Magazine | August 1, 2011, Issue


Remembering WAR

I am not sure there is anyone left at NR who will remember me. However, I worked for William Rusher as his secretary from March 1963 until the late 1960s.

In 1963, I was newly arrived from England, with little knowledge of American politics, and found myself in the thick of the Draft Goldwater campaign. It was an exciting time, and WAR was a demanding boss — he measured margins and corrected my English spelling, amongst other things — but we got along well, despite my cooperation with the other editors when they teased him. (Most upsetting to him was when they reversed everything in his office — a prank mentioned in one of Priscilla Buckley’s books.)

I never saw him looking anything other than perfectly groomed (in contrast to the rest of the male staff!) and do remember that in the winter, he always wore a homburg hat and in the summer a straw boater, with — for some reason that even he couldn’t explain — a ten-day period in between when he went hatless. He was only just 40 then, but to a 25-year-old, he seemed so much older than the rest of the staff. He had a very kind and generous (and often well hidden) side to him.

Bill (it was only a few years ago that we graduated from WAR to Bill) and I corresponded at least a couple of times each year. I treasured his friendship, as well as that of all the other staff at NR, and know that he will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.

Ann Turner Hopper

Leeds, England

Here’s Step 2

Robert VerBruggen’s initial assessment of the Fast and Furious program (“What’s Step 2?” July 18) was brilliant:

Step 1: Let Mexican cartels buy American guns and use them in crimes.

Step 2: ?

Step 3: Bring down the cartels!

But he is too quick to dismiss the theory that the real goal was to bolster the case for stronger gun control. That alleged program makes a lot more sense:

Step 1: Let Mexican cartels buy American guns.

Step 2: Demonstrate with incontrovertible proof that much of Mexico’s gun crime             can be linked to American guns.

Step 3: Push for stronger gun control.

Mr. VerBruggen asserts that gun-control enthusiasts are happy to invent “facts,” and therefore have no need to generate real facts. It would be fine for Mr. VerBruggen to say that it is imprudent to indulge in such speculation. But until the ATF explains Step 2, it is premature to call the gun-control theory outlandish.

Paul Mantyla

San Jose, Calif.

Robert VerBruggen Replies:  As much as I dislike the current administration, I doubt it intentionally caused countless deaths to advance a low-tier political priority. (Gun control is so 1990s.) And even if I am too generous in assuming the administration would stop short of enabling murder to secure a talking point, surely the risk that outraged ATF agents would leak the program — as they did — would have made the expected political payoff negative.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue


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The Niebuhrian Mean

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Remembering WAR I am not sure there is anyone left at NR who will remember me. However, I worked for William Rusher as his secretary from March 1963 until the late ...

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