Another sober dissent:
I must disagree with those who say Hillary has no chance of winning should she run against George W. Bush. Certainly none of us who place any value on the integrity of the office would want to see such a thing (though, in fairness, her husband did a good job of dispensing with that). It would without a doubt dissipate whatever respect we have left globally. And, of course, the idea that someone with Ms. Clinton’s past infelicities (of which we are all well aware) could have even become senator is disgraceful enough. True, we will never know what might have happened if Rudy Giuliani had remained in the running — I suspect something quite different, but we can’t be sure. But does Our Imperial Hillary have a chance against GWB? The answer, I think, is sadly yes. Here is why:
As smarter people than me have already pointed out, Mrs. Clinton’s popularity stems not from anything she personally has done (or not done — and there’s a lot on both counts) but on her celebrity. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, Hillary is no different than a Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, or any other Hollywood motormouth, except that she has a vote in the Senate to go along with her leftism. To say standards for her are not high is an exaggeration. Britney Spears is held to higher scrutiny than she.
Which leads me to H.L. Mencken’s famous crack about underestimating the stupidity of the American people. While not accusing Americans of stupidity, they do seem prone to suggestibility. I’m thinking back to MTV’s “Rock the Vote” campaign which certainly helped elect the first Clinton. Doubtless Mrs. Clinton will have even more star power behind her. The press seems interested only in fawning over her. As for “cocooned sycophants,” they can be remarkably effective. How else do we explain the Kennedys?
Mrs. Clinton is neither stupid nor inarticulate, with a few ill-timed exceptions. If GWB finds himself apologizing for anything, going on the defensive, or just plain bumbling — no, I do not think it inconceivable that Mrs. Clinton would have a chance. I recall someone writing of her New York candidacy that “the votes weren’t there.” Well, they were there. And they’re out there.
Should the international concerns melt into new “It’s the economy, stupid” whines, a second President Clinton may well be on the way. I doubt this will happen — at least not while the American public believes their safety is at risk. As for betting–I’d be curious to see a Hillary-Rudy rematch in 2008. Check your Pay-per-View listings!
— Mitt Stampler
North Philadelphia, PA
It is all well and good to have the opinion that Hillary will enter the race for the role of president, but quite frankly, to me, this is the stuff that nightmares are made of, another President Clinton! She changes her mind about issues as often as she changes her socks, for heaven’s sake. There is no grounded thinking, she is made of marshmallows. Did you ever try to get rid of a toasted marshmallow that is stuck on your finger? You cannot pick it off, it just sticks to your other finger, you can’t shake it off as it will even stick to a wall if that is where it lands. You have to eat it and eating a Hillary toasted marshmallow will give a person a stomach ache. Big Time.
Besides, what about Bill? Is he going to be around more? More! He is a constant nuisance now, and I read where he will be making a million for talking for CBS. I could cry, he is the last guest at the party who will not go home. Will he be the First Man? Will she dump him to be seen as a strong woman at last, who has enough self-respect to not accept the woman in his life? She needs to wait until ’08 so she can do something to rid herself of what would be a negative in her campaign. Of course, if there is anyway she can use him for the good of her campaign, she will.
Did no one learn about her? Did they think it was all Bill? She can scheme with the best of them, and maybe it is time we learned that for certain. Remember, as long as she is quiet, she is fine, but when she starts talking, she blows it as she is now with her constantly changing views on the war.
Will the liberals ever learn that the Clintons have and will continue to bring them down? They badly need to find someone with depth and integrity to rid the party of the stain that was left when they were in office.
— Carole Graham
HIS 60 MINUTES ARE UP
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Clinton on the Dole:
The choice of Clinton is the one that is odd. Everything he says will be a lie, self-promoting, revenue producing, or a propaganda message for his wife. Nothing he says will explore/examine in an objective manner. I trust that accurate, i.e., not doctored (this is CBS, you know), transcripts of his comments will be available. His lies, when annotated, will become yet another stain on his legacy.
“‘Dole isn’t a patsy; he was a good choice to go up against Clinton,’ says a CBS news producer. ‘Limbaugh? Gingrich? This is a former president we’re talking about.'”
Well, Newt is a former Speaker of the House and that ain’t chopped liver; and second, that’s impeached former president to you, CBS.
— Tom Halleck
Re: George Neumayr’s Onward, Christian Pacifists:
Neumayr is right on the money and this “cradle Catholic” stands ashamed and bewildered. Had the Vatican reacted as strongly to the allegations of clerical pederasty, I would have been less ashamed. Granted, the Pope is not speaking ex cathedra on Iraq. I fear if he had, a new schism may have been born. We can ignore anti-Americanism from the French, they haven’t mattered since Napoleon, but from the leader of my Church?
— George T. Bedway
The Pope’s vision is that Muslims outnumber Christians forty-seven to three. If we liberate the Mideast they’ll still hate Christians. When the golden arches go up, the cross comes down.
— Brad McKee
The catechism of the Catholic Church says that while we are obliged to work to avoid war, as long as there is no “international authority with the necessary competence,” self-defense is within the rights of all nations against an aggressor. It later on mentions twice the duty of responsible people to protect the innocent from evil aggression. Just as the prolife position of the Church still recognizes the death penalty as a legitimate tool, so too should the Church, under the same logic, recognize self-defense. The only people who fail to recognize that the pending war is for self-defense are those with a political agenda. I shudder to think that this position could be behind our bishops. In light of their own malfeasance with sexual predators in their charge, it’s troubling that they continue to forfeit any real credibility in the fight for justice.
— Todd Harshman
You took a very courageous stand in shining a very truthful but very respectful light on John Paul, and you may catch a lot of hate mail on it — but not from this Catholic. I am pro-Life, orthodox, and still loyal to Rome, but, whereas I do accept that the pope is infallible, as defined by the Church and not ultramontane extremists, I do not at all accept the proposition that any pope is inerrant. Only God can be inerrant — and that is not just my opinion — but established Catholic doctrine.
You are quite right on modern Rome’s perspective on war, which is just a magnifying mirror of its present policy on capital punishment. The Church through all the ages has ratified that the State does at times have to declare war — and to punish malefactors. Popes have called for crusades, and I believe that Julius II even engaged personally in battle or at least was at the battle field to guide the outcome. Benedictine monasteries in Anglo-Saxon England once had royal grants to hang thieves caught working mischief on their lands: I never read that the abbeys and priories did not avail themselves of these royal grants of authority — or that Rome ever declared such rights to be null and void.
The Apostles made their position crystal clear on the right of the State to put malefactors to death. St. Paul wrote something like: “Not for nothing has God granted the power of the sword to the prince.” Sometimes princes use their sword for war, too. St. Peter executed two people just for lying; Scripture records that the Angel of the Lord, himself, carried out the sentence to demonstrate Divine ratification of the Apostolic will. And, if people can be executed for lying, then Saddam Hussein could quite legitimately have been put out of our misery long, long ago. His own mother said he was evil.
Both Moses and Joshua ratified the legitimacy of both war and capital punishment — Moses putting thousands to death on a single occasion. St. John the Baptist, who had little patience with the mitered heads of his day – very respectfully answered the Roman soldiers who came to him asking for advice on the nature of salvation. St. John the Baptist did not say to them that they had to lay down their weapons; instead, he told them that they should, among other things, be content with their pay: well, why do soldiers get paid? So, both testaments record the Divine judgment on both war and capital punishment — both of the latter being related to the same doctrines of justice and protection.
In closing, let me say that I have the greatest respect for President George W. Bush, and I will follow him. I wish that many of the allegedly Catholic yet ultra-liberal bishops in this country had even a tenth of President Bush’s integrity, Christian faith, and sense of honor. It is also so refreshing to have a president who loves and respects his wife; who is a man of prayer — a man of God; and who knows the meaning of the word “oath.” Yes, in this war upon all regimes of terror, I will stand behind President Bush and with my people.
— William David Kirkpatrick
Yes, previous popes equated war with injustice.
Pope John XXIII, Pacem et Terris:
126. Men are becoming more and more convinced that disputes which arise between states should not be resolved by recourse to arms, but rather by negotiation.
127. We grant indeed that this conviction is chiefly based on the terrible destructive force of modern weapons and a fear of the calamities and frightful destruction which such weapons would cause. Therefore, in an age such as ours which prides itself on its atomic energy it is contrary to reason to hold that war is now a suitable way to restore rights which have been violated.
The encyclical also quoted Pope Pius XII as saying, “Nothing is lost by peace, everything could be lost by war”.
And, there wouldn’t be just war theory if there wasn’t the possibility that war, including the current one, would be unjust, could there?
Plus, when did the Vatican say that the U.N. lacked natural authority? If you read Pacem et Terris‘ balanced and nuanced discussion of the United Nations (paragraphs 137-145), it says nothing about it lacking authority. It essentially says the same thing that Pope John Paul II says: it has serious problems, but we’re glad it exists.
Listen: I agree with you that Saddam cannot be dealt with by negotiation and threats alone, and that his regime won’t be held back by inspections forever. And I do still think that a war with Iraq would meet just war criteria (although your writings aren’t helping, sadly). But you’re making more and more careless statements, ones that can be easily torn apart by orthodox Catholics with theological training. Please, if you want to criticize the developments in just-war theory over the last century, get your facts straight first.
— Joe Marier
OVER A BARREL
Re: Jerry McDonough’s letter in Reader Mail’s Sagebrush Is In:
The inadequacy of Mr. McDonough’s reply is best exemplified by his inability or unwillingness to distinguish fact from fiction in his statement, “Do you think that the United States is at all motivated by the prospect of having at least partial control over the 400 billion barrels of oil a day that Iraq is capable of exporting?” It took me 30 seconds to verify that the “400 billion barrels of oil a day” is massively incorrect. The U.S. consumes about 20 million barrels a day, and total world oil reserves are about 1000 billion barrels (see here). Total Iraqi oil reserves are 113 billion barrels (see here). Mr. McDonough suggests they’ll be exporting it all in seven hours.
If Mr. McDonough is unable to verify such an easily verifiable number, why should we expect him to take the time for a sober and objective analysis, e.g., of Israel’s human rights record before lumping it in with “Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan,” whose human rights records are far beyond the pale? Why take any part of his argument seriously when his only attempt at fact proves delusional?
Further lack of intellectual sobriety shows in his statement, “…American violence — manifest in our willingness to raze the city of Baghdad…” Where is his evidence for this willingness on our part? I believe there is evidence for this willingness on the part of Saddam, but we appear in our recent military campaigns to spend huge sums of money and much effort to avoid civilian casualties. One notable exception in the recent past was the Serbian operation, in which we chose to target civilian targets almost exclusively, and in which hundreds if not thousands of Serbian non-combatants hundreds of miles from the primary military theater were killed. I don’t know about Howard Dean, but plenty of the other Democrats, both public officeholders and private citizens, were all for it.
— Mark Hatzilambrou
After reading John Corry’s response, I like Steven Fletcher think he is not serious but with a bad smell. Maybe Mr. Corry would tell us who these bully boys are. With the Ariel Sharon comment and the Bully Boys =neocon remark I begin to smell the very worst of Pat Buchanan. The imam in Indonesia told the Australians that if they wanted to avoid massacres like Bali they needed to convert to Islam (the religion of peace). No mention of Jews, no mention of Israel, no mention of U.S. troops in the holy land, just a good old kill the infidel reason was his motivation. There are no Jews in the Sudan, merely Christians and pagans. There are no Jews in India or the Philippines or Indonesia but there is plenty of murder. It seems that Mr. Corry has a hard time believing that people would take there religion seriously and that their religion doesn’t say “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When somebody is spoiling for a fight sometimes you have to give it to them. When you lose your resolve or are so poisoned by hate that you lose your perspective then maybe its time to convert to Islam.
— Clif Briner
Whether we are hip-deep in Fuzzy-Wuzzies or “inflamed Muslim male youths” is a semantic matter. Giving in to the Fuzzy-Wuzzies makes less sense than would settlers in the Mohawk valley leaving it because Iroquois mores provided for skinning people alive and other such entertainments. The fact that 1 to 4 billion creatures with whom we have the biological ability to interbreed are hell-bound to return mankind to the stone age is no reason to allow 2000 years of accumulated civilization to be dumped down the drain to assuage their damnable egos. Instead, let us rip their egos out by the roots. Their descendants can still learn to be civilized if they want to be.
— Nathan S. Lord
This argument that doing nothing is probably the better way to handle Iraq and all those who simply detest the West is woefully naive.
You give too much credit to the tyrants of the world for responsible leadership and concern for others. Of the many dictators in the world, which ones would not buy or sell WMD technology to well-funded terrorist groups? And why do you think they would act responsibly at all?
This writer seems astonishingly in a fog.
— Paul Gartlan
Please tell John Corry his article Rox.
— Charles Frith