Friday, March 7, 2003

Where's Monty Hall?

Where’s Monty Hall?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 7, 2003

In an episode of the 1970s television program “The Odd Couple,” Felix Unger, portrayed by Tony Randall and Oscar Madison, played by Jack Klugman appeared on the then popular game show “Let’s Make A Deal,” in a horse costume.

Attempting to garner the host’s attention, Felix shouts out, “pick me Monty, pick me.”

Well, this is what’s happening on the global stage. Nations that ordinarily wouldn’t get a second look are trying to get the attention of the United States in order to make a deal with the most powerful country in the world. Nations like Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea and Pakistan want to know what they can get from the United States in exchange for support in the potential military conflict against Iraq.

The United States already looked behind Door Number One – Turkey, only to find an empty box when that country’s parliament voted on Saturday, March 1 to deny U.S. permission to use its bases. There was talk that the Turkish parliament might hold another vote and change its mind.

The initial deal offered by the U.S. to Turkey amounted to $26 billion in loans and support. The Monday after the rejection, the Turkish stock exchange took a 13 percent dive. Should Turkey wish to revisit the deal, the United States ought to offer half, if even that much to the majority Muslim nation straddling Europe and Asia.

To the other nations wanting the U.S. to cough up billions for its vote as members of the United Nations Security Council, they should get nothing. That they do not understand the moral imperative at stake here is unfortunate. To suggest that it is wrong for the U.S. to threaten a trade embargo against those nations not supporting the U.S. by calling it extortion, neither shall the United States be extorted in order to get permission from an organization so irrelevant that Saddam Hussein has thumbed his nose at it for a dozen years and counting.
Like a parent threatening to punish a child, “if you do that one more time…,” the United Nations has done likewise to Iraq, repeatedly, with the same result – no consequences for heinous actions.

Making matters worse, is that so-called allies of the United States, Belgium, France and Germany could have put up a unified front to force Hussein to back down. By opposing the U.S., Hussein has been emboldened; and even more so every time an American takes to the streets to protest its own government. Behind Door Number Two Monty reveals disloyalty to the United States.

(Sadly the American protesters are part of a dangerous group of people who blame America, their own country, for the evils in the world. This unfortunately is a growing trend permeated in the public schools of this country. A public school system where time-outs have replaced real punishment. A place where students are given good grades for their effort even when the effort comes up short and even passed on to the next grade so as not to damage the self-esteem. A place where competition is increasingly shunned, again for fear of damaging the all too fragile self-esteem.

Most recently, in the city of Oakland, California and in the state of Maine, anti-war ugliness has gone over the edge. In Oakland, teachers taught anti-war lessons without a voice from the other side. Speakers, paid for with citizens tax dollars were brought into schools to preach anti-war rhetoric. In Maine, teachers upped the ante by maligning students who have parents in the reserves called to active duty, as well as fulltime members of the U.S. armed forces.)

Granted the first amendment to the Constitution gives the protesters the right to do so, but they should listen to former Iraqi citizens now living in the U.S. either as American citizens or legal residents. Many have testified to the brutality under which Iraqis live. They have testified that Iraqi citizens are waiting for Americans and military partners like the British and Spanish to liberate Iraq.

Even Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA), so vehemently opposed to the war, does not recognize that there are about 30 nations that will join American troops should war become necessary. On the Senate floor on Friday, March 07 he referred to potential military action by the United States as “unilateral.” Kennedy was more concerned about what the rest of the world would think about the U.S. than the importance of the mission, much akin to being worried about being popular than being right.

It’s better to be right than popular. World opinion does not begin and end with the French, Germans, Chinese and Russians. Twenty-three million Iraqis are counting upon the U.S. military and its partners to do what’s right.

When the war is over, American troops/advisors along with its military partners’ troops/advisors should keep enough people in Iraq to oversee the restructuring of its government as well as to ensure democratic elections take place. This is something of which even Jimmy Carter should approve. For their efforts, those nations should receive discounts on oil, beneficial to all involved, while those countries standing idly by, get nothing, are rebuked and condemned by the United Nations and play no role in the reorganization of the nation of Iraq. Hopefully when Door Number Three is opened Monty will find a free Iraq.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, March 3, 2003

With Friends Like These...

With Friends Like These…
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 3, 2003

Show of hands – who believes Saddam Hussein is actually disarming? (What arms is he destroying? The ones he said he doesn’t have?) Keep those hands up for believing that Hans Blix and his band of merry inspectors is the reason high-level al Qaeda dominos are falling one by one.

Okay, Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon and Martin Sheen can put their hands down now. They must believe in the tooth fairy as well. Sheen is so sanctimonious he probably believes he IS president.

In reality, George W. Bush is the president of the United States and he said that al Qaeda and the supporting terrorist network would be toppled one by one if need be. That they would be ferreted out of the various caves and hiding places cowards like they cower in is actually happening. Who said politicians don’t keep their word?

But to be fair, Farrell, Sarandon and Sheen are entitled to their opinions. This is, after all, the United States of America. And bear in mind, nobody wants war. Not the supporters of the president, not the president himself, not Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, not the generals and certainly not the military.

However, this nation is under threat and that is what a military is for – defense. Defending the nation, its people and its borders – borders that were attacked on 09-11-01.  Borders that have been infiltrated by the likes of Sami Al-Arian, the now unemployed University of South Florida professor arrested for his support of Sept. 11 terrorists. (The teachers’ union in the state of Florida had defended him for better than a year while he was under scrutiny.) Support that came in the form of economics and via his writings. After all, it’s called the Defense Department, not the offense department.

Mother May I

Iraq has had 17 opportunities to follow United Nations’ edicts to disarm, destroy its weapons of mass destruction and maintain peace. To say the United States is seeking to start a war with Iraq is disingenuous.

What is truly disturbing, is that the United States feels it can not act without the permission of the alleged leaders of Europe – specifically France and Germany. Again, the war protesters are disingenuous in their behavior, calling for a United Nations team effort before making any military moves.

Reviewing recent history, these same war protesters did not take to the streets and the computers when former President Clinton unilaterally bombed Belgrade in an effort to topple the Milosovic regime. He did not seek UN permission, nor was the US under any threat.
As a reminder for those war protesters afraid to blow their noses without permission from France, Germany and the military powerhouse that is Belgium, this is not, repeat, not, a unilateral effort. The United States is joined by Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and most of the former Soviet Union. All told, there are over 30 nations on board with the US.

To give Hussein an 18th chance to make the UN look foolish by ignoring its mandates only lessens that body’s relevance. Additionally, how relevant can the United Nations be when Qadafi’s Libya can chair the Human Rights committee and when Hussein’s Iraq can chair the Disarmament committee?

The United States should not be seeking another resolution to take action against Iraq and the Hussein regime that has killed thousands of its own citizens. Nor should the United States be offering billions of dollars to other nations for their support – militarily or via UN votes. Hit these countries where it hurts most – the wallet.

Turkey’s Economy – A Sitting Duck

The United States offered Turkey $26 billion in aid/loans for the use of bases. The Turkish parliament voted it down. Not only is that nation not getting the infusion of economic aid it needs, but its stock market, such that it is, suffered a 13 percent drop within hours of its opening Monday morning. Imagine if the New York Stock Exchange dropped 1,000 points, plus or minus, within an hour or two of the opening bell. That would be catastrophic.

Should another United Nations vote be necessary, boycotts of each nation voting not to support the United States’ efforts to disarm Hussein should be in effect. As it is, Americans should be boycotting French, German, Belgian, Turkish and Canadian products – with extreme vigor. Both the French and Germans are disingenuous when they accuse the United States of starting a war over oil. That wasn’t the truth in 1991, nor is it so 12 years later. In fact, what the French and Germans are hiding is that they do billions of dollars (or euros) in business with Iraq and Saddam – particularly for oil. The same is true of Russia and its oil business with Iraq. France, Germany and Russia claim their business with Iraq is under the guise of oil for food in a feeble attempt to help the Iraqi people – the overwhelming majority never see crumb one of that food. Unfortunately both the US and UK, via middleman countries, also still do oil business with Iraq.

Say non to French wine, French cheese, French perfumes, trips to France and investments in companies that do business with France. Say nein to German beer, German automobiles, trips to Germany and investments in companies that do business with Germany. Read labels in supermarkets and shopping malls. Refuse to purchase goods and services emanating from any nation not supporting the United States on this issue.

Mad(e) In the USA

Pennsylvania state representative Stephen Barrar (R) plans to introduce a bill in Harrisburg banning French wine in the Keystone State. Sounds like a plan. Support American vineyards. Plenty of good wine can be found in California, New York and Virginia.

During World War I sauerkraut became known as liberty cabbage. A return to that moniker is not unreasonable. Why not order victory fries to accompany that sandwich and patriot toast is good with syrup and strawberries. After all, the wheat for the bread probably came from the Midwest and the spuds for the fries came either from Idaho or Maine. German Measles can keep its name, because no one wants that anyway.

Support the war, don’t support the war. Support the president, don’t support the president. The first amendment protects that right. But when the bullets start to fly, be sure to get behind every man and woman wearing an American military uniform because they are defending that right with their lives.

May G-d Bless America.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.