I’m not sure that I’ve ever looked at the Letters page on Stars & Stripes, but there are two good ones for today.
First, one on the body armor:
More body armor? No thanks
“Army secretary: GIs to get more armor in Feb.” (article, Okinawa and Korea editions, Jan. 20) stated that civilians feel the government should issue more body armor to troops overseas. I agree that troops should have the best body armor available. But these civilians fail to understand that the more armor troops don, the less capable we become and the more prone we are to various injuries. Not to mention, with more armor we will look like the Michelin Man.
I wish these civilians could have the opportunity to wear our armor, (level IV plates, soft armor along with a standard load of ammo), for an eight-hour day. I am sure most servicemembers who patrol would agree, that is a light load. Let the civilians go through our daily routines of mounting and dismounting from our vehicles, and walking or running when needed. After our daily routine, I am sure that these civilians would agree and sympathize with our dilemma. Do we armor ourselves to the hilt, or protect the vitals of our body so that we may remain mobile enough to react when the need arises? I am not angry at their desire to help us, but we do not need overprotective mothers. We just need to do our jobs effectively, and we can’t with everything they want us to wear.
Unfortunately, we are going to lose good people out here, it’s a war. But we have lost considerably fewer people than we would have, thanks to our armor.
We have excellent armor protecting us; we do not need to pile more on.
I thank these people for their concern. But let us be the ones asking for extra armor. As for myself, I have an appointment with a chiropractor when I get home.
Sgt. Chris Mettler
Forward Operating Base Courage, Iraq
And the second is one on the request for noise during the President’s State of the Union Address:
No ‘noise-making campaign’
I just watched a story on American Forces Network news that talked about celebrities such as Ed Asner and Harry Belafonte supporting a group that is calling for a nationwide “noise-making campaign” during President Bush’s State of the Union address.
I have to tell this group, get a clue. The State of the Union address is required by the Constitution. Bush has no choice, he has to give it.
I fully support the group’s right to protest, which is also protected by the Constitution. However, this form of protesting is inane. Use political action committees and contact Congress members or stage a “Million-Person-for-Bush-Deposing” march. Do something that does not fly in the face of what the Constitution says is required of the president.
The State of the Union address is designed to tell the American public how the country is doing right now and give a view of the president’s plan for the country in the next year. Regardless of who the president is, I look forward to the State of the Union address, if for no other reason than to heckle the television as it plays.
I won’t say whether I support Bush, but I think a protest, if you can call it that, in this form is horribly anti-constitutional. If you support the Constitution, I urge you to not take part in this type of protest and urge anyone you know to forgo this protest also.
Sgt. Daniel Pond
I hadn’t heard of the noise-making campaign before. Ed Asner, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, and Jane Fonda and more signed a full-page ad taken out by worldcantwait.net:
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2006
8:00 PM E.S.T.
Bring the Noise and Drown Out Bush’s Lies
In large cities and town squares across the country–we will rally one hour before Bush’s address. At 9:00 PM let the world hear us as we symbolically drown out Bush’s lies–bring your own noise–drums, pots and pans, musical instruments–your voice. Let taxi horns blare and church bells ring, as we bring our own state of the union message: BUSH STEP DOWN!
That’s funny. Here’a a full list of those listed on the ad:
Edward Asner, Harry Belafonte, Michael Eric Dyson, Niles Eldredge, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Martin Garbus, Paul Haggis, Jonathan Kozol, Jessica Lange, Lewis Lapham, Tom Morello, U.S. Rep. Major Owens, Sean Penn, Harold Pinter, Susan Sarandon, John Sayles, Richard Serra, Rev. Al Sharpton, Cindy Sheehan, Serj Tankian, Studs Terkel, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, Cornel West, Ann Wright, Howard Zinn.