The Aug. 4 article “Taliban tout new code of conduct claiming to protect civilians” gives undue credit to the Taliban, whose stated aspirations are betrayed daily by their actions on the ground. Far from offering a real direction for Afghanistan’s future, the Taliban are perfecting the art of misdirection — and the Afghan people aren’t buying any of it.
The latest directive from Mullah Mohammad Omar calls for insurgent fighters to avoid harming civilians. However, in just the few days following the release, insurgents have killed 43 Afghan civilians and wounded 65. They have threatened villagers in Farah province for reporting improvised explosive device locations to security forces. In Balkh province, they murdered a female teacher and forced the closing of schools. In Nangahar province, seven tribal leaders were injured when their vehicles were struck by an insurgent bomb as they traveled to a community event.
In July alone, nearly 300 insurgent acts against innocent civilians were documented, killing 220 and injuring more than 360. This included more than 160 events of murder and injury, and more than 100 instances of oppression, anti-development and imposition of extremist ideology such as illicit taxation, extortion and prohibiting girls from attending school.
Today, insurgents are responsible for about 90 percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan. In the past 12 months insurgent-caused civilian casualties have risen by one-third, revealing with even more clarity the hypocrisy of the Taliban’s code of conduct.
Little wonder poll after poll shows anemic support for the Taliban.
While the story you ran might be missing the point, the Afghan people are lacking no such perception. They know that the insurgents, despite their statements of care and concern for civilians, intend to put innocent Afghan lives in jeopardy, assault Afghan culture, and disgrace the tenets of Islam in the conduct of their operations.
Rear Adm. Greg Smith
Director of communication
International Security Assistance Force
Concern for PTSD sufferers
I do not believe that the servicemember who wrote the July 29 letter “Not best PTSD case to profile” truly grasps the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder, or the intent of the article. PTSD is something that even the modern medical field cannot truly comprehend. It can affect anyone in any circumstance. It is not only an illness forged in combat, but also in other stressful or unusual circumstances.
It is unfortunate that so many members of our society treat PTSD sufferers as social pariahs outside the military. It is more unfortunate, however, when members of our very own family in the armed forces are unwilling to support these individuals. PTSD is a serious problem, and it is not something to be swept under the rug by an individual who feels the case of the sufferer is less “traumatic” than a combat veteran’s. People react to stressors and situations differently, and every human is wired differently. Until a person can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes — so to speak — who is he to judge another?
It is our duty as brothers and sisters in arms to care for one another and to be concerned with the well-being of our military family. The letter writer’s attitude about PTSD can only hurt our community as a whole.
Cpl. Corey Chapman
Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
Gays seeking additional rights
We live in a world, like it or not, where objective morality exists, and if you do not believe in objective morality, tell me if it is ever morally right for “you” to torture babies for “your” pleasure (Judge not …,” letter, July 27).
The answer is never. Morals exist and are not the creation of social evolution; if they were, then we couldn’t judge Nazi Germany exterminating the Jews as being wrong, the genocides in Africa either. Those actions were then the result of socially evolved morals and were justified by their worldview. However, we are able to say that those actions were wrong because morality is objective, not subjective.
Subjective morals change, can become contradicting, and might differ from person to person. Therefore, those subjective morals violate logical absolutes and the Law of Non-Contradiction, which makes objective morality transcendent; not dependent on people, space or time. There is only one transcendent being, God.
Thus the repealing of “don’t ask, don’t tell” would infringe on my rights to disagree with the homosexual lifestyle because the government would force me to tolerate a lifestyle that I view as morally bankrupt, based on my beliefs. Will I get punished if I tell a homosexual that I know his lifestyle is perverse and wrong because it’s a violation of my Christian faith? If we tolerate the homosexual lifestyle, then why not tolerate and embrace the polygamist? We confidently defend that polygamy is wrong; however, they are consenting adults just like homosexuals.
Homosexuals are not fighting for equal rights, but rather for additional rights. They already have equal rights to a heterosexual marriage and to serve but, just like polygamists, their immoral lifestyle should not be accepted as moral.
Staff Sgt. Brandon White
Camp Slayer, Iraq
Don’t distort, misuse Bible
The use of the Bible to justify discrimination is appalling to me. When did military chaplains become “the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices” (Saudi Arabian Religious Police)?
The Bible has a lot of good information in it and most of it remains applicable to our modern world. As our society matures, a select few pick and choose what is moral and what is immoral. The Bible says adultery, lying, murder, pride, homosexuality and breaking vows are abominations. Genocide is, however, allowed and even required by God according to the Bible. I know that comment about genocide will upset some people, so some examples: the Great Flood, Passover, conquest of Canaan, and the extermination of the tribe of Benjamin.
If we accept that the Bible is the absolute guide to morality, everyone who commits an abomination must be discharged and genocide is acceptable.
Spc. Carl Smith
Camp Victory, Iraq
New AFN programs applauded
In regard to “Keep explicit shows off AFN” (letter, Aug. 4), concerning explicit programming on American Forces Network, I have to wonder if the letter writer understands that not all servicemembers have access to other television networks. AFN was created to entertain troops who are forward deployed and have limited access to the outside world. Serving aboard a U.S. Navy ship in the Pacific severely limits my access to AmeriCable and other service providers. I have a feeling my brothers and sisters in arms in Afghanistan and Iraq tend to run into the same issue.
I applaud AFN and HBO for making these programs available. AFN is merely catering to the wants of its principal demographic: the servicemember abroad.
It is my understanding that these programs will run after 10 p.m., only on weekends and only on AFN Spectrum. There will still be several other channels on AFN from which to choose during the eight hours of “explicit” programming, which is why I have a funny feeling there is a gift horse somewhere getting a thorough dental examination right about now.
Servicemembers sacrifice many things for this country. I would suggest that the letter writer and others who are like-minded sacrifice a few minutes of their time to learn how to use the “V-chip” to avoid hearing the “F” word on TV (I can almost guarantee it would take less time than composing a letter to the editor) or better yet, turn off the TV and spend time with their families.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Volkema
USS Blue Ridge, Pacific Ocean