THURSDAY’S LETTERS: Talk of Wen Ho Lee, Reluctant Soldiers and Cub Foods

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By: E&P Staff

Newer letters posted on top throughout the day.

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Re: Pressure Mounts on Novak to Give Full Account of Plame Role

If Novak should be ostracized until he disclosed his sources, shouldn?t the reporters in the Wen Ho Lee case disclose also? After all, there was a lot of pressure on the administration at the time, and, all of a sudden, this suspect (poor Mr. Lee) magically appeared. The New York Times (and others) dutifully beat the drum loudly that he was the spy and, consequently, the pressure was reduced on the administration. Now, it appears, these reporters were used by their sources to take the heat off. Why should they protect their sources when it is now obvious the (Clinton) administration was using them? Isn?t it time that they disclose these sources that gave them obviously incorrect information and used them?

What is the difference in the two examples? There doesn?t seem to be any to me.

Norman Astwood

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I just read your Editor & Publisher story about Cub Foods’ request for the spending data of its competitors. Having worked in television advertising sales at various NBC stations for nearly two decades, I can testify this is a rather common request (at least in broadcast advertising).

As your story indicated, it is certainly the accepted business practice to refuse to reveal proprietary information. Indeed, the stations I worked for developed policies expressly refusing to divulge the information, but some advertising-based businesses are so frightened by the current ad climate, and so frightened of the increasing power of the advertisers, that they cave in and divulge whatever the advertiser needs.

Corinne Engelmann

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The following reader writes in response to Will Bunch’s column, More Death in Iraq: A Reluctant Soldier’s Story, posted Wednesday:

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I just finished reading your article [on Gennaro Pellegrini, Jr., a National Guard reservist recently killed in Iraq] and felt I had to contact you. I am an old retired cop from Portland, Oregon and would like to send my condolences to his family.

Our grandson who is 23 years old is in Iraq on his second rotation and is due to come home next Feb or March. I thought I would send you a couple of excerpts from letters we received from him. I feel that hopefully it will help others to understand that contrary to the right-wing slime machine — I love that phrase — many of our young men and women are not in Iraq due to any vast desire to travel and see the world, but because this Administration, needed fodder for their lying war.

“I really don’t have much going on here, just trying to make it back. I took advantage of a good opportunity to bash Bush. Our Group Leader held a meeting to find out why soldiers weren’t re-enlisting. Of course he outranked us all by a lot. I was the first and only person to stand up and tell him that I feel lied to, that we’re not here for honorable reasons and that the main reason that people re-enlist anyways is that they feel trapped. It felt pretty good to tell him that,many people have come up to me and thanked or congratulated me for speaking up. They also told me that after I talked, he lost all of his steam trying to talk us into re-enlisting. So that was pretty cool.”

Another letter stated in part: “It doesn’t look like there’s any chance of everybody leaving Iraq soon, the amount of construction going on is ridiculous. It’s kind of sad to watch our tax dollars go up in smoke, while our damn schools at home keep getting worse and worse. The more I sit and think about it, it makes me dislike America more and more. I also realize that if I never would have joined the Army, I never would have formed these opinions, I would have been blinded by the media just like so many others.”

Our grandson joined the regular Army prior to the 9-11 attacks as a means to get college funding. I feel that these past few years has forced him to grow up much faster and more jaded than I could have possibly foreseen.

Thanks for the article.

Joe Madarieta
Casa Grande, Ariz.

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