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The Sunday, Dec. 8, “Doonesbury” cartoon strip (Note to readers: This strip appeared in the Friday, Dec. 6, edition for Stripes readers in Europe and the Pacific) was highly offensive. As a unit Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program representative, victim advocate, leader and soldier, I am not just offended by the content of the strip, but more offended that a publication with your demographic focus would have the audacity to print it.

SHARP-related issues have been plaguing our military and have intensified over the past few years. As the military as a whole is continually pushing this issue and attempting to create an environment that protects victims and promotes disclosure of offenses, this is a huge slap in the face for all advocates, coordinators, first responders and victims.

This is utterly disgusting. This strip displays and reinforces one of the most serious and prevalent fears victims face when deciding whether to report a crime.

The last frame not only suggests that this fear is true, but that it is accepted, tolerated and expected to occur. This has the ability and visibility to destroy all of the hard work SHARP representatives put in daily, discredit the continuously improving soldier care process, and undermine the legitimacy of the program itself. This is a disgrace!

Staff Sgt. Joseph Alvarez

Suwon Air Base, South Korea

No need for graphic caption

Well, you’ve done it. Stars and Stripes finally managed to achieve the lowest journalistic standards — absolutely unnecessary sensationalism.

Your Dec. 10 front page is revolting. It’s not the picture of the Afghan soldier (“ ‘A vital lifeline’: US medevac crews still play major role in Afghan conflict”), who is obviously in excruciating pain; it’s the sensationalized caption. Why was it necessary to give details of his injuries? Oh, it’s an attention-getter, but overdone. That caption simply didn’t help the story.

A simple statement (e.g., “Sgt. James Bell, a crew chief, attends to a badly wounded Afghan soldier during a medevac flight on Oct. 22.”) would have been accurate without the blood and guts. Or do you feel like you need blood and guts?

One last shot: The last sentence in the caption is superfluous. From my experiences in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War, crew chiefs always actively assist in medical evacuations and space in evacuation helicopters has always been tight.

Command Sgt. Maj. Floyd K. Allen (retired)

Nussloch, Germany


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