- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Cheap shots at King funeral

As an active participant during the years of struggle for equality and civil rights and as someone for whom the outcome of that struggle meant a great victory, I watched the funeral ceremonies for Coretta Scott King with great interest and reverence (“Tribute to Mrs. King,” Page 1, yesterday).

I was rewarded, for the most part, with inspiring words and heartfelt warmth. However, the injection of mean-spirited politics by former President Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery clearly was out of place.

It showed a tragic pettiness and lack of class. Martin Luther King and Mrs. King helped black Americans through love and wisdom, never by race-baiting.

Too many Democrats, to their shame, repeat the same tired lies over and over, lies that divide us — white from black. They distort history in an awful way. Mr. Carter’s out-of-place comments about government wiretaps avoided mentioning that Democratic icon Robert F. Kennedy was the attorney general who ordered taps on King’s conversations.

The Democrats bring up Birmingham’s Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene “Bull” Connor and Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus but never mention that both of them were Democrats.

So were the other sheriffs and deputies who loosed dogs on protesters and stood by as chuches were burned. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed with an overwhelming majority of Republican votes. Also, none should forget that the first Republican, Abraham Lincoln, ended slavery.

Race-baiting is ugliness of the worst kind. Its basis is false, and it had no place at a funeral for one of America’s foremost protagonists for unity and equality.



By using the occasion of Coretta Scott King’s funeral to attack President Bush’s domestic and foreign policies, former President Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery revealed themselves as having no class, no shame and no sense.

For Mr. Carter to imply that Mr. Bush is wiretapping Americans for the same purposes that motivated the Kennedy administration’s wiretapping of King is a perverse outrage. Does it not dawn upon him that Mr. Bush is engaging in “domestic surveillance” for the purposes of confronting the same terrorist threat Mr. Carter himself was too cowardly to confront in 1979 and 1980?

For him to claim also that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina represented modern-day racism is also despicable. Contrary to the paranoid vision of Mr. Carter and his crew, large numbers of white people were affected by both Katrina’s wrath and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s problematic response; it is loathsome for the left to continue to push the idea that FEMA’s reaction would have been faster if the victims had been white, when in fact there were plenty of white victims.

Mr. Lowery’s remarks were not only disgraceful to the memory of the Kings, but also unbecoming of a man who claims to serve the cause of Christ. By implying that “our smart bombs” inflict “terror” on foreign countries, instead of helping to liberate foreign countries, Mr. Lowery revealed himself as viewing both history and reality through a warped lens. By lambasting Mr. Bush as a “weapon of misdirection” and making the quasi-socialist statement, “For war, billions more, but no more for the poor,” Mr. Lowery confirmed that left-wing partisanship has destroyed the true spirit of the civil rights movement.

After the speech, I’m sure Mr. Carter and Mr. Lowery went home and continued to condemn Mr. Bush’s supposed small-mindedness. Too bad they didn’t reflect upon their classless comportment, which exposed them for the intellectual cruiserweights they are.



Bilingual America

In response to Deborah Simmons’ “Is America there yet?” (Op-Ed, Monday): Most readers would have to look very hard to learn about Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s speech responding — in Spanish — to President Bush’s State of the Union address. However, our ATMs have Spanish instructions now, and we have to “Press 1 for English” when we call our doctor or dentist. Our schools, welfare offices and hospitals increasingly are required to offer translation services in a mind-boggling array of exotic languages — usually at great expense to poor Joe Taxpayer. It won’t be long before there is agitation to publish the Congressional Record in foreign languages. Don’t laugh — same-sex marriage and polygamy are inevitable, so this can’t be far behind.

My wife and I talk about this often — the pathological passivity and indifference that have overtaken the nation that stood firm at Wake Island in World War II and held off the panzers at Bastogne. We are rapidly being sold out by our “leaders.” Our fate is to become a nation like Malaysia or Siam (Thailand) or Indochina just before World War II, with a crazy quilt of religions and ethnic allegiances: basically ungovernable. (Lou Dobbs has reported on special foreign-language traffic courts in California; soon we’ll have Muslim courts practicing sharia.) That same passivity was on display when the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, warned just before Pearl Harbor that Japan was planning war against the United States and called this planning a form of national hara-kiri.

As we adapt our culture, law, and language to dozens of foreign groups, the only answer can be that we, too, are intent on national suicide. We already are well down the road, if we take note of all the signs in Spanish in our businesses, supermarkets, schools, etc.



Updating the Army

I read with interest retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales’ column “Bolstering the Military” (Op-Ed, Friday). He argues that some retired Army generals are waging a campaign to derail the Army’s new Future Combat System (FCS) program, which he favors. FCS is designed to replace the Army’s current heavy force of Abrams and Bradley combat vehicles. I don’t doubt that someday the Army will replace this force, which has served us very well for a long time.

Today’s force is a good one. And, with the Army’s new modular force design ratified in the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, it thankfully can still serve us well for years to come.

Though the current force was born, as Gen. Scales says, in the Cold War, the vision for the FCS program came at the end of the Clinton administration, when Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright would have liked to have had an Army brigade to deploy rapidly to almost every country in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. FCS was the Defense Department’s answer.

This national force would require an Army with smaller vehicles that could be deployed by air anywhere on a moment’s notice and would need little logistical support. A robust communication and surveillance network would help protect it.

Gen. Scales gives one the impression of having a little Billy Mitchell flair with his call for elevating the Army to a “third dimension” and in striking an analogy to the debate in our history about the importance of air power. Brig. Gen. Mitchell was one of the most famous and controversial figures in American air-power history. He demonstrated in 1921 and 1923 that air power could sink battleships.

Rather than labeling those who may not yet have entirely bought into his FCS vision “battleship generals,” he could help the Army better by articulating a more compelling rationale to the public for why the Army needs to spend a significant portion of its future dollars to replace the lethality and survivability our current proven combat formations with FCS.

I’m not sure the argument he cites in his column — that the Stryker light-armored vehicles, and by extension, armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Hummvee) we have employed in Iraq may be less vulnerable than Abrams tanks because they are fast and agile enough to avoid danger — and appealing to our emotions that we can’t afford a cheap solution for dying soldiers — is the kind of sound rationale for FCS most battleship generals may be seeking.


U.S. Army (retired)


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