Letters

Troops see the situation in Iraq differently from media reporters

Thank you so much for the Nov. 28 article, "The Iraq story: how troops see it." I appreciate that the story was honest: It didn't sugarcoat the ugliness that is a reality in Iraq, yet it balanced it out with the steps forward that are happening.

It's such a rare thing to hear this side of the story. Thank you again for giving these soldiers the opportunity to speak out. They speak also for countless others who deserve to be heard.
Maureen Cruz
Chicago

Your article on our military folks is extremely welcome. As both a military child and the mother of a soldier, I have struggled to maintain my morale (as well as my son's) through the steady barrage of negative information coming from the media. This story is a welcome change and one that is necessary for all. I have begun forwarding the article to everyone I have on my e-mail list.
Linda Little
Apple Valley, Minn.

I find the story about all the good being done in Iraq to be problematic. I fought in Vietnam in 1968-69, and I still have some of my letters home that I wrote during that time. They sound all too much like what the soldiers in Iraq are saying. But as I look back on those letters, I see that they are attempts to justify my war involvement.

Asking soldiers about war is like asking salespeople about their products. You won't hear a lot about the negative aspects. It is just human nature to attempt to find something positive about one's actions.

I add that we all need to feel appreciated and respected. I don't think soldiers can avoid guilt and remorse in war. The fact that the media focuses on the violence makes all the painful issues harder to deal with.

I, like most soldiers, put off dealing with the horror of war as long as possible. That is why, when asked how things are going in war, soldiers will generally talk about the good they are doing. Talking about progress is what helps them get through the moment.

Ask these same soldiers 10 years from now about their duty, and then listen to what they say. Their thoughts may have changed.
Kim Maynard
Eugene, Ore.

Interfaith activity builds strong bonds

I appreciated the Nov. 30 article, "Faithful build bridges with books," discussing interfaith activity in the wake of 9/11. Your comments resonated with me because there are interfaith groups where I live pursuing the same goals as the group in Cambridge, Mass. The group in my community has been to Jerusalem, Turkey, and other places where their experiences have deepened their bond as "children of Abraham." I hope this same interfaith sharing is not limited to Atlanta and Cambridge.
Neal Morrison
Atlanta

Man-made crises cause donor fatigue

The Nov. 21 article, "Much has been given, much is still to be done," missed a huge factor in the creation of donor fatigue: the fight for democratic freedoms. I have never witnessed such attacks on freedom of speech or civil and human rights, even as the gap between the rich and poor is widening.

I am a tired donor forced to say no to many good causes because I have given so much money, for example, to try and keep the global press free, to try to end torture, and fulfill the great need in Afghanistan and Iraq. When nations stop promulgating inhumane foreign and domestic policies, we can focus on taking care of people's basic needs.
Susan Schaller
Kensington, Calif.

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