Readers Respond to California Paper’s ‘How Many More?’ Editorial on Iraq Dead

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By: E&P Staff

One week ago, we covered a very unusual Mother’s Day effort on the opinion pages at the Stockton Record in California.

The paper published in print and on its Web site the photos of more than a dozen local men who had been killed in Iraq, along with a commentary on the difficulties of covering the war and the haunting question of how many more mother’s sons and daughters will lose their lives Over There.

Today the paper printed many letters in response, expressing a wide range of viewpoints. We re-publish a few below.
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As the parents of one of the brave soldiers The Record portrayed in its “Ranks of the fallen continue to grow” (May 13), we’re offended by how The Record used our son’s bravery and death.

Shame on The Record for scaring parents whose children still are serving for our great country.

Our son wouldn’t have appreciated the way The Record used his death.

In the past, The Record has respected our sons and daughters and the sacrifice they and their families have made.

Please don’t put fear into brave parents who have children fighting for freedom!

We’re the proud parents of Army Staff Sgt. Steven H. Bridges, who was killed i n action in Iraq on Dec. 8, 2003. Forever in our hearts.

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The Record asked what are our thoughts on media coverage of the war in Iraq.

Since everyone has a strong opinion about this war, it follows that almost no one is neutral.

Is neutral media coverage the goal, or is it even possible?

In the buildup to the war – when the sword-rattling campaign began – why was the media so easily manipulated by the Bush administration?

At the time, I was living in Mexico. I remember the Mexican newspapers were opposed to the invasion right from the start.

They were very surprised the U.S. population was so na?ve as to believe the rationale of the administration. They blamed it on the biased U.S. media.

To the international community, the U.S. mainstream media never gave voice to opposition to the war. The rest of the world, despite the arm-twisted coalition of the willing, saw there wasn’t reason enough to invade Iraq.

Now, the faulty intelligence, poor planning and ill-conceived strategy of the debacle have been proclaimed by most U.S. mainstream media.

Those who wish to believe differently still have their ever-dwindling viewpoint proclaimed in the media. But before, the media acted as a PR branch of the administration and sold the war to the American people.

Now, of course, they’re all turning against the war way too late.

I blame the complicity of the media and their failure to expose the lack of evidence for the resulting mess.

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On May 13, The Record published photos of the service men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As veterans, we find it appalling and inappropriate that this was published on Mother’s Day.

Each of the men and women who have died serving their country left behind families. Instead of celebrating their lives for Mother’s Day, The Record printed a political statement that made light of the sacrifices they made for their country and our freedom.

The Record did nothing but rub salt in the wounds of the mothers who have lost a child in this war.

This editorial would have been better suited for Memorial Day. That’s a time to honor fallen heroes and make any political statements.

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I hate the war in Iraq and the loss of so many service people.

But, the war always should be a front-page story. We should never forget about the war for a minute.

It’s so easy for people to tune it out. It isn’t pleasant reading, but I want to know about it.

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In the May 13 editorial “Ranks of the fallen continue to grow,” The Record asked, “How many more?”

The answer is undoubtedly many, many more as long as we occupy Iraq with the intention of staying indefinitely to protect the oil companies’ access to the huge Iraqi reserves.

When The Record endorsed George Bush and Dick Cheney twice, it should have known – millions did – that it was backing an administration likely to promote war and an overly adventurous military-industrial complex such as former President Eisenhower warned us against.

Alas, we got what The Record wished for. Our brave soldiers pay the ultimate price while others profit.

Next time, think very carefully before you endorse.

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To answer your question on The Record’s Opinion page on May 13:

“How many more must pay the price? Who will be next”?

Here are names you’ll never find.

The children of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

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