Wednesday, November 21, 2001

I'm not sure why, but I've got a flurry of responses to my latest column. Now it could be because I'm widely read and respected among American conservative circles or that I have been picked up by a group of keyboard warriors whose idea of fun is to try and talk an anti-war columnist out of his errors. Please don't hurt my ego by suggesting the second option. Well here goes:

The media's other lament--you must have heard the trembling, reedy tone in the questions asked in Washington briefings a few weeks ago--was the belief that we were getting into another Vietnam.

These suggestions, laced with fear, came from a few journalists who only a year ago had ambitiously attached themselves to stories about the grit of the Greatest Generation, our parents and grandparents who fought their enemies over year after bloody year, not weeks, in World War II.

"I know a lot of people have been running around saying, `Oh my goodness, the United States is in a quagmire. The Soviets were defeated [in Afghanistan]. And how can you get into that same mess?'" Rumsfeld said.

"The differences between the Soviet Union's situation and ours are dramatic," he explained. "The Soviets wanted that country. We don't. They lived in the neighborhood. We don't. They had a superpower opposing them. We don't."

So we don't want it and we're still in. Is that supposed to be good?

And there was this:

you are utterly out to lunch

Succinct and to the point, and about as well argued as this:

Where were you on September 11th? I can not believe that you are serious in your writings and in today's world, no country can be an island and play the isolationist card. Why don't you start reading and trying to comprehend what the current world is about?

There were some that were better argued like this missive to an ungratful civvy:

Before I begin, yes I am an ex Marine of the USA and yes I did serve in Vietnam, and yes I have killed people in my life! But does that shape my thought pattern today, yes of course. The ability of you and I to print what we wish was paid for by someone else's blood! The right to free speech and to worship how we wish was a gift to us all by someone else dying! The ability of you not having to
adhere to someone else's whims - where do you think that came from, diplomacy?

Many women and men have died for your rights you take for granted! I'm sure the amount of innocent people caught in every conflict and war is staggering! The amount of resources used to even wage war in astronomical! People should get along and there should never be a conflict between people, but guess what, were not perfect!!!! You sit back and condemn the very ideas that allow you to be free in the first place! You enjoy this freedom and don't have the first idea where it came from! I would not want to sacrifice any of my children for my own freedom - but I would for yours and the millions of others that live free in this not so perfect world. Where do you think freedom comes from, books, movies, plays, painting, politicians, the corner pub, where? News flash - from someone sacrificing there very lives for you! Now you may say "I didn't ask for that sacrifice!" your right you didn't. But it's painfully obvious someone was a lot smarter and a whole lot less self centered then you and gave you this gift anyway! So it is your free right to write what you wish and I for one will defend that till my last breath! I just wish you could see that in this world only two things really matter, GOD and Freedom!

And then there was an appeal to History:

no one ever said that war was a good thing.
But being afraid of war, and yes isolationism can lead you to far more trouble. Before WWII, France acted like a country that had no interest in fighting, and was pushed around until it finally got pummeled. And the United States was isolationist right up until Pearl Harbor. If the United States and France had been willing to face evil, instead of running from it, the war might never have happened. So here we have people again, who say we should not fight. In 10 years, if Osama had gotten the bomb from Pakistan, or from leaks in Russia, then you might change your tune. But the cost now would be greater.
Just like Hitler was a few years off from having the bomb himself. Then what would have England paid in blood.

Can you spot the theme? I'll give you another clue:

I was ready to defend the stationing of troops in Afghanistan, but with such weak argument on your part ... why bother.

I will give one reason why we should be involved and an analogy. Hitler and the Third Reich = Present day Terrorism. I don't want war or bloodshed any more than you do, but how should countries defend themselves? All the best to you and your endeavors, but please remember to support the men and women that are in the military and protecting our freedom.

It seems that fact is now an irregular possesive noun, I have facts, you have opinions:

I disagree with a couple of factual issues on your web site:

1. I am an American of Irish ancestry (at least in part). We were taught very little about the Irish/English conflict in school. I attended a Catholic School and believe that they actually had more of a inclination to reflect on this history, but the schools are mostly silent on the issue. What I learned myself came from a British newspaper site (Times of London I think). Most Americans, except a few radicals, are neutral with regard to Irish English relations. With a population of close to 300 million, you will find a few extremists who don't represent the majority view. Most people, including myself, are simply interested from a historical perspective.
[oh yeah?]

2. I'm not sure why you believe America doesn't want your help. I believe our two countries have a very close relationship which is unlike any other 2 countries in the world. I don't understand what basis you formed this judgement on...

3. You seem to acknowledge a benefit to getting Bin Laden at the end of your article. How can this be accomplished absent troops in the country? I believe that Bin Laden, and his network, represent a clear danger to both the US and Britain. If you accept this, doesn't engagement in Afghanistan make sense?


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