Letter to the Editor, Baltimore Sun -Reply to Thomas Sowell 4-5-07

To: 'letters@baltsun.com'
Subject: Sowell Column

As usual with the Republicans and their sycophants, another attack is made on the Democrats. Thomas Sowell chirps in with his criticism of Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria. He makes a comparison with FDR and the use of Wendell Willkie as a comparison. Unfortunately the circumstances were and are quite different. Willkie was not the typical isolationist Republican, but actually was a registered life-long Democrat and an internationalist before becoming the GOP standard bearer in 1940. By the time Willkie was asked to help with FDR's foreign policy, we had been attacked, Congress declared war, and the country was unified behind the great leadership of the late President. Willkie was asked to speak for the President, as was Averill Harriman, Harry Hopkins and others.


Unlike his illustrious predecessor, George W. Bush has embarked on an ill-fated, poorly planned, and disastrous adventure in a land that did not attack the United States. We all know that the late and unlamented Sadaam Hussein was a horror and a bully in a rotten neighborhood. But it was Bush 41 that had the power to remove him and normalize Iraq, but didn't. Hussein had been contained for years and yes; he should have been squeezed harder. Our real effort should have focused on Afghanistan where the Taliban and their Al Quieda guests and collaborators were centered. If George Bush had concentrated our forces there with a quick strike, rather than the slow and undermanned, poor strategy of General Tommy Franks, our antagonists would have been rounded up and destroyed.


But Sowell and other Bush acolytes have conveniently ignored the Bush-Cheney-Rove policies of “cooking the books” on WMD along with other fables and fantasies about Iraq. Now we are in the fifth year of this disaster. It has now escalated and widened to a civil insurrection pitting Sunni versus Shiite along with terrorists and foreign forces adding to the damage. They are all struggling both for power and the continued hemorrhaging of America.


Speaker Pelosi is not a defeated opponent of George W. Bush! She represents the result of the American people's wish for change. Positive change, not go it alone adventurism that has led to our current wallowing in the quagmire of death, destruction and domestic disunity. She went there to stimulate talk, openness and the desire for a change. We certainly need a change. Over three thousand of our sons and daughters have paid the ultimate price for Bush's miscalculations and lies. We have spent hundreds of billions going nowhere fast, but Sowell bemoans Pelosi's effort. She went into the lion's den where Ms. Rice and her department should be. She has made the effort that is long overdue by confronting one of the major players in the region. I note, when a Republican contingent ventured to Syria, nary a peep was heard from Bush, the State Department, and the President’s dwindling minority of supporters.


I say to Thomas Sowell, “wake up and smell the roses!” Bush and his administration has been an abject failure at home and abroad. The people spoke in 2006 and they will again speak loud and clear in 2008. At least the Democrats, after much criticism, have placed the onus on Bush to start fulfilling his empty promises to finish our effort, and get out before we have no friends left in the world and our nation is in chaos.


Richard J. Garfunkel


As nation faces a grave threat, Pelosi assumes presidential power

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April 5, 2007

Congressman Tom Lantos, who is a member of the delegation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led to Syria, put the mission clearly when he said: “We have an alternative, Democratic foreign policy.” Democrats can have any foreign policy they want – if and when they are elected to the White House.

Until Ms. Pelosi came along, it was understood by all that we had only one president at a time and – like him or not – he alone had the constitutional authority to speak for this country to foreign nations, especially in wartime.

All that Ms. Pelosi's trip can accomplish is to advertise American disunity to a terrorist-sponsoring nation in the Middle East while we are in a war there. That in turn can only embolden the Syrians to exploit the lack of unified resolve in Washington by stepping up their efforts to destabilize Iraq and the Middle East in general.

Members of the opposition party, whichever party that might be at a given time, have known that their role was not to intervene abroad to undermine this country's foreign policy, however much they might criticize it at home. During World War II, the defeated Republican presidential candidate, Wendell Willkie, even acted as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal envoy to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He understood that we were all in this together, however we might disagree among ourselves about the best course to follow.

Today, Ms. Pelosi and the congressional Democrats are stepping in to carry out their own foreign policy and even their own military policy on troop deployment – all the while denying that they are intruding on the president's authority.

They are doing the same thing domestically by making a big media circus over the fact that the Bush administration fired eight U.S. attorneys. These attorneys are among the many officials who serve at the pleasure of the president – which means that they can be fired at any time, for any reason or for no reason.

That is why there was no big hullabaloo in the media when President Bill Clinton fired all the U.S. attorneys across the country – even though that got rid of the U.S. attorneys who were conducting an investigation into corruption in Mr. Clinton's administration as governor of Arkansas.

So much hate has been hyped against George W. Bush that anything that is done against him is unlikely to be questioned in most of the media.

But whatever passing damage is being done to President Bush is a relatively minor concern compared with the lasting damage that is being done to the presidency that will still be here when Mr. Bush is gone.

Once it becomes accepted that it is all right to violate the laws and the traditions of this nation, and to undermine the ability of the United States to speak to other nations of the world with one voice, we will have taken another fateful step into the degeneration of this society.

Such a drastic and irresponsible step should remove any lingering doubt that the Democrats' political strategy is to ensure that there is an American defeat in Iraq in order to ensure their political victory in 2008.

That these political games are being played while Iran keeps advancing relentlessly toward acquiring nuclear weapons is a fateful sign of the utter unreality of politicians preoccupied with scoring points and a media obsessed with celebrity bimbos, living and dead.

Once Iran has nuclear weapons, that will be an irreversible change that will mark a defining moment in the history of the United States and of Western civilization, which will forever after live at the mercy of hate-filled suicidal fanatics.

Yet among too many politicians in Washington, it is business as usual. Indeed, it is monkey business as usual, as congressional Democrats revel in the power of their new and narrow election victory last year to drag people before committee hearings and posture for the television cameras.

It has been said that the world ends not with a bang but with a whimper. But who would have thought that it could end with political clowning in the shadow of a mushroom cloud?

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His column appears Thursdays in The Sun. His e-mail is info@creators.com.

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