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I would like to commend [Stars and Stripes ombudsman Mark J.] Prendergast for a well-written and -articulated column on showing war at its ugliest (“A tough but correct call on photo of dying Marine,” Sept. 8).

As Prendergast discussed, we as a nation have become too disconnected from our current conflicts. War is an ugly thing and should not be sanitized by hiding the cost from our public. Simply reading a number pales in comparison to seeing the bodies of brave American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Our nation must not be allowed to believe that this war is Nintendo. The media does not have to show the face of the servicemember when they print a picture; they can blur it; but our nation needs to see the cost.

I know there are those who do not share my beliefs, but my brethren and I have seen the face of friends lying dead on the battlefield. How do you ensure that those who enjoy the liberty that these brave men and women defend understand that the liberties they enjoy are paid for in blood?

Our comrades deserve to be seen; not as a disgrace, but as the heroes they are for making the ultimate sacrifice for their countrymen. This harsh principle is in line with our founding ideals; as members of a democratic society, Americans should understand the price of warfare firsthand. Only then will we understand the costs of liberty.

Maj. Michael G. GonzalezBaghdad

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