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January 19

That's what's in a name

Letters index(Click on date to jump ahead)

January 19 That's what's in a name End sex bias in draft No logic to this warJanuary 21 A campaign idea blossoms No support for war Military wife can relateJanuary 22 Don't narrow the hero profileJanuary 23 It's free, but not greatJanuary 24 Lacking the big picture Stripes is still 'scurrilous'January 25 Troops' support deserves ours The ugly (language) Americans

On the same day (Jan. 11) the headline “Marines speak out on stop-loss orders” appeared in Stripes, the headline “Marine sergeant acquitted in rape case” also appeared. Now, if he’s acquitted I can only assume he was falsely accused. However, just like the mainstream liberal press, there is only mention of his name — before he was acquitted and after the trial. On the other hand, there is no mention of the woman’s name.

Another article in the Jan. 11 edition had the headline “Marine again denied bail in Okinawa assault case.” His name is mentioned, which is another mainstream liberal press tradition, but no mention of the woman who accused him. If he’s found guilty, by all means give him the publicity he deserves. At the same time, if he’s telling the truth about the accusations, give the woman all the credit she deserves.

Considering that morale is negatively affected with the Marines’ stop-loss policies, I’m wondering if Stripes is out to deliberately further negatively affect the Corps — as well as fellow services — with mention of male Marines in rape cases, while not reporting the female names.

Air Force Capt. Roy S. Alba II (Ret.)San Antonio

End sex bias in draft

Regarding the lawsuit filed in federal court by five Massachusetts students challenging the constitutionality of military registration that requires only men to register: This is absolutely awesome! I’ve always believed that women should have to register for the draft. There is no reason that they shouldn’t be called, too.

Imagine today’s educated woman, working in the civilian sector making a hypothetical $60,000, living comfortably by her independent self. The nation goes to war and she continues to live her independent, comfortable life. Meanwhile, her male counterpart is forced to leave his comfortable job, home and life to serve in defense of his way of life.

I realize that everyone isn’t suited for every job, but it doesn’t matter. It is just as likely that her male counterpart could be put in a supply center or put in charge of the mess deck. There are thousands of jobs that women can do during war. Women definitely should be required to register for the draft and required to serve in whatever capacity their government feels they can.

Israel already has a draft for women. Why the U.S. policy remains surprisingly backward on this simple issue, I have not been able to understand for the last 15 years. It’s time to change the law and have women register for the draft.

Marine Staff Sgt. Charlotte Crouch (Ret.)Elfrida, Ariz.

No logic to this war

It looks like we are going to war. The logic of it escapes me, so maybe there is someone who can give me better insight. As of now, there seems to be no turning back from the fact that there will be a war.

The administration says war is the last option. Very simply, officials say, all that needs to happen is the president of Iraq leave his office or destroy all his weapons of mass destruction. We know from many years of experience that Saddam Hussein will not leave his office. To date, no WMDs have been announced as being found. Therefore, war is inevitable.

Why are we supposed to believe that war is not inevitable and is the last option? Have I missed some logic here? The next question is: Why? It started in the summer when the Big 4, in the administration, started beating the war drums with, “We will go to war alone if no one will join us.” But those people have never spent time in a wartime situation. Condoleeza Rice, national security adviser, and Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, have not had the privilege of being in a military situation.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in a nonwartime situation. President Bush avoided the draft by getting in the elite National Guard so that he would not need to go into a combat situation. Why were these people for a war before taking their case to the United Nations?

Why have we not been given a logical reason to enter this war?

Those against the war, originally, included a long list of people who had been in combat situations. This list included some well-known, high-ranking military people such as Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf.

Their vocal opposition seemed quite odd — as they had been strong advocates for this administration until the talk of war began. What did the experienced combat veterans not know about the “need” to go to war that the noncombat veterans did? Somehow, there must have been a gap in the information. As a result, the logical conclusions formed by the veterans and citizens of the United States have been nonexistent. The information needed to form a strong conclusion has been less than adequate.

The overall conclusion seems to be that history repeats itself. Those who have no experience in war create the war. The fighting in the war is done by citizens, without the information needed to reach a logical conclusion.

Bill HatchettNauheim, Germany

January 21

A campaign idea blossoms

I saw a preview of the “Daisy” ad showing a child picking petals off of the flower while a voice in the background begins a countdown that ends in an atomic bomb explosion. The people behind this remade 1964 ad are the anti-war crowd — mainly the Hollywood elite, university students, disgruntled individuals and society dropouts, to name a few.

California has already held anti-war marches with actor Martin Sheen. When these ads start running across TV screens, this will hype up the media to provide even more biased coverage and bring out those looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

I am writing to suggest that the military do a pre-emptive media strike before the anti-military momentum really starts to build. This might include ads featuring what can happen to the United States were there no military to defend Americans against future attacks on our soil. Citizens need to realize that it is our military which is holding terrorists at bay and helping to ensure that these enemies of America do not start World War III and end civilization as we know it.

Movie theaters are a perfect place to launch these film/ads as public service announcements. This also is an opportunity to work with major studios to produce these ads and highlight the roles of U.S. servicemembers and the sacrifices they are willing to make to protect Americans and the world at large.

Never again do I want to see U.S. soldiers come home to hisses and scorn the way our courageous Vietnam veterans did thanks to the ilk of Jane Fonda, et al.

I am not in the military — just a supporter of our armed forces and very grateful that there are so many patriotic citizens still willing to defend our nation. May God Bless all of them and their families.

Margie TiritilliMontebello, Calif.

No support for war

Soldiers and sailors: Go to the brig, not to Iraq.

If President Bush declares unilateral war, I will not support our troops.

The United States will be guilty of unprovoked aggression and the unnecessary killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis. These Iraqis will not be defending Saddam Hussein, but defending their homeland — motivated by blind patriotism, just like many of our troops.

Our troops will be fighting to replace Saddam with a new American-puppet warlord, or worse, a neo-colonial governor. God bless America, but forget about an American empire. They will be obeying the orders of a corrupt government, not the wishes of most Americans.

When more than 68 percent of Congress voted for unilateral war, only 37 percent of their constituents supported such a war. By obeying these orders, our troops will be supporting this corruption. Corrupt-dollar politics has created corrupt-dollar diplomacy.

Our troops should refuse to fight. Aside from the moral basis, there may also be a legal basis to refuse. Our troops have sworn to uphold the Constitution. Congress voted, but it cannot delegate to the president its responsibility to declare war — and how can its vote be considered tantamount to a declaration of war when there was not then and is not now a clearly stated “cause for war”?

America now needs moral courage, not physical courage. Going to the brig is the single most important duty an American servicemember can now perform for his or her country.

John F. ScanlonSan Diego

Military wife can relate

My daughter and I are just back from visiting my reservist husband in England. I read the Dec. 31 letter “A twist on the warrior mentality” and I was so happy to see the writer’s letter. The letter was a perfect description of what it is like to be a military wife. I look forward to the return of my husband, so I can go off duty as a “warrior wife” and just be a wife again.

Pat WoodCortland, N.Y.

January 22

Don't narrow the hero profile

I, being a white man — part American Indian but not enough to claim title to being a warrior — would like to respond to the Dec. 31 letter “Ali shouldn’t appear on AFN.” Why? Ali is an American, that is why.

I was introduced to Cassius Clay in 1963, outside the bar Joe’s Palm Room in Louisville, Ky. I was very impressed with his charisma, self-discipline and, particularly, the size of his hands (so was Joe Frazier) when we exchanged grips. I decided then that this guy will be a great American, and a role model for a bunch of people.

Heroes are not all white people. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Isom Dart (Cowboy), Red Cloud, Geronimo, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad and, yes, even Louis Pasteur were all non-Caucasians; they also were heroes and role models.

If the letter writer really looks at it as being a “hero,” it is not limited to folks who fight wars or die in combat — or elect to serve in the military.

Look at President Clinton: no military service, admitted to smoking dope, committed adultery — not by sexual intercourse, of course — yet is still a hero and role model to many (not me).

If I remember my history, the colonists (not all) turned their backs to the king, and the flag of Britain. By doing so, they were disobedient to the ruling government. The act resulted in the right to liberty and established our right to be a nation.

I do not recall any portion mentioned in history of a mass return of loyalists to Britain. They all remained in country and became citizens and enjoyed the right to make individual decisions.

Muhammad Ali had every right to deny service in the military and for whatever reason he elected to use, it is his right as an American. He did not run off and join the Taliban; he did not point a weapon at any American citizen; he did not change his citizenship; he did not cause the death of our prisoners of war. He paid his taxes and represented the American public each time he “danced like a butterfly and stung like a bee.”

Ali was, and still is, the greatest.

I consider as heroes any people (such as Indians, Hispanics, African-Americans, Caucasians, starving Koreans and Africans) and any other branch of the human family that continues to hope but is being deprived of so much by so few.

America, like Muhammad Ali, is the greatest and will remain so as long as we have citizens such as him demanding to remain free to make individual decisions regarding principle and integrity.

Command Sgt. Maj. William K. Carroll (Ret.)Giessen, Germany

January 23

It's free, but not great

This is in response to the Jan. 18 letter “More than a paycheck.”

I was very upset when I read what the writer wrote. He stated that soldiers receive free medical insurance; I just want to say: Yes, we get it free but, honestly, it is not that great. I guess that is what you expect when the service is free.

I am pretty sure there are many people in the theater who would agree with me that they wouldn’t mind paying for better service if we could.

The writer then stated we don’t pay for our housing. Has the writer honestly taken a look at the quarters some soldiers are living in? They are not kept up to standard, so they are in poor condition. Tenants can hear their neighbors’ whole conversations and every move. But the writer would state: “Why complain when they are free?”

The writer is correct when he stated that soldiers don’t have to worry about pink slips or layoffs. However, he needs to look at the fact that soldiers have to worry about much worse things, such as if they are going to be able to make it home at night, if they will be able to spend the holidays with their family — or will they be hundreds of miles away, fighting a war for the great nation that we live in.

But the writer believes soldiers are overpaid.

Tracy DavisHanau, Germany

January 24

Lacking the big picture

In response to the Jan. 19 letter “No logic to this war,” in one way the writer is right: There is no turning back that there will be a war. We have committed our troops and strength too far to stop now. It is in the hands of Iraq now. For more than 10 years, Saddam Hussein has killed his own people, his most loyal leaders and even is alleged to have ordered the attempted assassination of his own son (who disobeyed him).

He has defied the whole world, the United Nations and his Muslim neighbors. But his neighbors protect him by saying they will not promote war against him because of their faith. But when their countries are under aggression, they look toward the United States for help. I don’t understand why the writer can’t understand that if Saddam can hide for more than 10 years, he still can manipulate the world with his deceptive ways. The writer still hasn’t seen the big picture.

The United Nations is inspecting Saddam now, and he should be complying, yet he still shoots at NATO aircraft. Saddam is not stupid; he is very smart. However, he is as insane as Adolf Hitler. It is not about whether our leaders served in war. Poor people serve in the military, rich people’s children go to college — or join the National Guard or reserves. However, many national guardsmen and reservists have honorably served our country during times of war.

I have been in combat. My parents didn’t have money to keep me out of Vietnam, or in college. I served during Vietnam and Desert Storm, and retired after 20 years. My son is now serving his country in Kosovo, with the possibility of finishing in Iraq what we didn’t do the first time. However, I will never degrade any servicemember serving his or her country, and will stand behind them all the way. I will gladly rejoin them if I am allowed to — even though I retired at age 49.

I am a war veteran, and I agree with what is being waged against Iraq. The letter writer must not be a war veteran, since the comments reflect no knowledge of those who have so served. Again, I pray that this situation ends peacefully. However, as a sensible human being, and as a war veteran, I doubt it very seriously.

My worst fear is not a war, but that once we quickly demolish Saddam’s military might, we will have to put ground troops into Baghdad to search house-to-house to find — and hopefully kill — this tyrant.

The United States and its allies will lose thousands of young soldiers. We will win, but there will be losses.

Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth A. Cox (Ret.)Böblingen, Germany

Stripes is still 'scurrilous'

Why in the world would Stars and Stripes print the mindless drivel of “No support for war” (Jan. 21)? Is the newspaper not aware that its audience is predominantly military? Is it intentionally wanting to undermine the mission and morale of those soldiers who may have to deploy?

The writer has a right to submit a letter, but the editors should practice some common-sense discretion.

I trust the elected leaders of our country, who say that they have evidence to support their actions. Is the writer privileged to that information? I think not, and, therefore, the writer is in an uneducated position.

Our system demands that the president make the case to the American people, and this he will do should it come down to war. I notice that the writer made no reference to having ever served in the military. He espouses a view that will cost him nothing, but he exhorts our brave soldiers to go to the brig in his stead. Contemptuous.

During World War II, Gen. George Patton described Stars and Stripes as “scurrilous” for undermining good order and discipline. Some things never change.

Chaplain (Maj.) Robert F. LandBaumholder, Germany

January 25

Troops' support deserves ours

I retired Jan. 1 from the Air Force after 22 years. My family members who supported me for all those years are now possibly in harm’s way.

I’ve heard so many individuals quoted in the media about America’s sons and daughters who made the choice to join the military and now are deployed in the Persian Gulf region. The media really eat that up and print as much as they can for our folks who have been sent over there involuntarily.

Very rarely does the media print or say anything about those (like my wife) who volunteer their services and possibly their lives in support of those who are serving. My wife is a civilian who works for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service; she volunteered to deploy for six months to an undisclosed location in Kuwait to help run a store that will supply our troops.

Our oldest child is a Marine currently deployed somewhere in Kuwait as well. Our oldest daughter is in the Air Force, stationed in Alaska, and our youngest daughter is married to an airman who may be deployed. So, you see, my entire family is involved in this endeavor and the media doesn’t print things like that, only about the troops.

We need to take some time to also honor those who serve our troops abroad, not just the troops who were ordered there. My wife volunteered to put herself in harm’s way. A pure volunteer. Let’s honor them, too.

Master Sgt. Jack Overbeck (Ret.)Trenton, Ill.

The ugly (language) Americans

There is within us a desire to express ourselves, and the manner in which we relay our thoughts to others reflects our personality. I find that many Americans resort to the use of vulgar language to share their opinions, and I venture to insist that the friends of perverse lack sophistication and cultivation.

I work in retail. Owing to my Christian views, I am endowed with an equanimity that enables me to cope with encounters that include rudeness and selfishness.

However, it is so discouraging to have to witness an outpour of gutter vocabulary, especially when children are present. Swearing does not make one interesting; rather, it suggests that one is without a certain refinement that would make his or her company pleasant.

Duchan CaudillDarmstadt, Germany


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