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Top 10 Letters

UFOs, Goldhagen mistakes, LaRouche, Queen Elizabeth, advice for David Tell, and more.

11:00 PM, Nov 3, 2002
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.


Reading J. Bottum's The Usefulness of Daniel Goldhagen, it appears that there is no end to Goldhagen's outrageous lies and exaggerations. One case in point is his statement about the World War II Croatian Nazi puppet state's Jasenovac camp. He writes that 200,000 Jews, Serbs, and Gypsies were killed in that camp. While Bottum correctly presented the truth about the defrocked priest in charge of the killings, he neglected to mention that the actual number of victims was between 60,000 and 80,000--not 200,000. Every innocent victim is one too many, but such exaggerations, which are the result of Serbian propaganda, are outrageous. During the 1999 trial of the Jasenovac camp commander Zakic in Zagreb, Croatia, the correct numbers were undisputed even by the Zagreb Jewish community.

The actual list of victims dated back to 1964, issued by the communist Yugoslav authorities in Belgrade, who, being Serb-dominated, certainly had no wish to minimize Croatia's guilt. The list has been reprinted in a 1,170-page book by the Bosniac Institute in Zurich: "Jasenovac War Victims, According to the Yugoslav statistics Bureau." According to these data, there were approximately 59,000 victims.

For centuries, Croatia was not known as an ant-Semitic nation, yet its reputation suffers to this day because of four years under the Ustasha regime, which was established during World War II by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Croats, and especially their Cardinal Stepinac, saved hundreds of Jews and the Cardinal publicly spoke out against the camps and the killings of Jews and Serbs. Strangely, Goldhagen never mentions the virulent anti-Semitism of the Serb Orthodox Church or the large concentration camps run by Serbs in Serbia during World War II--such as Sajmiste and Manjica--in which many thousands of Jews were killed or handed over to the Germans. While Croatia established a memorial to the victims in Jasenovac, Serbia paved over their camps, so no one would ever see them.

--Hilda M. Foley, National Federation of Croatian Americans


David Tell has a tough one (Mrs. Tell for Sheriff--But What About the House of Representatives?). Connie Morella makes my own Republican milquetoast, Rep. Chris Shays, look like a werewolf. The Maryland UFO candidate, Stephen Bassett, is attractive, but you never know when he might depart the planet (and the Congress) on one of those things. I'd still go with Connie, just for the sake of the party-makeup arithmetic of the House. Just a hunch that it might come in handy for the good guys once in a while.

--Bill Dunne


The way I see it, David Tell has to vote for the crop circle wacko. Tell isn't going to be represented correctly no matter how he votes. But if the UFO nut pulls in 10 or 15 percent of the vote, it might wake somebody up to run next time. And really it's about time we get to the bottom of this Roswell thing anyway.

--Karl Schmidt


I live in Leesburg, Virginia, home of the "Electable LaRouche Democrats" (Jonathan V. Last, Stop the Insanity). In 1994, I was privileged enough to work on the Oliver North for Senate Campaign. During that time Nancy Spannaus and her compatriot LaRouchies were strongly courted by Sen. Chuck Robb and the rest of the Democrats in Virginia in order to save his butt in a close race. How Clintonian of them now to disavow all knowledge of these wackos.

--Paul Christensen


I loved Matt Labash's Jackass, The Documentary. It's nice to live in country with free speech and all that, but Michael Moore is one of those people who shouldn't be allowed to express himself in public. Really, it's a quality of life issue for the rest of us. And while we're at it, let's not listen to anything the French say, ever again. They've made an enormous effort to prove themselves the most puerile, inane, ridiculous, intellectually bankrupt a**holes in the Western world, so let's cut them off.

Thanks. That felt good.

--Ann Kerns


Faced with a similar (or worse) dilemma living in Oakland (Barbara Lee's congressional district) where the choices were Lee, a Green candidate, and several members of the crop circle party, my husband and I bought a 30 acre "ranch" in very conservative Amador County (Sierra Foothills, home of zinfandel). There, surrounded by resplendent beauty (although my morning compute to San Francisco) exceeds two hours), we can vote for candidates who largely share our views--even if their voices are drowned out by the rest of California. Perhaps David Tell should do the same.

--Pamela Victorine


OK, here's what David Tell should do.

(1)Vote for the Republican. Tell may think that Connie Morella has never cast a vote that he agreed with, but she actually has done so, at least once for every session: She has voted to organize the House under Republican leadership. Does Tell want Denny Hastert or Dick Gephardt as Speaker?

(2) When in doubt about referenda, vote against the position recommended by the government. They are not looking out for your interests. If it is not obvious what the government is looking for, vote in a way that will most likely make government's job harder. Thus, on Question A, vote "no." Keep the county attorney and the City Council at each other's throat and they will have less time to browse your pocket.

(3) Never vote for anybody who's running unopposed. What's the point? If the unopposed candidate fields fewer votes this time than last time, maybe someone will think of opposing him next time.

Or, just boycott the election. As a friend of mine told me recently, "If we vote now, it means that the politicians have won."

--Charles Meyrick


Rachel DiCarlo's piece on Bob Ehrlich (Smiling His Way to an Upset?) highlights an important development: I believe that it signals the end of the Democratic party's overwhelming dominance in Maryland. In future elections, they may have to actually campaign.

Also, the Maryland Democratic party will have to re-learn how to court the African-American vote. Instead of trying to dodge the issue of race, Bob Ehrlich has tackled it directly. He nominated an African-American, Michael Steele, for his running mate. He has managed to pick up some endorsements from African-American community leaders. He even engaged in a NAACP-sponsored debate with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend at Morgan State University, a predominantly African-American University. Bob Ehrlich may not be the ideal candidate for African-Americans who harbor political beliefs similar to that of members of the Democratic party, but he was willing to go after their votes. Meanwhile, Townsend nominated Charles Larson, a retired admiral.

Finally, this election cycle may signal the end of the Kennedy mystique in national politics. Several qualified Maryland Democrats were discouraged from running for governor in deference to the Kennedy name. Bob Ehrlich was warned, too, but he bucked the conventional wisdom. If Bobby Kennedy's daughter cannot get elected on her name and devotion to the liberal values espoused by her family, then what good is it being a Kennedy Democrat?

--Ian Fallon


Fred Barnes says the public understands the economy because we see it every day (The Worstest Hyperbole in the World--Ever!). No, we don't.

I don't know what the unemployment problem is like--either nationally or locally. I don't know how big the deficit has gotten or how it affects me. Sure, I see numbers in the press and I hear people talk, but most economic figures aren't real at all. They are guidelines that help us understand a very complicated economic scene--and even the most knowledgeable experts seldom agree about their significance.

The average American recognizes when prices rise and fall, understands the value of his stocks, and sees how much his wallet is getting pinched. But he can't tell when a recession starts, or stops, or the difference between a recession or depression.

The Democrats can still make points if they can convince enough of us that the economy is sour. And millions of people just might believe the economy really is sour, because all we see is our own corner of the world.

--Sean Farrell


Jonathan V. Last omitted one of the best of the LaRouche "mishegas": The one about Queen Elizabeth heading up an international heroin smuggling ring.

--Marc Rifkin