Games People Play

A SOBER STRATEGY
Re: John Corry’s The Intelligence Game:

Mr. Corry’s column and others pointing out the administration’s mistakes about WMD existence in Iraq is disturbing, but isn’t another way of looking at it that the Bush administration took a worst-case scenario view, given the conflicting data and Hussein’s many attempts to obtain WMD’s in the past?

American intelligence has had so many glaring failures over the years, frequently underestimating other countries’ capabilities, that it was arguably correct to assume the worst. Hussein had tried to assassinate a former U.S. president and likely had links to al Qaeda after all.

What would have been the consequences of leaving him power and watching the sanctions erode? Perhaps just what Bush officials predicted, a WMD attack on the U.S. via some terrorist cutout.
Richard Clement
Richmond, Virginia

CHILLED BORDEAUX
Re: Jacob Laksin’s Europe Talks Terrorism:

I’ll write briefly about this article, since it was mentioned in Yahoo’s European newspages, and in my sense symbolizes all the problem that Americans have in understanding terrorism. You seem to believe that terrorism started existing after the Twin Towers, and you act accordingly. Europeans have been the aim of terrorists’ attacks for the last 30-40 years, so we are used to it, and we know a whole lot more about it. So if you’re not happy with the way we deal with it, just sit back and watch. You’ll still be fumbling in Iraq while we’ll have solved it.

And if I remember well, wasn’t it your precious Mr. Bush who ashamedly copied the whole Barcelona process launched 11 years ago by the EU and presented it as the new innovative strategy of the White House to stem terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa? That was obviously because we don’t understand a thing about it…

That article was quite laughable, and I thank you for it, it is good to have something to laugh at in these times.
Dr. Patrick Rosa
Groupe de Sciences Moléculaires
Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux
Pessac Cedex, France

COOK KERRY
Re: Steve Hornbeck’s John Kerry Issue The Indignation Proclamation:

While much has been written citing John Kerry’s assertion that Republicans are “the most crooked, you know, lying group [he’s] ever seen,” nothing I’ve read has touched on his choice of venues for having said that: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois — home of the famous Daley clan and world-renowned for its scrupulous electoral uprightness.

Irony really is lost on you, n’est-ce pas, Senator? Let’s hope that sarcasm isn’t.
Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

SELF-IMPLOSION
Re: David Hogberg’s John Dean Kerry:

I agree with Mr. Hoberg that Senator Kerry is imploding, and for many of the same reasons. Not the ranting, screaming implosion of Howard Dean, but the slow, grind-your-teeth meltdown of an arrogant blue-blood who is bereft of ideas and cannot relate to ordinary Americans. Kerry had several months of free press, almost constant criticizing of President Bush, and received softball questions from the liberal media establishment (LME) and the other candidates. He came away from all of this with a 2-3 point edge in the polls! Even worse for Kerry, after a few Bush ads it now it looks like he’s down 2-3 points!

Kerry’s two biggest issues (Iraq and the economy) are both getting better for Bush. As for leadership, let me get this straight — John Kerry was mad about the Vietnam war, so he threw someone else’s medal away?

When the Bush team gets rolling and starts telling Americans the truth about Kerry’s liberal record (ADA 95), even the ruthless Bob Shrum or the liberal media establishment won’t be able to keep this guy from crumbling. Great insight by Mr. Hoberg.
Regis Dansdill

Once again David Hogberg has hit the nail on the head in describing John Kerry’s recent behavior. The arrogance with which he is campaigning is amazing. I wouldn’t let my husband talk to me the way he is talking to his audiences. He has proven he can dish it out but he sure can’t take it. I have heard that Kerry is taking a little vacation. I am more inclined to believe he is taking a hiatus to remove his foot from his mouth. The one thing the Democrats should be rightfully concerned with about Kerry (together with 100 others of course) is his belief that some foreign countries should have a voice in our election process. Of course anyone who can think for themselves can understand why some of these foreign countries want Kerry to win. From what I have heard from Kerry’s mouth in the last few weeks he doesn’t even deserve to sit in the Senate. I sleep much better knowing George Bush is handling our security.
Jane
Connecticut

SPLENDID SPAIN
Re: Reid Collins’s Spanish Flee and Reader Mail’s The Neoconquistadors:

In response to “Spanish Flee” by Reid Collins:

The Washington Post reported that immediately after the attacks “outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar undertook an intense campaign to convince the Spanish public and world opinion-makers that the Basque separatist group ETA had carried out the attacks.” This argument was made despite the fact that “Spanish intelligence services…had suspected al Qaeda from the beginning.”

Just hours before the election, when it was announced that five suspects linked to al Qaeda had been arrested, it become clear that Aznar and his surrogates had attempted to manipulate information for their political convenience. It was then that “political allegiance shifted sharply to the opposition, especially because many Spaniards felt the government had not been completely forthcoming about the news.” Nicolas Checa, a Spanish political expert, said on PBS that the number one factor behind the outcome was “the handling or mishandling of public information in the 48 hours after the tragic events of last Thursday.”

While some now claim that Zapatero was never in the race until the terrorist attacks occurred, the conservative party’s defeat was always a possibility. The last poll, conducted four days BEFORE the March 11 attacks, “showed that the gap had narrowed, giving the Popular Party 42%, compared with 38% for the Socialists.” The four point spread is well within the standard margin of error for opinion polls.

In his first public announcement after his victory, incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said, “My most immediate priority is to fight all forms of terrorism. And my first initiative, tomorrow, will be to seek a union of political forces to join us together in fighting it.” From the beginning of his campaign, Zapatero promised to withdraw 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq “on June 30 unless the force was sanctioned by the United Nations.” But there is no evidence suggesting that placing more pressure on the Bush administration to secure international cooperation in Iraq is a victory for any terrorist.

The war in Iraq and the “war” against al Qaeda are two different problems. The President George W. Bush and his allies have used the bombing in Madrid as another opportunity to conflate operations in Iraq and the threat of al Qaeda. Yesterday, the President said, “al Qaeda has an interest in Iraq for a reason, and that interest is, they realize this is a front in the war on terror.” The comments are part of a consistent pattern to confuse the separate issues of al Qaeda and Iraq. In September 2002, Bush said, “You can’t distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terrorism.” Meanwhile, as for any Iraq/al Qaeda connection before the war, Vice President Cheney says the “best source of information” was a Weekly Standard article based on leaked intelligence that has been discredited by the Department of Defense.
Patricia Flanagin
Cleveland, Ohio

Again, the truth seems to escape the Left, especially those writing in who were critical of the Spectator‘s views of Spain. What most of the complainants failed to acknowledge was that nowhere did President Bush claim that Iraq was an “imminent” threat (to the contrary, he said that we shouldn’t wait until the threat was “imminent”) and that if Bush did indeed lie to get us into war with Iraq, then so did Russian, German, French, Aussie, British, and Israeli intelligence, along with the UN and Hans Blix.

I also found it amusing that the letter writers were so proud of Spanish democracy that has been around for a quarter century, and yet took the time to berate the U.S. (democratic for 230 years and counting). After all, Europe has done so much with their democracies, electing fascist dictators and socialist appeasers. Obviously, something America should aspire to.
Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri

N. Ziener (“Having a Good Day”) thinks that the war was about oil. Actually France’s version of peace was about oil. As information comes out about the Iraqi bribing of second rate powers like France and Russia, it is hard to take seriously a Euro-delusional idiot who seemed to be happy being Saddam’s lackey. Mr. Ziener would be better off spending his time learning Arabic and studying up on the Koran. Cowards are hardly ever rewarded.

Have a nice day.
Clif Briner

On N. Ziener’s statements:

“I am still very much convinced, like a lot of Europeans, that this war is about oil, and nothing else.”

Well, yes, for France, Germany et. al. the war is about oil … and other tradable products, e.g. land mines, rockets, all sorts of other arms and ammo — in violation of “a lot of Europeans'” own U.N. resolutions and in support of the world’s most evil despot of the last half of the 20th century.

” … 90% of Spaniards opposed the Iraq war.”

Is that so? And what percent of Frenchmen, would N. Ziener say, opposed the German invasion of France during WWI? WWII? Before, during, and after the facts.

Spectator, please continue to publish the mental hieroglyphics of Euroweenies and their wannabe’s in the U.S.
Carl Gordon Pyper
Monett, Missouri

Mon Cher Monsieur Ziener: Unfortunately I feel myself compelled to agree with you, this war indeed was about oil. If France, la grande nation, could have looked after the good of the world, rather than its oil contracts and bribes France got from Iraq, maybe this war could have been avoided.… I have just one question: how DARE France judge the one country that still stands for liberté, égalité, fraternité?
Charles B. Garman
South Dakota
The Great United States of America

A ROLE FOR KERRY
Re: Patrick’s Hynes McGlory Be:

Jay O. Sanders as John F’n Kerry? Maybe. Did Jay Sanders also play Treebeard in Lord of the Rings?

For Kerry, I was thinking more along the lines of Robert Patrick, the cyborg in Terminator 2, though Patrick doesn’t quite have the regal bearing required for the role.

Speaking of cyborgs, who was the guy that played the “super soldier” in the X-Files?

Which brings to mind Kerry’s vote(s) against the troops in Iraq, and against every weapon over the past 20 years — weapons which have preserved the lives of countless soldiers in Iraq, no doubt.

You see, Kerry himself was a “super soldier” in Vietnam. Cyborgs like Kerry don’t need high tech weapons systems and body armor. They take fire, reconfigure themselves and return to the battle–three Purple Hearts in 5 months time and looking no worse for wear. Maybe that’s what JFnK had in mind as he was casting those votes.

Who was the guy who played “Lurch”? He was in a James Bond movie. He had funny teeth.
Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A SONG FOR KERRY
Re: George Neumayr’s John Lennon Kerry:

Kerry truly is a Lennon man in many ways, as the Beatles’ songs reveal.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” catches the senator’s essence: “Living is
easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It’s getting hard
to be someone, but it all works out. It doesn’t matter much to me …”

“Nowhere Man” expresses Mr. Kerry’s flip-floppiness: “He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody. Doesn’t have a point of view. Knows not where he’s going to…He’s as blind as he can be. Just sees what he wants to see …”

“The Fool on the Hill” prophesies his soon-coming standing in the Democrat Party and America: “Day after day alone on the hill, the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still. But nobody wants to know him. They can see that he’s just a fool and he never gives an answer …”

“Hello Goodbye” pegs his standard response to anything Mr. Bush has said and will say: “You say yes, I say no. You say stop and I say go, go, go. Oh, no. You say goodbye and I say hello…”

“I’m a Loser” sums up the senator’s transparent opportunism: “I’m a loser. I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be.”

But the lament “Yesterday” strikes right to the heart of his and the Democrats’ fixation on the past and how the senator may now be hoist by his own petard for all he’s said in the campaign and Democrat primaries, as well as in his public life since 1971: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.”
Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

Your article “John Lennon Kerry” sounds as if you have not read a paper other than your own since the Nixon administration! Did you report on the recently released statement that the Bush administration withheld reports on the ACTUAL cost of their ill-conceived Medicare Drug Coverage?
Jeff Fidel
San Diego, CA

Really terrific piece, George — you never disappoint!

I am a Gen-Xer who must admit has never quite got her head around Vietnam (certainly to her own discredit and certainly not a condition she expects to be persistent).

In any event, I light up at your mention of the Cold War and Kerry’s role therein as a devoted “freezer” — now that’s something I can get my head around!

And it occurs to me as I read your really potent stuff regarding his actions and attitudes back then that the fact that the current discussion appears so dominated by talk of Vietnam seems to me a victory for either Kerry’s team or the mainstream media (same-same), MSM.

Because in talking about VN, we are able to recall again Kerry’s role as a decorated veteran and also Bush’s non-role then in the same breath ponder Iraq, which, of course, since the MSM is the one directing the pondering, is not going to be a good combo for our team (if I were the suspicious sort I might think the Dems are concocting a spell trying to bring the miasma of that time to today via the power of suggestion).

Here’s hoping that we see a lot more discussion of a far more relevant and recent historical event and the role various individuals took with respect to that event and the implications that has for our struggle today. I read quite a bit on these campaigns and had never seen your freezer anecdotes nor the Ortega one previously.
Liz Stinson

It must have been a Sherlock Holmes moment for you when you concluded that the recent terrorist attack in Madrid proves that Iraq was in cahoots with al Qaeda. “Elementary, my dear Watson…” As in elementary school, because that’s about where the level of your logic lies. Obviously, your narrow-minded view of the world is too shrink-wrapped around your brain to allow any room for the idea that world forces have a tendency to unite when faced with a common enemy.

Is it too difficult for you to comprehend that a major issue in this “war on terror” is Christianity vs. Islam? Spain is a Christian country who supported another Christian country to preemptively attack an Islamic country. And, what a coincidence… al Qaeda is an Islamic terrorist group! Eureka!! And, let’s see… what else might be a big turn-off to militant Islamics? Capitalism, maybe?

I am what you people like to call a “bleeding heart liberal.” I’m proud of that label, because it means I’m the exact opposite of a blood-sucking conservative. It is the blood-sucking conservatives who, much like al Qaeda, loathe people of other race, religion, gender and sexuality. They fight tooth and nail, not for what is truly “right” in the eyes of their Christian god, but for what best serves their own self-interests. Then they go to church to absolve themselves of their cruel, ultimately selfish behavior, falling back on their convenient belief that the acceptance of their GOD, not how they treat their fellow human beings, is what makes them truly righteous.
John Corkery

MORE ON THE WALL
Re: Jed Babbin’s Etched in Stone:

Are we to understand that Captain Brudno committed suicide because of the war? Is it possible that he committed suicide because he was suicidal? How can we, after the fact Captain Brudno is gone and no longer able to confide in us, determine what it was that sent him over the edge? It sounds to me like he was suicidal prior to his service.

My apologies to the family for sounding so coldhearted but this country is going through to many changes where people want lines to be moved, definitions to be changed, things that are good to be called bad and wrong to be called right. Anarchy through whining…

Perhaps next we should include the names of those students at Kent state who died as a direct result of the war. After all if there was no war in Vietnam then the National Guard would not have been on campus…
Paul Young

P.S. I was drafted ’71-’73 – at one time I had orders for Nam but they were changed. Instead I served in S. Korea at the time.

FOXETTES
Re: Ken Shreve’s letter (“Red Hot”) in Reader Mail’s The Neoconquistadors:

My wife objected to the “all hot Fox News anchors are blonde” by mentioning Lauren Green — but I reminded her that the lovely Ms. Green, while certainly easy on the eyes, is not an anchor babe — she’s a news babe.

Still, it’s worth bearing in mind that Fox News babes do in fact include all kinds, as Ken Shreve points out quite rightly. Fox News could stand to feature the non-blondes even more though.
Kevin McGehee
Coweta County, Georgia

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