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I would like to express my gratitude to Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon (commander, U.S. Army Pacific Command) and Gen. James Conway (commandant, U.S. Marines) for their input into the "don’t ask, don’t tell" debate.

The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantee us the right to express our beliefs without fear of intimidation. Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and all others who have served this country well have fought and died to protect this precious right.

Unfortunately, there are people within the military structure who believe they can dictate what and when you can express your opinion. And some would go so far to suggest that if you don’t agree with the president, you should perhaps retire. That is a disgrace.

Mixon has done a great service to soldiers he commands. I wish that all his soldiers and families who do not want the law changed would a write a letter or an e-mail to their congressmen and let them know how they feel. Generals cannot change the law, only congressmen can. Tell them why you don’t want the law changed.

Conway put it correctly. His Marines will be very proud of him. If I were still active duty, I would like to serve in his command.

Best of luck to both of them.

Chuck BurressTuttlingen, Germany

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