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Letters to the Editor
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Word to the military wives


I was interested in your interview with Sgt. Kevin Benderman, who says he is a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq, but who has been denied that status by the military (“Objector,” by Jim Morekis, Sept. 27).

It should be obvious that a person who no longer believes in what he is doing would not be the right person to continue in any career. It is interesting that an administration that places so much emphasis on morality and the religious beliefs of the president would deny that right to others.

What ever happened to free will, which is supposed to come from God?

Sixteen government security agencies, in a recently declassified report, have said that the war in Iraq has caused the threat of Islamic extremists to spread, both in numbers and in geography, and breeds a resentment that will only get worse before it gets better. The President has replied that his critics are naive and mistaken.

 However, I am puzzled by your description of brave Monica Benderman as “far from the usual image of a docile, sheltered and long-suffering military wife, she exhibits a quick, articulate wit and shows a deep understanding not only of her husband but of the world at large and how it works.” HUH?

 Most military wives would not speak out publicly against the government unless their husbands chose to do so. Like them, they would stoically say, “Well, this is what I signed up for; the bad stuff goes with the territory.”

 Thus, their public attitude comes not from a lack of understanding of the circumstances, but of loyalty to their husbands.

 It is scarcely “sheltered” to live with the knowledge that every time one sees their husband leave may be the last. It takes a variety of skills to manage a household in the absence of the husband and father, to clear out a house and move to another duty station and get settled there after he has gone ahead to secure new quarters, to manage the schedules and schooling of several children alone, and yet be cheerful, loving, and a source of support for all.

 The image of which you speak comes from bad novels of the 1930s, of bored wives sitting around a bridge table, and leaving monogrammed calling cards on a silver platter at required social calls. But civilian wives were also more sheltered at that time.

 Now, many military wives are also trying to juggle their own work schedules as well, either to keep current in their chosen careers, or out of necessity.

 Still others are also in the military. They certainly do not lack a “quick, articulate wit” in private; some days it is the only thing that keeps them going.

Margaret W. DeBolt


Don’t reward bad leaders


Many of us have been too busy making ends meet to dwell on what goes on in Washington, D.C., or across the pond until it directly impacts us. But we are making the connections now!

I recently asked some friends, both conservatives and liberals, how the policies of the current administration affects them.

Here are just a few of the answers:

• Highest gasoline prices in history until just recently

• Family member killed in Iraq

• Illegal immigration has increased

• Increase in religious fanaticism and rejection of scientific and medical advances

• Student cadets activated and called to war in the middle of the semester

• Lost job due to cutbacks

• Lost medical insurance

• Greatly increased insurance premiums & deductibles

• Deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid for children

• Greater workload due to workforce cutbacks

• Higher property taxes resulting from federal income tax cuts

• Inability to sell property due to high interest rates

• Postponed retirement due to increased cost of living

• Small business failed due to high energy costs

• Family members have assignments extended in Iraq beyond release dates

• Reduced hours federal offices are open to serve the public

• Increased response time from federal agencies

• Closing of many federal parks, campgrounds, beaches, and picnic areas

• Cutbacks in domestic programs has led to greater crime

• Cuts in Pell Grants and increased student loan rates

• Emphasis on test scores rather than real learning in schools

• Increased strain on teachers and students due to No Child Left Behind Act

• Impoverishment of local schools

• Long lines to get through airport security

• Searched and treated like a criminal for having fingernail clippers in purse at airport

• Increased mining, logging and drilling on public lands near home

• Cuts in scientific research and environmental monitoring

• Everything cost more due to increased fuel prices and interest rates

• Administration reneged on Japanese/US agreements creating animosity in country and costing business contracts

• Travel to other countries is dangerous for Americans as a result of this administration’s actions

• Disregard for civil rights in this country

• Climate of intolerance and fear created, “us vs. them” pervades conversations about immigration, war, diversity or other social/political issues

THINK. Don’t reward people who delivered this government to us.

We deserve and can do better.

Rachel G. Schneider