Capturing the tension, danger of duty in Iraq

I just wanted to compliment you on the July 21 article "Inside one day's fierce battle in Iraq." I have followed almost every piece of information about Iraq for the past 14 months. I have a nephew in Iraq who has been there all that time. His e-mails gave us his view on things there on an ongoing basis.

He is on his way home now, and I must admit the tone of his voice has changed from one of "We are making a difference" - he was training new Iraqi police - to "Get me out of here."

I think your article should be required reading for those who take this war lightly or think the job easy. Your work captured in real, human terms what these men and women - some just National Guardsmen (my nephew was a physical education teacher before being called up) - are going through.

Thank you for capturing the tension, fear, anger, and danger of the duty we are asking them to perform on a daily basis. Maybe now when we hear "another marine died today in Iraq," we will understand how one day can change so many lives.
Ken Breitenfeldt
New Berlin, Wis.

Heinz Kerry: outspoken, unapologetic

In response to your July 27 article "A political spouse defies norm": I'm not usually a very political person, but I'm impressed with Teresa Heinz Kerry.

I think she is just the kind of first lady we need. She is intelligent, multilingual, outspoken, and confident. She says what she thinks. What a great role model for women and girls not only in America, but all over the world. If she were running for office, I would be thrilled to cast my vote for her.

She isn't merely a subdued, meek political wife; she is her own woman.
Daphne Sayers
Tucson, Ariz.

As a woman who has lived through the Depression and World War II with the marvelous Eleanor Roosevelt, the Korean War with Bess Truman, and the Clinton era with Hillary Clinton, I am happy with Teresa Heinz Kerry. Hurray for her intelligence and outlook on life.
Megan Smith
Cos Cob, Conn.

Now that it's been established Teresa Heinz Kerry did, in fact, use the word "un-American" in her speech to the Pennsylvania convention delegates in Boston, will she have enough class to apologize for denying it just minutes later and accusing an editor at a Pittsburgh newspaper of putting the word in her mouth? I doubt it. But if she doesn't, what does that tell us about the importance of the truth to the Democratic Party leadership and to her husband?
Kenneth E. Lamb
Pensacola, Fla.

More in-depth campaign issues, please

Regarding your July 27 article "Kerry and Likability Index": Your recent coverage of the Kerry campaign has talked about John Kerry's vagueness, aloofness, elite social background, and most recently, his lack of "likability." I was stunned to see an entire paragraph devoted to a poll on whether people would rather have a backyard barbecue with Bush or Kerry. Can the Monitor possibly get more superficial?

The reason people don't have a clear idea of who Kerry is, is that no one is writing about the substance of the man and his campaign.
Chris Blacker

Making inmates pay makes sense

Regarding your July 21 article, "Is it fair and legal for inmates to foot their room and board?": I fully agree with this idea. If the person has to pay to stay in jail, he or she might not want to go back. I have to pay rent and phone bills. If someone gets sent to jail for a crime, it's supposed to be a punishment, isn't it? Why should I have to pay for them to go?
Paul Dietrichs
Troy, Ohio

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