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The Art of Communications

Re: Jeremy Lott’s Crisis Mismanagement:

Jeremy Lott’s article, “Crisis Management” (9/27/04) contains some errors. Besides referring to an organization that doesn’t exist (“Catholics for Choice”) he engages in some curious speculation.

Referring to Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s press release on Deal Hudson, Lott writes, “Responding to complaints, the Catholic League has removed the press release from its website….” How does he know this? In fact, the release was removed because Deal Hudson requested that we remove it. We acceded to his request because he wanted to put this issue behind him. As for Lott’s remark that we “attempted a joke at the Virgin Mary’s expense,” we have files that he can look at to see real jokes at Her expense.

Finally, the characterization of Fr. Benedict Groeschel as a “ringer” is unfair. To say that his reaction to the sex-abuse crisis in the Church amounts to “blaming journalists” shows an ignorance of what Fr. Groeschel has actually written and spoken about on this topic.
Louis J. Giovino
Director of Communications
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
New York, New York

Jeremy Lott replies: The organization is Catholics for a Free Choice. Here’s the website.

Re: Andrew Cline’s I Wanna Be Sedated:

Conservative punk is not as rare as one may think. Recently I’ve discovered that more and more bands have come out against left-wing garbage like punk, I guess some punks don’t like being told how they are supposed to think. Please check out for the Crush Kerry conservative punk compilation.
James Cummings
Arcadia, California

Re: Eric Peters’ Blair’s Hot Air:

The influence of carbon dioxide (which is the main point of globaloney warming theory) in the heat retention of the atmosphere is only about one-fourth of one percent when compared to the influence of water vapor. No amount of human activities now or in the next thousand years will have any influence on future climate changes, which, by the way have been going on for a couple of billions of years without the presence of man. This opinion was signed by over 17,000 American scientists (of which I am one, Ph.D in Engineering, UCLA 1968). The silence by the media about the existence of this document is deafening.
Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: William Tucker’s Who Says We Lost in Vietnam?:

I wanted to express my gratitude for Mr. Tucker’s essay on the American success in Vietnam.

I am old enough to recall how our troops were withdrawn from the country after destroying the Viet Cong and forcing the North Vietnamese to the treaty table. The Communists reneged on the treaty after our departure, which was predictable, but then the South Vietnamese proved their ability the resist the North’s onslaughts as long as American money and materiel were provided as promised.

This support was ended, of course, by a duplicitous U.S. Congress (I’ll never forget Millicent Fenwick and her obnoxious pipe!). When the South fell — at a time when no American combat unit was present in that country — the media lost no time in declaring the mess, largely of their own making, to be an inglorious American “defeat.” At once grim and gleeful, they seemed unable to stop reminding us that this was America’s “first lost war.” Meanwhile, those members of Congress who had betrayed South Vietnam pleaded against a season of “recriminations.”

Mr. Tucker correctly points out that the long-term outcome of the war has been a backward and impoverished former enemy, now a humiliated neighbor to nations free and thriving. Perhaps 58,000 young Americans did not die in vain.
Timothy A. Swain
Colfax, Indiana

William Tucker’s article should be read by every American, especially every Vietnam vet. I spent 1987 in Thailand. I witnessed Mr. Tucker’s statements corroborated by: veteran missionaries with decades of Southeast Asian experience, a journalist from “Soldier of Fortune” magazine, dozens of Vietnamese boat people in the holding pen at the immigrant jail in Bangkok (yes, they were still voting with their feet in 1987), the surrender of the last remnant of the Communist Party of Malaysia to the Thai government, Thai authors in the Bangkok English language newspapers, and the peace and prosperity of Thailand. Asia still owes a debt to the American GI.
David Shoup
Augusta, Georgia

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Our Ghaffer Gaffe:

A very good article. And to its points it is good as far as it goes. But I think we are missing an excellent opportunity here. Many of the past year or so have made great hay over our terrorist version of “catch and release.” But I think there is a greater good to be gained if we played our cards right.

• Americans being the Good Samaritans that we are would not think of sending a jihadist back without the proper immunizations. Can I help it that one of the ‘immunizations’ is sand grain size tracker technology embedded under the skin?

• Americans being reasonably smart would have the good sense to
provide counter insurgency teams with the proper gear. Like orbital,
airborne and handheld detection equipment for sand grain transducers.

• Americans having a frontier background know that to bag a lot of turkeys, you hold back your shots till the “alpha” gobbler makes the scene. Then you bag the whole lot of them.

Considering the state of black ops technology I might be sitting out on a limb but I doubt it, that this is exactly what is going on or is contemplated in the near term. The Middle East insurgency revolves around tribal-ethnic relationships. It is very tough for strangers let alone foreigners to break into the inner circle of these cells.

But, tag and release with mop of the members, that breaks the cell. No insurgency once the word got out would risk taking back a member who has been detained by the Coalition. Too high a risk. That fear of track and detection could be our greatest weapon. Better than any gun, bomb or radio.

Like the old bull said, “Let’s just walk down and get’em all.”
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

On the battlefield death of Abdul Ghaffar, Shawn Macomber writes: “The tragedy of it all is that Ghaffar was not so very long ago an inmate of Camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay, unable to harm anyone.”

Ghaffar is dead. This is good. In his fight to the death, we can only hope that many of his comrades died at his side. After a year in captivity, he was probably not useful as an intelligence source. On the ground in Afghanistan, he may have been an invaluable intelligence source, simply by tracking his movements. This may not be a tragedy.
Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Shawn Macomber replies:
The families of the innocent Afghanis and U.N. worker slaughtered by Ghaffar’s hand may beg to differ.

Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Fahrenheit 411:

Thanks from a pajamas guy for publishing Mr. Homnick’s priceless piece. Wonder if See-BS (a.k.a., Crush Bush Surrogate) or the Democrats will see humor in it? Just kidding: It’s a rhetorical question.

“They forged a tale to put Bush in the dock, and now they are being chased through the bush for their forged docs.” Here’s hoping the Dems and their two Johns read that. Maybe they’ll recall Whoopi Goldberg’s vulgar remarks about and personal attacks on the president in their mid-July raunchfest at Radio City Music Hall.

I’m guessing, though, that’ll happen when candidate Kerry succinctly and forthrightly states a consistent position on anything or answers any question without mentioning he served in Vietnam.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Good Afternoon,

Just a note to say I rather enjoyed ( ) Mr. Homnick’s column, “Fahrenheit 411.”
Judith Sears

Rather amusing, Mr. Homnick! This blogger thanks you for so cleverly illuminating what has become a thriving community on line. The Pajamahadeen have developed into a watchful, 24/7 media police, a force with which to be reckoned as CBS recently found out. “Ratherizing” and “freeping” (lying/forging and getting busted by Free Republic (and now, any) bloggers, respectively) have recently become well known verbs in cyberspace.

Another phenomenon of the blogosphere is its ability to drive stories into the news, stories the Old Media attempt to ignore in their quest to elect John Kerry. The Swift Boat Vets charges against Kerry are a prime example. Kerry’s friends in the media completely discarded their principles long before the Rathergate mess with regard to the Swifties, but the Pajamahadeen’s ruthless R&D was enough to convince at least Fox News and a few others. This left Old Media no alternative but to break out the DNC-led attack/distract/smear machine against the Swifties, but the Vets stood strong anyway.

There are also a lot of bloggers (here’s one of my favorite neighbors) showing the other side of the war in Iraq; the side that includes new schools, women in business and government, a free press, a new electrical and transportation infrastructure, grateful and brave Iraqis, and more.

The bottom line is that Americans can FINALLY get their news, analysis, and information on their own via the Internet, getting ALL sides and easily avoiding becoming stooges of the Old Media. My hero Drudge regularly scoops Old Media on big stories; now we can add Free Republic to the list of Davids against the liberal/socialist-dominated Goliath of the CNN/CBS/New York Times/Washington Post/ABC/NBC/NPR/LA Times/Boston Globe/USA Today leftist media cabal.

There’s a new movement, also started I believe on Free Republic, to pitch in and get Dan Rather some snuggly pajamas to assist his fact checking. I’ve already pledged an old pair – I recently went out and bought a WHOLE BUNCH of new PJs for myself…
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Re: Revenue Smoke Stacks:

“Smoking Is Dangerous To Your Health” and other such gruesome warnings have been prominently displayed on each and every pack of cigarettes sold in this country for the past forty years. How is it possible for the government to pursue claims that tobacco companies have misled the public about the dangers of smoking?

A likely explanation is that there is no political will to either make smoking illegal or to otherwise tax cigarettes out of existence. Instead the weapon of choice is to torture tobacco companies with endless litigation of dubious merit. Litigation costs and occasional awards from sympathetic juries are simply added to the cost of the product. In that way the consuming public does not directly blame the government for raising the price of their cigarettes. The end game of this governmental strategy is to either bankrupt the tobacco companies or strangle the demand for cigarettes through high prices.
Jerome Brick
Beaver Dam, Arizona

Re: Angelo M. Codevilla’s U.S. Intelligence: A Losing Proposition:

Professor Codevilla’s interesting article (what is his position with respect to the notorious CIA support for bestial military tyrannies in Latin America, such as Pinochet’s?) has one flaw: it does not go back far enough. There seem to be more than casual similarities between the disastrous behavior he describes and the catastrophic errors committed by the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS, during the Second World War.

America’s big issue in the War (as can be seen for instance by the whole narrative structure of the movie masterpiece Casablanca) was not so much Britain as France. Before 1939, Britain had consistently been no friend to the U.S., and American policy had been predicated upon British hostility. Conversely, France was America’s Auld Ally; with the brief exception of Napoleon III’s Mexican adventure, France and America shared a long and enduring bond, whose symbol was the gift of the Statue of Liberty. Even before the famous generation of the twenties, the American love for Paris was famous. And when America entered the First World War, it was largely to preserve French republican democracy against German imperial autocracy. The American commander’s call upon landing at Brest, “Lafayette, we are here!”, has been forgotten, but was once familiar to all Americans — and many Frenchmen.

That being the case, the collapse of France and the treachery of Petain and his government were a major issue for American minds. The only enemy left to fight Hitler was America’s own Auld Enemy, who still had powerful enemies in America. The result were two policies both of which had simply catastrophic results. On the one hand, America blackmailed Britain into surrendering all her industrial holdings and interests in America in exchange for the Lend-Lease Act, and maintained its ultimate policy goal of dismembering the British Empire. (As late as the Suez crisis, this was actually informing American actions, so that America ended up backing the pro-Soviet Nasser government against Britain, France and Israel.) On the other hand, America resolved upon a French policy that depended on accepting the legitimacy of the Vichy government. This swiftly turned into a ferocious and idiotic prejudice against De Gaulle, whom Churchill, with justified vision, had more or less created out of nowhere as the face of Fighting France. Even when it became clear that their Vichy option was worthless, even after they were at war with Vichy, the Americans did everything in their power to break De Gaulle’s political position. When their chosen figurehead, Giraud, had proved a broken reed, they actually promoted one of the most squalid and treacherous figures of the Vichy age, Darlan, purely to keep De Gaulle out of a leadership position. (At this point even the loyal British had had enough. They had as much trouble with De Gaulle as anybody, but, having more sense than the Americans, they knew that he was irreplaceable. So one day in Algiers, a couple of British agents put a gun in the hands of a French patriot and suggested he might want to do something about that traitor Darlan.)

The insane assumption of American policy was that they could simply decide who the French would settle upon as their champion and liberator. But the French had already settled upon De Gaulle, for two very good reasons: first, that he was an inspiring orator; and second, that he had taken up the fight at a time when it was lonely and dangerous. He subsequently proved that he genuinely put France first, even when that put him at the risk of physical violence against his own British benefactors. He was both the chosen champion of France, which no American alchemy — were the Americans twenty times as clever as they had been — could have dislodged, and also the right man at the right time. But American obstinacy, chicanery, prejudice and stupidity, had this effect: that the Auld Alliance of Lafayette and Washington, of Foch and Pershing, was broken forever. De Gaulle had a long and unforgiving memory, and, when he was taken back into power in 1958, he took France out of NATO, except for a vague political link. And his successors have continued his policy. From being America’s one reliable referent in the Old World, and the place where “good Americans go where they die” (Oscar Wilde), Paris had become the epitome of opposition to all things American. And when American policy makers wonder why this should be so, they would do well to look in the mirror.
Fabio Paolo Barbieri

Oh, P.S. America also backed an insurgent against French rule in East Asia, one Ho Chi Minh.

Angelo M. Codevilla replies:
Mr. Barbieri is entirely correct about U.S. policy in WWII. As for CIA Covert Action, I made my views plain in two Spectator articles and plainer in my book Informing Statecraft, the relevant chapter of which is titled “Sorcerers’ Apprentices.”

However, Mr. Barbieri is wrong about Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. Few if any Chileans today would tolerate trying to undo what Pinochet accomplished. He left his country better than he found it. Few do that.

Re: Jon Gallinger’s response (under “In Reserve”) to Paul M. Weyrich in Reader Mail’s Big Deals:

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Gallinger to this extent: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright C 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company’s USAGE NOTE states:

“The construction from whence has been criticized as redundant since the 18th century. It is true that whence incorporates the sense of from: a remote village, whence little news reached the wider world. But from whence has been used steadily by reputable writers since the 14th century, most notably in the King James Bible: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalms). Such a respectable precedent makes it difficult to label the construction as incorrect. Still, it may be observed that whence (like thence) is most often used nowadays to impart an archaic or highly formal tone to a passage, and that this effect is probably better realized if the archaic syntax of the word — without from — is preserved as well.”

So we can probably agree that Mr. Weyrich’s usage of “from whence” would be more effective if the “from” were not used. But as for it being categorically incorrect, well — who can argue with the King James Bible?
Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

Re: Ken Russell’s letter (under “In Reserve”) in Reader Mail’s Big Deals:

I was very pleased to read Ken Russell’s well-written letter describing the process through which reservists can satisfy their once-a-month weekend drill obligation, and how the media’s willful ignorance of the subject have made it a campaign issue. As a retired Air Force Reserve C-5 and C-130 pilot I can add some personal experience to support Mr. Russell. Due to a heavy flight schedule, which included taking on active-duty flying missions, many reserve pilots flew throughout the month, fulfilling both their attendance and flying requirements on these missions. Resultantly these pilots very rarely attended the squadron’s standard first-weekend-of-the-month unit training assembly, or drill. Moreover, as Mr. Russell stated, it was possible to “front load” a year’s required attendance, as long as one maintained his flying currency requirements. If Lt. Bush transferred to a unit whose airplane he was not qualified to fly, there would have been no such flying currency requirements.

I must also echo Mr. Russell’s criticism that no one in the media, conservative or otherwise, has bothered to learn and publicize these easily-known facts. And while I like Lt. Col. Oliver North, Mr. Russell is spot on when he says the colonel and the other military talking heads enlisted to comment on the issue haven’t been drilling reservists and therefore should not be asked. Maybe someone will pick up on it now.
Paul M. DeSisto, Lt Col, USAFR (Ret)
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

I agree with Ken Russell’s letter. I was in the Air Guard then the Air Force Reserve as an enlisted person. I often pulled drills at different times. Did my Annual Training five days at a time some years.

Yet the major media is still presenting the Bush Guard story as if he had to attend one week-end of drill for all of his six years. And that really gives a false impression and really isn’t telling the truth.
James P. Jarrett, Jr.
Richland, Washington

Re: Lawrence Henry’s Regular Folks Know a Lot:

Congratulations to Mr. Henry for pointing out what, to most of us of a certain age, seems obvious. I was in college in 1972, but when I entered the working world five years later, I wasn’t allowed anywhere near a typewriter. I was a professional, after all. Things to be typed were given to the “typing pool”, a group of very efficient ladies with Southern accents (this was in Washington, D.C.). They not only typed, but also made multiple carbons for various files. Woe unto anyone who attempted to type something himself! The requisite file copies wouldn’t be created, and then how could we ever find the documents? This was simply the way things were done.

I knew how to type, on an Olympia manual, because my father insisted. But it was by no means common in those days for college-educated men and women to know how to type. That fact, combined with a lack of easy access to typewriters (we weren’t assigned them), meant that any “memo to file” had to be hand-written.

So now we have a colonel in the Reserves, a man probably in his 40s, typing letter-perfect memos on an electric typewriter? As Mr. Henry notes, how ignorant can the mainstream media be? Where would Col. Killian get such a typewriter? Why would he want to do his own typing?

In this context, all the debate about fonts and proportional spacing seems ludicrous. The memos had to be fake. Where were the errors and the White-out?
Randolph R. Resor
Merchantville, New Jersey

Re: Sean Higgins’s The Other Media Scandal of 2004:

Much has been made the last few days of the endorsement of Kerry by the Lone Star Iconoclast, the Crawford, Texas newspaper that endorsed Bush in 2000. According to Fox News, the newspaper has a circulation of 425!

Wow. If true, and the Iconoclast‘s website has no circulation brag that I can find, that’s gotta hurt Bush — not!
Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

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