There Is No Joy
October 24, 2011
To the Editor:
The news that America is finally withdrawing its troops from Iraq brings joy to the thousands of families with loved ones at risk in that country. Sadly, there is no joy for the families of the 4,478 American servicemen and women killed there or the 33,169 Americans wounded. They have paid a price for which there are no refunds.
We saved the country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, at a cost of over one million Iraqi deaths, as estimated by the Opinion Research Bureau, and the dislocation of millions more as they escaped the fighting
by fleeing their homes and escaping to neighboring countries where nearly all of them live out their lives one or two steps above destitution, indicators of suffering far greater than anything Hussein inflicted on his people.
And what of the American war mongers and their foreign allies who wanted this war? President Bush lives in peaceful retirement, Vice President Dick Cheney is on the tube pushing his new book, as is Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Wolfowitz and the other neocons have all landed in plush jobs in the groves of academe or think tanks, Nathan Sharansky, whose influential 2004 book justified the Bush Doctrine, continues as a welcome celebrity in this country and Israel, the disillusioned Colin Powell still wields influence in the media. Their reputations are tarnished but they are alive and free and happy unlike the victims of their actions.
The suffering these men and their ilk inflicted on Americans and the Iraqis is immeasurable, and to what benefit? Who is better off now after all the pain and bloodshed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on this war? Perhaps future generations of Americans will know if there were any the real winners in this war. They certainly are not Americans or the Iraqis.
JOSEPH D. POLICANO
Back of the Bus
October 23, 2011
Herman Cain and his father have been exposed by certain black leaders as not true enough blacks because neither were in any black freedom marches. I thought those civil rights gains were for those who marched or not. So do those who did not now have to sit in the back of the bus, so to speak, while the charlatans like Al Sharpton are on radio and TV peddling their anti-white messages to those who are followers of Democrats, progressives, and other hate-America believers as now gathered in Lower Manhattan?
MSNBC has a series based on what goes on in U.S. prisons, and uses a lot of their broadcast time for what may be their best programming. Hiring Al Sharpton might be a shrewd move. He may be thought of as a kind of bridge between prisoners and those outside. Read his record of anti-Semitism, alliances with Louis Farrakan, the Tawana Brawly faked-rape charges, involvement in the 125 Street demonstrations leading to the burning to death of some eight store employees, the shooting of several others, and his riling the crowd at a synagogue in Brooklyn after a car returning from a funeral veered onto a sidewalk and fatally injured an 8-year-old boy. Mr. Sharpton, a man of the cloth, charged that the driver of the rabbi’s car was drunk from drinking wine at the Jewish cemetery, where alcohol of any kind is prohibited. Oh yes, a Jewish student from Australia was knifed to death by one of a crowd whipped into a frenzy by Al and company. That Al Sharpton, a frequent White House visitor, and is held in respect any where other than by his followers is a travesty.
Meanwhile, moveon.org. has been joined by the teachers union of New York, who donate use of their warehouse in Manhattan as a distribution center for those 99-percent occupiers of Wall Street. Most are college grads; they have the low unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Why are they not working? A guy interviewed Saturday bragged that he, a welder working five years for the same employer in Ohio, informed his employer that he was taking a leave to join in this contrived movement. Is this movement the nucleus of an Obama shockwave of unionists, far-left zealots and the like working semi-sub rosa, testing how far they can go in a power grab?
Meanwhile O. and Co. has brought us into a 20-year war in Central Africa where we have no national interests whatsoever, while he weakens us in the Mid East, against the advice of the military.
EARLE S. RYNSTON
Need to Invent
October 29, 2011
To the Editor,
My nephew is a political and economic conservative. Not a social conservative (they tend to be one small gene away from dementia) whose vision marginalizes any serious conversation. He is chief financial officer of a California oil company. He makes a lot of money, and we consider him a mensch. He is smart, funny, and worldly. He would have been a great leftist if I had gotten to him sooner. But he is embarrassed, mortified by the behavior of “true” conservatives, not of the seven would-be presidential candidates; 8 out of 10 pols are brain dead, so 7 out of 7 is within the margin of error; not by the decimation of the middle class because of unregulated market phenomena; not by corporate America’s massive profits and the greed and avarice of the financial sector and the banks; not by the idiocy of Fannie and Freddie and the conservative mortgage geniuses who produced bad loans and then had the temerity to repackage them again.
What pisses him off and embarrasses him enough to stay away from family functions is the refusal of conservatives to face the economic reality of the country; to admit that our recession/depression is way worse then we claimed it to be; that it is a product of conservative, free-market ideology gone amok; that more-of-the-same dose of unregulated business combined with lower taxes and deficit reduction will only drive us deeper into the crapper; that the economy has been structurally altered and requires unusual methods to fix it; that the private sector has refused to create new jobs since 1999, despite enormous profits, and that the cash infusion which corporate America and our banks are holding on to will not be used to kick start the economy, patriotism, and American exceptionalism to the contrary.
The old system is kind of kaput and we need to invent an alternative reality to cope with a different world. Hating President Obama is insufficient because it won’t create jobs. Furthermore, Mr. Obama is way more conservative than left-wing, and many of his policies, mostly misguided, are conservatively respectable. Forty percent of his stimulus plan was tax cuts and, along with the Bush tax cuts, added up to $1.5 trillion since 2004, creating zero jobs.
Cutting regulations — or not enforcing them — is what has allowed the economy to collapse. Letting the markets work out the problem, which they caused, could take 10 to 15 years.
Conservative depression comes from acknowledging that what worked before no longer is applicable, that spewing homilies and sound-bites is counterproductive. It’s the realization that red meat turns your stomach and rice and seaweed looms on the horizon. Smart conservatives adjust and begin restructuring. The rest talk about small government, abortion, and deficit reduction.
Empires collapse because they refuse to recognize and adjust to problems. Conservative thinking is an essential ingredient to solving our problems. Not because the other side is lame and incompetent but because only a united political front can deal with the influence of confluence of wealth that controls and manipulates our political process. So conservatives need to step up, but first take their heads out of their butts, then to get rid of the lobbyists who keep their heads company and, finally, to accept the reality that we need a new reality to emerge from the wreckage of the old one.