We blew it--and so did the Army

A story we published on Nov. 15 about the Army’s investigation into a fatal helicopter crash in Germany earlier this year has caused considerable anguish to the families of the three deceased crewmembers and angered Army public affairs officials as well, all of which is on full display in the comment thread attached to the story. So it’s worth taking a closer look.

Fundamentally, the story, by Stars and Stripes reporter Mark Patton, is a straightforward account of the results of the Army’s investigation into the crash. The story noted that investigators discovered several procedural anomalies associated with the Black Hawk helicopter training flight, but that ultimately no cause for the fatal crash could be determined.

Another comment on comments

Ever since we gave stripes.com users the ability to post comments on stories last spring, we have been impressed with the general level of maturity, sobriety and thoughtfulness exhibited by our readers. Where other newspaper websites routinely find their comment boards overrun with trolls, miscreants and other undesirable Internet species, the caliber of comments on stripes.com has remained high.

Even when afforded the Internet’s cloak of anonymity, Stars and Stripes readers tend to conduct themselves with the honor and integrity that are the hallmarks of military service.

Lean to the left, lean to the right

In a letter to the editor from a forward operating base in Afghanistan, Spc. Thomas McCormick took us to task this week for what he sees as a right-wing bias in our opinion pages.

He suggested that in our zeal to serve the "U.S. military community, wherever they fight and wherever they live’’ we had wrongfully assumed that the community was “Republican, Sarah Palin-loving, Barack Obama-hating and Democrat-bashing.”