Mr. Grunbaum, if you have not participated, you really weren't there and have no solid footing to criticize ("Mailbox," Dec. 29). It is the military industrial complex I believe you have a legitimate argument with. Not the cannon fodder our imperialistic culture sends forth to exercise control over the rest of the planet, for now. Our days of imperialistic dominance are waning fast. If you had been there, I could practically guarantee you would react the same as any naïve, ignorant youth in a combat situation, wonder how the @#$! you got into this mess, cover the backs of your brothers and sisters at any cost, so that everyone can get the @!#$ out of this mess and go home. And I guarantee that if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, hope there is a veteran around. They will risk their life to help you without a thought to their own safety, because they have done it so many times before. War is hell, and yet I have no greater trusted brothers and sisters than my comrades in Veterans for Peace.
Because cannon fodder on the front lines and their families are also victims of war, 34 a day attempt suicide and 18 succeed. We might consider providing respect and support to our surviving soldiers and their families, whether we agree with their efforts or not. Have a talk with a veteran returning from Iraq or Afghanistan; you will see you have much more in common than differences. If we do not provide our returning veterans with support, at these rates of suicide we too may have blood on our hands. Suicide rates continue to be very high among Vietnam veterans as well. And you know why? Because in many respects we agree with you, except you weren't there. The story is far too real for us, not abstract, out-of-context imagery or judgmental philosophical diatribes. Please consider that you can support the soldiers as fellow human beings, not the warring culture. I believe we do agree Mr. Grunbaum: Both war and Wal-Mart destroy lives and kill hopes and dreams!
Marc B. Knipper, Salyer