Letters to the Editor
Marines should be held accountable for actions; Article, headline missed point of protest
Marines should be held accountable for actions
"Forgive the 4 Marines. We too have sinned."
These were the words posted on the reader board at Martin Glass in Cornelius. The proprietor of this establishment is obviously referring to the recent video of four U.S. Marines in full military gear urinating on several corpses in Afghanistan. Are the Marines not supposed to be the most elite wing of the U.S. military, the most highly trained and disciplined?
Did they have no idea how potentially damaging their actions might be?
This is the sort of activity that serves as the best kind of recruiting tool for the Taliban, guaranteeing hatred and resentment towards the United States for decades to come, not to mention a spectacular justification for our soldiers to be treated in an equally degrading manner. Did these four soldiers just figure they wouldn't get caught or identified or have a price to pay?
This incident comes on the heels of the trial for the last Marine engaged in the murder of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq in November 2005. These Iraqi citizens, mostly women, children and elderly men, were attacked in their homes (with grenades and automatic weapons) in their pajamas, as retribution for the killing of a fellow Marine by someone else.
Not surprisingly, charges were dropped on six of the perpetrators and one was acquitted, thus evading punishment. Staff Sgt. Frank Wutherich was convicted of one count of negligent dereliction of duty and will be demoted to the rank of private, and avoid any jail time. This is just another example of the type of horrible injustice in this worthless war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Isn't it time to remove all troops from both places (including 'contractors'), and cease military adventurism around the globe?
Although it may be true that most people have sinned in one way or another, does the admission of a sin make any kind of reprehensible behavior OK?
Whatever happened to the notion of personal responsibility, so popular with conservatives? It seems that there are no limits on despicable actions as long as one asks for forgiveness.
Sometimes, certain behaviors are just plain wrong and treating this incident, as well as the Haditha massacre as a 'boys will be boys' phenomenon is not just inappropriate, it's inhumane and dangerous.
Article, headline missed point of protest
I read the article about Barb Smith's concern that middle school children in Gaston are being recruited by the military, and was perplexed by the article's title, 'Recruitment Wars.'
In my own discussion with Barb Smith, shown in the photo, I did not perceive her to be initiating any kind of war about recruitment. Instead, she was inviting dialogue about the ethics of recruiting preteen and barely teen children, initially by luring them with free gifts at the middle school, to (in a few years time) participating in war.
Two of her other key points are: first, these youngsters have as many as 60 opportunities at school to meet with a military recruiter before they have a single opportunity to meet with a college recruiter.
Second, even though parents may have signed a paper at the beginning of the school year to 'opt out' of having their child's contact information to be given to the military, the military can in essence circumvent this parental decision by soliciting it from the child when they get their free gift.
Moreover, I wonder why the reporter chose, in the same article, to focus on a Forest Grove High School graduate who chose the military over college. The reporter seems to miss the point Barb Smith is making about 12 and 13 year olds being recruited, which is unique to Gaston School District, because its middle and high school share a campus.
I applaud questioning the morality of exposing such young, impressionable children to military recruiters.
Like Barb Smith I also question the wisdom of administrators allowing military in their schools so frequently.
I think as a society we must question the connection between a society funding the largest military in the world and the minimal funding for public college expenses, putting college out of reach for so many.
This is a cultural paradigm, and therefore a situation we can change.
However, it is only possible if we engage in the kind of dialogue that Barb Smith is initiating, regarding what kind of society we are.