Ann's Fact-Free Crockbook

Ann Coulter has figured out that as long as she sticks to politicians and political organizations she's free to say whatever she wants without worry from the courts. If she were sued for libel or slander it would only add credence to her vicious prevarications. She has a built-in readership, the political equivalent of the readers of tabloids found in grocery store checkout lines. They don't believe her either, they just wish what she says were true. It would make their hatreds understandable, perhaps even acceptable.

I've seen Ann Coulter on at least four talk shows and each time she was wearing the same inadequate black dress. It looks like the same dress she wears in the publicity shot for her latest book, Godless. I guess she thinks if she shows enough thigh and buttocks it will take the viewer's mind off her face. Also, she may hope we'll think Goddess instead of Godless when we see the book.

It occurs to me that she might be the modern equivalent of Little Orphan Annie who wore the same dress fifty or sixty years in a row. Except, of course, that Annie's dress was red.

If they chose Ann to play Dracula's wife it would only be type casting, which may explain why she seemed more relaxed on the Tonight Show than the early morning Today Show. No matter who does the interview, her face shows defensiveness and anger. I haven't seen her on Fox —I stopped watching Fox—but she's probably much more relaxed on that network. They, doubtless, consider her balanced there.

I'm not sure if her readership includes much of the religious right, but I suspect it does. The hatred I have witnessed in that group is astounding. They proudly bear the prophet's name who preached and practiced love and forgiveness, yet they end up being the worst, or among the worst, haters in our nation. (Just mention Bill Clinton.) The sad thing is they don't seem to see this as a contradiction. Ann Coulter, our most unhappy of women, continues to feed this hatred toward anything considered liberal.

The black dress may have been intended to be a burqa, one of those tent-like dresses worn by Muslim women. Her opinions seem quite suitable for one. Maybe the dressmaker did the best she could, but ran short of material. And, unlike Ann, she couldn't just make it up.

Calming the Waters

The battlefield death of Senator Baucus's nephew and the enlistment of Senator John McCain's son in the Marines take the edge off of what I am about to suggest. However, they are the exceptions, I think, that prove the rule. I believe the best way to cool our cowboy diplomacy is to reinstate the draft—including women—and allow no deferments. That way the children of those making the decision for war will be included in the forces charged with waging it.

Our current system ensures that only those suffering financial need, those with little hope of upward mobility, will end up in the armed services. We are now paying bonuses for enlistments and reenlistments, but they are nowhere near enough to attract the well-heeled or well connected. Making comparisons with World War II, I suppose, is futile. But, it was a time when almost everyone was involved, including a large number of women. President Roosevelt's sons were in uniform and some of them saw action. By the time Vietnam rolled around, many, including our current bellicose leaders, were able to secure deferments, in some cases, several of them. A universal draft would provide a real test of the commitment to whatever cause was being trumpeted.

A war that was justified because it connected to our jointly held values would likely be popular enough to attract a good cross section of our society. The hype that led to the fiasco in Iraq involved no such cross section, especially if we focus on the troops. They carried little or no weight in the decision making of our leadership. Had it been otherwise, had we seen more of the children of our leaders in uniform, we'd hear less stay the course, fewer accusations of cut and run, and more of the value of diplomacy. We'd hear a lot more about the need for a draw down of forces in Iraq. With a universal draft, we would be better prepared for war, and in all likelihood, we would never have stood for the invasion of Iraq in the first place. We might even be positioned to affect the peace process in the Middle East. Shalom.