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December 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Focus efforts on reducing national debt instead
Your editorial couldn’t be more timely and overdue after 12 years of futile fighting and vast expenditures on the part of U.S. taxpayers [“Leave Afghanistan," Opinion, Nov. 29].
Your reasons cited for being against another “10 years of U.S. blood and treasure invested in that country” seem to be lost on our military, as well as on a significant number of congressional leaders.
To your valid list of reasons for an immediate pullout from this unsalvageable country, I would like to add two additional concerns: first, Afghanistan’s complete refusal and/or ability to eliminate or drastically reduce their annual opium production, which supplies about 90 percent of the world’s heroin; and second, the hundreds of billions more dollars that will be needed to support their undependable army for another 10 years.
These same funds could be utilized to decrease our skyrocketing national debt of some $17 trillion dollars.
— Norman Dixon, Lacey
September 2, 2013 at 7:29 AM
Similar cases, different outcomes
If a Muslim (Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan) kills 13 adults, he is sentenced to death. [“Fort Hood shooter gets death,” News, Aug. 29.]
But if a Christian (Sgt. Robert Bales) kills 16 civilians, some of them children, he is only sentenced to life in prison. [“Afghans decry Bales’ sentence,” page one, Aug. 24.]
True, there are technical reasons for the disparate sentences, such as demanding a trial versus pleading guilty, but these distinctions may be lost on the wider Muslim world.
Charlie Blackman, Seattle
August 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Justice for victims
I am sickened, and ashamed, that we are seeing this murderer trying to get a lesser sentence for the murder of 16 unarmed people, including women and children. [“Bales faces survivors of his Afghan rampage,” page one, Aug. 21.]
Looking at his smug face, knowing that there is a tape of him laughing about his actions, makes me sad and ashamed of him. He has no remorse, for sure.
Please do not try to give the lame excuses of the stress or child abuse he might have suffered. Enough! There must be justice for the victims.
Rosa Barringer, Everett
August 5, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Manning endangered troops
I am a liberal without a bleeding heart. Pfc. Bradley Manning will receive a punishment that he has righteously earned. [“Northwest Voices: Bradley Manning,” Opinion, Aug. 2.]
He was given an unjustifiable reprieve when acquitted of directly aiding and abetting the enemy. It is clear that he set out to harm the dear old United States of America by revealing thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.
It is no coincidence that some of what he revealed wound up on Osama bin Laden’s computer when it was confiscated during the Abbottabad raid, as prosecutors argued.
If any of his revelations harmed one hair on my son’s head while he served his two tours in Iraq, I would advocate for the death penalty.
LeRoy Loiselle, Seattle
June 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM
Guest column had good points
Right on! [“Guest Column: Many share responsibility for civilian deaths, Sgt. Bales,” Opinion, June 15.] Thank goodness he had the courage to point out the obvious:
1. Multiple tours are immoral and
2. Institute the draft and find out how quickly these immoral “wars” would end once our kids were jerked out of the good life, put on boots and marched to Afghanistan to have their legs blown off.
Daily, soldiers walk across dusty terrain, out in the open like sitting ducks, walking into land mines. Does anyone else in America think this is insane?
Susan Fox, Seattle
Multiple tours are damaging to soldiers
It has never been said better and clearer, starting with instituting the draft. If those hawks in Congress want wars, then put their kids at the head of the line.
Making our troops suffer through four or five tours and using the excuse that they are volunteers is ludicrous. Should we be thankful that the majority who crack under pressure turn it inward and suffer depression, PTSD, broken families and suicide, but don’t go on a rage like Army Sgt. Robert Bales did?
For the record, I did a one-year tour in Vietnam and I only met one person who volunteered for an extension of his tour there.
There is no question that the world is a dangerous place and there are aggressive bad guys out there. The question is, are we a bit too aggressive ourselves?
Jack McPherson, Coupeville
June 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Don’t ignore mental illness
Thank you, John Hoon, for your letter [“Walk in his shoes,” Northwest Voices, June 10]. I thought I was the only one out here who had some sympathy for Sgt. Robert Bales.There is no doubt that what he did was despicable, but the fact that the United States kept sending this poor man back to Afghanistan when he had already been there more times than most was even more despicable.
Sgt. Bales was not only battle weary, but was mentally weary, probably suffering from PTSD. Yet, the Army kept sending him back.
How the military can justify the callousness of their actions is beyond me. I guess what surprises me, also, is that there aren’t more Sgt. Bales’ with the same mental disorders serving our military.
Darlene Cox, Seattle
Correction: Information in this article, originally published June 14, 2013, was corrected June 14, 2013. A previous version of this story used a headline that implied that Sgt. Robert Bales had been sentenced. Bales sentencing is not expected until August of this year.
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