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I was appalled to see on the front page of the July 25 Stars and Stripes an article titled “AFN lineup to include uncensored HBO series,” which was given almost a full additional page inside. Perhaps unnoticed by some because of its mere six sentences and location on Page 3 was a barely noticeable article, “NATO: 2 U.S. troops missing in Afghanistan.”

America seems to have lost its sense of value in supporting and caring about American troops. Regardless of their personal or political views about the war on terrorism, and U.S. forces being in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American population used to care about the individual troops. But now that has all changed. No one seems to care about the troops anymore, just the politics surrounding U.S. forces being in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two missing U.S. troops in Afghanistan is simple trivia to the American population, as evident by the lack of proper media attention by major media outlets such as Fox News and CNN, who have trivialized this event.

I would like to think that Stars and Stripes, America’s military newspaper, has not become so engrossed in the social politics of media as to forget who it represents and serves. Placing a six-sentence article about two missing U.S. troops on Page 3 was disgraceful enough, but to have what is on television as a front-page headline (with an additional page) is just flat-out despicable.

Stars and Stripes represents America’s armed forces, especially those in a combat zone such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and it owes it to those servicemembers and their families to give proper recognition to newsworthy events — such as two U.S. troops missing from a combat zone — not what is going to be on TV.

Sgt. 1st Class Lemoore Rangel

Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq

State Dept. overstepping

Regarding “State Dept. planning to field a small army in Iraq” (article, July 23): The Vienna Accords and many subsequent international agreements require that a host country provide security for foreign diplomatic missions. Diplomatic personnel also have special status under this accord, the Geneva Conventions and other agreements.

Why then is the U.S. State Department attempting to become an armed force? Wouldn’t it be better, and wiser, to either renegotiate the status of forces agreement or simply close the embassy? I don’t think the U.S. would look favorably on a foreign state turning its embassies into paramilitary organizations. This decision must be re-evaluated.

Herbert E. Peterson

Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Not best PTSD case to profile

While reading the July 18 Scene article “When words heal,” on veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder through poetry, I noticed that one of the veterans profiled was a Coast Guard petty officer who is dealing with PTSD from her year piloting a ski-boat in Kuwait. The photo of this traumatized warrior shows her smiling proudly in her full combat kit (a lifejacket, no weapon visible, no helmet, no body armor) under the awning of her Boston Whaler.

I was in Aden, Yemen, with Operation Determined Response and recently returned from Iraq — both are in stark contrast to the R&R found in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. I would wager my next leave and earnings statement that there is a greater statistical risk of injury driving on the freeway in a major U.S. city than there is watching shipping in Kuwait.

We are all supposed to be members of the profession of arms; let’s focus more on killing the enemy and less on PTSD from boating.

Capt. Patrick Snyder

Fort Bliss, Texas

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