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[Stars and Stripes ombudsman Mark J.] Prendergast can defend and justify the printing of that picture [by some media outlets] until he’s blue in the face, it was just wrong: morally, ethically, realistically ("A tough call on photo of dying Marine," Sept. 8). Freedom of the press shouldn’t trump the rights of the privacy for the family that didn’t want it printed.

Of course we as a society tend to not care about who we hurt; we only care about progressing our own agendas. Just like the people at the Department of Defense level who bend the ears of Congress to prevent laws from being passed to protect single-parent servicemembers from losing their kids during a deployment ("Custody battles can become a rude ‘welcome home’ for military parents," article, Sept. 6). Why does it matter to these people if Congress passes a law? It doesn’t — they only care about their agenda and not the people.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates had it right both times: Respect the family’s wishes and pass the law to protect our single parents. As we all know — if it affects one of us, it affects a lot of us. Society is trying to turn the military into this pure, innocent, role model organization and no one ever considers the grunts … the enlisted, the people who make the military.

We were already aware that we would make a lot of sacrifices, but now we’re making sacrifices just to promote and advance those who obviously don’t care about whom they affect. No alcohol, no tobacco, no sex, no privacy. Priests have it better. What’s left for morale out on deployment? PT? College classes? Spare me.

Deploy me, tell me I can’t smoke or drink, I can’t have sex, then let me come home to see my dead buddy’s picture in the paper and that my ex-spouse got to keep my kids. Why do we do this again? Leaders … start considering the people who get you your promotions before you make "policy."

Tech. Sgt. Patrick "Mac" McKimmieMisawa Air Base, Japan


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