Top 10 Letters
Michael F. Scheuer and Thomas E. Woods Jr. respond to their critics, plus our first correspondence from a European Commissioner.
11:00 PM, Feb 23, 2005
And so what if Hunter overindulged? Hemingway was a drunk and a jerk. Gauguin died of venereal disease surrounded by his child lovers in the South Pacific. Van Gogh was insane. John Kennedy Toole blew his brains out. Yet theirs' were works of beauty and genius. Oftentimes genius is accompanied by madness. That is a truth we should have learned by now.
But the reason we are all talking about Hunter S. Thompson is not his drug habits. Plenty of drug addicts die everyday, never to be noted in The Weekly Standard or the New York Times. The fact is that there is such a tremendous response to Thompson's passing because he was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
For myself, a conservative, it was not his theories that held me. It was the way he put them down on paper. He wrote paragraphs that were symphonies. They expanded, catapulted, bounced, jumped, rolled, flowed, dodged, weaved, and bobbed from idea to idea, thought to thought, in a way that I had never before witnessed.
He was able to put ideas down in a way that no one else could. He could find the one crack in a rock of thought and strike it dead on, exploding the thought into a million pieces. He established his own form of journalism that way, and, say what you will, history tends to remember those who start something new and worthwhile.
Rest in Peace, Hunter S. Thompson. We'll miss you.
--J. Tucker Martin
Paul Belien's words on President Bush's visit are nonsense. They mean nothing. I am French, and while I never voted for Chirac, I did share, from the very beginning, his certainty that going to war in Iraq would be a huge strategic mistake. My parents saw how war can destroy people, countries, and civilizations. How war can so easily be initiated but terminated only when thousands, if not millions, of people have died. President Bush and your fabulous country merit respect and admiration. As a head of state, George W. Bush has to be welcomed and honored. People who put his face in a toilet are stupid and ignorant--just as people who write in famous newspapers that the French (who carried the heaviest burden in the allied victory of 1918 with 1.7 million dead) are "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." We must all try to ignore such things. We must concentrate on substance. We must do our best to permit a peaceful world: The Weekly Standard has to listen to historians, to our ancestors, who quietly advise us not to promote violence and not to export systems of government to distant lands.
I will forget the French fries and the monkeys. Let's forget the pissing on President Bush's likeness. I would like to be sure President Bush would listen to wise European and American men. His visit (here yesterday, in our buildings) was great and useful. Let's try to be, together, abreast of it.
--Y Mollard La Bruyère
So America did what it thought right--to end the rule of a madman, comparable to Hitler, who had killed hundreds of thousands of his own citizens in Iraq. A man who for 12 years had ignored a cease-fire requirement to disarm and prove he had done so. And after being attacked and losing close to three thousand of our citizens, we decided that an unstable ruler, who likely had weapons of mass destruction, could not be left to his own devices. We had the courage to remove him as a threat, and Europe said we were wrong. We spent billions to turn Iraq back over to its people, hopefully to be free and stable, just as we did in Germany and Japan after World War II, and Europe said we were wrong.
This is a letter from an American WWII veteran who did much to help Europe, who fought Nazis in the forests of Holland in 1944. Please take it to heart. Americans are not bad. We have the balls to stand up to things we think wrong. We don't ask for your praise, we just ask for your courage and understanding.
While reading John Hinderaker's piece, I recalled James Watts's comment about the needlessness of protecting environmental resources.
On the same theme, let's not forget what Watts' successor as Interior Secretary said about reducing ozone-destroying gasses. His view was that, instead of cutting chlorofluorocarbon emissions, people should just wear hats and sunglasses to protect from cancer causing rays. That is not a rumor but 100 percent truth.
Great article by Hugh Hewitt on the Eason Jordan affair. However, his line, "But because no names were named--lousy 'journalism,' that--the impression was communicated that this senior voice of the center-right had sided with Eason Jordan and CNN against the populism of the new media," misses the point that in siding against the bloggers, both the Wall Street Journal and the MSM are in turn siding against the military. I'm a Captain in the United States Marine Corps launching to Iraq next week, and my brother-in-law, also a United States Marine Corps Captain, is serving in Afghanistan. We'll handle the overseas terrorist threat, Hewitt and the bloggers should continue their outstanding work handling the MSM here at home!
--Captain Dan Sparks, USMC
I read Dean Barnett's "Taking Kos Seriously" with great interest. Let us hope that Barnett's premise regarding Kos's growing influence over Democratic party strategy proves correct. By forcing all Democrats to dart left and align themselves more closely with the likes of Barbara Boxer and Howard Dean, Kos ultimately serves to further highlight the disparity between liberal/Democratic ideology and the views of average Americans, be they residents of "Red" states or "Blue." Republicans would be wise to keep a close eye on this trend and should be poised to take full advantage of this disconnect. Perhaps it's time to start a "Draft Lieberman for the Republican Party" campaign? Or, better yet, a "Draft Lieberman for 2008" campaign to force the wayward drift of the Democratic party into even starker relief.
If Dean Barnett could leave aside personal feelings, he would see that Kos's labeling of the dead foreign workers as "mercenaries" is perfectly legitimate. Definition one in the OED is, "Working merely for money or other reward." The second definition, "A hired soldier in a foreign service." There is no need for a haughty editorial "sic" to draw attention to and delegitimize Kos's use of the word. The scandal is not Kos's choice of words, the scandal is the unresolved issue of privatizing or subcontracting war, which I think is a very bad idea for the American republic, as in res publica, not res privata.
The second problem I have with Barnett is his choice of words: "savage murders." Only the joystick wielders of impersonal, high-technology precision weapons, who are regrettably spared the up close and personal side of killing, would dare make such a comment. The conscience of such people is spared solely because they do not witness the deaths they surely caused. The minimum reliable estimate for dead Iraqi civilians in the war so far is "more than 10,000." I agree that these deaths are not "savage murders." But they certainly do qualify as cold-blooded killing, perhaps deficient in savagery, but fatal all the same.
It's a little scary to think that there are that many crazies out there.