Letters to the editor for Monday, August 16, 2004
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)
A ‘Candidate’ for comparison
So Meryl Streep insists that she does not pattern her character in “The Manchurian Candidate” on U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
What it comes down to is a simple premise. Streep’s character is a scheming, power-hungry, conspiratorial woman senator who is evil and bad for America. These facts are what they are. A few seconds pass to think about this, followed by the realization that these character traits remind one of Sen. Clinton. Res ipsa loquitur.
“The Manchurian Candidate” is just another example of liberal Hollywood setting out to “remind” moviegoers about evil Republicans, but ending up with a different impression. In this excellent film, Manchurian Global sits in for Halliburton, but many, instead of thinking about “no-bid contracts,” will think about the fact that few if any other corporations are brave and capable enough of going into a dangerous place like Iraq and doing its necessary work.
This kind of thing has happened before. Terry Southern’s “Dr. Strangelove” script was supposed to pattern the crazy George C. Scott character after warmongering right-wing Gen. Curtis LeMay, but it ended up being Ronald Reagan’s favorite movie. Francis Ford Coppola’s “Patton” screenplay was supposed to depict a slightly lunatic war-glorifier, but Scott’s performance and the direction of Franklin Schaffner, who served under Patton, instead made the most patriotic war movie ever made. President Nixon liked it so much he decided to invade Cambodia based on its premise.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Rob Reiner wanted to show in “A Few Good Men” that Jack Nicholson’s Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup was an over-the-top militarist, but his famous lines are considered primers at West Point. Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” was supposed to shed light on corporate greed but, to his horror, two decades of go-getters have thanked him for inspiring them to pursue a career of high finance.
Steven R. Travers
San Anselmo, Calif.
Complaints aren’t ‘whining’
I get so sick and tired of hearing and reading about people suggesting that others go elsewhere to shop, eat, purchase fuel, etc. (“Shop somewhere else,” Aug. 4). We are not complaining about the amount of ketchup we receive on our order of fries here; we are talking about something substantial.
The idea behind voicing your opinion is to get the word out and inform people who may not be so well-informed. Can the letter-writer imagine if the majority of authorized Army and Air Force Exchange Service shoppers did exactly that? Maybe you will have to join the crowd because AAFES would not survive long with a very small customer base. I mean, how much do you purchase per month with AAFES? Do you think you can sustain AAFES existence alone?
While many see these complaints as whining, griping or even attacks on AAFES, there is something else we need to acknowledge here. These complaints alert us to semblances of white-collar crime (price-fixing) at worst or the will of the people at best. I am proud to see that there are some who are not strangled by the overly patriotic advertising whims of AAFES and big business to see through this. There are some hard-working and dedicated members of the armed forces, family members and civilians components overseas and we should have certain benefits extended to us due to our jobs and/or location. I would not to like to pay stateside prices for fuel nor watch certain goods disappear from shelves, while host nation products increase.
If we are not allowed to use our constitutional rights to free speech and expression, then why even have a military? What are we fighting to uphold? What happened to fighting for freedom and democracy?
I see the word “democracy” used beyond its capacity, yet when someone opines something that runs contrary to popular opinion, it is anti-American or unpatriotic. The McCarthy era is long gone — or is it? If prices continue to rise, but your income does not, at what point will you “complain”?
Derrick L. Clady
Marriage issue not top priority
The writer of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (Aug. 2) needs to get real.
He asks why he shouldn’t equate two adults of the same sex wanting a life together and the agenda of the North American Man-Boy Love Association as being roughly the same. Or as being roughly equal to child molestation. That’s bull.
The key here is “consenting adults.” An adult can legally consent. An underage child is not “consenting” regardless of what he may say verbally. They are minors. Not the same thing. And really, sir, why bring dogs, fish and cows into the argument? Few people go so far as to marry their animals.
Furthermore, we do not need the U.S. government to amend the Constitution to define marriage. While Merriam-Webster’s defines the word marriage as “the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family,” it also defines it as “an act of marrying or the rite by which married status is affected” and also as “an intimate or close union.”
I would prefer my government keep us safe from real enemies, keep the economy on an even keel, and weigh in on matters of real importance concerning the running of this fine nation. Trying to regulate who’s kissing who can probably be handled (assuming it needs to be handled at all) at a lower level than the president, Congress or the Supreme Court.
Leave it up to the local community to determine acceptable standards. And if the local community doesn’t really care, then you should just avert you eyes and move on. It’s not like these folks are asking to move in with you.
While I am not particularly keen on the idea of same-sex marriage, I am not vehemently opposed, either. On the whole I’d say I’m pretty much unconcerned with the dating preferences of adults outside of my immediate family. Hopefully they’re not concerning themselves with my choice of mates and plotting to have my spouse written out of the Constitution.
While I cannot see myself, a 45-year-old heterosexual man, wanting to marry another man, I also cannot see myself feeling like I would need the writer’s consent or permission if I did. Sir, just go into your own home. Watch some TV or read a book. Spend time with your family. Run your own life and let others run theirs. As a nation we have bigger problems to spend our time on.
William E. Abernathy
Travel, Sunday disappointing
Like the writer of “Small travel section” (July 22) I am very disappointed in the new Thursday travel section as well as the new Sunday section.
After reading the Stars and Stripes for more than 13 years, when I returned to the United States I continued to take the paper, even though I get it one to two weeks late. I learn far more from it than my local paper by far. The travel section kept me connected to my old life.
The new Sunday section is OK, but you need to include the old section as well. Besides, I miss the Cryptoquip and the old crossword puzzles.
Carol A. Collins
Can’t fly flags
I am deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and am based out of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
We have recently been ordered to take down all United States, individual state, college and sports team flags on every camp in Kuwait, allowing only one U.S. flag per camp. Apparently, this rule came about to standardize the number and type of flags being flown at the various camps throughout Kuwait.
It is the opinion of the senior leadership that there are too many U.S., state and other type flags being flown. It is my opinion that this display of patriotism and pride in our country and in our home states should not be restricted. Many of us are mobilized reservists and National Guardsmen who take great pride in serving our country, and something that may seem as trivial as the right to display a U.S. or state flag is considered an important and constant reminder as to the reason why we are here every day.
When I first arrived, I was very impressed by the number of flags I saw flown over the various clusters of tents in each camp. It made me proud to be part of such a patriotic army of soldiers, and I fail to see any problem with that. I have had soldiers from different units drop by my tent because they happened to see the Texas flag, and they wanted to let me know, “Hey, I’m from Texas, too!”
One of our state representatives gave our unit 21 Texas flags to fly during our deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom, some of which would undoubtedly receive a place of honor upon our redeployment. Now most of those flags will never be allowed to see daylight while we are here. That is most unfortunate, and I truly hope that this policy is retracted for the sake of the troops’ morale.
David T. Ortiz
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
Respect for anthem absolute
This letter is to answer the question of the writer of the Aug. 7 letter “Playing games with anthems.”
“Why do we play the national anthem at ballgames?” Because we are Americans. In this X-hyphenated-American and “It’s all about me” society, the last shred of what binds us as Americans may be the national anthem.
I do not watch baseball. Or basketball. Or football. Or any other “sport” in which overpaid, pampered prima donnas use the time that people spend their hard-earned American money to attend to promote their private agendas. The sporting events are broadcast on national TV, most of the time free of charge to the viewers. [Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos] Delgado and all the other sports celebrities hold out their hands and collect their American paychecks for entertaining us, not for their political viewpoints.
Was it too much to ask someone who is paid more money than any American soldier currently deployed and fighting for this great country to stand, shut his mouth and show respect to the country that gave him a career? I think not.
This is America. It wasn’t handed to us on a silver platter. It was fought for and earned. The respect that is due our nation’s flag and our national anthem is a small gesture compared with the price many people paid so that we can sit and enjoy a sporting event.
Fort Campbell, Ky.