Readers write: Cost of war, military service, and turkey time

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 23, 2019 weekly magazine. Readers discuss cover art, military service, and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Cost of war

Regarding the Nov. 11 Monitor Weekly cover story, “Legacy of the longest war,” and the question it posed, “Do the positive changes wrought in Afghanistan by the U.S. involvement there outweigh the cost in blood and treasure?”

The United States and its people are now and always have been generous and charitable. I’m happy for the progress in Afghanistan. But we’ve spent way too much blood and treasure there while neglecting our own needs. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix our country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. Charity begins at home.

Paul Sedan
San Francisco

US military service

The cover story “The moral burden of war” in the Dec. 2 Monitor Weekly provides much insight into the challenges military veterans have confronted after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Monitor story could be followed up in two important ways: firstly, an evaluation of why young men and women find military service attractive when career choices abound and US employment rates are high; and secondly, by promoting greater transparency with regard to military recruitment. Those serving as recruiting officers must be forthright and honest regarding the consequences of combat experience.

Alistair Budd
Newport, Wales

Turkey time

Regarding the Nov. 25 Monitor Weekly: What a wonderful piece of cover art for the issue. Not only does it capture the season and our traditions, but it adds a certain New Yorker-esque feel of sophistication to the Monitor. I would enjoy similar covers in the future as they not only add an air of sophistication and humor, but can be pointed and make a statement as well. 

Famously, The New Yorker published a cover depicting a Manhattanite’s view of the world, showing what a parochial worldview New Yorkers have – the “Island at the Center of the World” writ large and small. The Monitor Weekly, with continuing cover art, could show not a limited worldview, but a global one. These pieces could make societal and political statements, as well as capture moments and traditions worldwide that are too complicated for a photo.

Again, thank you for this marvelous cover.

Edward Hobart Tonkin
Erie, Pennsylvania

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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