In your Aug. 18 editorial "A fleet-footed military," you pose the following question: "How does bringing home about a third of America's overseas soldiers (not including those in Iraq and Afghanistan) make them faster to deploy abroad - or meet the pressing need for more troops generally?"
It may surprise many, but it is generally easier to deploy troops from the continental US to trouble spots than from Europe or Korea. During Desert Storm my unit (and others) relied upon German trains to get to port, and foreign-contracted ships to get us to Saudi Arabia. The units from the US deployed much faster and did not have the threat of a foreign country denying passage rights.
The decision to remove troops from foreign bases to meet crises elsewhere also is saddled with political considerations and restraints. Having more of our troops stationed stateside provides the additional flexibility and capability the military has been talking about for some years now.
Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Regarding Joe Honig's Aug. 9 article "Free speech, even king of crass," defending Howard Stern's freedom of speech: Stern's name doesn't deserve space in any newspaper. The US Senate rightly voted (almost unanimously) in support of the indecency bill demanded by large numbers of the American public, which increases fines for broadcast indecency.
Our system of government amply provides for freedom of speech. We must be equally concerned about the right of mankind to be free of mental pollution.
Barbara M. Brown
I find it interesting to compare Stern's case with a corresponding decision made recently here in Canada by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to refuse to renew the broadcasting license of a Quebec radio station (CHOI-FM) - not simply because of obscene language but because in their overall tone the broadcasts "were likely to expose individuals or groups of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of mental disability, race, ethnic origin, religion, colour or sex."
While I agree with Mr. Honig that gutter language in and of itself should not be censored, I would not say the same for language inciting hatred against a group of human beings, which in many cases is as hurtful as physical violence. The distinction between these two categories of language is a valid one and must be considered in determining the justification for any limitation on freedom of speech.
I think that the ironic juxtaposition of the Aug. 13 article "Stabilizing the global 'greenhouse' might not be so hard" and an essay on page 18 extolling the virtues of a four-wheel drive pickup rented to shuttle a 12 year-old child to a camp 45 minutes away hints at the problems our society faces in coming to grips with the consequences of our way of life.
New Gloucester, Maine
Regarding the Aug. 6 article "Economic risks of high oil prices": It is ok to acknowledge that economic growth is a function of the availability of low-cost energy, but don't blame slow growth on high oil prices. Lack of a working national energy policy is the cause.
No new refineries and no new nuclear plants have been built in the US in the past 30 years. New electric power plants have been stymied by endless regulations.
T. Curry Jones
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