Monday, November 7, 2005

After Mine: When the Readers Have Their Say.

Question: What do you have against the Sun-Times?

Response: Now that I am writing for the Tribune, I can speak out. Nothing that a reform of the Sun-Times several columns can’t cure. The paper’s news staff is excellent and deserves the Pulitzer for uncovering the Hired Trucks and other Daley scandals. By and large the editorials are moderate, although of a fashionably leftish point of view (I’m overlooking the endorsement of gay marriage which was mandated upstairs). I’ve scorched the excesses of Ms. Sweet who is so biased she cannot perceive it and Ms. Falsani the religion editor whose ignorance of the subject she is supposed to cover is phenomenal.

Question: When you said the U.S. entered all wars except World War II through preemption you made a mistake about World War I. The Germans violated their pledge not to wage submarine warfare on private shipping.

Response: Remember, our entry into World War I was not warranted. No American interest was at stake. The Brits were involved in a significant atrocity of their own: a deliberate effort to starve the Germans with a naval blockade, violating several norms of international law codified in the 19th and 20th centuries. Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of the Admiralty wrote that the purpose of the blockade was “to starve the whole population—men, women and children, old and young, wounded and sound—into submission.” Germany responded on Feb. 4, 1915 that it would retaliate against the blockade with submarine warfare, pointing out that neutral ships would be exposed to danger in view of misuse of neutral flags by the British government (Churchill in 1915 endorsed the policy of using neutral flags to shield British ships from attack). As soon as Germany announced its submarine policy, Woodrow Wilson stated for the public that the German government would be held strictly accountable for the loss of American vessels on the high seas.

On March 29, 1915 the British ship Falaba was sunk by German submarines with 110 people lost including one American. Britain said the sub fired without warning but it was later found that the German captain had given the Falaba three warnings and fired only when a British warship appeared. The reason the Falaba blew up was—wanna guess? It was carrying thirteen tons of ammunition. John Basset Moore, the professor of international law who served as judge at the International Court of Justice after the war ruled that “what most decisively contributed to the involvement of the United States in the war was the assertion of the right to protect belligerent ships on which Americans saw fit to travel and t he treatment of armed belligerent merchantmen as peaceful vessels.” The sinking of the Lusitania in May, 1915 which lost 124 of the 154 Americans on board found that there were 5,000 cases of ammunition on board which resulted in the ship sinking so quickly. In fact, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a pacifist, went public with an attack on his chief Wilson by saying: “Why be shocked by the drowning of a few people if there is to be no objection to starving a nation?” It was a grossly impolitic statement which Wilson didn’t even try to answer—and Bryan resigned his post.

Question: But what has this to do with Falsani?

Response: She quotes her semi-atheist friend who charges the Bush administration for the first time in history employed preemptive strategy to go to war. My point was all our wars were initiated preemptively with the exception of World War II.

Question: You seem to resent the fact that she has an atheist friend.

Response: Nonsense, we all have some atheist friends—at least I do. I object to her inability to categorize her friend properly which one would expect a religion writer to be able to do. One cannot be sorta, kinda atheist. One is either an atheist or not. Sorta, kinda would qualify for agnosticism.

Question: But she said from the outset that she would be a different kind of religion editor.

Response: Yes, she’s vastly different. An incompetent one. She believes her sorta, kinda friend gave her the license to write editorials in the religious spot where her instincts are imprecise, evidence of sloppy left thinking. Where her editors are I honestly don’t know. Maybe there were sorta, kinda in agreement with her or sorta, kinda drinking coffee when her copy passed by them—if, indeed, it did pass by them.

Question: Oh, you’re an old grump.

Response: Make that a question: you’re an old grump, aren’t you?

Question: Well, aren’t you?

Response: Of course.


  1. We've never met, but my impression of you is that of a genial rascal. Even so, I don't think that you realize how harsh you sound at times in your blog entries. That may be why some dismiss you as an old grump. Regarding our entry into WWI, I doubt that either of us will convince the other and so I'll leave it at that.

  2. People don't realize the alternative to a preemptive war is a war of last resort and those are usually wars of anniliation.

    That's how we fought WWII. Especially against the Japanese.

    I think that's were Kerry's doctrine of Wars of last resort would have lead us against the Arabs.

    You may need to be old recall what a war of last resort looks like. The recollection doesn't leave one grumpy though. Just tragically sad so many couldn't see the barbarism inside Kerry's doctrine.