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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 04:21 PM
Original message
More Stars and Stripes letters of dissent, July 13 - 19
Conventional wisdom in Cuba

Growing up as a baby boomer, I heard much about Americas actions in World War II, and also about the actions of our enemies. One thing that was stressed was how we treated our prisoners of war, and how we complied with the terms of the Geneva Conventions. The Japanese treatment of their prisoners was used to show how they were not just our enemies, but also evil.

Now I can hardly stomach the idea of America in violation of these conventions. The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are prisoners of war and should be granted the rights as human beings under these conventions. I understand that the U.S. mainland was attacked, and that has shocked and frightened many people. They see the mistreatment of these Taliban fighters and terrorist as justified if it keeps us safe.

The Geneva Convention on prisoners of war was created for just this sort of situation to get people to behave humanely even under the toughest of circumstance. It is not when things are going well that character is shown; it is in times of duress that true character emerges. The British proved theirs during the Blitz. Despite the fact that their homes were being bombed nightly, they treated their German prisoners of war fairly. Even the captured pilots who were doing the bombing were given the rights granted to all human beings under the Geneva Conventions.

It is time for Americans to make it clear what we really stand for. All men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights. This includes the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Tess Crotty
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa

July 14

Iraq wasn't a threat

In the letter Attacking Iraq (Dec. 11, 2002), I said that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that the only reason President Bush wanted a war was so a few of his friends could make a lot of money. I listed people like Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and others with the oil companies of their past affiliations, Halliburton and Chevron to name a few.

Its six months later. Halliburtons Brown & Root got an uncontested, two-year, $9 billion contract in Iraq. And another of President Bushs biggest campaign contributors, Bechtel Corp., got an even bigger contract involving Iraq.

As I said six months ago, invading Iraq will make a lot of money for a few close business friends of the Bush administration. And what about the rest of us Americans? Well, its going to cost us $100 billion to pay for this war, and America is not one bit safer. Oh, and did I mention that no WMDs have been found in Iraq?

I know a lot of readers want to believe that the Bush administration invaded Iraq to protect American lives by securing any WMDs that the Iraqis may have had. But if that was true, then can someone please tell me how U.S. forces managed to secure and guard the Baghdad oil ministry building but left a number of nuclear facilities open to looting? These facilities held tons of radioactive materials, enough to make many radioactive dirty bombs, and were looted.

I dont blame our GIs. Dumb orders like being told to guard an empty oil ministry building instead of nuclear sites (the main purpose of the war) had to come from the highest level of civilian leadership. Readers know the ones the ex-oil executives.

I believe the Bush administration lied about WMDs in Iraq. Or at best, it intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq. Department of Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz nearly confessed as much in the story Wolfowitz interview revives WMD furor (May 31). Even if the reasons cited by Wolfowitz were the real truth behind the war, lying about WMDs, insulting key allies who didnt support that lie, and letting former business affiliates profit from the effects of the lie have to be impeachable offenses. After all, hundreds of Americans died and thousands of Iraqis are dead. We hung ex-President Clinton out to dry for lying about sex that hurt no one. Dont the families who lost loved ones deserve an investigation into these allegations?

In the last 10 years, no Iraqis have shot at or killed any Americans who werent trying to invade their country or kill them first. Gen. Tommy Franks admitted to using no-fly zone planes to attack Iraq at the start of the most recent Iraq war, so they were always fair game. My point is that Iraq was never the threat which the Bush administration has made it out to be.

James A. Carrethers

Why aren't soldiers home?

I have just finished reading Stars and Stripes for the first time. I am among the thousands of family members who are trying to understand all of the things that are not being done to bring our troops home, even though President Bush declared the war over in mid May.

The fighting in Middle Eastern countries will never be over, regardless of whether we find Saddam Hussein, because the people there have been fighting since the beginning of time (if we go back to stories in the Bible of Cain and Abel). Yes, the president said we should go in and free the people of Iraq; but there will always be a group of terrorists that will want to take over to show they will take up where their ruler left off.

If the war was declared over, why hasnt the United States sent some replacements over? U.S. servicemembers in Iraq are truthful when they say they are bearing each day the heat, conditions and the most important thing not knowing for sure when they will come home. I try not even to watch the news, for it upsets me to know that our troops are in danger more then when we first went into Baghdad. We all have to try and put ourselves in the position of each and every servicemember in Iraq; they dont know when they will have a time set to come home, and now our president wants to send so many into Africa, which is another mess.

When is the U.S. government going to wake up? We dont need to try and fix other countries problems when they dont want our help and our country, to me, has no right to tell another person to get out or else. We will keep helping countries, but if you look at the countries that were there to support us in Iraq, it was upsetting. I was taught when the United Nations was formed that is what the word stood for: united together. It was upsetting to know that the countries that we were there for backed down; that tells me United Nations is a misnomer.

I dont care to hear that people are opposed to the statement In God we trust because we had better. As a concerned grandmother who has a grandson in the National Guard, I am proud of all the military units that are still in Iraq, but it is time to bring them home and to give them all a fixed date.

Rose Marie Jueden
Yankton, S.D

Drastic change

Im a GI who served in both Gulf wars. Ive seen a drastic change in the Army. In the first Gulf War, we were a more self-contained Army. We did the mission ourselves, no matter what it was, and we did it without always having civilians in the middle of things. Its a shame when I hear GIs say they cant do something because civilians do that job now. The Army spends a lot of money training us to do any job that a civilian does. Its time we give noncommissioned officers their jobs back and make soldiers do the jobs theyre trained to do and quit depending on civilians.

I arrived in the Gulf for the second time on March 27 and couldnt believe the disarray I saw as I went from camp to camp. Each one looked like a junkyard. There was equipment everywhere. No one knew where anyone was located. In 1991, everything had its place. It just seemed to me that no one cared this time around.

When I got to the theater in 1991, it was time to work. It wasnt time to ask where the post exchange was or where the Internet was located. It wasnt time to make a beeline to the mess hall or go back to the tent and go to sleep. There was mail to be sorted, water to be palletized and supplies to be moved forward.

Where is the highest-ranking officer in charge of this camp? Oh yeah, thats right. He or she is in the PX line or on noncommissioned officer business while the camp is on autopilot.

Sgt. Tyray Daniels
Baghdad, Iraq

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Wow! Thanks! I just reposted on of the letters on a thread
that was worried about if the chant was going to become "It's the anti-war protesters fault the Soldiers are dying"!

I don't think so! :kick:
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Best_man23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. My Favorite
Bush not in Iraq

It was a no-brainer that President Bushs reaction to the attacks on our troops in Iraq was bring them on. Hes not there. Hes not feeling the day-to-day heat and the stress of being away from home and getting shot at and maybe killed. Bush sure is a tough guy. So tough, in fact, that he was in the National Guard during the Vietnam War flying over Texas, and during part of that time was absent without leave. Nobody seems to remember that. People should do some research. So lets all rally around Bush and support the Iraqis to bring them on. And lets keep our troops in a dangerous position while our government tries to figure out what its next move will be.

Bushs daughters are old enough to join the military, right? Why not send them to a recruiting station and bring them on? Oh, I forgot. Daddy has money and is running the United States.

And what about the United States weapons of mass destruction? Out of every country in the world that has weapons of mass destruction, the United States is the only country that has used them. What if the world wakes up and bands together and comes on over and tries to disarm the United States? What if they want to go door-to-door and take our own personnel weapons?

Saddam Hussein is gone, and for that the world is a better place, even though we havent found him or Osama bin Laden yet. What happened to all of that American money that was found over there? While our own government cuts money from such things as education and Social Security to fund the war, the money that was found is doing what? Is our government turning around and putting it right back into Iraq? I dont know. It hasnt said. Its like the American ammunition that was found during the first few days of the war. It was probably left over from when we armed Saddam to fight Iran. Did readers not know that?

One last question: How long are we going to sit around and let our friends, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles stay in Iraq? What is the magic number of dead American troops that has to be reached before Bush gets tired of telling Iraqis to bring it on?

Jason Mayfield
Hanau, Germany

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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I like the fact that grandmothers are writing Stripes w/their concern
Also, James Carrethers has written a few excellent letters in the past as have others.

I've written some, too. :)
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LiberalLibra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. I hate to see our military suffering like this but hopefully all this....
.....will loose Bush the military and military family votes.
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Trained to suffer, but the limits are being reached
Suffer. What does Bush know of that?
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