- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A message for Sally Field

The only thing Sally Field and this mom have in common is that we both become nauseated at the thought of watching reruns of “The Flying Nun” (“Facing it,” Culture, et cetera, Thursday).

If raising sons to acquiesce to terrorists who give no thought to the sanctity of human life makes a woman a good mother, then I have failed miserably.

I have raised a son who is standing up to terrorist bullies as a Marine so that some other mother, 6,000 miles away in a little place called Ramadi in al Anbar province, Iraq, won’t have to keep her children home from school another day, another week, another year, out of fear that al Qaeda will park a booby-trapped car in the playground (again). I have raised a son who understands that evil really does exist in the world and that facing it head-on will make it possible for other kids, not much younger than he, to get on with the important business of having childhoods. I have a raised an unselfish, unspoiled, tough-minded, hard-working, hell-raising United States Infantry Marine.

I feel sorry for Sally Field. She will never feel as proud of her son as I do of mine.

EILEEN RAGEN

Springfield

Reich revisionism

Letter writer John L. Percer uses a strange analogy when requesting a multi-faceted approach to the current fight against terrorism (“Needed: A Multifaceted Approach,” Letters, Friday), essentially justifying the actions of Adolf Hitler prior to and during World War II, claiming that the dictator was only honoring his commitments to his various allies. There is no doubt that the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler had its own agenda and acted totally at its own convenience. The program of this terrorist regime included the conquest of Europe, the destruction of world Jewry and international domination.

While the writer may be correct in arguing for a multifaceted approach to the current conflict against terrorism, with our two main foes, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the former Shi’ite, the other the Sunni supporter of radical Islamic fundamentalism, there is no comparison with the Third Reich. Instead of painting the Third Reich as the perpetrator of terrorism, he indicates that it was the victim of circumstances, a complete revision of history.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

Hsu’s Ponzi connection

One has to be amused at the attraction the well-educated, financially well-heeled Norman Hsu had for Democratic politics (“Charges tie Hsu to Ponzi scheme,” Nation, Friday). As it turns out, it is a very good fit. If you don’t already know, Ponzi schemes arise from taking contributions from a chain of investors; the first to invest obtain return payouts from later investors, but there is no accrual of economic value from any of the investments. The majority of the money is siphoned off to support the initiator’s lifestyle, or political ambitions in this case, and eventually the number of new suckers will not support the required payout to previous suckers. The house of cards then collapses.

If you want to avoid being one of Mr. Hsu’s victims, all you have to do is realize that risk and reward are joined at the hip — big return equals big risk and vice versa. When offered an outrageous return with little or no risk, just compare it to the common financial benchmarks: Treasury bonds, corporate bonds, the total U.S. stock market, etc. If the scheme falls outside the range of these benchmarks, it is a fraud, and you can move on.

Apparently, a great number of the Hollywood glitterati and other well-heeled Democrats were not able to make the benchmark comparisons described above. However, most of the glitterati have pea-sized intellects matched to melon-sized political megaphones.

My greatest hope is that eventually the majority of the voters in this country will realize the stark similarity between Mr. Hsu’s Ponzi scheme and the never-ending entitlement programs being sold by the Democrats and reinforced by the know-nothing glitterati. Like Mr. Hsu’s Ponzi scheme, these programs are first-in-first-out propositions, or FIFO if you like accounting parlance. If you find yourself too far down the program chain, you had better start making other financial plans.

After all, your favorite Democrat, like your favorite Republican, is using the money to build bridges to nowhere to get re-elected. But poor Mr. Hsu, although employing the same financial flimflam, will be taking the bridge to jail.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

On the offense

The dramatic military and political successes of the surge present an embarrassment of riches to the Bush administration (“Senate bill to cut funds for troops fails,” Page 1, Friday). It is far more a major strategic change in the use of our troops on the offense rather than just more troops to sustain casualties in an essentially defensive role in the politically correct, tightly restricted “light footprint.” The Petraeus strategy has glaringly revealed the failures of the basic premises of the past four years including, mainly, the irresponsible disregard of the bloody lesson from Vietnam: You cannot win the hearts and minds of people you cannot — or worse — will not protect. We are now on the offense, and winning those hearts and minds, at least in previous al Qaeda strongholds such as Anbar.

The related fallacy stubbornly pursued by Mr. Bush and his advisors, primarily the self-described “realists” who dominate the State Department and civilian ranks at the Department of Defense and the CIA is that there must be a “political” and not a “military solution” in Iraq. In the midst of a war where the political solution is being implacably opposed by armies of shooters and bombers trained, armed and often led by outside forces, this is irresponsible sophistry.

Even the bloodiest wars end eventually in diplomatic agreements. But the quality and duration of such political solutions depend upon the extent to which one side first achieves a successful military solution to the warfare. The best example of this is World War II, the bloodiest war in history, where decisive military victory preceded and enabled outstandingly successful political solutions: the institution and maintenance of sixty years of stable, free democracies in Japan and Germany. Similarly, in the American Revolution, there was not even an attempt to organize and institute our new democratic government until we first won the military solution against Great Britain.

The question, then, is whether the surge is really a major new step toward a discernable victory, or is it just a temporary ploy in the ongoing negotiations of the surrender to Iran sought by the Baker-Gates Iraq Study Group? The key here is whether Gen. Petraeus will be allowed to seriously attack the Iranian-dominated (and often -commanded) Shiite militias such as Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army and the Iranian-led Sadr Brigade.

So far, it appears that Mr. Bush is running another deceit on the people in favor of Mr. Baker’s back-channel surrender negotiations.

If Gen. Petraeus and our troops are prevented from destroying the military power of the Iranian Shiite militias because they, and thousands of Iraqis, are being killed and maimed as a temporary ploy for Mr. Baker and the State Department to negotiate a surrender, President Bush should be impeached.

WILLIAM J. O’BRIEN

Falls Church

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