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Letters to the Editor for Friday, October 12, 2007

European and Mideast editions

(EDITOR’S NOTE: These are the letters that appeared in each edition of Stripes on this publication date. Click here to jump ahead to the Pacific edition letters)

COLA story was for ‘idiots’

Less spendable income means drop in COLA” (article, Oct. 10) has proven the point that “I am an idiot,” and reading Stars and Stripes reinforces that concept.

So, let me get this straight, “ ’cause me idiot, not too smart.” If I have less money to spend on frivolous items, because I am spending my money on things like heating, housing and insurance and not maintaining a standard of living, and that standard drops, that drop in the standard of living reduces my cost-of-living allowance? Wow! When does zero happen?

However, I live in Europe, and my COLA goes into maintaining my head above water and it’s not doing too good. But hey, what do I know, I’m an idiot.

Mark Wojcik
Baumholder, Germany

Limbaugh, Coulter defended

In response to the opinions voiced in the Oct. 8 letters to the editor, reference Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter: I disagree with the writers and hope that American Forces Network and Stars and Stripes would continue to run their radio program and column, respectively.

When taken in full context, it has been clearly shown that Limbaugh did not disrespect the military with his remarks. Coulter’s writing style is full of hyperbole and needs to be read with that in mind. She is opinionated, but factual. To call her a liar is libelous.

If you don’t agree with their opinions, don’t listen to his program or read her column. Until more entertaining politically conservative pundits can be found, keep Limbaugh and Coulter, please.

Chaplain (Col.) James Hoke
Stuttgart, Germany

Consider source of comment

No doubt there will be many readers who will accept Rush Limbaugh’s convenient “reconstruction” of and attempts at putting his despicable “phony soldiers” comments “into context.” I for one heard his original comments and have no doubt as to what he meant.

I served honorably for 20 years in the U.S. military, but today I oppose the war in Iraq. I assume Limbaugh will call me a “phony veteran.” Considering the source, a man who has the gall to defame those who served while he never served a single day in the military (allegedly because of a boil), I would wear such an accusation as a badge of honor.

Maj. Dorian de Wind (retired)
Austin, Texas

Slow down on Striker

Ticket-happy MPs at Striker” (letter, Oct. 5) made me just shake my head. I mean really, let’s think about it.

The letter writer is a civilian in Iraq. (I commend him; does he leave the wire?) He is speeding down a road that does not have a speed limit sign and gets pulled over and issued a ticket. Is it really that hard to understand? Slow down!

How effective is he being for the military if for some reason he loses control over his vehicle and runs over five or six soldiers or Marines? How much support is he giving to the military right then and there? Think about it. It’s not only for the soldiers who could be in that immediate area, it’s for his personal safety as well.

So say what you want about “military police hiding in the bushes,” when we go home, we kiss our family, think of those who did not make it back, take leave and wait six to eight months for the next rotation at a fraction of what the letter writer gets paid, and we love it — especially when we have that opportunity to work with contractors such as the letter writer.

If the letter writer does leave the wire, and finds himself in a situation, he should believe that the first responders are more than likely going to be MPs. Why us? Because we are great at whatever task is given to us.

Sgt. Adam Shepherd
SHAPE, Belgium

Divorce law’s legacy is harm

Activists want change in military divorce law” (article, Sept. 29) is 25 years too late. It cost our servicemembers the entire value of a military career.

This law gave states the right to take the pension as property. Up to 100 percent can now be taken. Veterans Affairs disability is no longer safe.

Some states want to hurt the evil, gun-toting, baby-killing military member. (It was Democrats, under the leadership of Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., who made the law under the guise of helping poor spouses. And Democrats hate military people.) They want military moneys to spend on domestic give-away projects.

Department of Defense surrendered the entire value of a military career so it can go to the spouse. This law created no equality. It wasn’t even grandfathered. Servicemembers now have no protection. States will put someone in jail for failure to obey the removal of his pension. If Democrats in Congress were to face the same fate, they would grunt like pigs. Perhaps a more reasonable idea would be to grant a separate pension for the spouse. Who protects our servicemembers? DOD let Democrats attack the military.

This law serves no purpose but to make [the value of a] marriage to a servicemember greater than the value of defense of our country. Perhaps America can offer the defense of our shores to the spouses who take the pensions? Congress’ liberals economically raped a military career under the mantra of equality to the family.

Class warfare and inflammatory legislation are tools liberals use to destabilize American values. Ozzie and Harriet are as dead as a military pension. If we allow homosexuals into uniform, maybe we won’t need marriage to get in the way of pensions? If you are offended, take a number. Better yet, vote.

Lou Stagger
Vilseck, Germany

MP was doing his job

I no doubt believe that the writer of “Ticket-happy MPs at Striker” (letter, Oct. 7) has driven the route from Striker to Baghdad International Airport; however, he apparently missed the few signs posted that say 48 kph or 30 mph. It’s a big, white, square sign that is posted on the way to BIAP.

I am not a member of the military police unit doing garrison MP duties here, but I do agree with the traffic control they are doing. I can remember when I was a sergeant on road patrol and took it as my duty to make sure traffic laws were adhered to. It was my job I was assigned.

MP work is one — not the only one, mind you — of the most overtaxed and underappreciated duties there is. As with civilian law enforcement, MPs are scorned for being there “at an inconvenient time” and chastised for not “being around when you need one.”

If it helps the writer’s bruised ego, I have been stopped on the same stretch of road. I do not have any animosity toward the young specialist, because he — like me several years ago — was just doing his job.

Capt. Charles A. Caruana
Camp Victory, Iraq

Understanding military police

I just read “Ticket-happy MPs at Striker” [from a writer] complaining about tickets on the road between Camp Striker and Camp Liberty.

In his letter, he cited the nonposted speed limits and criticized a military policeman for doing his job, despite also mentioning that he was hired to help support the Army. I know that road very well, as I spent my last four months of a 16-month deployment traveling that route four times a week. Trust me, I didn’t always drive what I considered a safe speed, but I was smart enough to know the MPs were there and the speed I traveled should be reasonable. Plus, there are speed limit signs (at least there were when I was there) near the checkpoint on the north side of the airfield and down by Camp Striker.

The issue isn’t whether speed limits are posted, but the inability of the letter writer to understand that MPs are doing a job that others can’t or won’t do, even if it doesn’t jibe with what he thinks is patriotic. For him to insinuate otherwise is baseless and disrespectful to the MPs and other military members who help keep him free and safe to speed around base.

Furthermore, I demand he apologize to the Army, which, he states, is his employer or customer, and to the MP he insulted.

Gabe Scheinbaum
Tampa, Fla.

No dictator exceptions

A lot of American citizens and federal government officials are rightly upset about the security crackdown on protesters in Myanmar. Why aren’t they upset about the Chinese regime that is getting ready to host the Olympics? Remember the Tiananmen Square massacre? China has Tibet and routinely uses forced child and prison labor. They force women with “too many” children to get abortions, or undergo sterilizations. They execute more people than Texas. It seems like products that were “made in China” are recalled every week. Why aren’t Americans upset with the Chinese dictatorship?

Why aren’t federal government officials upset with Gen. President Pervez Musharraf, who is the dictator of Pakistan? He recently visited our country on a book tour. He was even on “The Daily Show”! More democracy supporters are imprisoned in Pakistan every day, and the general refuses to give up power. We Americans, and the politicians who supposedly represent us, need to support democracy, human rights and civil liberties in every country on the planet. Unfortunately our government chooses to support some dictatorships because of the global war on terror. We should oppose all dictators, monarchs and military juntas.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, N.C.

Tunnel vision in liberal letters

The recent screed about Rush Limbaugh “Take Limbaugh off AFN” (letter, Oct. 9) is rather typical of many who do not like to see conservative opinion anywhere. The writer accusing Limbaugh of denigrating a valiant soldier is off the mark; the “soldier” in question was in the Army for about 44 days, never served in Iraq or anywhere else overseas, and was, in fact, kicked out of the Army.

That Democrats, like that bastion of reason Harry Reid, chose this as a means of attacking Limbaugh is not surprising.

Likewise, the reference to Limbaugh’s deferment 30 years ago is absurd. Was Limbaugh the only one who may have had a questionable deferment? Did he run off to Canada and hide? Did he use connections back home and then admit to loathing the military, as some did? No. Or does that matter?

In a similar fashion, the writer of “Coulter’s convenient memory” (letter, Oct. 11) doesn’t like Ann Coulter. Well, that’s fine … I don’t much care for her either. However, it is interesting that she is more successful and more accurate in her writings than any liberal — unless you think Michael Moore is a paragon of veracity. As for Fox News, liberals won’t go on it because they know they’ll be expected to tell the truth without dodging the questions asked. Or does the letter writer really feel that Dan Rather and “60 Minutes” are fair and balanced?

Dr. (Col.) Charles Kennell (retired)
Oakland, Calif.


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