Regarding the Oct. 20 letter “Pitting UCMJ and Constitution”: I totally agree with the writer. I too think that civilian courts are not the place to decide military policy decisions.

Many people are so focused on repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that they have forgotten about the unintended consequences and “ripple effect” that will come from it. While I applaud President Barack Obama for all that he has done and what he stands for, this is one area where I beg to differ. Repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will only lead to other troubles for the military. Some of the questions we should be asking ourselves are: What other issues will be raised or “come out of the closet” as a result? Where does it end and where do we as a military draw the line?

Donald Sewell

Heidelberg, Germany

Can’t lead if you disobey order

I’m a recently retired Marine gunnery sergeant currently living in Fayetteville, N.C., and honestly I could care less if gays serve in the military. But I know all the problems openly allowing them in would create.

But in my mind this isn’t even about that. To me, this is about good military order. How exactly does Maj. Margaret Witt (“Judge: Reinstate gay Air Force officer,” article, Sept. 26) think she can lead when she doesn’t follow orders she doesn’t agree with. If she were to return to active duty, any subordinate could be expected to not follow her orders if they didn’t agree with them on the belief of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” I know I would have no respect for an “officer” who didn’t lead by example.

Witt rolled the dice and willfully disobeyed an order, was caught and summarily removed from the service. I know her oath upon becoming an officer read “I will obey the orders of those appointed over me” or similar verbiage that includes all orders — even (or probably especially) the ones she doesn’t agree with.

One day maybe the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will be removed. But at the time she willfully disregarded the standing order and was punished for it. It’s actually appalling that this has turned into a “gay vs. straight” issue when what she was clearly discharged from the military for was her breaking of a standing order. Just because she doesn’t agree with it doesn’t give her the right to not follow it.

Gunnery Sgt. Clark A. Hovland (retired)

Fayetteville, N.C.

A baby is a priceless gift

The Sept. 10 article “New baby needs hit wallets hard” deserves comment.

First, the financial cost cited in your article is far, far too high. As experienced parents of four children, my wife and I do not concur. Further, the article should have reminded readers that many baby items — crib, car seat, high chair, etc. — are durable; after being used by the first baby, they are reusable for subsequent babies.

In addition, the article failed to mention tax breaks: Every child is a tax deduction and a tax credit. Reductions of tax liabilities more than offset costs associated with providing for babies.

All told, it costs little or nothing to start a family. First-time parents, even if you open your wallet a bit, open your heart more and cherish each baby as a priceless gift to you and humanity.

Ralph Groves

RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom

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