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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Disabled Veteran's Story Hits Home

August 10, 2004

Re "Back Home, Disabled Vets Fight Injuries, Red Tape," Aug. 8: Jay Briseno Jr. is 21. He lies in bed on a respirator while his parents take care of him. Jay may or may not know what has happened to him. Jay's parents can get care for only 16 or so hours per day and cover the rest, sleeping little. Was Jay in a car accident? Did he succumb to some illness? Is that why his parents are on the hook? No. Jay got shot in Iraq.

Whether we believe the soldiers there are saints or devils, it is patently unfair and repulsive that men just out of their teens are left to fend for themselves after daring to remain alive from wounds received in service for the U.S. So, because Jay's parents do not want to conveniently tuck him away in a ward somewhere, they pay while the government wraps itself in bureaucratic excuses. We should write our members of Congress. We are all responsible for Jay.

Carole McSweeney

Glendale

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What's wrong with this picture? A photograph on the front page of Sunday's Times of the father of Jay Briseno Jr., 21, a disabled veteran who was shot in the back of the neck in Baghdad and is "faced with a lifetime of excruciating disability" while we are fed television pictures of the Bush family frolicking at Kennebunkport on a boat with President Bush, who, as usual, is on vacation.

More than 900 Americans and thousands of Iraqis have been killed in this needless war while Saddam Hussein is still alive tending his plot of garden and Osama bin Laden is somewhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan planning his war on us.

Bee Canterbury Lavery

Brentwood

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