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Regarding the April 10 article “Anger flares at Egypt army over deadly raid”: While I do feel bad that so many countries out here in the Middle East and Africa are in distress, I had to chuckle a little at the photograph that accompanied the article. The person holding the shell casings in the picture has a hand full of blanks.

Either you used a file picture or the security forces were using nonlethal force (at least in part). If this picture was from that particular raid, then maybe a little more detail as to what happened and why blanks were used would be appropriate.

Spc. David Smith

Contingency Operating Site Echo, Iraq

Can’t cut broadband network

A government shutdown (“Troops’ pay would be withheld until shutdown is resolved,” article, April 6) would have been yet another hit in a spate of crippling cutbacks affecting our military even as its challenges overseas become more difficult.

We know our country’s lawmakers have a huge task on their hands to cut the deficit. We expect them to carefully consider which programs need saving, not assume a slash-and-burn approach.

Instead, lawmakers last year voted to wipe away almost a billion dollars from the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program (BCTM), which would provide a secure, mobile broadband network that can give soldiers in Afghanistan life-saving intelligence.

Veterans who have analyzed BCTM equipment say that soldiers could use BCTM-networked ground robots to spot insurgents just inside abandoned buildings or identify bombs hidden underneath cars, saving lives. But the budget problems in Washington threaten to halt the BCTM technologies before they reach Afghanistan.

Congress made the mistake of sending our troops to risk their lives without sufficient body armor in 2004. We need Congress to ensure the nation’s security and the safety of our soldiers.

Capt. George Autobee (retired)

Pueblo, Colo.

Jones fed the piranhas

As freedom-loving Americans, we cherish our right to freedom of expression. However, there are limits to that freedom. You cannot shout fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire.

This guy who calls himself a pastor, Terry Jones, knew full well that his actions would cause trouble in the Muslim world. He knew it might cause the deaths of innocent people, which it ultimately did.

Jones may have had the “right” to judge Islam and the Quran as being “guilty” and burn the Quran, but his actions did lead to the deaths of 20 people and, therefore, Jones infringed on the rights of others by his inappropriate action.

Jones’ action was like throwing a huge piece of bloody meat into a pool filled with piranhas.

We all have the right to live, and Jones’ “freedom of expression” took the right of those servicemembers to live, which is also guaranteed in the Constitution. No one is calling for censorship but, in doing what he did and knowing it might cause death and destruction, Jones should be held accountable for his actions.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Krieg

Navy Operational Support Center Norfolk, Va.

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