Regarding Colman McCarthy’s Jan. 3 column “Expand peace studies, not ROTC, on campuses”: I agree that peace studies is a discipline worth pursuing and commend any university that provides it as a choice. Where I take issue is with two of his points.

The first is his comparison of the U.S. military and the Taliban. The principles of the Taliban are not similar to the principles of the U.S. military, as McCarthy implies in his column. Our soldiers have committed crimes in war, but that does not represent our military as a whole; it is an everyday occurrence in the Taliban.

My last issue is with the theme of his column. He encourages us to believe that there can be a world at peace without a military. His freedom to write the gibberish he produces and determine the very course of this nation by voting is delivered to him by the military. Does he believe that dictators like Kim Jong Il wouldn’t act on whatever demented plan they devised if it wasn’t for a strong U.S. military?

I contend that McCarthy lives in a fantasy world where most elitists of his ilk reside — a world that is free of madness, evil and suffering. I hope to reach that locale at some point, but I doubt that I will until I die. In the interim, I have come to accept that I live in an imperfect world and have to make the best of it. I strive for peace but accept that I may have to fight for it. I live in the real world.

Lt. Col. James E. Bass

Red River, Texas

Beliefs belong to individuals

In response to “No ‘myth’ involved with magi” (letter, Jan. 4): The word “myth” is not used to offend anyone; it is even [said to have been] used by a pope to describe his own religion. Pope Leo X [reportedly] said, “It has served us well, this myth of Christ.”

Nobody is “Christian-bashing” in the paper; it would not be printed if it was. Some Christians may believe that the Magi really existed, others that it is a myth, others that it is a representation of the three stars in the constellation Orion’s Belt. It is all the way one chooses to believe in the story, which may or may not be true (we may never know for sure). If someone does believe it is true, do not be offended by what someone else may think of your beliefs.

Each person is entitled to his or her own opinion, and the “politically correctness” that has taken over the nation lately has become a sickness. I was taught, as I grew up, not to care about another person’s impression of me, or what someone else thinks. I grew up to be me and not what someone else thought I should be.

Everything nowadays offends people, and our freedoms of speech, press, religion and assembly are being impeded because one person complains. Democracy is based on the majority deciding the laws and ways to do things. Lately one person complaining about a petty issue means the whole country must change. Parents complain that a movie is too graphic and that children shouldn’t see it. Well, parents, don’t let your kid see it — it’s rated R for a reason.

If this is how it is going to be, then I am offended by people being offended by petty issues. Therefore, according to the rules of “being politically correct,” people need to stop being easily offended.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Carroll

Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan

Bible never wavers on gays

I would like to point out to the writer of “‘Don’t ask,’ surf and turf” (letter, Jan. 5) that while the Bible speaks clearly against homosexuality and makes a specific comment about shellfish, the Bible also says that God told man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing.” So, at some point, God condoned us doing as we wished with shellfish — so the argument of eating shellfish is “just as bad as homosexuality” doesn’t hold water because (assuming you believe the Bible) God at no time condoned homosexuality.

I’m sick of homosexuals trying to use the military to push their social agenda. Because if it was about having the honor of serving in the military, then they could do that under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But they wanted to have a show of repealing it, and then we allowed those who openly violated a known policy off with a slap on the wrist and are now letting them back in, which is a shame. They have already shown that they are incapable of following policies.

What would we do if servicemembers who didn’t like the policy that they aren’t allowed to use marijuana just started ignoring the policy? Or how about servicemembers who want to have beards? This double standard is despicable.

Drake Pendragon

Forward Operating Base Warrior, Iraq

Two dissimilar situations

In response to “A new discrimination emerges” (letter, Dec. 29): I’m curious as to how discriminating against the choices servicemembers make that negatively affect others compares to discriminating against someone based on his or her nature. A great deal of evidence supports homosexuality being linked to one’s physiology, and discrimination based on one’s birth (excepting specific gender restrictions) is not tolerated in the military. People choose to smoke, and they can choose to stop; in addition, smoking is not conducive to the health of others. People choose to promote platforms of hatred or degradation, which can create a hostile work environment and should be disallowed. Anyone who has taken the time to speak to someone who has wrestled with homosexuality throughout his or her life would realize that the social climate of our nation makes it an extremely unattractive choice, leaving one’s nature as the only rational reason that someone would act on his or her feelings in this regard.

The military should absolutely stamp out cases where the choices of servicemembers affect the ability of their peers to conduct missions professionally, such as displaying messages of hatred, degrading images, religious intolerance or performing activities detrimental to others’ health. As the military of a nation that values freedom and the inherent equality of individuals, it is distressing and hypocritical to condemn others based on their nature, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make narrow-minded people.

Spc. Al Provance

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Legends motivate Marines

Regarding the Jan. 5 Rumor Doctor column “Did Marines, not Germans, coin the name ‘Devil Dogs’?”: Current and former Marines alike rely on stories of heroism and tradition as a great source of motivation and inspiration in order to achieve what would normally be considered impossible feats and accomplishments. We are taught from day one of boot camp to spend our entire careers and lives attempting to live up to those who came before us as well as strive to set the standard for future Marines.

When people attempt to shoot holes in Marine Corps traditions and stories of heroism — whether they are “tradition or truth” — they take something away from the Marine Corps and, therefore, away from all those who are currently serving and have served.

Hundreds of thousands of Marines have served because they wanted to be the best. It’s critical for the young Marine serving in Iraq to wake up every day believing he or she is the best and that no enemy could possibly outshoot or outwit him or her in battle. In addition, it’s also critical that the enemy continue to believe that it’s foolish to stand in the way of a squad of Marines.

I encourage the Rumor Doctor to spend his valuable time writing articles and conducting research that bolsters motivation among Marines (and those who love and support them) or work for an alternate newspaper.

Michael Knox


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