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Susan Estrich
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I had dinner last week with a friend whose name, for reasons that will be obvious, I can't say. I can't say exactly where he works or what he does. When I ask his wife about him, she usually tells me that he is on his way from a place he can't tell us to another place he can't tell us. He is a little more forthcoming: He spends most of his time in the most dangerous places in the world. War zones are a particular specialty. He gets shot at: There is one bullet wound that I know of, in his stomach. Lucky. He tries to avoid suicide bombers and explosive devices, although he's come close to both (about a dozen times) in the past year.

His job, for which he is paid $154,000 a year, is to put his life on the line to save ours and those of our children. Kids right out of law school make more than he does to review documents and prepare more senior lawyers to prepare witnesses. (He went to law school 20-plus years ago.) While he jokes about that, he doesn't think they get the satisfaction from their work that he does. They also don't read intelligence reports every morning at 5 a.m. that often make (even) his hair stand on end.

We talk about his work, as much as we can, and what he always tells me about are the unbelievable people he works with — their smarts and courage and determination and ability. He sings the praises of the retired Navy SEALs who have gone from risking their lives on the front lines to risking their lives on whatever lines need attending.

The hardest parts of this "job" of his (he never tells me exactly what his title is or who he works for), he says, are the challenges of fighting an enemy who doesn't wear a uniform and looks like anyone else in the community, as well as the special challenges brought on by American values, which (admirably, but still) so value the lives of innocent women and children that we can't or don't take the aggressive action many in the field consider essential to our safety.

We talk about the benefits, but mostly the drawbacks, of civilian/political control.

I tell him about a line in one of my favorite Daniel Silva spy novels, about how the Americans know everything and do nothing. He just laughs. We don't do nothing, he explains, but we also don't do what many foreign operatives with fewer moral and political constraints would do.

I ask his wife how she deals with the worry. (I worry when my loved ones get on planes, let alone go back and forth to countries that cannot be named.) She tells me that, over the years, she has just learned not to think about it. Actually, technology has made things a little better. He tries to call her every day on his encrypted satphone so that, even though she doesn't know where he is, she at least knows he is alive.

When I express my admiration and thanks, he waves it away, pointing out that he is one of so many and, because he is fairly senior, faces fewer threats than so many others. Then he goes back to extolling his nameless colleagues.

Whenever I see a man or woman in uniform, I thank them for what they are doing for me, for my family, for my country. But guys and gals in short-sleeve shirts who look like your average Joe or Jane are much harder to thank. They don't talk about what they do; their business cards say almost nothing (is that a real phone number, I wonder) or less than nothing; they don't tell you where they've been or where they're headed except in the most off-handed way. How is the weather in Afghanistan, I ask, and he just laughs.

The world is a very, very dangerous place. There are many people out there who would like to hurt us; who value their own lives and those of their children so little that every day they are trying to figure out ways to sacrifice them in order to harm us; who, frankly, I'm just as happy to know nothing about, because the more I know the more terrified I get. We Americans are the luckiest people on the face of the globe.

My friend and his colleagues put their lives on the line to save ours. I don't know how to thank these brave men and women. I don't know how to express my admiration and gratitude, when the whole point is that we don't know who they are. This is the best I can do: Thank you. God bless you and keep you safe.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



19 Comments | Post Comment
Estrich's friend is a true hero as is his wife and family as are all others like him and their families. They are all entitled to our ever enduring gratitude and to all that we can do for them. It is entirely proper that Estrich bring her friend to our attention and by so doing bring all such heros to our attention for our humble thanks for keeping us safe.
However, I wonder if Estrich has brought to her friend's attention, to his wife's attention and or to the attention of other like him her attempts to stab, if not him, but others like him in the back by defending fund raising for islamist Jihad as a First Amendment right.
Per Worcester Country (MA) Telegram and Gazette (Kevin Keenan) reporting on October 11, 2006, Estrich along with Harvey A. Silvergate entered appearances to argue First Amendment issues in a criminal matter involving an Islamic "charity". Estrich chose to defend Emadeddin Z. Muntasser accused of misleading the government about the nature of Care International a charity claimed to support jihadist organisations. The charges were not that there was provision of material support to terrorist organisations but that there was concealment that Care was an "outgrowth of and successor to the Al-Kifah Refugee Center" and organisation that was implicated in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
Estrich and Silvergate made several arguments for dismissal including that "Care was set up to advance religeous goals: that jihad was a religeous concept." Estrich and Silvergate argued that jihad was according to certain interpretations of the Koran a religeous command and if Jews and Catholics were free to raise money and support for their chosen causes domestically and internationally, no different rules may be applied to jihad. Estrich was effectively arguing that fund raising for jihad was a right protected by the First Amendment.
Said another way, with it seems that with friends like Estrich who needs enemies.
Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Aug 4, 2011 8:26 PM
Estrich needs to get in the real world. Another moronic academic! Semper Fi!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Charlie
Thu Aug 4, 2011 10:47 PM
Were it not for Susan Estrich and Peggy Noonan, I would have no female columnists to read. Another thoughtful article, Ms Estrich. Thank you.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Motley Wisdom
Fri Aug 5, 2011 6:08 AM
You can thank them by voting for the GOP and help get rid of the maggots in DC.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Paul
Fri Aug 5, 2011 1:49 PM
So a bunch of fat cat Republican bankers at Standard& Poor have decided to downgrade our credit rating from AAA to AA+ ???? This while keeping France's bond rating at AAA ? These Wall Street types have been ripping us off for years and now they want to have an excuse for raising interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and student loans to name a few. Thank God I have no mortage I paid cash for my home years ago by casshing in one of my T-Bills) and I don't buy anything on credit. These bankers have tried to sabotage this administration ever since it came into office and they are trying it again. They ought to be shot. One of the best investments I ever made was buying T-bills. THEY ARE BACKED BY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE US GOVERNMENT. That has a nice ring to it. Certainly buying French Treassury notes does not have the same ring to it. And what better place to invest than right here in this country where I don't have to get the US to invade to get my investment back.
Where were these saboteurs and that is what they are a few years back when George Bush was enslaving us to the Chinese in order to fight two wars and give the rich tax breaks that have not worked. Where are all these jobs that this WELFARE for The WEALTHY was supposed to provide. ??? It is a fact that during Bush''s term in office the government added 1.09 million government jobs while during the same time frame the private sector added only 653,000 jobs.............The fat cats are killing our economy.
Comment: #5
Posted by: robert lipka
Sat Aug 6, 2011 12:12 PM
Re: robert lipka
Estrich's piece was about the heros that go into rough dangerous places to defend us and to keep us safe and although I beleive that she, like all liberals, speaks out of both sides of her mouth she at least was for once thankful for their service.

Last night 31 soldiers died defending your sorry ass, the vast majority of them SEALs, and all that you can do, in fashion wholly irrelevant to the subject matter of the piece, to wit, the sacfrice and heroism of our special covert operators is to, boast about no mortgage, about T bills, to call for the execution of bankers, and lie throught your teeth as usual. You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. Now STFU you POS and go away andreflect upon the real treasure lost last night.
Comment: #6
Posted by: joseph wright
Sat Aug 6, 2011 12:41 PM
Let's all gather behind

RON PAUL in 2012

or OBAMA has a real chance of term no. two

As the Republican party is brand broken and they still don't get this

sad really
Comment: #7
Posted by: Soothsayer
Sat Aug 6, 2011 1:07 PM
The deaths of 31 US military men is indeed a tragedy.......I have been against this war from the very first and will continue to oppose it. Joseph Wright's answer for everything is violence and name calling. If these military men were home, it would make them safe and it would go a long way to reducing the deficit. But these fat cats don't make money off of peace. So they callously put these young men in harm's way for the sake of the corporate botton line. There is more profit for them in war industry.
Mr. Wright, if you really cared about the troops, you would want them home where they belong. Living in Peace with their families. But all I ever read in your insane rantings is insults and crazy diatribe against anyone who dares to advance an opinion that you don't like. Never once do you advocate for an end to the insanity of war. Stop trying to intimidate people by using this site. I guess you can do that in whatever trailer park you live in, but it won't work with me.
Comment: #8
Posted by: robert lipka
Sat Aug 6, 2011 4:02 PM
Re: robert lipka

Too late Lipka. Your previous post speaks for itself and to your complete indifference to the suffering and heroism of our troops. In response to a piece about the heroism of our special operators and in the face of the news of tragedy you callously rant about the downgrtade. You have been examined and found wanting again.

Search all my posts you will not find any express call to murder or to violence such as was expressly contained in yours. You again presume that I am not an advocate of bringing all our troops out of any theater of war which is not being fought to win. Liberals like you undercut our troops in viet Nam, in Iraq and now again in Afghanistan.

As was said by John Stuart Mill " War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of a moral and partiotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man [such as you?] who has nothing for which he is willing to fight-nothing he cares more about than his own safety [or his T bills] is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made so and kept so by the exertions of better man than himself'"

And by columnist Micheal Kelly " Much of what is passing for pacifism is not pacifism at all but only the latest manifestation of a well known pre-existiong condition. That condition that plague is Anti Americanism"

Oh I think the sting that you felt and continue to feel in my rebuke was indeed the truth.
Comment: #9
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Aug 7, 2011 4:15 AM
I checked the rules for making posts on this site. I do not find anywhere that we must conform to Joseph Wright's demands for what we can or can not discuss. I have gone back and looked at numerous posts by Wright where he tries to intimidate people and CONSTANTLY INSULTS anyone who posts something he does not believe in.
Again he posts that we cannot leave a war zone without a WIN whatever that means. To him and his ilk, the loss of troops is just a cost of doing business. To families back here at home it is a lifetime cost that will NEVER result in a WIN. He still talks about Vietnam as if we could WIN there . I served in the military for four years during the Vietnam era. We could NEVER WIN that war because that would have required wiping out an entire country of it's people. Nixon won an election promising that he had a "SECRET PLAN" for the Vietnam conundrum. It turned out to be a complete pull-out from that war. But guess what? that actually turned out to be the best thing as no more names were ultimately added to the Vietnam Memorial that was later built. The time is now to do the same thing in Afghanistan. Decllare victory, turn the job over to the corrupt Karzai administration and let the Afghans sort out their own problems. President Obama has caved in to the Warmongers on the Afghan question. That will be his greatest failure. It is long past time to get out of that quagmire. A long line of countries have tried to interfere in Afghanistan and have left having achieved nothing. Ask the British, Ask the current leader of the Soviet Union . Oh Wait the Soviet Union bankrupted itself in Afghanistan. It looks very much like We are now in financial trouble thanks to being in Afghanistan. And finally, the continued loss of U.S military personnell is the huge tragedy that we need to bring to a close. Just declare that our job is done and get out. I note that one Republican candidate has five sons who have never served a minute in the military and he wants us to stay in Afghanistan. That is typical of most politicians who talk a good game but arenot willing to risk their sons and daughters.
Comment: #10
Posted by: robert lipka
Sun Aug 7, 2011 7:18 AM
Re: robert lipka
That you continue to endeavor to defend your demonstrated indefencable callousness toward those that gave all by pettyfogging and deliberate misconstruing of statements and psycological mirroring does you no credit. No Lipka my proper rebuke struck home as it should have.
Oh ! and I see that there is some amnesia with regard to the wiping out an entire country of its people. Seems that you have forgotten that
1. Liberals lost China to communism by betraying Chiang Kai-Shek thus clearing the way for the slaughter of millions by MAO and
2.that Liberals in the 93rd and 94th Congresses, to their unending shame actually acheived the wiping out of most of a nation by forcing the surrender of the South Vietnamese to the North Vietmanese and by forcing the surrender of the Government of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge, by withdrawal of financial and material support in contravention of the agreement of cease fire signed by North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, the US and South Vietnam on Jan 23 1973.
3. and that Jimmy Carter [worthless human being and raging anti semite] has legacy of admittedly {to date only] lesser slaughter, but neverthelass potentially greater slaughter if Iran becomes nuclear waeponised and all brought about by his betrayal of Shah of Iran and the subsequent coming to power of the Ayatollahs and Mullahs. Indeed the present Islamist Apologist in chief and the State Department under his watch seem to have meekly accepted a nuclear weaponised Iran and all the dangers to the US that comes with it.
Liberals with their insane policies risk the lives of my sons and daughters daily along with the lives of the sons and daughters of all.
Comment: #11
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Aug 7, 2011 1:05 PM
Once again Joseph Wright engages in a total fabrication and deception. The end of the Vietnam War came about with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords negotiated by President Nixon's right hand man Henry Kissinger. Kissenger was hardly a liberal not then and not now. Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating that treaty. No liberals were involved with the negotioations. Prior to the election that brought Nison to power, there were rumors that members of the Nixon campaign privately assured the South Vitnamese that they would get a better deal if Nixon were elected. That effectively sabotaged the Peace talks that were then going on. President Johnson accused Nixon of treason for what happened. After Nixon won the election, Kissinger negotiated the South Vietnamese into oblivion. No liberal had even a small hand in that.
Right-wingers have always had a blind spot to what nixon and Kissinger did to shaft the South Vietnamese. But facts are facts. Right wingers also blame the liberal media for this debacle but they supported the war right up until Kent State happened. The day after Alison Krause and three other students were killed by the National Guard troops on the Campus of Kent State, it was no longer possible for editorial writers to support the war. I remember one editorial in particular that said simply, WHEN WE HAVE TO KILL OUR OWN TEENAGERS TO MAKE THEM SUPPORT THE WAR, WE HAVE LOST. That was a powerful editorial. Soon many other editors adopted the same point of view and that led to the Paris Peace accords.
Comment: #12
Posted by: robert lipka
Sun Aug 7, 2011 2:02 PM
Re: robert lipka

If anyone wishes to understand the true facts surrounding the discraceful the actions of the Liberals in the 93rd and 94th Congresses in the 2 I/2 years following the Paris accord of 1973 and not the Liberal revisionist history and indoctrination regurgitated by Lipka then read An American Amnesia by Bruce Herschensohn published by Beaufort Books.
Comment: #13
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Aug 7, 2011 3:11 PM
You are a light weight lippy, no substance to anything you ever said or wrote. Do the nation a favor and leave.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Paul
Sun Aug 7, 2011 3:45 PM
Ha Heuh...??? Wright is asking you to read a self published book written by one of Nixon's political hacks and speech writer....NOW THERE IS AN UNBIASED SOURCE.......This is the same guy who ran against Barbara Boxer for the US Senate..... His campaign folded up when it was revealed that he spent a good deal of his time in a nudie bar. Some conservative THAT guy is????? CAlifornia voters who were planning to vote for the guy stayed away from the polls and what was a close election became a landslide. I almost busted my gut laughing when I saw who Wright lists as his source for information. Where did he write this book? on the back of bar napkins or on panties the dancers drooped over his face???????? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!!
Comment: #15
Posted by: robert lipka
Sun Aug 7, 2011 4:38 PM
Re: robert lipka
Seems that Lipka thinks that facts are either conservative or liberal. Not surprising coming from a liberal who never lets truth get in the way of a good ad hominem attack, their last refuge when they cannot argue substance or history as it happened not as they would like it to be.
The facts are briefly these no matter where written.
Fact one.Two and a half years after the Paris peace accords were signed the Gov of Viet Nam surrendered to N. Viet Nam and the Gov of Cambodia surerended to the Khmer Rouge and genocide began.
Fact two. The Paris agreement provided that the two Vietnamese parties were to be permitted to make periodic replace ment of armaments munitions and war materials on a one for one basis. The US guaranteed aid to S Viet Nam.
Fact three. The North Vietnamese bagan to receive supplies from the Soviet Union on an estimated 4 to 1 ratio in violation of the Paris Accord.
Fact four. The Liberals in the then current 93rd Congress in violation of the US signatures successfully attempted to stop any aid to the Governments of S. Viet Nam and Cambodia by adding anti aid riders in the form of amendments to bills unrelated to the war.
Fact five. The 93rd Congress pssed the War Powers Act not a rider but legislation the constitutionality of which is dubious.
Fact six. The legislatively imposed acceptance by Liberals of communist violations of the Paris agreements and the communist conquest of Cambodia called into question US committment to its agreements and to its allies and was a serious blow to US credibility. [ Seems with the current appeaser in Chief in office and his appeasment of islamofascism and Mexican drug cartels it is deja vu].
Fact seven. The Liberals in the 94th Congress accelerated their prohibition upon then President Ford providing the promised and agreed to aid to South Viet Nam by the mechanism of drafting one piece of legislation after another preventing the aid promised in the Paris Accords from being delivered.
Fact eight Simultaneously there came demands that the 94th Congress reject all and any aid to the Cambodian Government even as Pol Pot received military aid from China.
Fact nine. April 12, 1975 Prince Sirak Matak wrote to US Ambassador Dean saying " I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty." Matak was reported to have been executed four days later after the fall of Phenom Penh as the genocide began.
The treachery of liberals in the 93rd and 94th Congresses in denying promised and agreed to aid to South Viet Nam and to Cambodia was the direct cause of the slaugher of millions.
That is the real history that liberals like Lipka would like to pretend never happened. That is the real inconvenient history that they would indeed prefer to forget and never teach because it highlights the treachery and evils inherent in liberalism.
Unlike you Lipka, for me, the actual factual slaughter of millions that ocurred in Cambodia and China before it, as a direct result of Liberal treachery, is no laughing matter.
Comment: #16
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Aug 7, 2011 6:39 PM
To use a pervert as your source for all this information is laughable because it is just plain insane. I notice that you now don't defend this so-called expert. I guess that is because I pointed out the fact as to why he lost that election to the liberal Ms. Boxer. Stop it with your nonsense that liberals are in control of EVERY problem in the world. Using sources such as Herschensohn shows the kind of nonsense that you read to form you opinions. Even in California, they will not elect a person they suspect is a pervert. Maybe an admitted pervert can win in Louisiana as a Republican but..................................????? I am off to enjoy the races at Saratoga for a few days........take your meds and have someone change your diaper. You are going to stink up your trailer.
Comment: #17
Posted by: robert lipka
Sun Aug 7, 2011 7:12 PM
Re: robert lipka

With each post more hysterical (in the sense meaning comic unmanageaable emotional excess and loss of self control )than the last one, Lipka throws the tantrums common to liberals when faced with unpalatable truths and before their inevitable retreat and surrender in the face of those truths. Now that is truly a laughing matter.
Comment: #18
Posted by: joseph wright
Mon Aug 8, 2011 4:17 AM
Re: joseph wright
True liberals can't stay on subject when faced with facts.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Early
Tue Aug 9, 2011 8:36 AM
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