LETTERS: ‘LA Times’ Columnist Stein Stokes Emotion With Troops Comment

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By: E&P Staff

Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein has ignited a fury with his latest column, which begins with the phrase, “I don’t support our troops.” Aren’t columnists supposed to start discussions, heated or not? Here’s a sampling of letters that flooded into our inboxes after we covered the brewing controversy yesterday.

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Stein May Be Juvenile, But His Editors Can’t Make Same Claim

If Stein wants to make judgment calls about which president under which situation wants to order the use of military force, he can do so. Reporters actually take on very little responsibility for national security or economic stability. In fact, the contributions of a columnist like Stein to these concepts cannot be measured, as any attempt to measure it would not isolate a trace of influence.

But the editors of the LA Times need to step up and say that they thought Stein’s column was relevant. Don’t crawl under a rock now that his column is drawing anger. You editors need to back your play. You may have a juvenile columnist who makes wise cracks about subjects of national importance with all the seriousness of the ringleader of an 8th grade clique in the junior high hallways between classes, but the LA Times is expected to be a serious newspaper. Real weak stuff guys.

Jeff Cooper
El Paso, Texas

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Stein’s Unusual Honesty Illuminating

It is a sad commentary that a person cannot be honest without being castigated in this country any more. What Mr. Stein had the courage to say is exactly what Democrats and Major News Media show with their actions and talk on a daily basis. It is a lie of the worst sort to say you support the troops but disagree with what they are doing. You can’t have it both ways. You either support them and their mission or you are lying to say you support them. Would that there were many others that would be as honest as Mr. Stein. I bet they would soon find that to be the reason they are loosing viewers on TV and circulation for the rags.

Roy D. King
Rogersville, Tenn.

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I am a conservative and I voted for Bush. I think Joel Stein has a perfect right to voice his opinions, especially considering that those opinions serve to show what a hypocritical stance so many of the Washington lawmakers are holding. I hate the fact that America has become a place that punishes people for speaking their mind. Let the truth be the truth, and if it can bear up under the honest scrutiny of the observer, then it should not be assailed.

Mark Breton
Gallatin, Tenn.

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Thank God someone has the guts to stand up and speak the truth! Congratulations Mr. Stein

Kimberly Bethea

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In your article “Stein Stands by ‘L.A. Times’ column on Troops That Drew Strong Protest” you left out one of the most offensive parts, where he basically says our troops are a bunch of imperialist thugs who “ignore their morality” and lazily “hang out in Germany”. Is there a word for someone who reviles the very people who on a regular basis have died, are dying, and will die for him?

Nathan Cheng

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