Kudos to Italy for banning nonbiodegradable plastic bags, but shame on Stars and Stripes for using fear tactics that prices will go up (“AAFES mulls plastic bag plan for Italy,” brief, Jan. 11, Europe edition).

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service makes available reusable bags, which should have been mentioned in the article. Americans need to buy these or bring their own. If not, they will be charged for bags like it’s done in most of the European grocery stores.

We must obey the other rules in Europe, why not this one?

Many cities in the United States have banned plastic bags and they’ve survived. We can’t put a price on preserving the environment for our children’s future.

Chris Lukasiewicz

Kaiserslautern, Germany

Photo shows leaders lacking

In reference to the photo on the front page of your Jan. 8 edition (“A resilient insurgency”): I could not believe my eyes. The Army pays an incredible amount of money to equip our soldiers in order to extend their life expectancy on the battlefield. These two soldiers are engaged in combat with no Advanced Combat Helmet, shirt and no regulation eye protection. What kind of leadership allows this, especially when these soldiers are at an outpost with minimal to no protection?

It is time that the leadership takes a good look at how our soldiers are sent to battle. They do not look like soldiers; they look like mercenaries.

It’s time to take care of our soldiers on the battlefield. I do not want to be the guy who has to explain to a mother that her son or daughter was killed because they weren’t using their protective equipment.

Master Sgt. Oscar Bonilla

Logistics Support Area Ali Al Salem, Kuwait

Just respect soldiers equally

In response to all who have written about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy before and after the repeal happens, here are some points you should consider:

Those who wish to quote the Bible or use God and Jesus as their reference should remember we were all created in his image and likeness. I don’t think that God’s blueprint for us is flawed.

I don’t know the Bible line for line, but I do recall reading a part about “I am that I am.” Therefore we are all as he is.

For those who are worried about [whether] the soldier who is next to you in battle [is gay], you have to take into consideration that that soldier took the same oath that you did to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” If you are worried about whether James and John (or Sue and Sally) like each other and are not concerned if they can put steel on steel, then you are not in a battle and they still have to defend your rights to dislike them for who they are.

The military is the world largest “corporation,” but less than 1 percent of the total population in the United States serves to protect her and all that she stand for. As with any corporation or organization, there are rules and regulations in place to handle those who wish to violate them. We will have a few [rule violators], but we have them right now also.

Finally, the “front line” is a movies term. That line is where you disembark from the plane into theater, and those [gay soldiers who abided by “don’t ask, don’t tell”] have been paying the ultimate price — and no one cared about their preference or lifestyle. They are soldiers and deserve to be treated as such.

Staff Sgt. Antonio Releford

Schweinfurt, Germany

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