WEDNESDAY’S LETTERS: Oliver North in Iraq, Sean Penn’s Award

By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, a deluge of responses to Sean Penn’s acceptance of a “first amendment award,” and a thought about Oliver North and the outsourcing of journalism.

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Ollie North and Outsourcing Journalism

I know Oliver North isn’t a recognized journalist by any of the professionals, but I wonder how many times he has been to Iraq compared to the staff writers and editors of your distinguished publication. And, when he is there, he seems to go out in the field as an embed. Of course, being an “embed” is looked down on these days by traditional journalists that seem to think “embeds” lack objectivity, compared to those reporters that use “local” sources to get accurate, truthful information.

The “outsourcing” of reporting and photography in Iraq by the Associated Press and Reuters seems to have helped their reputations with the consuming public quite a bit. The only question I have is, “If AP and Reuters are going to use local sources only, then why do they have reporters in country at all?” It would seem to me the reports and photos could be sent to home office directly and the organizations could save on the in country reporters’ salaries and eliminate a few positions.

Norm Astwood
Peoria, Ill.

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On Sean Penn’s First Amendment Award

I agree with Mr. Penn 100% in this matter. The leaders of this country are entrusted with an incredible amount of power — ideally they would be some of the most intelligent, most trustworthy and most accountable people in America, a reflection of the American Character. In reality they are the embodiment of the mechanism that affords them power. Our electoral “mechanism” rewards those with those with the least scruples and the most billionaire friends. That being the case, is it much of a surprise that our government behaves more like a mafia ring than public servants?

The fight for campaign finance reform and real ethical oversight is a Sisyphean challenge; the people who must ultimately decide to change the current system are the ones who have misused, and are misusing, the system to their own benefit.

If the citizens of this country still have any leverage at all, we must, as was the intention of our founding fathers, use it to hold our leaders accountable. We must decide what is on or off “the table.” I say let’s put impeachment on the table. I say let’s put the damn table on the table.

Jason Newman



To read some of the dismissive responses of December 19, it would seem that several of the writers missed reading the first paragraph of the article. Not only has Mr. Penn traveled to Iraq, he did so as a foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. Not only has he actually been to Iraq and reported on his actual experiences there, The Creative Coalition selected him as the recipient of the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award.

In 2002, prior to the war, the Chronicle quoted him saying, “I worry more about an 18-year-old soldier who comes over here a patriot and goes back home dead,” he said. “It’s irrelevant if I come back and people dismiss me.”

Scott Boyd



When will Hollywood types like Sean Penn stop spouting off about their political beliefs and what this country should do. It is [the job of actors] to make movies and entertain people, they are not voted into office. Their opinions don’t interest the majority of this country. …

If Penn’s latest movie had marvelous reviews, I wouldn’t see it. Many people I know boycott Hollywood types who just can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Vicki Kammerer
Blairsville, GA



Why are people like Sean Penn and his ilk in the entertainment industry given such respect for their opinions? He certainly has the right to say what he wants … so long as it does not endanger the public. That’s what makes our country great. However, he is no smarter than the rest of us citizens. When I last checked, he was a citizen like me, 1 vote, 1 voice.

Sean, here’s why impeachment is off the table. You are right Sean, America is a country of laws and that’s what sets the USA apart. However, you missed one tiny detail: Bush didn’t break any laws. It’s as plain and simple as that nose on your face.

I’ll admit Bush certainly made some serious strategic and tactical blunders causing the problems in the Middle East today where the US dominates militarily but is failing miserably politically. He’ll be remembered by history as a president one notch above Jimmy Carter and Calvin Coolidge.

Just go back to doing what you do best, acting. After all, you and the rest of your entertainment buddies have a lot of Americans fooled into thinking you are smarter than they.

Pete Tomaselli
Pottstown, Pa.



I enjoyed the Sean Penn article. I have never had much faith in our embattled child President’s decision-making powers. I know that is not what you want to hear/read at this time, especially if you happen to be serving in the doomsday mess that is currently the U.S. Army.

Pfc Scott G
2nd BN (ABN), 503D INF


Sean Penn is a clown, not an authority on the Constitution, foreign affairs or the national security. Anyone who would take him seriously needs to check his meds. This is serious business and history … once the hate-America crowd in our colleges and universities are required to take real jobs, away from the adoring eyes of empty-headed adolescents… America will recognize that Bush and Blair were among the first to see the threat posed by a resurgent Jihadist militancy and take action to neutralize it. Like Pelosi’s choice for chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I doubt Penn knows the difference between Sunni and Shiite. The “leftists” only know how to scream at the mote in our eyes and ignore the beam in the eyes of those who hate the West and its freedom.

George T. Bedway
Winchester, Va.



Free speech is important! When I read things like this I say to myself “what an idiot,” but in our country I will fight for that freedom. It just seems funny to me that you will publish trash like this and not real letters from the men and women who fight for the freedom to say things like Mr Penn. I know bad news sells and good deeds go by the way, that is why I ask the men and women who serve how things are going and not depend on only on the printed news

Vicki Roach



The central point is timing, Sean. The time for your kind of opposition was before the vote to authorize the action we are engaged in. I am sure of this: If you entered a mess tent (do you know what that is?) in any military installation and tried to join a bunch of G.I.s for coffee, they would beat the hell out of you and address you by your proper name: traitor. Go back to doing the only thing you know how to do: Pretend.

Richard Young
Flint, Mich.



Mark Twain told us it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. Sean Penn opened his mouth. Mr. Penn offers a long winded diatribe rife with self aggrandizement of how politically savvy he thinks he is. He levels no particular charges in calling for impeachment except vague innuendo that perhaps Bush lied about the war in Iraq. What Mr. Penn and others really want is a witch hunt, a fishing expedition which they hope will yield something illegal. …

His personal attacks on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly merely underscore Mr. Penn’s lack of intelligence and class. I would be willing to bet the farm that any one of these gentlemen would be more than happy to give Sean Penn the on air opportunity to point out just where he feels they might be wrong. I’m guessing Mr. Penn would turn tail and run.

Dennis Hayward
New Bern, N.C.



Thanks for the article! Penn’s rants are so hilarious and always good for an afternoon laugh. Actually, the article also serves a more serious purpose. It exposes to the uninitiated just how misinformed and idiotic the typical liberal (especially of the Hollywood ilk) have become.

Troy Jarvis

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