Closing the "casualty gap" will only occur when those in the upper income brackets realize what it takes to protect and defend our way of life. Perhaps with greater media attention to the role of the military in maintaining our freedom, we can raise awareness among young men and women at all income levels of the value of serving their country.
Derek B. Lovett
The writer served in the Navy from 1973 to 1979.
Douglas L. Kriner and Francis X. Shen present their "casualty gap" as if it were some sort of profound revelation.
It should be common knowledge that lower-income communities will experience higher casualties than higher-income communities. Why? Because higher-income communities, whose youth are better educated, produce more officers, and lower-income communities produce more enlisted personnel.
Numerically, enlisted personnel far exceed officer personnel in the military. Hence, more casualties. This is nothing new. In wars of old, far more vassals died than did lords.
Kriner and Shen write that "the burden of war deaths in Vietnam, Korea and Iraq has not been shouldered equally." Well then, let's see to it that more lieutenants, captains and majors get killed in future conflicts so we can close that casualty gap.
If Kriner and Shen are referencing a military draft and possible unfairness therein, then come right out and say so instead of beating around the bush.
Different views of the VA
Re "Battlefield of red tape," June 1
I would like to thank The Times for its fine reporting on the abuse of our nation's veterans.
We are suffering like you can't imagine, and the bottom line is that no one really cares. I have been mistreated at the hands of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the last eight years, and I have lost everything. I just put an ad on Craigslist for a place to live. Perhaps someone has a car they could give me.
Maybe one day your words might touch someone who can help us. Right now, a place to live and some transportation would be nice.
Your VA piece was timely and no doubt accurate, but it was not the whole story.
The VA has been severely underfunded for decades. Moreover, until President Obama's appointment of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, a former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, the VA was run by a succession of politically-connected mediocrities.
My experiences with the VA's Brentwood facility have been mixed. There are too many patients for too few caregivers, but this ratio has lately improved. There are a few incompetent physicians but many more highly qualified and motivated ones.
Thanks to an alliance with UCLA, most VA clinics are staffed by a corps of excellent residents. The nonmedical staff includes many veterans, and I have always been treated with respect and consideration.
Marvin J. Wolf
Mar Vista Heights
The writer is a Vietnam veteran.