Anti-Bush sentiment in the military: news fit to print?

Our family was deeply disappointed in the editorial decision to print the Sept. 21 article "A strident minority: anti-Bush US troops in Iraq," which highlighted anti-Bush sentiment in the military. With sons who are currently serving as officers in the US Navy and Marine Corps, fighting the international war on terrorism, we know firsthand of the predominant spirit of purpose and confidence in an administration that understands the complexities and difficulties of this necessary world task.

Not only are our military service people courageous in the face of messy, dangerous, nearly impossible circumstances, they overwhelmingly see their commander in chief as courageous and clearsighted.

We're sorry to have seen this article printed on the Monitor's pages because of the fragmenting, destructive, divisive nature of the premise and the inaccurate image it conveys of the attitude of our troops. Focusing on strident minorities does not contribute support, encouragement, and faith to those serving in harm's way. On the contrary, it's demoralizing.
Elaine Lang
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

I especially appreciated the report on presidential preferences in the military, most especially those brave troops in Iraq. Here on the central California coast, our military men and women reflect doubt similar to what the Monitor found among their active-duty counterparts in Iraq.

More and more off-duty and out-of-uniform military personnel are sporting Kerry/Edwards buttons, helping local Democrats distribute yard signs, and being seen going in the back door of the Monterey campaign headquarters. In my little hometown of Carmel, if the astonishing number of yard signs and bumper stickers is an indicator of presidential preference, one is hard-pressed to spot a Bush supporter, as Kerry/Edwards signs appear to be on almost every block.

America is coming back together again and not a moment too soon.
Anne Holliday
Carmel, Calif.

I wonder how many "strident minority" voters you report on in the US? I am retired military. I think the thrust of the article was to seed doubt about the troops in the field and to soften Americans' resolve - i.e. to support the Kerry campaign.

If we have 5,000 troops and five support a divergent point of view, is it not inane to give them coverage disproportionate to their voice?
Richard Halferty

Overall this was an interesting article that reflected difficult situations for service personnel in Iraq, but it might have included at least one quote that didn't share opinions critical of President Bush.

I wonder how these same military personnel would feel if they realized "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is more a propaganda piece than a documentary, was making conditions less safe for American soldiers by stirring up anti-American sentiment abroad. This was also the case with John Kerry's antiwar activities, which only strengthened the resolve of our enemies.
John L. Gray

I continue to be astounded by the number of military families that speak out against the war. What did they think they were getting themselves into when they enlisted? Didn't they think it realistic that they may end up in war - an ugly war? It is not in their authority to question why they are there. They took an oath to defend this country.

Even if they can't see the value in what they are doing, I can, my family does, and my church does.
Lance Mead
Traverse City, Mich.

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