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Iraq coverage

The editorial regarding President Bush's address is blantantly misleading (``Bush on Iraq: Terrorists will fail,'' June 29).

Your paper dismisses most public opinion polls, which display a growing anxiety with the packaging and progress in the war. The editorial staff force-feeds readers, and in the process, puts forth a dishonest interpretation of public opinion. Even worse, the Herald filled the piece with fractured logic, at one point quoting President Bush on the importance of protecting ``our'' future from car bombers (I have yet to see a car bomber on Newbury Street), to later point out the sacrifice that troops have made for the Iraqi people.

We invaded Iraq illegally. That is terrorism. At least let those of us who legitimately support the troops understand their real contribution rather than hear another flailing attempt to pacify.

- Michael Tolman, Halifax
LOAD-DATE: July 5, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 4, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 546 words

Supporting the troops can be made easy
BYLINE: By John Kerry and Pamela Resor

To truly honor our past and present heroes, our deeds must match our words. Today, many military families struggle to meet the demands of extended and repeated tours of duty.

Whether it's families who can no longer pay the bills when a parent is in the reserves, or a health care system that doesn't fully meet veterans' needs, we must do better. We need a Military Family Bill of Rights that stands by our troops and their families. And we must acknowledge that no bill or budget will ever anticipate all the needs of our military families. Someone will always fall through the cracks.

Take the case of 22-year-old Jay Briseno of Manassas, Va. Jay was wounded in Iraq and left paralyzed from the neck down. The law authorizes the Veterans Administration to provide $11,000 to modify a disabled veteran's vehicle. But that just wasn't enough to buy the specially-outfitted vehicle he needed. A generous member of the community donated the van Jay's parents now use to drive him to medical appointments.

There is a second lesson to be learned from Jay's story. When it comes to honoring our troops and taking care of them when they return home, Americans are willing to do the right thing. We are willing to bet on the generosity of Americans to guarantee we do right by every Jay Briseno.

We have proposed adding a simple box to state and federal income tax forms that will allow Americans to voluntarily mark a few dollars of their taxes to a fund for military families. If we do this for our presidential elections, we should do it for our troops.

Just think: If half of American taxpayers gave $5, we would have almost $400 million every year to meet the unanticipated needs of our troops and their families.

Some might ask why we need to add this box when people can already contribute to dozens of military charities. That's a fair point, but we should make it as easy as possible for Americans to stand by our troops.

Many of our troops have already experienced how helpful these military charities can be. Take John Salonich, a Massachusetts National Guardsman from Worcester. While serving at Guantanamo Bay, he contracted encephalitis, and continues to suffer from brain damage and related symptoms. The Friends of the Mass. National Guard and Reservist Families, a private charity that would benefit from these voluntary funds, provided financial support to deal with the illness, and paid for the family to visit John in the hospital. John's wife, Lisa, calls the Friends ``angels of mercy.'' She says, ``My husband believed in the importance of being a Guardsman . . . John was a brilliant computer developer with a bright future, and now it is uncertain.

``People want to help,'' she added, ``Please give them the vehicle in which to do so by supporting this bill.''

Massachusetts can join 16 states in creating a check-off for veterans, and as a new generation of vets returns home from Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress should follow their lead. For every presidential campaign, 13 million Americans send $3 of their tax money to fund the open elections that are the foundation of our democracy. Next year, we hope they can do the same for those who risk their lives to defend it.

John Kerry is the junior senator from Massachusetts. Pamela Resor is a state senator from Acton.
LOAD-DATE: July 4, 2005

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The Boston Herald
July 4, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 697 words
HEADLINE: Letters to the editor

Objectivity lost

The Herald ought to at least appear objective in stories that readers would conclude are news (June 29).

Trashing Gov. Mitt Romney because he's insufficiently conservative for your taste may make for a good editorial, but you ought to at least have the integrity to label it as such.

- Norman Bernstein, Sharon

Gelzinis scores again

As usual, Peter Gelzinis' column on the West End was on target and most commendable (``The sad ending to West End story,'' June 29). There has been much written about the travesty that befell the West End, and Jimmy Campano's remarks in the column brought to light the greed and government intervention that can and did destroy a neighborhood like the one I grew up in.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision about government takeover of private property has rekindled the memory of many West Enders. Campano is correct in saying that it's the people who give neighborhoods their life, and the people should make sure that the West End tragedy is not repeated.

- Stuart H. Rosenberg, President

Mattapan Board of Trade

USPS still delivers

I have not detected any noticeable interest in the Postal Service being privatized (``Role model for USPS,'' June 19). Perhaps that's because, as you note, the Postal Service is trying to be efficient. It concluded fiscal years 2003 and 2004 comfortably in the black. Our expenses have remained relatively constant since 2001, and we've not increased prices since 2002. Our on-time delivery scores and customer satisfaction index are at all-time highs.

The proposal to increase (among other things) the 37-cent first class mail rate to 39 cents is a proposal we would have preferred not to have made. The funds that will accrue if this proposal goes forward are not for postal operations but rather to meet an escrow account established by Congress in 2003.

We appreciate your acknowledgement that ``it could be counted as an achievement that the price of a first-class stamp has risen roughly with inflation during the past quarter-century.'' We agree. In fact, in real terms the price has risen less than a penny per year, on average, since 1982, when the federal subsidy ended for the Postal Service.

- Azeezaly S. Jaffer, VP Public Affairs, USPS

Washington, D.C.

War deserves no praise

Michelle Malkin's column blasting peacemakers is not even worthy of lining my canary's cage (``Lefty pacifists peddle the new `self-esteem,''' June 30).

How ironic that it appeared in a Herald issue with two reported teen murders in Boston and more American dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.

War continues to be the scourge of mankind. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a true soldier, noted, ``Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.''

Ike knew war first-hand. Malkin, like most of the war-mongering neocons in the current administration, has never served her country or seen war's horrors first-hand.

- Joe Hayes, Stoneham

Freedom worth the fight

Bravo to columnist Cal Thomas (``Nothing hurts like the truth,'' June 29).

Liberals can't get their heads around the idea that nothing will end this threat except rooting it out from within in the form of democracy. Ironic how a party named after a process doesn't understand how the process can change the world.

Democracy can turn opportunistic religious zealots into a criminal minority in their own land, but their recruiting of young uneducated minds in the Arab nations can be choked by the power of choice through education and reform.

No current Democratic leader shows me anything but hate and personal and political selfishness.

- Michael Schmidt, Nashua

Brown panned here

It's sad to learn that Whitney Houston continues her downward spiral while appearing on Bobby Brown's reality show (``Houston, you have a problem,'' June 29). I think her fall from grace is even greater than Michael Jackson's because he has almost always been viewed as somewhat of a weirdo.

The Herald review credits Brown with accomplishments as a New Edition member, but without his solo career there would likely be no ``Being Bobby Brown.''

- Philip Morgan, Brockton
LOAD-DATE: July 4, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 4, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 622 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

Thank a soldier for your freedom

Fourth of July celebrations in backyards and town squares are a joyful mix of cookouts and parades, flags and fireworks.

Hot dogs, s'mores and barefoot children doing a darned good imitation of Lady Liberty, with their outstretched hands holding a sparkler like a torch, are all a reminder that life is good in America.

And should be a reminder that it's our freedom that makes it so.

For protecting that freedom, we are in the debt of every American soldier, past and present, whether serving at the ready, or serving in time of war.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Piper, laid to rest in his native Marblehead after dying of wounds suffered in Afghanistan, used to tell his friends, ``freedom isn't free.'' His meaning has never been clearer.

We Bostonians take a great deal of pride in holding our history close. We celebrate and honor great figures of generations past who graced our cobblestone streets and founded a nation.

But President Bush, in an address just last week, spoke of a new greatest generation of Americans who are taking their place among those historic leaders in our own time.

These heroes walked among us in Boston, in Scituate, in Dracut, in Cheshire, before they walked on the sands of Iraq and the hills of Afghanistan.

Some are home now, picking up the pieces of their lives. Some will never come home.

Massachusetts has lost some 36 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our wound is open and raw having just buried three of them in these past few weeks alone.

So this Fourth of July, we don't need to stroll Battle Road in Lexington and Concord, or visit the Old North Church to pay homage to heroes.

We need only to turn on the news, visit a neighbor, or a freshly dug grave in the cemetery.

When the Supreme Court refused last week to hear a case regarding two journalists and their confidential sources, it prompted predictable cries that freedom of the press is under assault.

And it prompted us to look up Sen. Zell Miller's speech to the Republican National Convention last summer when he recounted this bit of wisdom, well worth repeating now:

``It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.

``It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

``It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

``It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

``It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.''

So we remember the heroes of our time here:

Lance Cpl. Travis R. Desiato, Pfc. John D. Hart, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Sgt. Daniel J. Londono, Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV, Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek, Capt. John W. Maloney, Spc. Matthew Boule, Lt. Travis J. Fuller, Staff Sgt. Darren J. Cunningham, Spc. Gabriel T.Palacios, Cpl. David M. Vicente, Pfc. Norman Darling, Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara, Lt. Brian McPhillips, Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Burgess, Capt. Christopher J. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, Cpl. Brian Oliveira, Capt. Benjamin Wilson Sammis, Spc. Peter G. Enos, Pfc. Markus J. Johnson, Sgt. Justin W. Garvey, Chief Warrant Officer Stephen M. Wells, Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia, Sgt. Andrew K. Farrar Jr., Sgt. Daniel H. Petithory, Capt. Seth R. Michaud, Sgt. Theodore L. Perreault, Petty Officer Brian J. Ouellette, Pfc. Evan W. O'Neill, Staff Sgt. Christopher N. Piper, Sgt. Michael J. Kelley, Capt. David S. Connolly.

We thank them today, however inadequately, by hanging a flag, attending a parade, gazing in wonder at colors exploding in the sky.

We honor them always by completing the mission for which they died.
LOAD-DATE: July 4, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
July 4, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 579 words
HEADLINE: American heroes paid our freedom's passage
BYLINE: By Joe Fitzgerald

Joe McCallion was 19, fresh out of Woburn, when he entered the Korean War from which he'd return with memories that never faded.

``A sergeant showed me my bunker,'' he said, recalling the morning a Jeep carried him across the Imjim River to E Company, then in the thick of a battle at Munsan-Ni.

``We were relieving the Korean marines who'd had no sanitation provisions. Rats were feasting on empty C ration cans. You could hear them nibbling at night, yet you couldn't shine lights for security reasons. So I'm looking through the aperture of my bunker, rifle ready, when this huge rat jumps onto a sandbag in front of my eyes, then slithers down beside me. I'll never forget it.''

McCallion, who came home safe and sound, would author a poem in tribute to those who didn't, part of which read:

``Freedom's price is always high.

``Some are wounded. Others die.

``Blinded eyes and shattered bones;

``hospitals and nursing homes.''

Freedom's price has indeed always been high.

Over in Moynihan Park, in Hyde Park, high school chums of Puzzy Carter gathered a few years back to honor his memory with a granite marker.

Puzzy, 19, a Marine in H Company, was firing tracers from an M-16, securing Highway 1 in the opening hours of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War when he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while racing to the rescue of comrades under attack.

On that marker his friends noted:

``He never had the chance to go to a high school reunion, get married, coach Little League or get gray hair. We never had the chance to throw a surprise 40th birthday party for him. What a wonderful friend he was. In our hearts he has stayed young, handsome, funny, brave, and we still miss him deeply.''

The names change, but the price of freedom never does.

Alex Arredondo, also a Marine, was 20 when he died during a second tour in Iraq.

``It seems my whole life changed in an instant,'' the Norwood native wrote to his father while en route to his first tour. ``Yesterday I was in a classroom learning about trigonometry; now I'm being sent across the world to fight. Soon I'll be in full combat gear, ready to carry out my mission,proud to be fighting for my country.''

In a separate mailing to his brother Brian, Alex wrote: ``I feel so lucky to be blessed with the chance to defend my country. Some Marines have been in for over 20 years and still haven't seen combat. I'm also lucky to have such a wonderful family. I know how much you support me. I love you, brother!''

Two weeks ago, his father, Carlos, received a much-anticipated memorandum from a sergeant with the Corps, explaining how his son was killed fighting.

``Lance Corporal Arredondo served as a Fire Team Leader during the Battalion's attack into the old city of Najaf. As the platoon attacked to clear a four-story hotel, it was heavily engaged by enemy machine gun and sniper fire from three different directions,'' the memorandum stated.

``Lance Corporal Arredondo returned fire, exposing himself to great risk to ensure the members of his team were safe. After fearlessly exchanging fire with enemy snipers for more than three hours, Lance Corporal Arredondo fell mortally wounded as he moved through the rooms to inspect the Marines' defensive positions.

``This is the only information I have at this time.''

``It was hard to swallow,'' Carlos Arredondo confided. ``But it's going to take forever to digest.''

That's because freedom's price has never changed, something to ponder as veterans pass by in today's parades.

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