- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2006

What ‘victory’ means

I agreed with Wilson Faris in his Sunday letter to the editor, “Lieberman and the Democrats,” until I came to the reference to the first President Bush “after the Gulf War victory.”

I was around for World War II. I remember that a number of German and Japanese leaders were executed or imprisoned after our victory. The first Gulf War ended with hundreds of burning Kuwaiti oil wells and Saddam Hussein’s army firing missiles at allied aircraft long after our “victory.” Saddam was not executed or imprisoned and was able to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Shi’ites and Kurds.

Gulf War redux is a disaster. There were not enough boots on the ground to prevent the Iraqi army from melting into the population. There were not enough boots on the ground to secure the many caches of arms that we stumbled upon. These arms are being used to kill our troops and murder Iraqis.

The last president to preside over a victory was Harry S. Truman in 1945. Alas, his spine turned to jelly in 1951, and it was left to a Republican to surrender millions of Koreans to a brutal regime that remains in power. Another Republican surrendered millions of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians to other brutal regimes. Were it not for the Watergate scandal, he might have joined Henry Kissinger as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for this infamous act. A third Republican “victory” — in the first Gulf War — seems destined to be followed by a fourth in the current war.

I have a great granddaughter who is not yet a year old. I want her to grow in freedom and to live a long and happy life in freedom. I fear that will not happen if the world continues to accept that definition of victory.



Clinton economic myths

Alan Reynolds’ defense of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s reduction of interest rates in 1996 and 1998 is surprising (“Second-guessing the Fed,” Commentary, Sunday). Mr. Greenspan was warning of “irrational exuberance” with the Dow Jones at 6000, a clear signal he wanted to control the asset inflation in the stock market. He was overridden by President Clinton and former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. The result was a disastrous bubble whose consequences are still being felt.

It may well be that we need to concentrate now on the effects of an ill-advised housing bubble, also designed to create unwarranted levels of consumption. Perhaps we must keep interest rates low and hope for the best. However, the time will come when we must draw lessons for the future from the economic policy of the last decade. Pretty myths about the Clinton years will only complicate that task.


James B. Duke Professor of

Political Science

Duke University


Residency questions

Much has been made about the controversy over former Rep. Tom DeLay and whether he can withdraw from the race for his House seat and whether the Republicans can replace his name on the ballot (“GOP plans write-in for DeLay seat,” Nation, Wednesday).

Texas law stipulates that nonresidents cannot run, so the Democratic court case has held that because Mr. DeLay still maintains a home in Texas, there is no way to prove he will not return and once again become a valid candidate, so his name cannot be removed from the ballot.

Has anyone thought to reverse this argument? Can someone move into a district just to run there? What if that person still maintains a residence outside the district?

Alan Keyes rented an apartment in Illinois so he could challenge Barack Obama for the Senate, but perhaps the most famous recent example was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s move to Chappaqua, N.Y., to run for her Senate seat. I remember much being made of her reverse-carpetbagger status and political opportunism, but I do not remember a legal challenge to her residency.

Much also was made of the fact that the Clintons did not own a home, as they had moved from the Arkansas governor’s mansion to the White House, but this was used mainly as an excuse for why they always vacationed with the smart set on Martha’s Vineyard.

It would be easy to check financial disclosure forms for state tax payments, but I doubt they were made to high-tax New York before the move to Chappaqua.

If someone can definitively establish residency by moving into a district to run for office, why couldn’t someone terminate his eligibility by moving out? Does Mr. DeLay have to make a token run at the safe Democratic seat of Rep. Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat, to establish his new domicile?

The Democrats run a risk if they are constantly seeking to get through the courts what they cannot win at the ballot box. Even some of the people who think Al Gore was denied his rightful recount by the Supreme Court will get a bad taste in their mouth from attempts to block ballot substitutions for Mr. DeLay, and Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, as well. Americans want to see a fair fight, even if it is between unevenly matched teams.


Ashburn, Va.

Anti-Wal-Mart hypocrisy

Maryland Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin is hypocritical for appearing at an anti-Wal-Mart rally even though he has accepted contributions from the company’s political action committee (“Attention shoppers,” That’s politics, Metropolitan, yesterday).

Federal Election Commission reports show Wal-Mart’s political action committee gave Mr. Cardin’s campaign committee $1,500 in May 2001 and $2,500 in December 2003. Mr. Cardin has spent money at the store, as recorded in campaign expenditure reports.

This is nothing but pure hypocrisy from Mr. Cardin and, unfortunately, exactly what you would expect from a lifetime politician. Mr. Cardin takes thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Wal-Mart, and he shops there, but as soon as a bus comes through town with those who beat up on the chain, he hops onboard. This ispolitical double-talk, pure and simple.



Harpers Ferry revisited

Rick Britton’s article about the abolitionist John Brown at Harpers Ferry is appreciated and reasonably well done, except for the contention that “not a single slave joined him in his cause” (“Soul of Harpers Ferry marches through time,” Washington Weekend, Thursday).

Biographers and scholars of Brown and the raid, including myself, Jean Libby and Hannah Geffert have challenged the long-standing assumption of historians — based mainly on the testimony of slaveholders and Southern whites at the time — that enslaved blacks did not support Brown’s effort. A good bit of primary evidence exists that a significant number of slaves turned out, or at least remained on the periphery of the town, and were stifled because Brown delayed leaving Harpers Ferry. The old abolitionist was far more effective than conventional historians have acknowledged, but their bias is being challenged and overturned by bona fide research.


New York

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