Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Nader Parties in Florida:
With respect to Jay Homnick’s musings on Florida 2000: His argument seems to be that every one of Ralph Nader’s 94,000 voters would have stayed home had Ralph not been on the ballot? Please… That Nader vote is sufficiently large relative to W’s final victory margin (537) that it is not plausible that Ralphie did not cost Gore the election, thank God. It thus is obvious that Gore would not have lost by 537 but for Ralph. Given that, we now can talk about the early networks calls for Gore and mistaken reports of voting booth closure in the Panhandle. We can talk about vote fraud in New Mexico. The last-minute dirty trick with respect to W’s DUI. Lots and lots of things could have been different, and W still would have won. But the narrow argument that Nader cost Gore no votes in Florida is preposterous.
By the way, the Dems/leftists nurtured Nader, encouraged Nader, suckled Nader, etc. for decades precisely because his eternal lies served their political ends. For them now to blame Nader for their problems and to pursue every possible strategy to keep him off the various state ballots is hypocrisy crass even by lib/left standards.
— Benjamin Zycher
Agoura Hills, California
EDWARDS ON THE TABLE
Re: William Tucker’s Gone Missing:
Politicians from both parties often express their willingness to “fight” for causes they deem worthy. You can gain a lot of insight paying attention to who they want to fight.
When Kerry/Edwards, and Democrats in general, refer to fighting, they wish to lead a faction of Americans perceived “victims” in battle against other Americans perceived “enemies,” such as pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, insurance companies, doctors, HMOs.
When Bush/Cheney, and Republicans in general, refer to fighting, they wish to lead all Americans in battle against America’s real enemies before we become victims.
And Bush gets rapped for being the divisive candidate. Go figure.
— Paul Schlick
Maple Grove, Minnesota
Where’s Edwards? I noticed last night that his book, “Four Trials,” is on the deep discount rack at Barnes and Noble for $4.99.
— Teddy Crider
Apex, North Carolina
Re: Sheila Monaghan’s Britney Blowback:
Kudos to Sheila for telling us exactly what we as parents of young girls need to read. Brittany’s exploits as a young adult may seem just a little “freaky” to her, but her behavior is nothing that I want my children to emulate.
Great job, Sheila!
— K. Lewis
I enjoyed your article about Britney Spears, but I disagree with you on one point: America’s young ladies do not need role models in cleats.
The female sports activities that I have seen in America, such as soccer, are very political and usually are connected to radical feminism.
Everyone wants America’s young women to be happy, but in order for that to happen they need role models that are neither licentious nor Marxist.
— Ron Liebermann
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Bowling for Columbine Cops:
So a police investigator drew up a “search warrant to canvass the Harris house in search of contraband. Higher-ups decided that they didn’t have probable cause, and there the matter rested.” The parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were out of touch with what their kids were up to. They were unsupervised at the least. It reminds me of the South Park cartoon where the kids are up to all kinds of dangerous things and the parents are clueless. Why do people always blame the police? I would think any sane person finding teenagers (16 years old) with a sawed off shotgun should clue you in that something is just not right.
— Jeff Brownell
Re: Jed Babbin’s The Emperor of East 46th Street:
Jed Babbin writes in his mostly fine essay “The Emperor of East 46th Street” the following:
“While the genocide against black Muslims continues in Sudan, and Iran’s race to obtain nuclear arms comes near its end, the U.N.’s Secretary General has set his sights on what really matters most: calumniating against President Bush, Britain’s Blair, Australia’s Howard, and the rest of the leaders of the coalition that overthrew Saddam Hussein.”
The first phrase of this paragraph is in error: Black Muslims are committing genocide against African-American Christians and Animists.
— Chuck Sampson
Jed Babbin replies:I don’t concur. Please see the report issued by Senator Brownback and Congressman Wolf. Yes, there is murder of Christians and animists as well. But the principal number of murders is by light-skinned Muslims against black-skinned Muslims.
HOW DID CBS KNOW?
Re: George Neumayr’s The Noble Victim:
I have watched this fiasco for too long. One question needs to be asked and a demand for an answer must follow. Dan rather has stated that Burkett did not call them but that CBS called him. What is the obvious question that should follow Rather’s statement? How did CBS know to call
Burkett and how did they know he had the documents. Who told them to call Burkett. Simple question but the answer would be very revealing. If the American voter can’t see the obvious connection between the Kerry campaign and the CBS story, then we don’t deserve the freedoms we enjoy And the scary part is that if we’re that stupid, then we won’t have that freedom very much longer. ASK THE QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!
— Bobby Cackler
Re: Fransje de Waard’s letter (“Dutch Threat”), and Nicholas Zeiner’s letter (“Sweet Reminder”), in Reader Mail’s The End Is Nigh:
I cannot thank you enough for publishing the letter from Fransje de Waard (Mrs.). After reading her heartfelt sentiments, I didn’t have to wait until November 3rd to cry. Of course, mine were tears of laughter.
My first thought, once I picked myself up from the floor, was of the Arrogant Worms’ classic pop tune, “I Hear the Screams of the Vegetables.” After some reflection, I recalled another literary classic from an earlier era: “English as She is Spoke,” an English phrasebook for Portuguese students, published in 1855 by Pedro Carolino. Mr. Carolino’s accomplishment is made remarkable by the fact that he neither spoke nor wrote English. His opus was produced by using a Portuguese-French phrasebook, then a French-English dictionary. This multiple-filter translation protocol produced such gems as “Passêmos pôr êste prádo. Cômo â campína é boníta! cômo âs árvores estão frondósas!,” translated as “Go through that meadow. Who the country is beautiful! who the trees are thick!”
Among the more notable fans of Sr. Carolino’s work was Mark Twain, who wrote, “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.” I daresay that Fransje de Waard (Mrs.) has achieved a similar degree of perfection. Again, thank you.
— Patrick Burkhart
Mrs. de Waard doesn’t mind shooting from the hip. A lot of tough language and not much substance. If the post-election doom and gloom that she is so fearful of becomes reality it will certainly be attributable to her cowardly attitude and that of other Euro-weenies like her.
I’m curious to know her age. She apparently has forgotten that the Netherlands were not rebuilt in a day; mostly through the generosity of the Marshall Plan. Oh well, gratitude is not something that America should count on, because it is becoming increasingly rare from most of our former allies.
— Jerry McDonald
All I have to say to Fransje de Waard (Mrs.) of Amsterdam is, “So long, farewell, and perhaps we’ll meet again when/if you ever wake up.”
— Phil Gilbert
I’m not going to refute or argue with our enlightened European friends here, as I’m sure there will be plenty of my fellow Spectator readers who can do the job better than I. However, once again I’m glad that the Spectator publishes such tripe. It shows exactly the kind of thinking that got the world into this mess in the first place.
— Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri
As regards “killing our baby now,” let me assure Mr. Zeiner that in raising a baby, especially when that baby reaches adolescence, sometimes a bit of strict discipline is in order. Perhaps killing the child is extreme, however, administering a serious thrashing, such as defunding, expulsion, or the like would be enough to bring the UN back to reality and away from the tin pot dictators who have seized control. Certainly Mr. Zeiner’s country, la belle France, would feel the bite were the U.N. to cease existence.
— Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
First of all, Saddam was killing his own innocent citizens at a clip of around 10,000 per year, so the war has already saved almost 15,000 innocent lives. Secondly, most dictators with “no working ties with Al Qaeda” do not host an Al Qaeda training camp in their own country. Thirdly, you are mistaken if you think it is the Republican agenda to eliminate “countless animal and plant species.” As a hard core Republican I can assure you that we want to encourage the growth of animal and plant populations, especially the good-eating ones.
— Andy Sloss
Clinton Township, Michigan
Was this a spoof? It must be. I nearly laughed myself out of my desk chair. Thanks for the humor.
— Ron Pettengill
Mrs. Fransje de Waard would appear, from the text, to be one of those liberal Democrats that votes absentee in Florida. Give me a break, we have been on our own since 1776 and that’s why the rest of the world follows.
Mrs. de Waard,
I think you are spending too much time in the “coffee shops.”
— Rich Corcoran
For cryin’ out loud, get a life.
Before doing too much finger pointing, you had better be sure that things in your country are as rosy as you wish they would be in the United States. If you don’t like our ways, don’t come here (as a matter of fact, we would prefer that you wouldn’t, considering your bleak outlook on life)! At any rate, I don’t think I will cry if you keep your nose our of our business.
— C.D. Lueders
Boca Raton, Florida
P.S. I and most thinking people in this country are crying for joy that your are not (can not) vote in our elections.
It is always good to hear from our friends in Europe. It is also nice to see that the writer used English in her letter rather than German and that she lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands rather than Amsterdam, the Third Reich. To her I say, you are welcome. Unless I am mistaken, Germany did not attack the USA during WWII, yet we still came to assist with the liberation of Europe, including the Netherlands.
Such is also the case in Iraq. No WMD. The NBC/EOD unit that had to disarm a roadside sarin gas bomb will be relieved to hear that. No ties to Al Qaeda. Possibly not. But it might be wise to wait and see where the trail of oil for food money leads us before declaring that to be a truth. It is possible that some of that money found its way into the coffers of Al Qaeda as well as other terrorist organizations. What is being accomplished in Iraq, then?
A lot. Unfortunate as it is for the average Iraqi on the street, we have succeeded in luring most of the non-Palestinian jihadists to Iraq, where they are being slaughtered at a far greater rate than Allied soldiers. Simple arithmetic should suffice to point out the fact that we will eventually win through simple attrition. Until the recent Vietnam-style peace movement gained media recognition in America, the North Koreans were becoming more amenable and the Iranians admitted that they had a nuclear program and were going to submit to U.N. inspections. This is, understandably, on hold now as they wait to see if the U.S. will, once again, retreat behind the great oceans and leave the world to its own devices. The Iraqis, an old, resilient people, now have an opportunity to craft their country into a Nation of their choosing. Something that they have not had an opportunity to do for over a quarter of a century. I have no doubt that they will prove equal to the task.
I for one, do not wish to send my sons to Europe to liberate the Netherlands from radical Islamic control and rebuild it. I would prefer to have my country confront international terrorism in Iraq, now.
I too wait for November 2, but I have hope of a different outcome from the writer. I hope for the beginning of world peace. A peace bought and paid for, once again, with the blood of the young citizens of the United States of American and her steadfast partners in the World.
— Michael R. Tobias
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
I have a couple of remarks concerning Mrs. de Waard’s letter.
1.) Why exactly are you writing to a conservative American magazine? Are you expecting us, based on your three paragraphs, to burst into tears and see the errors of our ways and then crawl on our knees to Kofi Annan and beg to be let back into the lap of the all-perfect U.N. (with Europe’s permission of course)?
Well, that’s just not going to happen. We are a free, sovereign people who form a free, sovereign country. We enabled a government to protect our lives and property rights (have they translated John Locke into Dutch? If yes, it would be worth reading). This government is not responsible to the U.N., to Europe, or even to the Netherlands (being a monarchy, maybe you do not fully grasp the concept of democracy and individual rights).
As such, the American President will and should always act in the best interest of the United States.
2.) As you are crying, were you also crying for the victims of Saddam’s torture chambers? Were you crying for the dead in the mass graves? Were you crying for the Kurdish families lying of the floor, gassed to death? Were you crying for the innocent Iraqi’s who were fed into industrial shredders by Saddam’s sons? Or alternatively, did you cry for those Afghani women who were dragged into a soccer stadium and shot point-blank in the head, simply because they were not fully covered? Were you crying all these times? I will let you know that the war, started for proven wrong reasons stopped these things. I am a soldier in the South Dakota Army National Guard and I not only mourn the deaths of American soldiers, I fear for the lives of my friends serving in Iraq. But I also know, as they do, that freedom does not come free and freedom is worth fighting for.
As a Dutch woman you should understand this. American and British soldiers died in “Operation Market Garden,” the WWII operation meant to free the Netherlands. But with your Anti-Freedom stand, would you have cheered the American soldiers or rather collaborated with the Germans?
3.) As for our poverty and health care. The Number one problem our poor people face is obesity. And our American institutions allow anybody with a will to work, to leave poverty behind.
I used to live in Europe, I am familiar with the concept of government run healthcare. Have you ever lived in the U.S.? I challenge you to move here for a few years and see for yourself that our health system is far superior to anything Europe has to offer — well maybe the exception being Norway.
4.) I have been to Amsterdam. How dare you, living in that filthy, immoral city, full of prostitutes and junkies (drugs are legal) lecture us on moral issues? America, since its inception, has propagated morals and has been fighting for them ever since. And I’d rather have an assault weapon next to me if I was like you living in Sodom and Gomorrah.
— Charles Garman
Cheer up, Ma’am: I had similar sentiments back in ’76, ’92 and ’96, though for far different reasons. Thankfully we all survived to ring in the new eras of freedom and prosperity brought by subsequent elections.
I hope you’re just as eager to tell each and every woman in Afghanistan and Iraq how you weep for their daughters raped or butchered in the name of faith or state; their fathers, husbands and children tortured, maimed and executed, by who? You’re as wrong about WMDs, democracy in Afghanistan, Saddam & Al Qaeda as you are about America’s healthy economy. That’s what comes from leading with emotion, I guess.
Dry your tears, open your eyes and read something other than your left-biased, anti-American press. You just might find some things to be thankful for, courtesy of George W. Bush and the American people he so faithfully leads now and will continue to do so for 4 more years.
— Jeff Kocur
Is there some kind of filter you can place on your email to block foreign-generated emails? The domestic brand of idiocy is difficult enough to stomach.
Quotes from Mrs. Fransje de Waard (as in Psych ward?):
Is it so hard to see that the righteous rhetoric is there — but the Real World is some place else? Huh?
There are no WMD’s in Iraq: Isn’t that fortunate considering arms inspectors were effectively barred from operating and making that determination before our intervention? Is it easier to gamble on Saddam’s intentions when you are a citizen of a nation with a lesser profile and not the nation with the bulls eye painted on it?
Saddam had no working ties with Al Qaeda; Oh, really? Again, how would that have been confirmed without our intervention? How long, since Baghdad was already a welcome recuperation spa for terrorists, would have it taken for actual operations to begin?
violence, not democracy, is king in Afghanistan. You’re right! Living conditions are soooo much worse now than under the Taliban’s rule.
Abuse at Abu Ghraib happened under U.S. command; assault weapons on the street do not advance homeland security; tax cuts for top incomes are not creating jobs; the record U.S. deficit is growing and China’s economy is merely warming up; four more years and you’ll be on your own. Time to wake up; this is it. You are right about one thing, it is time to wake up. This is the perspective of the international mind that John Fake Kerry thinks we should be coddling!
— Frank Novio
Oh crap, I’m Dutch too and I’d be voting for Bush if I could. I cannot imagine that we are living in a world where the removal of a mass murdering dictator can be illegal. If it’s illegal, his rule and the way he came to power must have been legal and that’s insane. It’s an invitation for any aspiring dictator to go on the rampage. I am ashamed of Europe and furious.
Kofi Annan’s remarks about the legality of Iraq’s liberation opens the way for anther ruling by the International Court of Law in The Hague. Since it has decided that Israel’s security fence is illegal and that self-defense under article 51 somehow does not apply, the liberation of Afghanistan might be deemed illegal as well. It was an act of self-defense against a group that wasn’t really from Afghanistan. The U.S. wasn’t attacked by the Afghani army; Al Qaeda is an international group, a non-governmental organization if you like. The Taliban isn’t responsible for their behavior, just as no government can be responsible for Greenpeace. U.N. institutions are busy creating a protective legal umbrella which will make any anti-terrorist act an immediate violation of International Law. They have discovered the ideal way to fight against the west. It is Europe’s eternal shame — as if it needed yet another — that it is joining the enemy in the name of the law. Terrorists operate above the law and are independent from nations, yet they are sponsored by a large number of U.N. members. The International Court has decided that terrorism should have absolutely no consequence. Either you break the rules and defend yourself, or live by the law and surrender. What does have consequences are your counter-terrorist actions because they will always violate the territory of another nation that will claim to be completely innocent. Of course they are innocent; support for terrorists is clandestine. The question is, why does Europe give these nations the benefit of the doubt? Why do they have faith in a system which protects the criminals?
Europe does not help or support allies and befriended countries when they are attacked and in need of support. This attitude has become an extreme to such an extent that the average European is puzzled when a non-European country, such as the U.S., does actually go out and support its allies, such as Israel. The bewildered Europeans find refuge in the belief that this help is motivated by either economic reasons or elections, which incidentally are always just around the corner, rather than genuine feelings of loyalty or friendship. Any action of the United States of America is explained away in this manner, from the world wars to the role of the U.S. in the Middle East. Never mind that the War in Iraq is a major financial burden, never mind George W. Bush’s number have gone down because of it. According to the European view of things the U.S. support of Israel stems from the fact that the Israelis together with the rich Jewish lobby have the economic power to force the U.S. to support Israel even against its natural inclinations. Without this lobby the U.S. would back the Palestinians of course. The Jewish lobby and their Israeli friends have so much political power that no candidate for U.S. presidency can ever do without them, even when 80% of the Jews vote for Democrats anyway. Europe prefers to believe in old myths rather than to accept that loyalty and shared values might be reason enough to support a friend in need. That a country is supportive of its allies when they are under attack is simply beyond the capacity of modern Europe to understand. When the U.S. itself is also a target for terrorism the identification with Israel is obviously even stronger. But since Europe is a continent that has become addicted to looking the other way and blaming others, any terror attack on Europeans does not cause identification with Israel or the U.S. Europe will rather blame them, as European citizens choose to blame the U.S. after the attacks in Spain. Israel, “that sh–ty little country,” is the reason for terrorism, not the perpetrators of the attacks themselves. Therefore, in order to prevent further attacks on European targets the root cause for terrorism, Israel, must be eliminated. One day the U.S. might wake up and realize that it all really is about oil and power, declare its allegiance to Palestine, and drop the Israelis. If America is really that greedy, it will behave as Europe does.
Since the end of the cold war and the recent crisis in Iraq, Europe is in the early stages of rediscovering its power. This is a great danger because Europe uses this power to prevent others from defending themselves. This could be seen in the way millions of European people preferred not to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t their problem and it would benefit the U.S., so they opposed it. It can be seen in the objection to the security fence Israel is building. What concrete steps should instead be taken against the madmen hell-bent on blowing themselves to bits in dance halls and buses is never made clear. What is wrong with morality if people honestly oppose removing this dictator who funds such massacres with 25.000 dollars a pop or oppose a barrier to stop suicidal mass murders because of international law. After all, there still is, or should be, something called universal justice. The only idea Europe and the UN seemed to have had is to offer resolutions, declarations and conferences. As long as we are dealing with mass murder on the scale of Rwanda or Yugoslavia the damage is limited to several hundreds or maybe thousands of deaths. Resolutions, declarations and conferences are a shameful way of dealing with those events. No matter how crazy this world is, we’ve even made it crazier with a system of international rules where we allow these things to just happen and condemn those who take action against it. But at least they are crimes limited to one region or country. The moment terror organizations or dictators who support terror get their hands on nuclear weapons, this European pacifism might again cost the lives of millions of people. Until now the U.S. has been strong enough to resist European pressure to do nothing and wait until it is too late. However, Europe expects to be on the same economic level as the U.S. within 10 years. Economic power means military power. A powerful Europe might choose to prove its independence from the U.S. by using its military assets to either protect or defend the next Saddam Hussein or Al Qaeda. Anti-Americanism is hugely popular in Europe. The Europeans might decide that a good relationship with the Islamic world next door is preferable to maintaining an old and tired alliance with that superpower across the ocean whom they regard as dangerous, arrogant and stupid.
The opposition towards removing Saddam or taking action against terrorist organizations and actively taking measures against dangerous countries stems from indifference. It is the same indifference Elie Wiesel has noted and which to his mind was the cause for the Holocaust: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” It is the same indifference George Steiner has seen and has judged upon: “Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.” Of course every country is pursuing its own interests. But when the U.S. finally decides to do something good for whatever reason (and removing Saddam from power was an absolute good), the kindest possible explanation for opposing this is indifference. Europe has nothing to fear from Islamic terrorism unless the U.S. forces it to take active measures, explaining immediately why such measures are not pursued. Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to Europe, he was a threat to the U.S., Israel and the Iraqi people and they were the ones who gladly saw him go. The lesson Europe learned form the 20th century is that indifference does not matter no matter how great the danger. There is no price to pay, no responsibility to accept and there are no consequences to consider.
— Daniel Teeboom
Perhaps the Spectator could extend its good offices to Europe and broker a penpalship between Dutch Lady and Swiss Guy. These two earnest representatives of the two nations that have made the world safe for democracy seem to have a great deal in common.
Dutch Lady’s (curiously) self-emphasized marital status should prove no obstacle to the bilateral, superpowered romance: it is, after all, Europe.
My suggestion to the two lovebirds as a first topic would be the abysmal state of medical practice in their respective countries, where citizens are, if one is to judge by these two examples, are required to undergo autoproctological examinations on a daily basis, with no professional assistance. Don’t they get stuck ?
Must be dark in there, and awfully hard to see out into the great wide world.
Switzerland and Holland ! If they have something to say about chocolate, I’m all ears.
— Paul Kotik
Dear Mrs. de Waard:
Cry me a river.
— M. Andreasen