Re: John Tabin’s USA Today‘s Late Addition:
Comparing Michael Moore to Ann Coulter is like comparing Henry VIII to Joan of Arc.
— Paul Flynn
Las Vegas, Nevada
THE REAL KILLERS
Re: James Bowman’s Foer Score:
“When intellectuals cease to feel bound by any obligation to argue responsibly, what hope is there for political dialogue?” Bowman posits. Didn’t he really mean liberal and/or Bush-hating intellectuals? And does he mean academic, formal or informal argument?
Political discourse is and has been damaged, for sure, and it may have to radically change, though.
Personally, I think the biggest, still-on-the-loose killers of meaningful political discourse are the partisan, irresponsible print-and-broadcast-news-media organizations and so-called entertainment industry. The anti-Bush, anti-American, anti-capitalist intellectuals simply provide occasional information to these other propaganda outlets.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Mr. Bowman wrote: “When intellectuals cease to feel bound by any obligation to argue responsibly, what hope is there for political dialogue?”
Argue? As in have a serious dialogue over serious issues that take into account serious things like facts? As long as we are speaking about intellectuals, there is little to no hope for that. Thinking about intellectuals babbling evokes from me the same response I have to the notion of Congress passing more laws: aren’t they done yet?
— Matthew C. Tritle
“If Baylor succeeds, it will join Notre Dame in a Catholic-Protestant combo that will provide a compelling alternative to dominant academic presuppositions which casually discount the Christian tradition,” Hunter Baker writes. Although such a situation would be very welcome among serious thinkers, this is highly unlikely. Notre Dame long ago abandoned any semblance of support to Roman Catholic or even Christian tenants in favor supporting and spreading the Leftist Demo-liberalism “religion.” I wish Baylor all the best in its
battle to the very top.
— Richard Ptak
My apologies in advance for the ongoing “Showdown City”… but I just can’t resist since Mr. Baker gets more paranoid, and makes less sense with every response/article. It’s tough being a conservative that disdains religious intrusion into my life or using my tax dollars.
Mr. Baker: I don’t understand the complete love affair with Dr. Sloan, but then again, I’m a recovering Southern Baptist so maybe it is just not meant to be. You mentioned in your latest article “American Christians who have pinned their hopes on Baylor making good on its bid to scale the top tier of research universities while reinforcing its Christian identity.” Research is scientific in nature; religion is faith based. Mixing religion with science is an atrocious idea prone to promoting ones “research” to support a theocratic agenda .
Mr. Baker states “it’s quite possible that Baylor will host the finest collection of Christian scholars on the planet and will amaze the academic world with the treasures that grow out of the renewal of the Christian mind. When that day comes, the town of Waco, intersected by the Brazos River whose full name means ‘Arms of God,’ will become the juncture of Athens and Jerusalem it has so long aspired to be.”
Or, it’s possible that the “Arms of God” will be the juncture of Dr. Sloan and the Theocons from Baylor and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.
— Ben Berry
Hunter Baker replies:
I’d encourage Mr. Berry to keep in mind G.K. Chesterton, who once said, “In truth, there are only two kinds of people, those who accept dogmas and know it and those who accept dogmas and don’t know it.” Ben Berry stands in the latter camp, thinking he has shed all dogmas in his quest to “recover” from his traumatic experience in the Southern Baptist Church.
As to Berry’s resentment toward the encroachment of religion on his life, I have to wonder why he cares so much about what’s happening at a private Christian university. Don’t the denizens of Baylor have the right to decide what level of religion they’d like to observe? I noticed Bible verses etched into some of the sidewalks in the new North Village. Will another complaint be forthcoming?
Regarding the letter from Mr. Ptak, while I recognize that Notre Dame has not gone as far as Baylor in seeking to marry the Christian faith and scholarship, I think he sells ND short. Many of the academics who signed on to a letter supportive of Baylor’s project come from Notre Dame. The school’s Provost Nathan Hatch is a well-known evangelical scholar. I’m sure the level of Catholic/Christian commitment varies from department to department, but Notre Dame does represent a departure from academia as usual and is thus not a bad role model for Baylor.
COLIN KELLY’S HEROISM
Re: Reid Collins’s Not Knowing:
With regard to Reid Collins’ article, I found the following line:
“That kind of thinking was totally alien to us. Hell, the last time anything like that involved an American, Colin Kelly was trying to put his doomed B-17 into a Japanese warship in the early days of the war. And that wasn’t the same. The plane was doomed to start with.”
I understand the point that Mr. Collins is trying to make, but as a matter of historical fact, Colin Kelly never “put his doomed B-17 into a Japanese warship” or even tried. Although this little bit of propaganda was widely reported in 1942, the fact is that Colin Kelly’s plane was shot down near and crashed onto land.
Colin Kelly distinguished himself by staying at the controls of a burning plane right up to the end to maximize the likelihood of his plane’s crew being able to safely bail out. He gave his life trying to save the lives of his crew. This is exceptionally laudable, but it does not justify the myths of his “crash diving into a Japanese battleship” (which seems mostly a product of the American mind set after Pearl Harbor), or of his being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In a sense, the truth of Colin Kelly’s fate is even more consistent with Reid Collins’ main point — suicidal attacks are so alien to the American mind that we don’t even do them in times of war with doomed aircraft.
— Jeremiah Stephan Dunleavy
After reading Mr. Reid Collins’ musings of “Uncle Pundit”, I felt compelled to write you this letter. I understand that the article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I fear that Uncle P’s statement that
Our group think didn’t allow for zealots to martyr themselves in order to kill us. That kind of thinking was totally alien to us. Hell, the last time anything like that involved an American, Colin Kelly was trying to put his doomed B-17 into a Japanese warship in the early days of the war. And that wasn’t the same. The plane was doomed to start with.
is not entirely accurate. Capt. Colin Kelly, 19th Bomb Squadron, U.S. Army Air Corps, was indeed a hero. On 10 December 1941, Capt. Kelly and the crew of his solo B-17 took off to try to attack Japanese airfields on the island of Formosa (now Taiwan). It was to be a solo mission; no supporting bombers, no fighter escort, and deep into enemy territory. On the way, they flew over a Japanese invasion force landing on the island of Luzon. Capt. Kelly radioed for permission to attack the force; despite being told twice to hold on, Capt. Kelly decided to try to bomb the invaders anyway. He piloted the B-17 to allow the bombardier to accurately target a Japanese cruiser. Once his bombs were dropped, Capt. Kelly turned his B-17 back toward his base Clark field, untouched and seemingly home-free. But on the way back, Capt. Kelly’s bomber was savagely attacked by Japanese fighters. The fighters ravaged the lone B-17; several of Capt. Kelly’s crew were quickly killed, and the bomber soon became engulfed in flames. Capt. Kelly selflessly remained at the controls of the crippled bomber, buying precious time for his crew to bail out. Just as the co-pilot bailed out, the B-17 exploded and crashed about five miles from the airfield. Capt. Kelly’s body was recovered from the wreckage. Although he was recommended for the Medal of Honor, he was actually posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallantry in action. (source)
Oddly enough, it’s a long-standing myth that Capt. Kelly won the Medal of Honor for crashing his B-17 into a Japanese Battleship. Information from the Pacific Theater in the days after Pearl Harbor was tough to come by and often got garbled and confused. The initial story that went out was that he had crashed his B-17 into the ship, although that’s not quite what happened. Undoubtedly, however, at a time when both the press and public were desperate for good news, the story likely got a lot of press and burned itself into the collective mind of the public. By the time the official reports came out, so many other things were going on that they were hardly noticed. Thus, the legend of Capt. Kelly lived on long after the war.
Anyway, I had to write because there is a better example of an American pilot martyring himself to kill his enemy: Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., USAF. Major Loring was an F-80 “Shooting Star” pilot in the Korean War. While providing Close Air Support to ground troops, Maj. Loring was told to dive-bomb several enemy gun positions that were threatening friendly forces. Maj. Loring began his bomb run and immediately began to take heavy ground fire. He continued to press the attack, and his jet was hit. At about 4,000 feet, Maj. Loring deliberately changed his course and dove his jet into the midst of the enemy emplacements. By sacrificing himself, Maj. Loring was able to destroy the gun emplacements and enable our ground forces to live to fight another day. For his actions, Maj. Loring was posthumously awarded the Air Force Medal of Honor. You can read his citation here.
As I wrap things up, I couldn’t help but think one final thought: Did Mr. Collins have Uncle P repeat the inaccurate legend because it would be “in character” for Uncle P to have still clung to the legend long after the facts were actually released, or was it just that Mr. Collins had only heard the legend himself and not seen the facts? Either way, it was a good article, and I enjoyed it.
Thanks for taking the time to read a little about the sacrifices our fellow Americans made in the past to ensure we would have the luxury of debating whether or not to make similar sacrifices today. Were it not for their selfless spirits then, we might not have anything left to give now.
— Andrew T. Krog, Major, USAF
Reid Collins replies:
True. Subsequent briefings after the event indicated that Capt. Colin Kelly dumped his bomb load on what was probably a Japanese cruiser and was attacked by Japanese planes en route back to Clark Air Force Base. He stuck with the controls of a flaming B-17 in order to allow his crew time to bail out. About 5 miles from Clark the plane exploded. Kelly’s body was recovered. Kelly was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but received the D-S-C.
Post-Pearl Harbor America badly needed bucking up, and the Colin Kelly story, though embellished with that imagined dive toward a battleship, was embraced with fervor. “Thanks,” said the American Psyche, “I needed that,” much in the manner that many in this post-9/11 period want to believe that the struggling passengers aboard United’s Flight 93 deliberately crashed the plane in a Pennsylvania field to keep it from reaching Washington, D.C. The 9/11 commission concludes they were trying to re-take control of the craft, when the terrorists crashed it. The passengers’ heroic motive was to live; their death meant life for hundreds just 20 minutes flying time in the nation’s capital.
A boy embraced the Colin Kelly story: an older man salutes him and the heroes of flight 93. And so does Uncle Pundit.
OUR SEPARATE WAYS
Re: Kurt Schori’s letter in Reader Mail’s The Gaul of Some People:
In response to Jed Babbin’s “The French Prescription,” reader Kurt Schori of Biel-Bienne, Switzerland asserts that “In the European West, American tourists are being replaced by wealthy Russians, Indians, Koreans and Chinese.” This may come as a surprise to Mr. Schori, but the same is true in the U.S., with the long-time addition of the Japanese. More than that, American universities are flooded with Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indians, many of whom opt to stay in or return to the US, and many of whom, even if they return home, prefer to work for American companies, or local companies with extensive U.S. business. Mr. Schori also avers, “Europeans will travel to South Africa, South East Asia, South America….” But so do Americans, as they have been doing for generations.
Mr. Schori adds, “We need American cars as little as you do French wine,” a statement with which one could quibble, considering the market shares of Ford’s and GM’s European branches. Aside from the very small market share of Volkswagen in the U.S., European autos in the U.S. are confined to the luxury market, where people pay $50,000 for a hood ornament, not a car, and where competition is of little importance, only whimsical social cachet. American cars in Europe, on the other hand — Ford Focus and such — are vehicles sold to the middle market, where choices are wide and competition fierce. That virtually no European low-priced car can sell in the U.S., while cars from such upstart auto-producing countries as South Korea are tremendously popular, is very telling of Europe’s competitive capabilities.
Finally, Mr. Schori says, “[W]e don’t even need each other anymore.” That is quite true for the United States regarding Europe. As a Generation X American, I have very little interest in Europe. I grew up watching Japanese cartoons on TV, love Japanese anime, still watch such Japanese programs as Inuyasha. At the movies, I enjoy the wonderfully innovative films coming out of China. I drive a Japanese-brand car manufactured in the United States. When I was in college, large numbers of my classmates were Asians. I can’t recall even seeing many Europeans, ‘though I suppose there were some.
Now that I am working, I see my company and others working closely with or vying fiercely against Asian counterparts, with scarcely any interplay with European companies. Of course there is business with Europe, but we don’t negotiate to build factories there or buy components there, let alone plan for vast new markets there, all of which we do in Asia. Long term, in Europe, we see shrinking markets and the need to diversify out of Europe. In most of Asia the US has a small military presence. In Europe we still have huge numbers of troops — and even have them in peacekeeping roles to keep Europeans from killing each other. My brother served in the Balkans and has told of mass-killing horrors there, unimaginable anywhere else but someplace like sub-Saharan Africa or the worst parts of the Middle East. Americans had to conduct a bombing campaign with B-52s to make Europeans stop killing each other as recently as 1999.
Certainly I wonder why, since we are so disdained by Europeans — the best Mr. Schori can do is call some of our business practices “clever” — we should risk our troops and treasure to keep Europeans from each other’s throats. Since, as Mr. Schori and his very common kind say, we don’t need each other, let the first thing we Americans do is take our troops out of Europe. We need them elsewhere.
When the Russian Front collapsed in the winter of 1917, it allowed the Germans to move nearly a million men to the Western Front. Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff used this vast force to launch a massive drive to win the war. The trench stalemate ended as the Germans thrust forward 40 miles in 10 days, inflicted 300,000 casualties and brought the British Fifth Army to the edge of catastrophe. A gap opened between the British and the French armies. By June, Ludendorff’s army had reached the valley of the Marne, putting it on a direct road to Paris. At this point, John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, hurried to Supreme Allied Commander Marshal Ferdinand Foch’s headquarters, and, rising to the desperate need of the hour, said, “Infaterie, artillerie, aviation — tout ce que nous avons est à vous. Disposez-en comme il vous plaira!”
In the furious battle raging northwest of Paris that terrible year, the American Third Infantry Division earned the nickname it carried into the Iraqi desert 85 years later: The Rock of the Marne. While the French divisions broke and ran, the Americans stayed and fought, saving Paris. Now it would have been nice if the Europeans, after 9-11 would have recalled Pershing’s words and said them to us in our hour of need, and then followed through with actions on par with those of our own 3rd Infantry Division and the rest of the AEF.
But no. But of course not. We are permitted to sacrifice for Europe, but Europe is not about to sacrifice anything at all for us. Fine. We know that. We young Americans, whose interests already lie elsewhere, observe these Europeans who are supposed to be our friends and allies, our cultural confreres — and we just don’t see it. Europe is nothing to us. So let’s pull our troops out, put them where they need them, and merely watch with mild interest — and no action — when Europe inevitably implodes into tribal warfare and slaughter once again, as it surely will, current attempts to re-create the Holy Roman Empire as a socialist soviet federation notwithstanding.
— Chuck Turner
CRIME AND NO PUNISHMENT
Re: Jed Babbin’s Code Word Bergler:
I have read with great interest your article, Mr. Babbin, re Berger. Every time I witness one of these dim Dems get away with high crimes and dismeanors my blood boils. If we are indeed a nation of laws, why isn’t Mr. Berger in jail already? If we are a nation of laws, why isn’t Mr. Clinton in jail? If we are a nation of laws, why isn’t Jamie Gorelick being grilled re her memo to keep the FBI and CIA even farther apart than they already were re information sharing? I fear our nation is DANGEROUSLY near anarchy, thanks to willful disregard of the law, primarily by high profile Democrats. What can I, as a private elderly woman, do to keep our nation viable as a democratic republic? I vote, I speak out, I obey our laws, I volunteer for senior citizen causes. I feel helpless and I hate that feeling. I ordinarily am independent and happy, but lately so much crime has been committed by high-profile Democrats and gone unpunished that I am losing my optimism. Thank you for doing what you do. You and others like you are my light in the darkness.
— Mary K. Washburn
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Kerry the Green Monster:
There is absolutely nothing Kerry could do to make himself look like a “regular” person. The Kerry’s, John Kerry and Terry Kerry, have been blessed with wealth but they have not been blessed with an ounce of Class! The “impromptu” visit to the ballgame was so transparent. Kerry claims he wants to use the convention to show the people who he is. The trouble is he is like a chameleon who changes color — Kerry changes his persona to suit the event. This week he can let others try to convince the public that Kerry doesn’t flip-flop on every issue. They might even bring up the fact that he was in Vietnam. He has a gaggle of speakers who would say just about anything to get their power back. Even Terry Kerry isn’t sure which husband she likes better. I wonder if either one of them is sure about anything. Hopefully by the end of the convention the public will actually see who Kerry is and vote for President Bush.
OK. It is settled. Bush crafts a campaign commercial showing his own pitch at the All Star game, followed by Kerry’s “pitch” at Fenway park that fell out of the sky like a wounded duck, bouncing in front of home. Bush wins by 10 points.
America cannot tolerate a president that throws like a girl!
— Darrell Judd
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