As members of the U.S. Army in Europe, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Ambassador Chris Stevens and of the other State Department employees who lost their lives in Libya. These courageous representatives of our country have our respect. Their families and the embassy personnel and families who’ve had to evacuate have our support, our thoughts, and our prayers.

This last Tuesday, Sept. 11, we reflected upon the horrible attacks that shocked our nation 11 years ago and which brought us into the longest war our nation has fought. The attacks in Libya and Egypt show us once again that there remain those who wish to harm us. These enemies don’t wear uniforms, they don’t attempt diplomatic solutions for their grievances, they carefully plan and then kill and maim indiscriminately.

Let’s use this tragedy not to have a bunker mentality and insulate ourselves but to redouble the single best means we, as individuals, have to thwart terrorists: vigilance. We all have the ability to watch and listen for suspicious behaviors and we must report those suspicions so our experts can work with other agencies and our host nations to prevent any future attack. We can take personal precautions by blending in with the locals, avoiding large gatherings and protests, and acting as positive representatives of America in our interactions.

Complacency is the enemies’ advantage — let’s all do our part to deny it from them and make it safer for all.

Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling


U.S. Army Europe

Heidelberg, Germany

At DMZ, clarity on book ban

I consider it alarming that the Department of Defense would allow, if not encourage, the ban of the sale to U.S. servicemembers and their families of the book “No Easy Day” through the military exchange system, worldwide (“AAFES will not sell book about bin Laden raid,” article, Sept. 9). The reason cited was that the book “may contain” matter that could be classified. But no such determination has been made. What an irony that American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are denied the right to purchase this book on-base, while everyone who shops off-base enjoys the basic freedom to read books without this censorship.

As I write this, I’m at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea, having been here on business the past week. Yesterday my wife and I toured the Demilitarized Zone and looked north from Observation Post Dora to what is one of the most closed societies on earth — and it occurred to me that the North Korean citizens enjoyed the same rights to buy this book as American servicemembers while serving aboard a U.S. military installation, anywhere.

All military members regularly read books and articles with accounts of combat operations over the years, as part of our professional education. If “Mark Owen’s” book can be banned, will those of Tom Clancy, Sen. Jim Webb and the late Leon Uris be added to the ban?

Lt. Col. Guy Womack (retired)


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