Forgive me, I didn’t realize that Stars and Stripes was owned by Fox News.

I am stationed at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan. As an avid newspaper reader, I went through a bit of withdrawal when I found out that there wasn’t a cable TV hookup (so no American Forces Network) at the time. However, there was Stars and Stripes — “Independent news for the U.S. military community, whenever they fight and wherever they live,” according to your advertising.

I didn’t realize that that community was Republican, Sarah Palin-loving, Barack Obama-hating and Democrat-bashing.

I realize that (according to Fox fans) some believe that mainstream news has “bias.” I understand that some believe that liberals don’t love the troops, or hate war, or don’t serve their country, or whatever other garbage right-wingers want to believe. However, as one of those “liberals” who put my name and my life where my mouth is (unlike Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al.), I find it a tad bit offensive that every time I pick up a Stars and Stripes I’m bombarded with more right-wing opinions.

You do realize that for every George Will and Kathleen Parker there is someone on the left who disagrees with their opinion, right?

Perhaps — as a matter of good taste, and to keep the entire military, you know, unbiased and above politics and political parties — you should print a few of those “liberal” opinion pieces. Or maybe simply stop running op-ed pieces altogether.

Those of us who can’t stand Palin on both political and reasonable principles really, really don’t need a puff piece on her, ever (“5 myths about Palin,” Perspectives, Oct. 24).

Spc. Thomas McCormick

Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan

See GIs’ practical concerns

I do not wish to bring my religious beliefs into the argument; religion tends to create radical extremes that, ironically, go against the basic precepts of most religions in the world.

What I do wish to comment on, and I am against openly gay individuals serving in the military, is the fact that I would feel most uncomfortable in certain situations, such as showering, wondering if any of the men showering near me is gay.

Gay men are attracted to the male body and, although I would not expect them to do something irrational in such an environment, I do not like the thought that my body is on display for them. I am 100 percent heterosexual and, if men and women were allowed to shower together, I can assure you that I would glance at the naked women who were near me; that is what I am attracted to, the female body. It does not mean I would do anything stupid, but I would certainly take in their naked beauty. Similarly, I am certain a naked gay man would “check out” his naked fellow servicemembers whenever he could.

If we are to allow openly gay individuals in the military, then we need to protect such concerns by having separate billeting, bathroom and shower facilities. If done, I would have no issues with gays serving in the military. Otherwise, it is no different than having all billets/showers and bathrooms designated unisex in the military. We already segregate sexuality between males and females; we would need to do the same with gay/nongay if we are to allow openly gay individuals in the military. Doing so is not discriminatory; sexual preference is not the same as our ethnic or racial differences, neither of which involves the sexual mechanics or exposure of our bodies.

Maj. David DeAvila

Pol-E-Charki, Afghanistan

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