Mark Steyn is always a worthwhile read. Today's column was about the Al Gore Carbon Footprint of Doom; Steyn mentioned a fact that had escaped my notice--the company which buys Gore's carbon is a tax-exempt organization. Whee! Nothing like being able to make money without having to pay taxes on it!
But this entry is not about Mark Steyn. If it were, the title would have been the opposite of what it is. This entry is about the "Letters to the Editor" that ran next to his column.
Three of these letters are, by and large, so utterly chock-full of ignorance--and so utterly bereft of intellect--it defies my ability to comprehend.
Why are nukes only for the U.S.?
Why is it only the United States and Israel are allowed to have nuclear weapons? Where is it written that the United States and Israel get as many nuclear weapons as they want, but every other country is not allowed to defend itself with its own nukes?
Hasn't the United States already proven to the world that when you get a reckless cowboy in charge of the country like President Bush, he will launch a preemptive strike on a foreign power with trumped-up intelligence?
The idea that the United States and Israel have nuclear weapons only for defense purposes has been proven false over the past four years with attacks on Iraq, the PLO and Lebanon.
Vice President Dick Cheney telling China to cool it with their nuclear testing program is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black.
Bill Corcoran, Beverly [Illinois]
All right, let me try to deal with this simply. I've numbered his paragraphs in order to make referring to them easier for me.
1) Besides the US and Israel, China, Great Britain, Russia, France, India, and Pakistan have nuclear weapons--and there may be a country or two that I'm forgetting. Mr. Corcoran does not say who he wants to see with nuclear weapons, but since North Korea and Iran are the only two countries who are obviously developing them at the moment--and NK has already tested a couple warheads--it's not a hard leap of intuition, is it?
Why does Mr. Corcoran want Iran to have nuclear weapons? So it can defend itself from President "Reckless Cowboy" Bush? Does he not understand how things work in the United States?
2) Here we see a reiteration of the liberal establishment's talking points on the Iraq war, mixed with a healthy dose of "Bush Derangement Syndrome". George W. Bush is a "reckless cowboy" and he launched a preemptive strike with "trumped-up intelligence".
The fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly to support war against Iraq in 2002 seems to have escaped Mr. Corcoran. "Pro-war" votes included such notables as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Edward Kennedy, and other Democrats who now are trying to run as far away from their voting records as they can, because their constituents don't like it.
The "trumped-up intelligence" was seen by everyone who voted on the issue and no one said, at the time, "this is trumped-up!" No one raised doubts about the validity of the intelligence in 2002; there was no reason to--the experts agreed that what we knew (and/or thought we knew) represented the best efforts of the intelligence apparatus of several countries.
In retrospect we have seen that some of the intelligence was in error. But the decision to go to war was made with the best information that we had at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, and accusing President Bush of "trumping up" the intelligence is disingenuous at best and outright lying at worst. Mr. Corcoran is clearly of the "Bush Lied, People Died" faction.
3) "Proven false" how? Has there been an offensive use of a nuclear bomb in the past 62 years that no one mentioned? Is this some grand secret to which only Mr. Corcoran is privy?
How many nuclear bombs have been used by the US and Israel in the attacks on Iraq, "the PLO", and Lebanon? As far as I know, the number approximates 0.00000, and I am pretty sure we would have heard about it had the number had been greater than that. So it would seem to me that it has not, after all, been "proven false" that the US and Israel have nuclear weapons for defense only.
4) China recently tested an anti-satellite weapon. It's North Korea which was testing nuclear weapons. (Bill, you may want to get your facts straight before firing off an angry letter. You know the quote: "Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"?) Besides, the United States hasn't tested any nuclear warheads in years, possibly more than a decade.
A modest plea
Who will stop the Bush administration from starting yet another war of mass distraction? Stop them, please--before they kill again.
Near South Side [Chicago, Illinois]
I'm wondering if Ms. Drimmer recalls Bill Clinton bombing an ibuprofen factory (on "trumped-up injtelligence"--hey, if the libs can do it, why can't I?) in the Sudan to take his travails with Monica Lewinsky off the front pages? I'm guessing she doesn't.
Gore could end Dem feuding
After the David Geffen Hollywood fund-raiser for Barak Obama, words were misspoken back and forth between Geffen and Hillary Clinton and her people. To me this is a no-no. There should be no arguments between Democratic candidates.
There is more than a year and a half before the election and people may get tired of fighting going on between Obama and Clinton.
Who knows? Al Gore, especially after his picture won the Oscar for best documentary, could decide to run for 2008 and get back his presidency, which was stolen from him back in 2000. He did win the popular vote, after all.
Yvonne B. Garstki, Lombard [Illinois]
Again, I numbered the paragraphs....
1) "Words were misspoken"? I'm pretty sure that the things they said, they meant to say.
Ms. Garstki clearly does not understand how the election process works in the United States, as evidenced by paragraph 3 of her note, but I'll get to #3 when I get there.
Because more than one person from a political party may want to run for President, the members of that political party must have a way to decide--fairly!--who gets to be on the ticket and who does not. Generally this is done though a process known as a primary election.
All the candidates from a certain political party give speeches to the public, and when the primary election takes place, members of that party vote for the person they want to run. The person who gets the most of these votes wins the primary election, and then may go on to represent his party in the general election.
Among other things, this fosters a healthy intra-party debate about what issues the party will support and run on during the election cycle. Ideas are exchanged and debated; and finally the rank-and-file of the party decide--by voting or caucusing--who will be the candidate in the general election, which takes place in November.
In order to differentiate themselves the candidates must argue and "bicker". The rank-and-file generally wants the disagreement to be amicable, but a candidate must give people reasons to vote for him, and he does this by disagreeing with his opponents in one way or another.
2) Once the candidate is selected by the party, then it is time for the party to close ranks and stand behind the person they've selected.
There hasn't been so much as one primary vote held, yet. The first primary is in January of 2008; the candidates won't even begin to worry about the general election (which is, in fact, a year and a half away) before the party's national convention has taken place.
3) Al Gore won the election in 2000 because he won the "popular vote"? The presidency was "stolen" from him? Does Ms. Garstki really believe what she is saying? Is she honestly that ignorant of how Presidents are elected in the United States?
There has been little change to the process of electing Presidents since the founding of the country. Certain procedures have changed but the overall theory and operation has remained largely the same.
The Electoral College was meant to insure that everyone in the United States who could vote was given an equal voice. Without the Electoral College, the most populous states (which, right now, are New York, California, Texas and Florida) would determine the outcomes of Presidential elections.
Well, let me trot out the facts of the 2000 election YET AGAIN....
- No matter how many recounts were performed, Gore never had more votes in Florida than Bush did
- The Supreme Court of the US did not "select" George Bush; it merely upheld the constitutionality of Florida's state election laws, allowing the election officials to certify the election and stop the endless recounts
- If Al Gore had simply won in his home state, it would have rendered the situation in Florida utterly irrelevant. Tennesee, however, voted for George W. Bush.
Democrats of Mr. Garstki's ilk seem to think that an election is only "fair" if Democrats win. This is the kind of "fairness" you see from children who rig the rules so they always win because they hate losing. "Fair", to Democrats, means "we always win and you always lose".
<* * *>
The inability to grasp simple facts is a sign of stupidity. The unwillingness to deal with reality is a form of insanity.
Which is it?