- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 5, 2004

Dispatch from Normandy

Congratulations on The Washington Times’ decision to republish Ernie Pyle’s June 12, 1944, dispatch from Normandy Beach on Friday, two days before the 60th anniversary of that “pure miracle” (“D-Day ‘a pure miracle,’” Culture).

Would it be possible for The Times to acquire the rights to and publish each of Pyle’s subsequent dispatches, starting with his June 13 dispatch and continuing until his untimely death in the Pacific theater just before the war ended? Those reprints, showing the upbeat attitude of the American GI, as captured in the last paragraphs of Pyle’s June 12 dispatch and in all of his dispatches, would provide a good lesson for today’s press covering our military forces as they face war on terrorism around the world, today and in the coming years.

Hoping I’m not asking too much, a reprinting of Pyle’s dispatches would be well-enhanced if reprints of the Willie and Joe cartoons by Bill Mauldin could accompany them.

Though this writer was just 10 years old as World War II ended in 1945, the advances and setbacks were followed closely through articles and battle-line maps carried on the front page of the Louisville Courier-Journal, delivered daily to my family’s farm home in Meade County, Ky. It was an interest that followed the Allied forces across North Africa, to the battle for Monte Casino and up the boot of Italy, the “pure miracle,” the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine crossing at Remagen, VE Day and finally to the joyful end after Japan’s surrender.

Just five years later, many of those GIs and others had to take up arms again to stem an early testing in Korea by the Communist world of the resolve of free men in free countries to remain free.

Fortunately for this writer, the truce there coincided with my graduation from high school, and I could put in my time in a Nike Ajax battery on the Rhine Valley in a free, peacetime Germany.

Keep up the good work.

LLOYD D. YOUNG

Annandale

If ever there was a reminder of how great a war correspondent Ernie Pyle was, your “D-Day ‘a pure miracle’” is it. Today’s correspondents, in all likelihood, would have sent despairing stories of miscues, failures and scandal. Pyle knew who the heroes were. Today, reporters are more interested in discrediting bravery and valor. This is a story every journalism teacher in the world should use as an example of great journalism.

JAMES ELLIOTT

Fairfax

Interceptors seeking evidence

In “Taking Shots at Missile Defense”(Commentary, Wednesday), Baker Spring repeats administration assertions that “by year’s end, our nation will have in place a system able to defend against [limited ballistic-missile attacks].” However, there is no evidence to back up this claim.

The report “Technical Realities” (available at www.ucsusa.org), which we co-authored with Philip Coyle, former head of operational testing at the Pentagon, shows that none of the key capabilities required for this missile-defense system to be effective will be demonstrated in realistic tests by the time it is deployed. Even more important, our analysis shows that because of the limitations of the radars and other sensors, the deployed system can be fooled by simple decoys or other countermeasures that a country such as North Korea could build.

The Pentagon argues that it must build the missile-defense system in order to test it, but building dozens of silos and filling them with interceptors is irrelevant to the flight-test program. Moreover, buying dozens of interceptors makes even less sense when you consider that these newly designed interceptors have not been flown in intercept tests and are unproven.

Whether or not you believe that missile defense ultimately can eliminate the reality of mutual assured destruction, rushing to deploy a system with no capability is senseless.

DAVID WRIGHT

LISBETH GRONLUND

Co-directors and senior scientists

Union of Concerned Scientists, Global Security Program

Cambridge, Mass.

Outrageous outrage

In Friday’s Washington Times (“Soros likens Iraqi prisoner abuse to 9/11,” Nation), Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is quoted as calling it “outrageous” for Democrats to be drawing a moral equivalent between the abuse of Iraqi fighters and the “slaughter of 3,000 innocent Americans.” OK, how’s this moral equivalent: Where’s Mr. Gillespie’s outrage at the unprovoked and unnecessary slaughter of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians?

ROB STEGMAN

Needham, Mass.

Prescribing some reality

The activist groups’ studies cited in the May 26 Associated Press article “Prescription costs outpace inflation” (Business) require a pretty serious reality check.

You have seen those statistics. Here’s the reality: Using the numbers put forth by one of the groups, Families USA, our own studydemonstratesthat Medicare-approved discount cards save up to 22 percent compared with prices from a year and a half ago.

That’s right: Over and above any increases in drug prices in the past 18 months, discount cards still add up to big savings for seniors. It’s true even relative to what an anti-Medicare-reform group says drugs used to cost.

More important, if they qualify, the lowest-income seniors can get an additional $600 toward prescription drug costs for both 2004 and 2005. For a couple, that’s a towering $2,400 worth of medicines. That’s even before the additional benefits that individual pharmaceutical companies are adding to these drug cards.

Let’s keep a firm hold on reality — seniors should check out the Medicare-approved discount cards to see if the cards are right for them. No one should let groups with a clear agenda steer them away from real savings on the treatments they need.

RICK SMITH

Senior vice president, policy, research and strategic planning

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Washington

Speech echoes ‘greatest generation’

Thank you for putting the story of President Bush’s commencement speech at the Air Force Academy on the front page, where it belonged (“Bush urges patience in terror war,” Thursday).

Your coverage contained direct quotations from the speech without the cynical barbs that posed as reporting in other stories.

As President Bush reminds us, war analogies are powerful. For too long, we have used the wrong analogies to describe the conflict in Iraq.

We have trumpeted the echoes of Vietnam while ignoring the parallels of World War II. We claim that the sky is falling and the quagmire rising, but we overlook the struggles of postwar Europe. When we fixate on a single perspective, we forget not only how to think, but also what to think about.

The Air Force Academy commencement speech recalled the perseverance of the “greatest generation.” By choosing to cover the speech accurately, you reminded me to take hope. Thanks for sticking to the facts and allowing the president to speak for himself.

The other Washington newspaper should take note.

BECKY PERRY

Sugar Land, Texas

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