The Corner

A Peek at the Mail

In Impromptus today, I mention, as I often do, the risks that Iraqis incur when they engage in politics. Their own lives are in danger, of course. But so are those of their wives, children, relatives, bodyguards — everyone with whom they associate.

The latest news is that the bodyguard of a mayor was killed, along with his (the bodyguard’s) wife, sister, and two young daughters. I say, “I hope they can keep going, the Iraqis. That they do not break down.”

A reader writes,

Mr. Nordlinger,

. . . I recently returned from 16 months advising the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and know firsthand the danger they are in and the risks they take bringing Iraq into the family of democratic nations. Most people do not realize the struggles the Iraqis face, the sacrifices they make, nor the integrity we as a nation have lost by not continuing our mentoring at senior levels of their military and political organizations.

I worked with military officers and civilian officials on a daily basis and know most to be thoroughly committed to establishing Iraq as a force for good in the Middle East. There is a long way to go, and it would have been nice to remain engaged with them, guiding them in their efforts . . .

Also, a reader sends me a flyer for an appearance by Van Jones, late of the Obama administration. He’s described in the flyer as “a social justice and clean energy leader.” Uh-huh. It’s impolite to call him a green-red. (But would he mind?)

Anyway, he’s appearing at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment. An acronym is emblazoned: “CHE.” Our reader says, “Don’t you think the university did that order — culture, history, environment — on purpose?”

I would say yes, but — you know: McCarthyism and all.

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