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Pride and prejudice

July 19, 2009

Re "The few, the proud ... the parents," Opinion, July 15

The Op-Ed article by Pat Saperstein puts in sharp relief the cultural (and dare I say, class) divide in much of the United States. She says that "[we] didn't know a single person who served in any branch of the military," and her son's decision was met with "shock -- even hostility."

I cannot even begin to understand this kind of thinking, but then I obviously move in different social circles. I don't believe the writer has a clue as to how isolated she and her kind are. Who does she think should serve in the military? I, for one, am much more than a little proud of all the young men and women, of whatever social or economic class, who serve us all in our nation's military.

John S. Adams

Hermosa Beach

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The author should tear herself away from her computer and get out and get acquainted with American society.

I am a liberal, retired college professor. I think prosecution of the Vietnam War was the worst mistake the U.S. government has ever made, and the Iraq war is probably next.

But to be unacquainted with anyone who has worn the uniform is inconceivable. My five brothers and I all served in one or another of the uniformed services. A niece served a term in the Coast Guard, and both of my sons served in the Navy after finishing college. Last year, my grandson reluctantly gave in to the blandishments of his father to try at least one year of college before joining the Navy. And we are not a "military family" -- just ordinary Americans.

James E. Dew

Santa Barbara

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My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Sapersteins because they were unable to dissuade their son. Did he see only a romantic vision of himself in uniform and not the actual role of a participant in a combat operation in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan?

How can we attract foreign nations to our form of government while we continue building our military to engage in slaughter? Instead, we could help those countries to build schools, hospitals and roads.

We have lost the respect of the world because we have shown we do not care about the well-being of other nations and are too busy glorifying war in our own country.

Trudy Goldman

Marina del Rey

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Saperstein need not feel guilt about her son's decision. Unfortunately, our military machine continues a campaign to "justify" our Iraqi occupation through lies and complacency, something I think even The Times has realized but, perplexingly, continues to conveniently sweep under the rug.

The Iraq occupation is immoral, and I, for one, do not support any persons enlisting and serving at this point in time.

Scott Matz

Los Angeles

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