Despite disagreement over Iraq, Americans must unite

In response to the July 1 article, "Mood in Mid-America": I'm a 62-year-old American citizen who has seen a lot happen in this country, and I'm very concerned about what is taking place at present.

I'm concerned about the war in Iraq and the fact that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The money spent in Iraq could be better spent at home on healthcare, education, Social Security, and stem-cell research.

We have a huge federal deficit, American jobs are being taken overseas, and the middle class is struggling to remain a middle class.

The country is sharply divided between the Bush-backers and those who are anti-Bush. I can't remember when this great country was as divided as it is today. I can well remember the Vietnam War, and how the war divided the country, but that was basically just over one issue - the war. Today, Americans are divided on almost everything.

We Americans seem to have lost our tolerance for those with whom we disagree, and it seems to be getting worse every day. We need strong leadership to pull this country together and move us forward.
Larry Burgess
Henderson, Nev.

I just don't see the same doom and gloom - regarding public opinion about Iraq - being painted in the news. Where I live, things are looking up. People are behind the war effort, and employment is running high. Where is all this doom and gloom coming from?

Is it a sin now to be satisfied, to back your country in its efforts to liberate people so they can enjoy freedom and liberty? This is not the same country I knew growing up during World War II, and I'm sick of all the negative harping.
David McOmie
Vancouver, Wash.

Lower retirement age for reservists

In the July 1 article "Give our warriors a raise!" by Jeffrey Shaffer, the rate of pay for our brave service people is questioned. I have another gripe for Mr. Shaffer to look into. There is very little for the reservists, who make up 35 percent of the forces in Iraq,to look forward to when they get home and return to civilian status.

Those who get the magic 20-year service letter, at age 60, can draw a small pension. Several bills have been proposed in Congress to lower this age to 55, but none of them have passed - perhaps because they were too expensive.

If reservists are not paid enough on active duty, let us reward them with a younger retirement age. Think about the reservists who answer each call and leave home to do their duty for as long as needed.

The same reservists do not remain on active duty for the required 20 years, and so are not eligible for retirement pay until they are 60.

Increase active-duty pay, but remember reservists by letting them receive a small pension at age 55 as a thanks for services rendered at odd times and in odd places.
Tim Tribble
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Justice achieved by willingness to think

The outstanding sentence in the July 5 editorial "Justice O'Connor's Long Shadow" was, "She judged each case narrowly on the facts but broadly against the Constitution."

Isn't that exactly what we hope each Supreme Court justice will do? Justice O'Connor was not programmed to return predictable judgments.

I fear that the search for her replacement will be an attempt to find someone who will be a rubber stamp for the present executive ideology.

We will sorely need another justice who is willing to think.
Robert A. Lufburrow
Langley, Wash.

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