Letters to the Editor

Get facts straight when citing them

Re June 25 letter by James Godhard, “Conservative letters lack accuracy, facts”

While I agree with Mr. Godhard’s point that not all problems since WWII were caused by Democratic presidents, they have been involved in perhaps more than their fair share, possibly because every Democratic president, and every Democratic presidential candidate since President Carter, has been a career politician, with little or no experience in the real world. Long gone is the time that communities sent to Washington their most successful citizens.

When the stated purpose of a letter is to make historical corrections, it is of primary importance to be accurate yourself, and not mislead. NAFTA was signed into law by President Clinton after it was approved by the Senate 61-38 with support from 27 Democratic senators. With 27 Democratic senators voting in favor, for 60 percent (as claimed in the letter) of the Democratic senators to have voted against NAFTA, 34 Democratic senators would have had to vote against it, which would give the Democrats 61 senators in December 1993, but they only had 56. President Clinton signed the treaty so he owns it; it has not been a disaster for the U.S. as many predicted, and while it has been financially beneficial for Mexico, it may have contributed to the rise of the powerful drug cartels, but that is another issue.

Mr. Godhard failed to be completely accurate in his comments on Somalia; while he was correct that President Bush 41 was the president who sent troops to Somalia, Mr. Godhard gets an “F” for accuracy by not pointing out that our troops waded ashore with food to feed the staving people of Somalia.

When President Clinton took office, the term “mission creep” became “mission run” as the decision was quickly made by the former governor of Arkansas that while the troops were feeding the people, they should take down the warlords. When the commanders on the ground were advised of their new mission, they assessed the military situation and requested that President Clinton’s administration provide them with heavy armour which they thought was necessary to accomplish their new mission. The new administration’s response: proceed with the new mission - you don’t need heavy armour. Thus, we had the horrible tragedy in Mogadishu with troops killed and their bodies dragged through the streets, and the surviving troops rescued by Pakistani soldiers with heavy armour.

As Mr. Godhard’s letter continues, it charges on to a “communist” discussion which I found uninteresting. The subject of “czars” came up, which is tough to defend; they are made more powerful than Cabinet members but are not approved by the Senate. At the very least, an end run around the system which degrades Cabinet members – at worst, an attempt to concentrate all power in the White House with no “checks and balances.”

The letter then goes after tea party members and gun rights, and then throws in the Kent State tragedy to make a point – which I missed. Still staying away from historical corrections, Mr. Godhard makes the point that the Constitution can be changed (amended), which of course is correct, although the process is challenging.

What is not noted is that it cannot be amended to take away certain “unalienable rights.”

The letter ends with the comment: “And maybe it’s time, finally, to drop the birth certificate thing.” I agree. Not because the puzzle has been solved – it hasn’t been. I agree because it is too late to matter. Whatever the truth, it will come out eventually. One should look at this issue and others which are confusing, by concentrating on whether there is a coverup or not. There has never been a coverup of ethical behavior – behavior which one can be proud of. Also, one should look for transparency; when questions are raised, are they quickly answered completely and openly and all relevant documents provided timely and thoroughly? On any issue, if there is a coverup and/or stonewalling, it doesn’t pass the smell test.

In closing, I congratulate Mr. Godhard, as well as Mr. Robie, Mr. Brandmahl, Mr. Kuczma, and Mr. Brauer (the last three are authors of the letters Mr. Godhard addressed) for participating in the debate and for taking advantage of one of our greatest rights – the freedom of speech.

The writer lives in Georgetown.