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Why Not Focus on a Soldier Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice?

In your Memorial Day issue, it would have been much more appropriate to "salute" a soldier's life given, rather than offer a politician's diary ("Over There," May 24).

The "Tucson Weakly" should have saluted Sam Huff, our 18-year-old soldier from Marana. Sam is now the youngest woman to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Her story, and her last words to her mom and dad, would have been a treasure for readers.

Of course, there is much more to be gained by polishing the boots of a live politician, rather than acknowledging the sacrifice of a very dead soldier.

Mary Blythe


Paton Neglected to Mention All the Joyous Things Happening in Iraq

I would like to comment on "Over There" by Jonathan Paton. It is good to hear stories about soldiers serving in Iraq, but the content of the story really disturbed me. It focused on living conditions and the differences between chow halls. But that is not the mission we are currently trying to complete.

He was stationed in Camp Slayer and worked in one of Saddam's palaces, but failed to mention the brave men and women who provide the security every hour of every day, so he can complain about the quality of food.

Paton told his story, which is fine, but he should have told the real story about these soldiers, who drive down the streets and interact with the local leaders, teaching them the importance of a democratic society, providing school and medical supplies to local children and hospitals, then searching for high-profile targets--all in the same day. These are the true unsung heroes.

The soldiers who live on forward-operating bases, where they live in tents and use port-a-johns, never complain. They conduct their missions with expertise and look forward to traveling to places like Camp Slayer to relax, if only for a few hours. They are the soldiers who see the good that is being done. And the insurgents see the good we do as well. The insurgents do not want a democratic society, because they will lose their power. If we were not being successful, the insurgents wouldn't want to try to stop the progress. We are doing great things in Iraq, and the American people need to understand and support our troops and the mission.

Jim Rye


We're Doing Our Duty by Running This Idiotic Letter

What is the point of the five-page Paton report?

Propaganda? Rank display? Role-model display to recruit? How to communicate very little meaning with about 4,000 words? An opportunity to print many big poor-quality pictures? A "timely" "memorial-week" report that misses the point? To let someone from outside the Tucson region "lean" on the publisher? To give this paper an opportunity to meet its "patriotic obligations"? To avoid showing residents of Arizona Legislative District 30 how much Paton's absence cost them?

This is a start with some real questions. There are a lot more. I do not expect to ever get any real answers.

Albert Einstein said, "The important thing is to not stop questioning," and, "The pioneers of a warless world are the young men and women who refuse military service."

Carter Rose


Thanks for That Tuttle Classic

I cannot find the words to fully express how truly classy Connie Tuttle's May 24 column was. It is so well written that I deem it to be a classic. Thank you for your very civil and "right-on" commentary. Perhaps if I slept on my thoughts, I would come up with more meaningful words to express how impressed I am with your essay, responding to the intolerance so pervasive in the religious, "We're right, and you're wrong," crowd.

I was so fired up by those hateful letters in the Mailbag written by people who infer they are Christians that I was steaming to respond. Then I read your column. You voiced my response so much better than I could have and without the steam I would have blustered.

Paul Barby


WCW/RR Is Dying Because of Its Roots, Not Surveillance

As a former member of the UA chapter of World Can't Wait/Refuse and Resist, I was mystified by Mohamad Hodai's declaration that UA Police Department surveillance of WCW/RR has had a chilling effect that accounts for the group's dwindling membership (Guest Commentary, May 31).

Make no mistake: Police and university-administration monitoring of student political organizations is a serious matter that demands counteraction, and it is especially worrisome in light of nationwide assaults on progressive anti-war groups by law enforcement in recent years. However, WCR/RR's emaciation began long before November last, and is due far more to fundamental problems with the organization itself.

Many students, myself included, left WCW/RR because of the group's barely concealed connections to the totalitarian Revolutionary Communist Party. Both WCW and RR are front organizations created by the RCP, which uses WCW/RR to reach out to youth and indoctrinate them. A cursory glance at the RCP Web site reveals just how horrifying its party line is. The Cambodian killing fields under Pol Pot are minimized and excused as justifiable reactions to U.S. aggression. Peru's Shining Path is glorified as an example of revolutionary heroism. Mao Tse-Tung is lionized as a savoir of humanity, and the most brutal incidents in 20th-century Chinese history are excused, justified, minimized, distorted and falsified to preserve the fantasy that Maoism is the "best" avenue for human liberation.

The actual reason that UA WCW/RR is today a "skeleton crew" is that many former members decided it would be hypocritical at best, and criminal at worst, to denounce Bush and Co. as dictators and war criminals while marching under the banner of a political party that reveres some of the most bloodthirsty tyrants in recent history.

Joel Feinman


I'm Ready to Flee Tucson, Too!

Jon Shumaker: If you know where Richard Felger, of "Center of the Universe," is moving to, please tell me. I am disgusted to see what is happening in and around Tucson and want to leave, too ("Center of the Universe," Books, May 24).

The area where I live was encroached upon by La Encantata, and that inspired surrounding tentacles growing more strip centers. Now a "predevelopment school" for rich people's toddlers (called day care for regular folks) will take part on the property across from me.

Recently, I went, for the first and last time, to AJ's. I asked the chubby young man behind the deli counter if they had low-fat cheeses. He looked down his misshapen nose at me and replied grandly, "We are an upscale provider of specialty products for people who require the best; we don't carry low-fat products."

I replied, "These brands you call specialty products are the exact same ones carried at Safeway and all the other grocery stores. I don't see anything special here," and I swanned out the door, never to return.

I feel the same way about Tucson: It is getting so phony, so plastic. Of course, living in the foothills may be part of the reason Tucson seems so nauseating, but if phoniness, constant road construction, overcrowding, traffic, desert scraping and raping has consumed the foothills, can the rest of Tucson hope to escape the same sorry condition?

In 26 years, I have seen too many changes, and I grieve for the Tucson that lured me here back then. I want to move on to a liberal, authentic community, one that might be able to maintain what makes that place special.

Has Richard Felger found such a place?

Barbara Duvall

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