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I just read the Aug. 25 article “Atheists in military seek equal treatment.” This article left me with a couple of questions I hope someone can answer for me.

My main question is, how can a group of people who say religion is a superstition demand equal access to religious facilities? If God isn’t real, then why do they care? What is the point?

Is it because they are being denied equal treatment under the law and their First Amendment rights are being stepped on? Guess what, they don’t constitute an oppressed minority! Simply having a different opinion does not make them part of the downtrodden. All it makes them is human.

If the majority of people supports X and you support Y, you are going to feel a little out of place. This is a fact of life in every society all over the globe since the beginning of time. People are always going to be like that no matter what the issue. You are going to have to explain yourself from time to time.

The atheist servicemembers are going to have to defend their position. It’s the price they pay for differing from the majority. If they don’t like it — if it’s just too darned tough — then too damn bad! It’s called life, and they are going to have to learn to deal with it.

“But my career is on the line,” they say. But they work for the government. Their jobs are on the line when they don’t tow the line.

E. Christopher Johnson

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Contact the decision-makers

I applaud all of the people who have written Stars and Stripes expressing their opinion of the Defense Business Board’s retirement proposal.

I would like to remind everyone that letters to the editor, Facebook posts and tweets do not sway Congress. The DBB’s retirement proposal must be passed by Congress to become law. Write the chairman of the DBB and your members of Congress — for only then will your voice be heard by those who make the decisions.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher B. Whalen

Kandahar, Afghanistan

Let National Guard’s role grow

I work as a civilian for the National Guard. Americans know what the National Guard has done and its current capabilities. Solving the nation’s debt issues or learning to live with fewer dollars in the Department of Defense requires reform. Reform might mean adopting lesser emphasized existing models based on a business value like cost. But real reform is taking the best of your current foundation (based on whatever you defend as best ... cost, tradition, effectiveness, connectivity to the American people, etc.) and laying on top of it something new and transformative.

No doubt the National Guard is the best of today’s DOD foundation. National Guard leaders need to start promoting what the Guard could be given — the right laws, structure and influence. More importantly, National Guard leaders need to realize that tomorrow will truly be their organization’s world. The National Guard has been the best value, but it has not always been the first option. It should be now.

Today’s changes have created a world with needs the National Guard fits. This environment includes, but is not limited to, drastic and hazardous climate change (producing surges of natural disasters); rising potential for domestic unrest; systemic growth and merger of crime, terrorism and war; urgent need to build stronger communities at home and aboard; critical demand for civilian skills from cyberspace to the technical demands of future defense weapons/equipment; essential requirements to partner and network; expanding intertwine of development, defense and diplomacy; urgent need to send a message that the United States is a nonaggressive friend and strong economic ally to all peaceful nations.

The National Guard is our nation’s counter hybrid force with Wal-Mart variety, Main Street service, Wall Street sense and goldsmith quality. It must stop following the same worn path of its active-duty counterparts. In other words, National Guard leaders and thinkers must stop working to achieve what the active component is doing or plans to do in the future.

The primary thing an active force can do is achieve superior rigidity, which was required when the main threat practiced the same philosophy. The Cold War pitted two super structures and the winner of a hot conflict would be the side that could best perform its doctrine.

Things are completely different now. Rigidity is the worst possible practice or posture today. Defense of the United States and its vital interests demands creativity, innovation and flexibility.

A standing bureaucratic military cannot and will never be able to be what the future demands. The National Guard must realize its relationship to today’s environment and how it benefits its growth.

Ian Carpenter


Stripes in 7

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