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There has been some concern about what is going to happen to the local Afghan linguists currently helping the coalition forces (CF) when the inevitable drawdown takes place. Here’s an idea: Why not encourage them to join the Afghan National Army as officers?

To me, this is a win-win deal. Most all of them are mature, educated young men and they’ve already been training with the best military in the world, so why not put this training and experience to work for the future of Afghanistan rather than putting them in the unemployment line and possibly in harm’s way? Some linguists fear that they would not be accepted in the military but isn’t that the same feeling for all troops everywhere? Maybe some sort of sign-up bonus could be initiated to calm their nerves?

Most of the linguists are between 20 and 30 years old, and have been working with coalition forces for at least a year, some up to 10. Maybe the longer they served with CF, the higher the rank or greater the bonus to sign up? Definitely a resource for a bright future for Afghanistan lies within this group if someone will just tap into it.

Should we be able to put this caliber of men in charge of the Afghan army, maybe the army could finally get away from the tribal affiliations and onto a true concern for the welfare of Afghans everywhere.

If anyone out there has reservations about how loyal these guys are or would be, just ask any of our soldiers who worked with them day in and day out. They’ll tell you it’s a brotherhood as strong as any tribal alliance.

Bruce Babione

Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan

Author’s experiences outdated

I am surprised you felt it was appropriate to publish Roberto Loiederman’s April 28 column “Curse of the unpaid prostitute.” His suggestion that it is normal and expected for merchant seamen and Secret Service agents to hire prostitutes is outdated. I am not suggesting that it doesn’t happen, but attitudes and laws are different than they were when he served more than 40 years ago.

Because the U.S. military combats human trafficking, the establishment of a zero-tolerance policy with respect to solicitation of prostitution by U.S. military personnel was taken on Oct. 14, 2005. President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13387, which amends the Manual for Courts-Martial to specify “patronizing a prostitute” as a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Please note, this was seven years ago. Even if military personnel are stationed somewhere that prostitution is legal, it is not legal for them!

The military is held to a higher standard than it was 40 years ago. It is no longer a culture of heavy drinking and a woman in every port. The Secret Service has an even higher standard and U.S. and world security are at stake.

Janet Fitzpatrick

Santa Rita, Guam

Stripes in 7

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