mill Valley, California
I recall that the very last Special Prosecutor on the Nixon case — appointed to tie up loose ends — stated that he really didn’t think or at least wasn’t confident that there was enough evidence to bring any criminal charges against Nixon. So the most expert source provides evidence that not only was Nixon not a crook, he was not a person who could be or would have been indicted on charges of being a crook.
Mike Bakeman forgot that it was Clinton who was impeached, not Nixon.
David Anthony Tice reversed Nixon’s actual program in the 1968 election: rather than offering North Vietnam a better deal than Humphrey (who was trying to place some distance between himself and LBJ), Nixon hinted that his plan was to use nuclear weapons against them, a tactic used successfully by Eisenhower to end the Korean war.
— R.L.A. Schaefer
The fascinating thing about the reader mail is that it is so polarized. According the left the right is evil and vice versa. Saying your opposition is evil is a good way to avoid learning from their mistakes, or for that matter, a good way to avoid learning from your own. Since their downfall was brought about not by flawed logic or bad thinking but because they are greedy/rapacious/liars and evil never wins. Of course when your downfall occurs, it does so not because you made a mistake but because you were victimized by the evil plans of your enemies. For example, Bill Clinton was nearly brought down by an evil vast right wing conspiracy. Alternatively, Nixon was brought down by the nearly communist media.
Frankly, they each made their own mistakes, which cost them each in turn. If those mistakes had not been made and the consequences of each were not born, would it have changed history? That’s a fabulous philosophical question but the answer is indefinable. What we can and should know today is… if we are going to learn and grow, we have to learn from the mistakes of the past, no matter who made them.
So anyone want to take a stab at what’s with all the name calling?
SEND BILL FOR THE FELONS
Re: John H. Fund’s For He’s a Jolly Good Felon:
Madame Hillary should throw another lamp at Bill. Boy Bill worked his ample tail off for his first two weeks in office, trying to cut our taxes, but was interrupted by the President’s Day three-day weekend. Finally, Bill threw in the towel and told us in February of 1993: “I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to meet that goal. But I can’t.
Pressing matters were then interrupted by an extended sex holiday. Refocused and energized, Bill jumped into the next important task of his Presidency, pardoning 140 felons on his last day in office. With such efficiency, and this important demographic sewn up, Hillary would no doubt be a lock in 2008, if only her husband had set about this task earlier in his administration. But take heart, Hillary. Marc Rich will probably vote dozens of absentee ballots from around the world.
— Dan Martin
THE McGINNIS PLAN
Re: Doug Bandow’s Europe Goes Dutch:
Excellent article. But why don’t we cut to the chase, cut out the middleman and get control of a willing Europe? The Constitution has a process for the admission of states. We just merely invite those that are interested to apply. Say Monaco asked for admission. They start as a territory. After a ten-year normalization and acclimation period they would be admitted. They get Social Security, we get new gambling casinos. Sounds fair.
But the benefits are many. We save on the airfares and jobs of drones trying to ratify an EFTA. We just invoke the Commerce Clause, simple, sweet. I would welcome a Polish Plumber even if the French won’t; last time I needed one it was $60 an hour and a two-week wait. No more wrangling over NATO, now it’s the base closing commission. We could even suggest Mr. Kerry run for Governor of France since he seemed so willing to turn the U.S. into France.
The confluence of synergies are just too numerous and the process so simple that it’s too good to be true. And the now former Europeans get a two-page constitution. What more could be asked for?
— John McGinnis
THE BOOK OF GINSBURG
Re: Mark Tooley’s Judge Not:
Thanks to Mark for keeping us informed on the religious left, it amazes me just how many Howard Deans there are in the U.S. This group of Democrat misfits use the words “religious left” to try and hide their true identity, religion is secondary to their objectives of creating their own bible. In the end when they meet their maker and answer for their hypocrisy they will most likely be amazed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her anti-God buddies will not be there to once again interpret for God the Gospels to suit their own immoral ways.
— Daniel Gordon
Las Vegas, Nevada