Regarding the Jan. 28 article “Debt deal may increase risk of sequestration”: While the political calculus of sequestration has been broadly reported, few leaders in Washington discuss the consequences. Slashing $500 billion from our national defense would weaken our pursuit of al-Qaida, cede the Pacific theater to China, or allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

An underfunded military — with fewer troops, ships, fighter jets and intelligence resources — would be incapable of supporting our current foreign policy and could actually make things worse. If Iran believes our military is too weak to stop its nuclear program, it will obviously charge ahead irrespective of sanctions or diplomacy. That could prove deadly. Current missile defenses provide a limited shield against Iranian nuclear ballistic missiles — a shield that Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisan experts agree we should improve and expand. But the sequestration cuts would make it impossible to develop new ways to handle sophisticated countermeasures or install an East Coast location, as recommended by the National Research Council.

The American public no doubt supports smart cuts to defense spending — or any government spending, for that matter. It would not support the kind of drastic and strategically tone-deaf spending cuts to essential pillars of our national security currently threatened by the “fiscal cliff.”

Col. Kris Mineau (retired)

North Reading, Mass.

Rules breach not cat’s meow

Regarding the Feb. 3 article “Photo of GI with cat in Kuwait goes viral” and the accompanying photo of the soldier sleeping with the cat: Let me see if have the facts correct:

1) General Order No. 1 prohibits adopting pets or mascots, etc. This was apparently ignored.

2) The commander of the unit wanted the cat euthanized, but the company XO disregarded/ignored/disobeyed (take your pick) the commander’s intent.

3) “The soldiers weren’t supposed to feed the cat ... but the soldiers did anyway.”

Anyone else see a problem here?

Lt. Col. James T. Billings

Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan

Not happy with fewer editions

This marks the first weekend of your new policy to print your paper just five days a week instead of seven days a week in the European and Pacific theaters. You promised this change would improve your service to the reader.

You did not ask me before changing your policy, but I surely wish you would have. I have not observed improved service. In short, I do not like your new printing policy.

Thanks for listening.

Martin Hansen


Stripes in 7

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