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They don't buy the military link

May 14, 2008

Re "War's shopping cart," Opinion, May 9

Nick Turse's Op-Ed article has to be one of the most ridiculously alarmist articles I've ever read.

His thesis is that all Americans have become part of the military-industrial complex simply because they eat or drink the same things as those of us in the military.

That's a large leap in logic. The military in Iraq and Afghanistan goes to extraordinary lengths to feed, clothe and house itself in hostile territory while fighting a counterinsurgency and improving the lives of Iraqis and Afghans. Should the military be in the business of making laptops? No. Why would we even think about trying?

I suggest that Turse re-read President Eisenhower's farewell address -- most people who quote Eisenhower conveniently forget that he recognized the need for the military establishment and the arms industry, and only then went on to warn about their acquisition of unwarranted influence.

Thomas J. Weiss

Ft. Hood, Texas

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Turse spends virtually all of his essay listing mundane purchases of consumer products by the U.S. military, neglecting to mention their harm. Are these companies influencing war policy? Is the Pentagon altering the taste of Coke or the function of iPods? Are senators who own Microsoft stock more eager for the U.S. to engage in foreign operations? He's convinced me that practically all major companies are also defense contractors. Now he needs to make the case for why I should care.

He does assert that whenever we buy these products, we benefit the U.S. war machine, but he doesn't offer any evidence. Why shouldn't we assume that the government pays enough that the companies make money from such sales, making it irrelevant if we buy the same brands?

Randall Gellens

San Diego

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Re "Overkill," editorial, May 11

Mightier jets, stealthier subs and grander destroyers are not needed to take us into the 21st century. After all, President Bush exemplifies the cowboy tactics of throwing might at problems, and look where that's gotten us: disgruntled allies and loss of influence.

We need politicians who realize that bullying the world into democracy will never work. A strong, united and willing international coalition with a wise leader is far more powerful than one superpower spending billions so it can stomp around the globe hurling threats.

China knows it doesn't need military might to chop us off at our knees. It can do it economically -- one "Made in China" label at a time.

Sharon Graham

Huntington Beach

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