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Letters

September 27, 2005



Patriotism a common motive for serving in the Peace Corps

Kevin Lowther's Sept. 21 Opinion piece, "'Service to your country' muddied by Peace Corps-military agreement," was insulting and shows how deeply out of touch he is with today's Peace Corps and the military. My husband and I have served for 20 years in the US Army out of a sense of duty and patriotism. We have served in two former Soviet Union countries where Peace Corps volunteers work; we are still serving in one of them. For the past five years I have hosted volunteers in our home.

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My husband and I are both officers, linguists, engineers, and masters-degree educated. Could we get better paying jobs as civilians? Yeah, I think we could. However, we have chosen this life out of patriotism.

Mr. Lowther clearly has not talked to Peace Corps volunteers recently. These volunteers, young and old, have been both politically liberal and conservative. When I ask volunteers why they signed up, the No. 1 answer is patriotism. Interestingly, this is the same reason soldiers give when I ask why they enlist and reenlist. Mr. Lowther should not speak for the Peace Corps or the military when he is clearly out of touch with both of these organizations.
Michele M. McAloon
Baku, Azerbaijan

Judith Miller not a martyr

Regarding Daniel Schorr's Sept. 23 Opinion piece, "Judy Miller's indefinite wait," I have one question: Is Judith Miller standing up for a principle or is she merely shielding a principal? It's difficult to see her as a martyr when she appears to be sheltering an influential person who committed a federal felony and damaged our nation's intelligence efforts. Both common decency and common sense require that she testify before the grand jury.
David Leonard
Greenfield, Mass.

Monitor occasions happy marriage

My mother wrote a letter to the Monitor on October 13, 1953, sharing her happiness in being able to meet her future husband (my father) through the paper's "Youth Round Table" column. The story starts in 1946 with my mother in Germany and my father a serviceman in the USA. They married in 1954, after corresponding for several years. My brother and I would not be here today without the Monitor enabling contact between my mother and father.

My mother passed away in October of last year. I found my mother's letter in going through her papers, and I believe your readers would appreciate its message.

I imagine that there are similar stories associated with the "Youth Round Table" column.
Brian Pierce
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Iraq war not in vain

I disagree with Brendan O'Neill's Aug. 16 Opinion piece, "The Iraq war and the politics of grief," suggesting that the Iraq war is questionable and useless - that the deaths of American and British sons (and daughters) is for no reason. It is so convenient to be cynical about any attempt by free nations to exert influence and change.

Wars - and, most important, war deaths - are not always so easy to distinquish as either purposeful or useless in the current time. What would the outcome of World War II have been if grief were allowed to change events when thousands died in a single day of battle?

I believe "grief" should be expressed in the form of a continued fight against tyranny and dictators. The sons of the mothers mentioned in the Opinion piece made a sacrifice for freedom. There is no shame in believing that.
Michael Biever
Wheeling, Ill.

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