The July 14 article “In Kentucky, Paul downplays American poverty” is written to suggest that [Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand] Paul has no regard for the problems facing the poor in our country. From what I know of Paul and his campaign, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The issue of poverty can best be resolved at the lowest level, not through massive federal programs and bloated bureaucracies that only benefit the bureaucrats. Our current system of uncontrolled entitlements will be the death of this country.

With limited government, citizens will be free to donate to the efficient charity of their choice, be it to counter poverty in their hometown or around the world. Likewise, less-tax-encumbered citizens will be free to invest their money in products or companies that they support, resulting in more production and more jobs, which is the real cure for poverty.

Alan J. Palmer

New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan

Why no right-wing outrage?

I enjoyed reading your coverage of Shirley Sherrod, the wrongly fired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee. What amazes me the most is the lack of equivocal coverage among the “mainstream media” when confronted with a story that depicts such obvious bias by the right-wing media outlets.

Prior to the 2004 presidential election, CBS News ran a story that depicted then-President George W. Bush as a lackluster Air National Guard pilot and played into a left-wing narrative of Bush as a Vietnam escape artist. When the facts came to light, CBS immediately fired those responsible for bringing the story, and Dan Rather resigned effective at the end of the year simply for reading the story. All of this was hailed as the right thing to do by the right-wing spin machine that is Fox News.

Now I see Fox News finding a story that was manufactured and fits a narrative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as a racist organization. Never mind that the story was from the same place that had previously posted a hoax story about the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Also never mind that Fox News had also run with that story.

As of yet, I have not seen Andrew Breitbart, the blogger who posted both extremely edited videos, lose his position as a Fox News commentator, and none of the producers of these shows, let alone the ones who read these fake stories, have lost their jobs.

Where is the outrage, right-wingers? When will you hold your own outlets to the same standard you expect balanced news outlets to hold? I just don’t see how anyone can claim Fox News has any journalistic integrity anymore.

First Lt. Paul Wade

Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan

Intruding on widow’s privacy

I just read the July 28 letter “Photo was powerful testimony” regarding Stars and Stripes publishing the photo of Barbara Arizmendez at her husband’s memorial service.

I would simply like to respectfully say this: That wasn’t the letter writer on the front page for the whole world to see. Has the writer ever heard about the right to privacy? That picture is not therapy. That is salt in the wound to Barbara Arizmendez. Each time she looks at that picture, she will have to remember.

To intrude on this unspeakable grief is the height of impropriety. Those types of pictures sell papers. Nothing else. We all know we are at war. We don’t need to spotlight grieving widows to remind folks that yes, the cost of war is tremendous in human suffering on both sides of the fence.

I guarantee you that while I will probably lose the court battle, the paper that publishes a photo of my wife grieving — should something happen to our son, who has deployed twice — will face me in court and explain why it is newsworthy to intrude on and exacerbate a mother’s grief.

I strongly believe in the First Amendment. What I have a hard time with is those who do not exercise that right with common sense and decency.

I applaud those who agree this photo was in very poor taste.

To Barbara Arizmendez: My heart aches for you as it does for everyone who has lost a loved one in the conduct of this war. I thank you all for the sacrifices made; to those who have served, and are now serving (all of you), and those who will serve, and to the families left behind.

Master Sgt. Dave Disch (retired)

Kapaun, Germany

All should see photo of grief

I disagree with the reader who found the photograph of the grieving widow at the recent Hohenfels, Germany, memorial service to be “shameful” (“Grief photo is shameful,” letter, July 23).

The photo is an honest representation of Army life. The loss that we feel when a soldier is killed is profound, and reverberates throughout the community. In the photo, you can see that the loss is not only felt by the widow, but also by her comforting friends. To mask or attempt to soften the image would only lessen the enormity of the loss, and that would not fully honor Staff Sgt. Marc A. Arizmendez or the sacrifice he made for our freedom.

The photograph should be heart-wrenching to see. I pray that we are never callous enough to not be touched by the sight of a young, grieving widow who has lost her soldier. The only shameful thing about this photograph is that it is not being seen by mainstream America. The media over there are too busy covering Lindsay Lohan’s jail sentence.

Kate Harper

Hohenfels, Germany

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