Moving on from Vietnam: What to leave behind
John Price's Oct. 12 Opinion piece, "Wartime records? We ought to move on," misses one point. John Kerry valued the principles of freedom and democracy enough to enlist. Once he returned from Vietnam, he saw the tragedy of fighting a war without a clear connection to freedom and democracy. Having been in Vietnam may not make him a better leader, but I think it would arguably make him more circumspect about the prospect of committing young people's lives to war for specious reasons. Such circumspection seems lacking in the current president.
As a recently returned veteran from Iraq at age 42, I find myself trying to put my life together. Mr. Price puts into perfect perspective how each of us should feel. Unlike Price, I wasn't allowed to buy my own meals when I first returned thanks to the gratitude of our citizens, yet I have also burned with resentment knowing the Army is stretched to the breaking point and we have so many young men at home who refuse even to consider serving. I appreciate Price's message and thank him from the bottom of my heart.
Todd B. Lamb
Flagler Beach, Fla.
Thank you for the serious, reflective tone of your Oct. 8 article, "The prison that Martha Stewart will call home," on Alderson Federal Prison Camp. I served three months in Alderson in 2003 for a misdemeanor trespass at the US Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. My experience opened my eyes and heart to the harsh treatment of female inmates - most of whom were there with long sentences for dubious drug-conspiracy charges, many with family histories of abuse and neglect. I felt honored to hear their stories, and I think Ms. Stewart will as well. I know many of the inmates were excited that she might be able to use her considerable power to expose the broken prison system.
Regarding the Oct. 14 article "How quantum physicists 'review' the 'Bleep' movie": While movies such as "What the Bleep Do We Know?!" give heightened access to the vocabulary and peripheral ideas of quantum physics, and so perhaps serve a purpose for this reason, the author's quote from physicist Richard Feynman about the difficulty of comprehending quantum physics theory serves to humble us all. Our present languages are not good enough to accommodate the ultimate truth. It is up to present and future generations of truth seekers to expand and integrate our present knowledge into the matrix of scientific ideas that will unlock the treasures of quantum physics, and beyond.
Los Altos, Calif.
The Oct. 13 article "A fight to save the tradition of wild rice," an otherwise excellent article on Mole Lake Ojibwe wild-rice harvesting, neglected to mention the tribe's major success in protecting its ancient crop. For 28 years, the tiny Wisconsin tribe fought the proposed Crandon copper-zinc mine, which threatened wild-rice beds with sulfuric acid contamination and groundwater depletion. The alliance opposing the mine united native Americans with white sport-fishermen, environmentalists with unionists, and rural residents with urban students, driving away the world's largest resource companies, such as Exxon. One year ago, the Mole Lake tribe joined the neighboring Potawatomi in purchasing the mine site for $16.5 million, protecting the wild rice for future generations.
Dr. Zoltan Grossman
Eau Claire, Wis.
Assistant professor of geography and American Indian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
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