FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Jimmy Carter, Rumsfeld’s ‘Slog,’ Body Counts

By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, a reader thinks Jimmy Carter deserves to be heard on the Palestinian question, a Vietnam veteran questions the relative importance of body counts in war, and a comment on the name of Eason Jordan’s new Iraq blog.

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Jimmy Carter and Palestine

It’s instructive to observe who has come out against President Carter in his exposure of life in Palestine. Anything that President Carter writes at least deserves a fair analysis. After all, he is much more knowledgeable about foreign affairs than many of us.

Scott Antilla

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The Importance of Body Counts

As a Vietnam veteran who served in the Ashau Valley with the 101st, I can tell you first-hand that body counts mean very little.

Once, we set up an ambush along a river and a guy came paddling by in his canoe. Just one guy. We nailed him and they found the body and the boat downstream. The body count the officers gave — 4 enemy dead.

In war, officers get promoted for such things. And as an aside, one guy in our platoon got a 3-day pass for killing the guy in the boat. The company commander didn’t know he was sleeping when the guy paddled by and that the boat had already passed his position when the shooting started two positions further down the line.

Ken Anderberg
Nokomis, Fla.

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Re: Iraqslogger Taking Its Name From Rumsfeld’s ‘Long, Hard Slog’

That statement, made in October 2003, more than 3 years ago, would be an expression of the perpetual administration mindset that things were rosy in Iraq, wouldn’t it? I believe Tom Daschle and commentators jumped on that statement at the time, criticizing it as reflective of administration concern over a lack of progress in the war. It was an accurate assessment by Rumsfeld at the time and, in retrospect, it remains so.

Bill McDonald

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