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As a neurosurgeon who spent 20 years in the Army, I was excited to hear that the Army has finally agreed to stop using monkeys in nerve agent training (“Army to change nerve-gas tests,” article, Oct. 15). I hope this is the beginning of a trend and that the military will also stop using pigs and other animals for trauma training.

In some military trauma training courses, live pigs are shot and stabbed. The trainees’ task is to keep the wounded pigs alive for as long as possible. In addition to being unethical and cruel, these courses are completely unnecessary.

Medical simulators can replace the use of animals in this course. And unlike animals, simulators duplicate human anatomy and allow trainees to practice critical procedures repeatedly. The vast majority of civilian trauma training programs have already replaced animals with simulators.

The BEST Practices Act, H.R. 1417, would phase out the military’s use of animals in trauma training. I hope the Army’s decision to stop poisoning monkeys will set the stage for the passage of this important bill.

Dr. (Lt. Col.) William Morris (retired)

Tacoma, Wash.

A push for the 6.8 SPC

With the military looking at changing the rifle platform that we use, this would be a great time to get away from the 5.56 mm and select the 6.8 SPC.

Without getting too technical here, the 5.56 is a small round that goes fast with a fairly flat trajectory or bullet drop. It’s a great round for shooting an animal such as a coyote (40 to 60 pounds), but not a 120- to 230-pound human.

The 6.8 SPC is close to a .270-caliber; a .270 is one of — if not the — best choice for shooting a white-tailed deer, which weighs in the same range as a human. At 300 yards, the 6.8 has nearly a third more energy then the 5.56 while losing only a fraction of speed and bullet drop to the 5.56. The military has worked on several variations of the round used but, no matter what you do, it’s still a 5.56 mm.

The bottom line is that you can’t get Corvette performance from your Ford Pinto.

Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Hainline

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

View Mormonism without filter

While thoughtfully written, the Oct. 14 letter “Christians make a distinction” was misguided in its contentions and conclusion. In response, I simply say if one wants to learn whether Mormons are Christians, why not go to the source? Mormon.org is a good place to start.

Lt. Kirk Hull

Forward Operating Base Union III, Iraq

Mormons’ Jesus is the same

Why is it that people of different faiths feel that they can tell others what they believe in their church? In the Oct. 14 letter “Christians make a distinction,” this is exactly what happened. There is a reason why one would not go to a professional baseball player to teach them the fundamentals of basketball. While the baseball player may know a thing or two about the game, you are much better off getting your guidance from a basketball player. The individual who wrote the letter explaining what Mormons believe should stick to explaining the particulars of his church.

The assertions made about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), of which I am a member, are again offensive — just as Baptist Convention leader Robert Jeffress’ comments were. Distorting our beliefs on many counts, the letter writer also wrote: “[T]heir Jesus is completely different from ours and in no way aligns with 2,000 years of Christian history.” As an actual member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I say this is untrue.

While we indeed have different doctrinal teachings, we read the same King James Version Bible that other Christian denominations read. We celebrate the birth of the same Jesus on Dec. 25 as other Christian faiths. We worship the same Jesus Christ, the son of God and redeemer of mankind who died for our sins on the cross on Calvary. Mormons believe The Book of Mormon is another testament of him, not the only.

Christ said in John 10:16 “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” We believe that the records in the Books of Mormon are from these other sheep and Jesus Christ taught them on the North American continent.

I do not wish to Bible-bash, but only to say as a Mormon that I follow the very same Jesus Christ from the New Testament and Old. I hope that we would exhaust our efforts to teach his gospel rather than demean others’ beliefs.

Spc. Chad E. Dotson

Baghdad


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