- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 27, 2004

The fog of war

The difference between life and death on the battlefield can be less than a second (“Marine just doing his job,” Op-Ed, Friday). War brings out man’s base instincts and reduces survival to a base level.

In war, one learns to survive by imprinted responses. If any enemy kills a comrade by playing dead, then the only response to survival is to ensure that enemy is dead. That is imprinted and becomes instinct. Battlefield commanders rely on it.

Our soldiers as well as enemy soldiers have done it in every war. Until an enemy receives prisoner-of-war status, he is subject to the battlefield imprint. This enemy who was killed had not received POW status, either by mistake or oversight in the dynamics or “fog” of war.

If the media continue to produce points in time that do not reflect the battlefield environment, and reflect instead a civilized and stable environment, this could dampen the instinct, and the commanders in field will stop taking reporters with them.

The purpose would not be to hide anything, but only to ensure the survival of the soldier, the squad, the platoon, the company, the battalion, the division, the regiment and the corps.

If there is outright murder, it will surface. There is always someone who cannot live with it. If there is not, if the commanders are ordered to take reporters under the same constraints, then the grunts will find a way to fix the problem, and not by pulling the trigger. They outsmarted Robert McNamara with information alone during Vietnam.

LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.

Know Mrs. Clinton before you vote

The Washington Times should be commended for its excellent reporting on Sen. HillaryRodhamClinton (“Hillary’s Senate record,” Editorial, Sunday). Far from being your “two-cents’ worth,” it is a treasure throve of thoroughly researched facts which will be badly needed to counteract the Clintons’ ongoing revisionism — a million dollars’ worth of valuable information which should put to rest the notion that a likely future presidential candidate, Mrs. Clinton,isa”Northeastern centrist.”

It is especially apropos for this editorial to appear, in view of the unabashed historical revisionism trumpeted so loudly at the dedication of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center last week, where Mrs. Clinton was featured so prominently and her now infamous “vast right-wing conspiracy” claim was repeated in Mr. Clinton’s challenge of his impeachment.

Also notable are the efforts by the founders of a newly formed group — CounterClintonLibrary.com — which has pledged to answer with facts and documents every falsehood the Clinton library or the Clintons may put out in the future.

If this group meets its fund-raising goals, two counter-libraries will be built: one in Arkansas — two blocks from the Clinton library, and another in Washington, where many documents will be stored for reporters who may want to research the facts as presented.

Like The Times, this group, too, is doing this in the interest of truth, and it deserves our commendation and support as well.

The public will be well-served to know as much as they can about Mrs. Clinton before casting their votes.

CARIN SALA

Palm Beach, Fla.

Crack down on criminals, not sick people

As a retired police officer and speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I take exception to the statement from the Office of National Drug Control Policy about who supports medical marijuana (“Medicinal pot before high court,” Nation, Monday). As my colleagues chase sick people who need medicine, those driving under the influence are allowed to kill more innocents. This is a horrible way to have the thin blue line spend its time.

HOWARD J. WOOLDRIDGE

Media director

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Dallas

A Thanksgiving lesson

Thank you for your revealing article on the public schools’ treatment of Thanksgiving (“Students may thank anyone except God,” Page 1, Tuesday). While it came as no surprise that teachers highlight cultural immersion during this time, I was startled to read that the religious aspects of this holiday are being ignored in some quarters. Most astonishing of all was the quote from a curriculum and instruction director stating that Thanksgiving in public schools is taught “from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective.”

Religion is an integral part of history that cannot be glossed over. The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving not merely because they were thankful to the Indians, but because they were thankful to God. If this fact is left out, we have nothing more than a feel-good story about the thankful Pilgrims suddenly saying to themselves, “Let’s have a feast and invite the Indians over, and we’ll appreciate their culture, and everyone will be happy.”

This story is very nice, but it is not accurate history. Instead, it is a falsification of events, sacrificing intellectual integrity on the altar of political correctness. Thanksgiving is by no means the only historical event shaped by religion.

From the human sacrifices of the Aztecs to those of September 11, the events of history have been shaped, for good or ill, by religious conviction. To teach otherwise is no more than educational quackery.

As a 10th-grade student, I am distressed that the honest teaching of history can be confused with bigotry. Curriculum directors who zealously rewrite history so as not to offend anyone will instead spoon-feed their students an insipid myth, watered down to satisfy their “sensitivities” but guaranteed to obscure the lessons of history.

AMANDA C. MARTIN

Silver Spring

Knavish mainstream media

The mainstream media richly deserved your “knaves” award last week for, as you said, “taking every opportunity to cast our troops in the worst possiblelight”(“Noblesand knaves,” Editorial, Nov. 20).

For that and their appalling behavior this year, I would like to nominate the mainstream media for knave of the year. They jettisoned journalistic integrity long ago to become the voice of the Democratic Party and for liberalism.

I wholeheartedly agree it’s time for them to realize that they lost the election and get back to reporting news — something that will require intensive re-education for them all — but I do not believe they can or will. For them, the election will never be over. That is, until their cohorts, the Democrats and liberals, are returned to power in Washington and elsewhere.

C. KENNA AMOS JR.

Princeton, W.Va.

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