The Real News of the Month

January 2002
Volume 9, No. 1

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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[ Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks 
around the emphasized words.]

  -> The Moving Picture (plus Exclusives to this edition)
  -> Must We Make War?
  -> Homage to Johnson
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted


The Moving Picture
(pages 1-2)

     A Massachusetts firm, Advanced Cell Technology, has 
announced that it has successfully cloned human embryos. 
Its curious justification is that the clones will be used 
only for "harvesting" cells, not brought to term as 
children. In other words, human lives are now being 
created in order to be destroyed. This is surely the most 
perverse advance of science since the atomic bomb; less 
noisy, but even more eerie. The feat was achieved, and 
received, with the sort of diabolical blandness C.S. 
Lewis taught us to beware of. 

*          *          *

     Having survived a stabbing by an intruder in his 
home two years ago, George Harrison, dead of cancer at 
58, has become the first Beatle to die of natural causes. 
Harrison wasn't much of a musician; his biggest post-
Beatle hit, "My Sweet Lord," resulted in a lawsuit for 
copyright violation. But the Beatles were always 
celebrities, not musicians, not even entertainers. The 
violence they attracted, though of course undeserved, was 
the obverse of the crazed idolatry they thrived on. An 
older generation of pop singers -- Crosby, Sinatra, Cole, 
Bennett -- never had much to fear from their fans. Yet 
Harrison was a pleasant man who never enjoyed the 
Beatlemaniacal frenzy, and we're saddened by his passing. 

*          *          *

     Liberals are exulting: new polls show that since the 
9/11 attacks, Americans have a renewed faith in the 
Federal Government's ability to solve problems. Odd, 
since that selfsame government failed to protect us from 
those attacks, and has by no means proved that it has 
defeated, or *can* defeat, terrorism. Experience yields 
many lessons, but not always the ones people choose to 
draw from it. 

*          *          *

     One undrawn lesson would seem to be that the more 
power is concentrated, the more inviting -- and 
vulnerable -- to attack it becomes. If this country were 
still decentralized as of old, it would probably not 
provoke terrorism, and in any case wouldn't provide such 
choice targets as a Pentagon. In their eagerness to 
avenge the 9/11 attacks, many Americans are forgetting 
that those attacks were themselves acts of revenge. Which 
is not to say they were justified (revenge is usually 
unholy), but only that they were a predictable reaction 
to the current U.S. role in the world. The question is 
not only whether the U.S. role is defensible, but whether 
we really want to go on living like this. 

*          *          *

     Are there any real conservatives left? Attorney 
General John Ashcroft, forgetting his notorious 
Confederate sympathies, is eager to expand Federal 
(especially presidential) powers for the sake of fighting 
terrorism, the Constitution be damned. He has the support 
of conservative publications like the WALL STREET JOURNAL 
and THE WEEKLY STANDARD. The most amusing case is 
NATIONAL REVIEW, which argues that we can have both 
global empire *and* limited government; you wonder if 
these kids have ever heard of James Burnham. Burnham, one 
of the magazine's founding editors and its resident 
geopolitical thinker, can be criticized on many counts. 
But he always insisted on one principle: You can't have 
it both ways. "Who says A must say B." You have to 
choose, and you have to face the consequences of your 

*          *          *

     Sixty years after Pearl Harbor, pundit David Brooks, 
writing in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, contrasts the upbeat 
America of December 1941, eager to take on the "Japs," 
with the darker spirit of America in December 2001. But 
the quotations Brooks cites from the 1941 press tell a 
slightly different story. Among those most eager for war 
were the pro-Soviet liberals; while the most reluctant 
included patriots who were suspicious of Franklin 
Roosevelt and his foreign friends. In fact, those most 
desirous of sending American forces to fight abroad have 
often been people with foreign sympathies -- for Britain, 
the Soviet Union, and now Israel. And they always use the 
language of American patriotism. Jonathan Daniels wrote 
in the Stalinist magazine THE NATION, shortly after Pearl 
Harbor: "Here is the time when a man can be what an 
American means, can fight for what America has always 
meant -- an audacious, adventurous seeking for a decent 
earth." Sound familiar? 

*          *          *

     Even after 60 years, the U.S. Government hasn't 
released the secret documents that might reveal how much 
intelligence was gathered about Japanese intentions 
before Pearl Harbor. What did Franklin Roosevelt really 
know, and when did he know it? Did he even allow the 
attack to occur, when he might have prevented it? The 
facts are no longer being concealed from our Axis 
enemies, or even from our Soviet allies, all of whom have 
ceased to exist. They are being concealed from the 
government's most dangerous potential enemy: the American 

*          *          *

     The latest cliche has it that 9/11 "changed 
everything." Well, it did change one thing: this isn't 
Bill Clinton's world anymore. He instantly ceased being a 
focus of interest, even for Clinton-haters (Rush Limbaugh 
always excepted). His star has flickered out. He has 
reportedly been telling friends that he wishes the 
attacks had occurred on his watch, so that he could have 
faced a challenge worthy of his talents, established his 
place in history, and left a legacy of greatness. 
Instead, he is being defined in retrospect by events he 
failed to foresee or prevent, leaving a legacy of 
frivolity. It all reminds me of Monica Lewinsky's 
expressed hope that she wouldn't be remembered just for 
you-know-what; to which a wag retorted, "Well, she'd 
better start working on a cure for cancer." Maybe Bill 
could help her. 

*          *          *

     John Walker Lindh, alias Suleyman al-Faris, has made 
the cover of Newsweek and may face prosecution for 
treason or something. As you know, he's the oddball 
California boy, born a Catholic, who converted to Islam 
and was captured while fighting among the Taliban in 
Afghanistan. Nobody seems to be upset that he renounced 
his Savior, Jesus Christ; no, his sin was renouncing his 
nation-state. Meanwhile, the politicians who betray this 
country every day of the week never make headlines; the 
greatest traitor in American history, Franklin Roosevelt, 
is still honored in word and monument. Lindh is a 
powerless eccentric who could do his native country 
little harm -- and therefore an easy target for 
indignation. We don't get angry at the people who are 
really in positions to hurt us, and who do it so 
routinely that we no longer define their doings as 
harmful. Lindh is a victim of religious persecution: he's 
being punished for failing to worship our state. 

Must We Make War?
(pages 3-4)

{{ Material dropped or changed solely for reasons of 
space appears in double curly brackets }}

     After the terrific shock of the 9/11 attacks, most 
Americans felt we truly had no choice but to make war, 
even if the enemy could hardly be identified. I tried to 
resist the feeling, but there was no denying its power. 
Say what you will against the "us-versus-them" mentality, 
in moments of crisis it has a way of swamping all other 
thoughts and feelings.

     The trouble is that it's not only unclear who "them" 
is; just who is "us"? Is the U.S. Government truly the 
organ of the American people? Well, the overwhelming 
majority of the American people think so. They believe it 
so strongly that they are currently willing to allow the 
government to claim new powers over them, in the faith 
that it is thereby protecting them against the shadowy 
enemy. It's a strange spectacle. As in World War II -- 
the glorious precedent that is being cited to justify 
these doings -- the rulers are rallying their subjects to 
surrender their freedoms. Why? In order to defend 

     Deep and primitive passions are taking over, and the 
government is making the most of them. So far its war in 
Afghanistan appears fully successful, in that it is 
routing the Taliban regime with celerity and ease and 
without American casualties.

    {{ Yet President Bush keeps warning us that this will 
be a long, tough war. Will it? That depends on how the 
war -- and victory -- are defined. We still don't know 
whether Osama bin Laden has been weakened; for that 
matter, we still don't know just what his relation to the 
September 11 attacks was. Did he personally direct them? 
Or were the agents who died during their crimes merely 
his alumni, so to speak? If the latter, the war may be a 
pointless exercise, rather like dropping bombs on Mrs. 
O'Leary's cow to retaliate for the Chicago fire.

     At any rate, }} we are seeing an awesome assertion 
of might. U.S. military forces have already advanced far 
beyond the capability they displayed during the 1991 Gulf 
War. Their power and precision make the carpet-bombings 
of World War II and Vietnam seem crude, sloppy, and 
almost prehistoric. Critics who warned of a "quagmire" 
have already been squelched.

     The question now (as I write) is whether the next 
target will be Iraq. Hawkish pundits are urging the Bush 
administration to take out all of Israel's enemies in the 
Middle East, though of course they don't quite put it 
that way. Bush's father is still being blamed for failing 
to "finish the job" by destroying Saddam Hussein in 1991; 
whether the junior Bush will take this to heart by 
widening the war remains to be seen.

     No doubt about it, the war and its associated 
measures have raised American morale. Already the menace 
of bin Laden seems to have faded away. After a few jumpy 
weeks, nobody now seems fearful that the alleged 
mastermind is going to hit us with another horrible 
surprise. The anthrax scare has passed; so has talk of 
suitcase nukes. There is a quiet and perhaps premature 
sense that the fiend has hit us with his best shot, and 
now it's his turn to worry.

     In short, the war has at least had one good effect: 
it has made us feel better. It has relieved our hysteria. 
Has it actually solved the problem, or even ameliorated 
the real situation? Nobody knows. Nobody can know. But it 
has given "us" the satisfaction of feeling that "we" have 
taught "them" a lesson or two. Presumably bin Laden is 
too busy ducking bombs and dodging from cave to cave to 
order further strikes on targets in this country.

     Would he have struck again by now if this war hadn't 
begun? {{ As I say, we really don't know the extent of 
his role in the first attacks. It's quite possible that 
the 9/11 hijackers were more like graduates of the Osama 
bin Laden School of Terrorism, acting on their own 
initiative in this case, than agents under his direction. 
We may never learn the truth. And since the hijackers 
themselves perished, there may be no sequel. It may have 
been a unique, one-time event, inspired but not 
controlled by bin Laden.

     If so, the whole war is in vain. }} In any case, 
bombing Afghanistan won't prevent other terrorists, 
already within U.S. borders, from striking here.

     Still, maybe the war can be justified on the terms 
of the Leviathan state and its requirements. Let's assume 
that the 9/11 attacks were the work of bin Laden and al-
Qaeda, and that unless the U.S. Government retaliated, 
more and worse would follow. How much damage could these 
fanatics really do? The casualty toll at the World Trade 
Center is now estimated at fewer than 4,000 deaths, fewer 
than a tenth of the 50,000 or so who were employed there. 
People tend to confuse horror with danger. In this case, 
the horror was unsurpassed; but the danger has been 
vastly overstated. Your chance of being killed by a 
terrorist is like your chance of winning the lottery. 
Even if the terrorists were running wild, unopposed, your 
personal risk would be minute.

     The precautions that are being taken against further 
hijackings have passed the point of absurdity. Passengers 
waiting in line in airports share wry jokes about the 
excess. Billions are being spent to prevent a recurrence 
of something {{ al-Qaeda (assuming its responsibility) 
would be most unlikely }} to try again, since, in 
terrorism, surprise is of the essence. But the U.S. 
Government has seized the opportunity to expand its 
powers, with little opposition; and the most aggressive 
expander has been the allegedly ultraconservative 
attorney general, John Ashcroft. Earlier this year, his 
professed sympathy for the Confederate cause, which 
alarmed liberals, led me to hope he would prove an 
opponent of the centralized Leviathan state. Et tu, 

     We Americans should be asking ourselves: Do we 
really want to live like this? Permanently? Is life in 
the Leviathan state, however prosperous, worth the price? 
And how did our confederated Republic turn into this 
consolidated Leviathan?

     Instead of rehearsing the story of the Civil War, 
the Wilson era, the New Deal, and all that, let me just 
mention Switzerland. Happily, there is no prospect of war 
between the United States and Switzerland. The Swiss 
don't do war. They have no enemies, no allies, no empire, 
and great wealth. They prize their neutrality (for which 
they are roundly denounced as amoral). They passed 
unscathed through two world wars (while the "victors" 
lost millions); they have no armed forces abroad. {{ If 
the Swiss have any ideals, they keep them to them-
selves; }} they know nothing of "the responsibilities of 
world leadership," and don't even claim to be a shining 
city on a hill. By the way, they have retained a federal, 
decentralized system of government.

     And for some reason Switzerland has no problem today 
with terrorists. Naturally, we are urged to shun the 
Swiss example and emulate the Israelis, who live in 
constant turmoil. Is there a more dangerous place on 
earth for Jews than the state that was founded as a 
Jewish refuge? Doesn't having to be obsessed with 
survival defeat the whole idea? Jews elsewhere in the 
world are doing just fine; instead of seeing Israel as a 
haven from persecution, they have to worry about its 

     Professor Donald Livingston of Emory University 
recently gave an exceedingly wise talk on the difference 
between the Hobbesian Leviathan state and the 
Aristotelian polis. In the Leviathan, the state rules by 
fear; there is no real community, and law is merely the 
imperial will of the ruler, backed by raw force. In the 
tiny polis, citizens know each other, and they obey the 
law because it expresses their shared morals and customs, 
not because the state threatens them.

     The modern state is Leviathan. The history of the 
United States is the story of the growth of centralized 
power, devouring local communities and forcing them to 
conform to its will. Even the U.S. Constitution, which 
was originally designed to define and thereby *limit* 
Federal powers, has been perverted into a tool by which 
the central government, through specious interpretation, 
imposes uniformity.

     As the monolithic Leviathan has become more 
aggressive internally, it has also come increasingly into 
foreign collisions. It is equally the enemy of the 
American Christian and the Arab Muslim. I think it is 
wrong, but this would be just as true even if it were 
right. In a purely objective sense, it puts itself in 
opposition to every people whose traditions it despises. 
How can it not?

     In August 1945 the U.S. Government became, 
undeniably, a terrorist state. It deployed a weapon that 
changed not only the nature of war, but the nature of 
governance. With the atomic bomb, the modern state could 
say to large masses of people: "Obey me, or I will kill 
you." This is the ultimate source of its authority: the 
threat to kill. Most rulers have used this threat, but 
never before could it be made on such a colossal scale. 
Even Hobbes never dreamed that Leviathan would acquire 
such power.

     This poses a question that vexes many Americans: 
Isn't it better that "we" should have gotten this power 
before Hitler or Stalin did? And doesn't that in itself 
justify the U.S. role in World War II?

     Without the United States, the war would have ended 
much sooner, Germany wouldn't have had time to develop 
the bomb, and Soviet spies would have had no one to steal 
its secrets from. It is conceivable that Germany might 
have developed the bomb after the war, but conceivable 
scenarios are infinite. The fact is that the United 
States murdered countless people and launched the age of 
nuclear terror. It crossed a moral threshold and cannot 
be justified on grounds that someone else might have 
crossed it later.

     As a result, several other governments soon followed 
suit. None suspected that miniaturized versions of these 
weapons might someday become available to private forces 
on the black market. Everyone assumed that the power of 
mass murder would remain a state monopoly. In the age of 
Leviathan, this seemed reasonable.

     And the age of Leviathan is not over. Far from it. 
Fewer and fewer of us remember anything else. And as a 
result of the events of September 11, Americans' 
allegiance to "our" Leviathan has been intensified. The 
people trust their government, passively and eagerly 
accept its new usurpations of power, and don't ask how it 
came to this or how we can return to normal. For most 
Americans, this *is* normal. To hope for a restoration of 
older traditions seems, at this point, an idle dream.

     Leviathan America has set a new example for the 
world -- that is, for other states. They don't want to 
emulate the U.S. Constitution; they only want to get the 
weapons that make constitutionality, legality, pedigree, 
succession, and conventional legitimacy irrelevant. "Obey 
me, or I will kill you." Or, to borrow a line from THE 
GODFATHER: "This is the life we have chosen."

Homage to Johnson
(pages 5-6)

    The later eighteenth century in English literature is 
called the Age of Johnson, after its greatest man of 
letters. Scholars respect the achievement of Johnson's 
Dictionary as much as ordinary literate people love 
Boswell's LIFE. As Shakespeare gave the English language 
its loveliest and most various adornments, Johnson 
endowed it with new depth and precision.

     But it is still odd that we think of Johnson as 
typical of his time. For Johnson was above all a man who 
strove to be independent of his time and its fads. His 
more fashionable contemporaries regarded him as 
hopelessly behind the times; and Boswell, to draw him out 
and provoke him to memorable utterance, liked to adopt 
the role of the average Enlightenment fool, voicing the 
current attitudes that would vex Johnson most. Keeping 
aloof from the "Age of Johnson" -- he would have been 
amazed by the phrase -- was for Johnson a spiritual as 
well as an intellectual necessity; as a Christian he knew 
that to be a mere product of your environment, as we say, 
is to be damned. So he consciously labored to make the 
English language an instrument of salvation, for himself 
and for his readers. His prose is an ark of reason 
against the flood of sensation and temptation.

     He was famous, and comically notorious, for his big 
words. Goldsmith once joked that if Johnson had written a 
certain fable of little fishes, the fishes would have 
talked like whales. But Johnson in conversation, as we 
all know, could be hilariously blunt, as when he said of 
skeptics like Hume, "Truth, sir, is a cow that will yield 
such people no more milk; and so they are gone to milk 
the bull." He once counseled Boswell, "Don't use big 
words for little matters." Johnson used them for big 

     Johnson the writer is anything but prolix. His big 
words reveal not looseness of expression, as they 
commonly do with most of us, but the strictest 
compression of thought. He writes with a constant sense 
of the English language's continuity with Latin, and his 
meaning is always philosophically exact. The reader who 
thinks of him as wordy should try to paraphrase any 
passage of Johnson's prose in as few words. The 
sturdiness of that prose can be mimicked; its subtlety 

     Stephen C Danckert's collection redeems from 
obscurity the Christian moral psychologist who used the 
splendid Latinities of the English language to fix our 
attention firmly on subtle truths about human motives. 
But for his religious purpose, he might have been as 
cynical as La Rochefoucauld, whom he matches in sheer 
finesse of observation. This is not the Johnson Boswell 
captures so brilliantly, but a Johnson who eludes him -- 
though Boswell assumed his readers would know Johnson 
primarily as a great writer, and he would have been 
dumbfounded to find his biography supplanting Johnson's 
own works in the popular mind. The present book fully 
explains why Johnson was so highly regarded before 
Boswell made his entrance.

     Johnson was both a great writer and a great talker. 
Most of us have only enough patience for the delightful 
talker and neglect the deeper satisfactions of his essays 
and sermons. Johnson's gossip is great fun; but the real 
Johnson can never be known without full awareness of the 
piety that inspired and guided his work. Boswell gives 
lip service to that piety, but he shows it most 
memorably, alas, in Johnson's dark flashes of guilt and 
fear. (We have grounds for suspecting that Boswell 
himself regarded religion only as a source of dread.)

     But when Johnson himself writes, we see the workings 
of a mind for whom truth is above all nourishment and 
consolation for the soul. He resolves his own 
perplexities, and shares his hard-won realizations with 
his public. His characteristic tone is solemn, but not 
without a strain of subdued humor, though he usually 
keeps a straight face. Before writing he prayed that his 
words would lead no reader astray, but would assist 
salvation. And his devotion to Christ, whose name he uses 
sparingly, yields wonderful insights into the human 
heart, a fine sampling of which is to be found in 
Danckert's book.

     Johnson's writings are the fruits of his struggle to 
fortify his own mind; which is why we find them so 
fortifying too. Like Boswell, we turn to him for guidance 
against modern heresies, and he seldom fails us.

     Yet Johnson did not live to see one of the chief 
modern heresies, what may be called the Political Heresy; 
he died before it erupted in the French Revolution, which 
his friend Edmund Burke quickly recognized, even before 
the Reign of Terror, as the harbinger of endless chaos 
and tyranny.

     In a famous couplet in THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES, 
Johnson wrote:

      How small of all that human hearts endure,
      That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

Elsewhere he wrote: "The world has been governed in the 
name of kings, whose existence has scarcely been 
perceived by any real effects beyond their own palaces." 
He habitually belittled "schemes of political 
improvement" as "very laughable things," denying that 
there were serious differences between forms of 

     Had he lived a decade longer, he, like Burke, would 
surely have had to change his tune. With the events in 
France, politics would become an all-consuming force in 
human life, usurping the place of religion itself. About 
this volcanic change, Johnson has nothing specific to say 
to us. The Whigs and radicals of his own day were mere 
annoyances to him, the American Revolution no more than 
colonial insolence. Neither threatened the very 
foundations of Christian society.

     If we seek Johnson's guidance against the modern 
Leviathan state, we must not look for particular 
pronouncements on the subject; we can only steep 
ourselves in his thought, absorb his attitude, and find 
our own way. The question becomes not "What did Johnson 
say?" but "What *might* Johnson have said?" Our best 
guesses must be lame approximations; but we can be sure 
that Johnson would have hated the modern state with all 
his pious, generous heart. We can no more imagine the 
words his genius would have found for it than we can 
imagine the next opera Mozart would have written, granted 
another year of life; but we can safely assume that he 
would have skewered it in unforgettable epigrams.

     For Johnson society was an extension of the family, 
and as a devout royalist he considered the king as a 
paternal figure. He hated "whiggism" because it 
depersonalized government; his own interview with 
George III furnishes one of the most touching anecdotes 
in English history. He allowed the king to outshine him 
in wit, because, as he told Boswell with exquisite 
delicacy, "It was not for me to bandy civilities with my 
sovereign." From this we may easily gather how he would 
have regarded the decapitation of Louis XVI. To Johnson 
the atomic bomb would have seemed, morally speaking, a 
short step from the guillotine.

     Great as Burke was, Johnson makes him seem like a 
facile optimist. Johnson had the tragic view of the true 
reactionary: it is already too late. What was worth 
saving is already irrecoverably lost. This realization 
can only come when it can no longer avail. Burke was 
trying to save what was gone forever even as he wrote; he 
was right, but futile. Johnson did not share Burke's 
faith in statecraft.

     Yet should we wish that these great reactionaries 
had been silent? Is it better not to know at all than to 
know too late? No. Our souls demand the truth, however 
hard. That is why they are souls. Calvary was the site of 
man's greatest hope, but it was no place for optimism.

     Hope and optimism are as easy to confuse as Christ 
and anti-Christ. Hope is the active conviction that every 
soul is worth trying to save, at any cost in suffering; 
optimism is the mere wish that goodness will prevail, 
whether or not we accept the burden of suffering.

     Johnson was a man of stern speech, but tender heart. 
His personal charity was great. He took derelicts into 
his home and put up with their petty quarreling with each 
other. He never forgot that every soul is precious in 
God's sight.

     For Johnson, charity was not a mere emotion, 
sentiment, or mood, but a habit of the will, with its own 
logic and rigor. As a personal moral duty, it could not 
be shirked or referred to someone else; the modern 
welfare state would have seemed to him a perversion of 

     We can only regret that Johnson did not live to 
confront the Political Heresy in its full bloom; he would 
never have gotten around to writing a full treatise about 
it, but he would have found succinct words more memorable 
than any treatise. He would have defined it for us, as he 
defines so many other things, by stating the essence of 
the thing in startlingly few words, perhaps in the 
colorful animal imagery he loved.

     In every age there are those who are impatient with 
the follies and constraints of the age, and these, now as 
then, are Johnson's readership. Johnson offers truth and 
permanence. The Age of Johnson is always.

            A shorter version of this essay 
      originally appeared as a foreword to THE 
      QUOTABLE JOHNSON, edited by Stephen C. 
      Danckert and published by The Ignatius Press 
      in 1992.


WHY WE FIGHT: Of all the curious arguments for this war, 
none can top that of former Attorney General Griffin Bell 
in the WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Sixty years ago, Franklin 
Roosevelt spoke of a world founded upon four essential 
human freedoms. Chief among these was freedom from fear. 
Terrorists now pose a dire threat to this freedom." To 
paraphrase Roosevelt, the only thing we have to fear is 
those who promise freedom from fear. (page 6)

COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS: Since the 9/11 attack, Americans 
and their government have taken myriad panicky 
precautions against further attacks. I don't know how 
much these precautions have cost, but surely the sum is 
many times the cost inflicted by the attack itself -- 
and, as we all know, it will keep rising indefinitely. Is 
the price of global empire worth it? Would ordinary 
Americans have acquiesced in this meddlesome foreign 
policy if they could have foreseen 9/11? *Of course not.* 
(page 8)

REHABILITATION? A new book by one Lothar Machtan, THE 
HIDDEN HITLER, argues that Hitler was a homosexual. If 
this thesis gains acceptance, the Fuehrer will be hard to 
criticize: a nonsmoking vegetarian gay person. (page 11)

Exclusive to the electronic version:

FDR EXPOSED (AGAIN): Warmly recommended is Thomas 
WAR II (Basic Books). Very readable and rich in detail, 
it describes Roosevelt's duplicity and confusion, 
confirming many dark suspicions of him. It also shows 
that American foreign policy since the war has been a 
long attempt to cope with the global mess he made. His 
chum Joe Stalin somehow knew of the existence of the 
atomic bomb before President Harry Truman did. The book 
abounds in colorful characters and anecdotes. A great 
corrective to pro-Roosevelt and pro-war propaganda.

THE MYTH OF TOKYO ROSE: History always looks different 
when you look into the details, but there are some things 
about which everything you remember is apt to be wrong. 
Take the infamous Tokyo Rose. She never existed. "Tokyo 
Rose" was a composite nickname applied to several 
Japanese-American women who happened to be in Japan 
during World War II and were pressured into making 
broadcasts, which were actually pretty innocuous. 
Nevertheless, anti-nisei hysteria was such that a 
scapegoat was demanded, so after the war the U.S. 
Government prosecuted one of these women, Iva Toguchi, on 
trumped-up charges of treason. The government spent a 
million dollars making its case but said it couldn't 
afford to bring defense witnesses from Japan. The judge 
was blatantly prejudiced; the prosecution testimony was 
demolished by the defense lawyer. In spite of all this, 
Miss Toguchi was barely convicted on one of the eight 
dubious charges. (The real traitors, of course, were 
never indicted.) 


* Price Is No Object (November 13, 2001)

* Hooray for Hollywood! (November 22, 2001)

* The Monolithic State of America (November 27, 2001)

* Celebrity and Mortality (December 6, 2001)

* The Other Amen Corners (December 11, 2001)

* Hail, Switzerland! (December 13, 2001)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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