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Talking Back

Re: Anthony Mirvish’s letter (“Rap on the Raptor”) in Reader Mail’s Retired Reserve and Michael Fumento’s The F/A-22 Raptor Must Fly:

Mr. Mirvish’s OED-sized letter makes an extraordinary number of claims against the Raptor, such that it is truly marvelous he could be wrong with virtually every one.

1. According to Lockheed-Martin spokesman Greg Caires, “All of Mr. Fumento’s claims have been demonstrated during ground-based and flight testing by Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force.” Obviously Lockheed has a personal stake, but it is beholden to Congress while Mr. Mirvish is not.

2. The average per aircraft cost of the F/A-22 Raptor is $125 million. I did say the price of the Raptor was extremely high and explained it was partly because of the added ground support role. (And yet Mr. Mirvish has the gall to say, “Don’t tell me the F-22 will do this,” because it would put the plane within range of small arms fire. Funny, the B1, B2, and B-52 have all been used recently in a ground support role without suffering so much as a bullet hole.) I also explained the relatively high price resulted in part from Congress’s decision to scale way back on its order, thereby increasing the per-unit price.

3. The Raptor has “all-aspect” stealth; the F-117 “stealthiness” is only head-on.

4. Pray how does the F-117 qualify as “very small” and the F/A-22 as “very large,” when the F-117 is 66 feet long with a 43-foot wingspan, while the F/A-22 is 62-feet long with a wingspan of 44.5 feet. The Raptor is actually a foot shorter than the F-15.

5. The Raptor bristles with missiles, 6 radar-guided and 2 heat-seeking missiles. The F-117 has no defensive weaponry.

6. By Mr. Mirvish’s own admission, the F/A-22 can have a full minute or more to identify a foe before the foe can make visual contact. In modern air combat, an extra second or two is all that’s needed, thank you.

7. The Raptor will not carry external electronic warfare pods — upgrades to the Raptor’s EW suite will occur “under the skin.”

8. The Raptor routinely flies faster than 1.5 times the speed of sound without using its afterburners.

9. Aerodynamic heating is reduced by the physical properties of the material from which the Raptor is built. The Raptor is not an aluminum jet; it is made from classified alloys.

10. The Raptor’s radar does not have active radar that gives itself away by emitting electronic signatures while looking for targets.

11. The Raptor will only use external fuel tanks or carry external missiles when stealthiness is not an operational necessity (when deploying or when enforcing a “no-flight” zone). The Raptor will not use laser targeting pods (a technology that is fast becoming replaced by radar guided bombs).

12. Finally, this talk of planes built by “bankrupt” countries shows the utter bankruptcy of Mr. Mirvish’s anti-F/A-22 obsession. Nobody except perhaps Mr. Mirvish doubts that other than the Raptor, the Russian SU-37 is the world’s finest fighter and that this jet WILL be purchased by China and other potential enemies of the U.S. God help us if the best plane we have to oppose them is the F-15, which was flying while we still had troops in Vietnam.
Michael Fumento
Senior Fellow
Hudson Institute
Washington, D.C.

Re: David Tucker’s letter (“Where’s the Outrage?”) in Reader Mail’s the Cheney Wars:

In his sincere letter, Mr. David Tucker from St. Louis, Missouri, says what I believe most Americans would say, that he is ready to embrace the Muslim world as fellow-creations of the Almighty God, yet this is obstructed by a disturbing lack of denouncement of terrorism by Islam’s faith leaders.

In fact since 9/11 overwhelming majority of leaders, scholars and thinkers in the Muslim world has been categorically denouncing the cult of death and destruction, which is against Islam, in conflict with Koran and inconsistent with Islamic history and civilization. Apart from a small but vocal minority of a special tradition within Islam — who condone terror as a self-defense — all of the religious leaders denounce acts such as that of Al Qaeda. Consider that religious and political leaders of moderate Sunni Turkey, a traditional ally of the U.S., unite on this matter with religious and political leaders of radical Shiite Iran. We can call this consensus.

A very good book that manifests this cult of death is against Islam is titled precisely “Islam Denounces Terror” by Harun Yahya, arguably the most popular contemporary scholar in the Muslim world from Indonesia to Nigeria, with works translated to 33 languages. Harun Yahya, has been writing books, publishing Web sites, producing documentaries and frequently advertising in both Islamic and mainstream western media on what Mr. Tucker from St. Louis rightly states: Christians, Jews and Muslims should embrace each other towards a better future. He proves that it is not a wish but a clear commandment of Koran that Muslims should approach other Abrahamic faiths on common ground, which constitutes most. Please see for a powerful example of the loud and categorical denouncements of terror that David Tucker demands.
Hakan Ozkaplan
Istanbul, Turkey

Re: RW’s letter (“Roberts Rules”) in Reader Mail’s Common and Uncommon:

RW says that the committee’s unanimous vote is “politics as usual.” I know for a fact that party-line votes are likewise regarded as “politics as usual.”

This leaves me with the obvious question:

When is it ever not politics as usual?
Kevin McGehee
Coweta County, Georgia

Re: Peter Flaherty’s When Good Deeds Get Punished:

If Wertheimer wanted to get the money out of politics, he should beg Congress to stop regulating and taxing everything that threatens to move. Lobbyists come from threats to legislate and a habit of developing incompetent regulation. Liberals complain about the money because they don’t understand the consequences of their actions. If you tax mostly the rich, why would you expect them to not feel entitled to something extra for their money since they are paying way extra anyway? If you pay for the whole meal and a bunch of others too, must you also beg for the after dinner mint?

I have also noticed Democrats don’t say much about Woodrow Wilson who sent 10,000 troops into Mexico to hunt down Pancho Villa as a response to killing less than 30 U.S. citizens. The U.S was in there for nearly two years. Assassins eventually did what the U.S. Army could not. Those were the good old days — no UN.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Re: Mark M. Trapp’s Kennedy’s Benchmarks:

Some years ago, while assigned as Fleet Judge Advocate (senior legal counsel) for the U. S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, I was at my desk when the receptionist buzzed me and said, “Mr. Justice Kennedy for you on line one.” I vaguely recall thinking “huh?” or some such un-profound thing. But, I promptly pressed line one and was greeted by a lady who said, please hold for Mr. Justice Kennedy. While waiting, I steeled myself to answer such question as “Why do you oppose avowed homosexuals in the military?” or “Why do you advise the fleet commander to oppose newly proposed environmental rules which, while perhaps limiting when and where the fleet can conduct its war games, still should be good for the environment?” or “Why do you take the position that U.S. customs, agriculture, and other federal and state officials may not inspect foreign warships during port-calls in the U. S. merely because U.S. warships might then be subject to similar inspections during port-calls in foreign countries?” etc.

Of course, no such questions were asked of me, and the call was purely social, with Justice Kennedy thanking me for assistance by my staff in arranging for a tour of a submarine for his newly-wed son, who was honeymooning in Hawaii — which would have been done for any other citizen. Nonetheless, I was impressed that Justice Kennedy would take time to call me, and indeed, that he would invite me to call him the next time I was in Washington so he could give me a tour of the Supreme Court Building. Of course, I did not call him, not wanting to impose, but I certainly admired him as a gentleman. And, I still do.

But, I have been so often disappointed by his judicial decision-making. His declination to overturn the gross judicial legislation that is Roe v. Wade was so horribly (and literally) destructive of millions of unborn babies whose lives have been violently and summarily extinguished by the abortion industry. In fact, I can do nothing but consider him equally culpable to Justice Blackmun and others of the five justice majorities who decided Wade and subsequent decisions upholding and extending Wade. In my view, all these people are principals in what history will surely record as crimes against humanity.

Additionally, Justice Kennedy’s decisions in Bowers followed by Lawrence, and several other decisions that were so invasive of the constitutional authority of the other branches of Government, demonstrate a clear abrogation of his oath of office. I regret I must say such a thing about a gentleman, but being a gentleman cannot justify undermining and profaning the Constitution and being a major part in a regime of crimes against humanity.
A. A. Reynolds
Chula Vista, California

Why are we so surprised and upset over this judge’s mindset? It is the logical progression of the way things have been going since Watergate. With that event and its aftermath, we have been subjected to tyranny after tyranny all in the name of “political ethics.” What the legislators themselves haven’t addressed, the courts have. The result is the stifling of not only free speech but all those attendant things that go with political office such as these charity fundraisers. Meanwhile, the Democrats, especially, have found unique ways to get around all this as pertains to their own political fundraising but the poor charities seem, in this case, to be bearing the brunt of this activism. Yes, FDR would find it very difficult in today’s political clime, especially his fireside chat prayers. However, this is something we ourselves have brought on us. We are really a government of the people, by the people, and when the people become idiotic, so does the government. In other words, we have gone from the “greatest generation” to the “stupidest generation.” A final word also to those “conservatives” who may be planning on skipping this election. If you don’t exercise your right to vote, don’t exercise your right to bitch, also.
Pete Chagnon

Excellent article. How can we call it to the attention of the Supreme Court justices, Justice Kennedy in particular?
Jenny Woodward

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Send in Jimmy Carter:

Indeed, it appears that all the Dems and liberals — and allied domestic and international Bush-haters — want is to win this upcoming presidential election, at all costs and through any strategy. But rules don’t apply to them. They can’t spell restraint. Drama, distortion, lies and fear-mongering are their tools. Race baiting and class warfare are two principal devices of division. Every situation has its own morality.

The Texas Congresswoman and her colleagues should put their data and analyses where their collective mouths are, with regard to the allegation that the U.S. has systematically suppressed minority votes. With no success, Jesse Jackson and others of his ilk tried to show that minorities, particularly black Americans, were disenfranchised in Florida in 2000.

They seem to have conveniently ignored research done on the Florida recount by two groups of major domestic liberal newspapers. What was found? Mr. Bush would’ve picked up more votes in the counties in which Al Gore requested the recount.

Interestingly, neither of the presumptive Democrat candidates in this election or the party’s leadership criticized Ms. Johnson and her cohorts. So, it seems reasonable to conclude the Dems mistrust the American people and dislike and fear representative government and the systems we’ve enplaced.

These folks are genuinely desperate. It wouldn’t surprise me that, following Al Gore’s example of attempting to steal the 2000 election through selective recount, voter suppression and courts’ rulings, they’re already planning their post-election, non-ballot-box, litigious strategy to discredit the upcoming election, should they not win or should the vote be close.

Personally, I think they actually want to whip up a street fight, one which further cracks the foundations of our country and maybe even a few heads and which further polarizes our society. I pray I’m wrong.

But they seem to be so consumed and blinded with hatred for the president and anything for which he stands that they have the capacity now to damage whatever they cannot get legitimately, regardless of who or what is affected.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Re: William Tucker’s Dump Cheney?, the “Dumping Grounds” letters in Reader Mail’s The Cheney Wars, and the “Slow Vote to Cheney” letters in Reader Mail’s Common and Uncommon:

McCain for President? Seems the only ones who want him are ultra-liberal democrats, head-in-the-sand Republicans and the [expletive deleted] media!

What is never discussed is the fact that Mr. McCain is constitutionally ineligible to be president. He was born in Panama, albeit to American parents on a U.S. Base. As every military parent knows, a child born overseas must be naturalized to become a citizen of the United States and therefore, cannot become president!

Unless the citizenship rules are different for Panama and the Canal Zone, a McCain presidency is not possible. I believe a vice-president must also be eligible to succeed, again ruling McCain out.

Am I wrong?
C.D. Lueders
Boca Raton, Florida


#10: President Cheney: “I want my Supreme Court nominee to receive a fair and quick hearing.” Judiciary Chairman Leahy: “Go chase yourself.”

#9: Opportunity for Pres. Bush to select the first Catholic, Jewish, female, or Hispanic VP.

#8: Cheney, 2002: “Let’s invade Iraq. No problem.”

#7: Most stressful job in the world for a man with a history of heart attacks.

#6: Bush will get a bounce by naming a new running mate.

#5: George the First stuck with Dan Quayle and lost.

#4: Cheney’s f-word being compared to Hollywood Democrat obscenities.

#3: Halliburton

#2: Cheney: Western, Republican, white, male, Protestant, establishment like Bush.

#1: We need to win this election & add to
Senate majority.
G. Ferguson

Re: Neil Hrab’s To the Bottom of the Ocean:

Redistributing the gains reaped from the sea seems like a great idea.

Now, how about retribution to the rest of the world for air pollution by steel industries in the Far East, notably China?
Carl Stanislawski
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

As usual, I enjoyed the selections in Reader Mail on Tuesday, July 13th (“The Cheney Wars“).

Reader Mail often reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: John McGinnis’ again excellent mail on the difference between income and wealth. This difference can also explain why the “rich” pay less of the overall federal income tax revenue when their rates go up. They can afford, because of wealth, to lower their taxable income while the average and upper middle class person cannot do. The other negative result of higher tax rates on that kind of income is the harm done to small business Subchapter S corporations that, with higher taxes, will not expand, hire or buy new equipment.

The Bad: Steve Biddle’s comment on William Tucker’s “Dump Cheney?” column. Specifically, “I should let loose here with the requisite declaration of respect for Mr. Cheney, and it is true: I have tons of respect and admiration for him and his ability. But, mostly through no fault of his own, he has become a liability.”

A liability to whom? The left-wing press? The liberal Democrats? In that case G.W. Bush is even a BIGGER liability. Does Mr. Biddle suggest he step down or the GOP nominate someone else at the convention?

The Ugly: Emil Kaneti’s remarks suggested above. Get a life buddy! To even try and equate the War on Terror with the Vietnam War is so clichéd it’s just plain lame.

Keep up the good work selecting interesting Reader Mail.
Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

Re: George Neumayr’s Ron Reagan’s Stem Sell:

Please announce this to the world. I did not catch this myself until someone pointed out that our former president was Ronald Wilson Reagan. His son is Ronald Prescott Reagan. He is not “Jr.” since his middle name is not “Wilson”.
Martha Morrison
Clemmons, North Carolina

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