My son is serving in the Army near Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. As you report, our troops are spread thin and surrounded. You write, “Since December, three Company A paratroops have been killed ... one by a bomb and two by insurgent gunfire. A Marine was shot in the head and critically wounded.” (“Front lines of the wrong fight?,” article, March 16)

The only way to supply Bala Murghab is by air. You note, “McChrystal said places like Bala Murghab simply weren’t the focus right now.”

This is eerily similar to the battles of Wanat in 2008 and Keating in 2009. After Keating, Gen. Stanley McChrystal issued guidance to prevent or mitigate a repeat of such events. Would allowing a repeat honor the brave men who died at Wanat and Keating? What message will a repeat send to the Taliban? To our soldiers?

The investigation of Wanat concluded retaliation was a factor after the deaths of 17 Afghan civilians. At Bala Murghab, by mistake, five Afghan commandos were killed and 23 other soldiers, mostly Afghan, were wounded (“Building trust; Afghan, coalition forces bridge doubts to make gains in Bala Murghab,” article, March 10).

Will retaliation occur at Bala Murghab? Will our focus in the south force insurgents north, adding to the risk that they will be overrun?

Suicide is a problem. Does it help to position our men “thinly” where the enemy is strong and help is not available? The Seattle Times reports that after Jason Bogar died at Wanat, several notes to his mom were found on his computer: “my days are numbered”; “death is all around me”; and “you all are the reason I am here and to give my life for that is nothing to me.”

My son has three daughters who need a father. These brave men are risking their lives for their country. Why are they not being evacuated or reinforced?

Alan ButterworthSt. Louis

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