TODAY’S LETTERS: Pauline’s Picks Column, Tom Ricks Right on Iraq

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By: E&P Staff

Two columns written by E&P online editor Pauline Millard sparked letters this week. One was about The New York Times photo gallery called “Faces of War” and another about the coverage of the Univserity of Florida student who was tasered at a John Kerry event.

University of Florida’s Student Paper Covers Tasering Incident
I am currently a graduate student in the anthropology department at the University of Florida. I happened to have also spent my undergraduate years at this university.

I have read the Alligator almost everyday for the past six years. I had not heard of Andrew Meyer until two weeks ago when he was handing out cards to promote his Web site. To claim Andrew Meyer, “has been known to stir controversey in the past via editorials in the student newspaper and through his personal Web site,” is patently ridiculous. He has never created a controversy through the newspaper nor his personal website. At most he was an annoying presence to a few people standing in line to eat Krishna Lunch.

Furthermore, Andrew Meyer wrote very few editoriols in the Alligator, all of which had little impact whatsoever. You can research this yourself by going to the Alligator website and searching for his articles. His articles never created a controversy as you claim.

Please do not give Andrew Meyer the credit of being called a journalist. He is not. He has contributed very little to the Alligator and contributed very little to this university. To claim he has stirred controversy in the past is giving him too much credit. To imply his Web site was popular enough to provoke controversy is even more absurd.

I suggest you conduct research before you put forth such claims. You give Mr. Meyers too much credit and you insult the student body of the University of Florida when you claim that Mr. Meyers has had an influence prior to his altercation with University Police.

Bill Wright

‘NYT’ Photo Gallery Shows Faces of Iraq War
It’s time the press celebrates the heros and heroines of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Really celebrates our forgotten heroes, unackowledged as coffins are flown into Dover Air Force Base. Celebrates, too, the thousands of soldiers, flyers and sailors who have lost limbs and minds in battle, and who will be forever paying for their disabilities as they fight for competent care at GI installations.

Many newspapers have paid only token homage to these veterans. The Washington Post, which on Tuesday ran three full pages showing, in color head shots, the men and women who have died in recent months in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

The Post did not, however, get around to the wounded, although the paper has been a media leader in exposing the government’s often callous treatment of its wounded. It would send an enormously valuable message to this indolent nation if the Post, and other papers, would publish similar headshots of the wounded by the thousands.

Unfortunately, the press has learned that photos of the carnage in the two countries we have occupied– carnage among our own troops and among the civilians of both Iraq and Afghanistan– will often draw criticism from American readers “who don’t want to see those pictures.” That is one reason, I am sure, that some editors walk gingerly when they consider printing vivid reminders of a war that touches the average American hardly at all.

Coincidentally, an astounding number of the young, and sometimes well into middle-aged, victims of these wars prove, on reading the fine print, to have been killed by hidden, makeshift roadside bombs that have turned troopers’ Humvees into rolling coffins. The press covered this problem awhile back; now, it’s old hat to editors, apparently unworthy of a campaign screaming out in WAR headlines and copy photos for adequately armored vehicles for our service men and women. The press has been asleep on this disgraceful issue. It needs to do the honorable thing again.

Wes Pedersen

Re: Article on Ricks on Tavis Smiley show

Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post has certainly got it right – and I’m surprised anyone would be surprised. We are building the largest U.S. embassy in the world in Iraq. We have built gigantic bases there. We are not leaving – ever.

And yes there is a growing despair among the populace, exacerbated by the Senate’s latest inability to stop the occupation (it’s not a war). It is clear that it will take two national elections to change this course. Voters have to go to the polls once again in 2008 to send the same message they sent in 2006. We need to get a much larger majority of anti-occupation senators and congressmen in Washington to stop this fiasco.

Ken Anderberg, Editor
Nokomis, FL

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