Top 10 Letters
Bill Bennett, the ACC, the Army's mail, and more.
12:00 AM, May 12, 2003
THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
Stephen F. Hayes's Getting It Wrong on Purpose really hit close to home. My local paper, the St. Petersburg Times, has published three articles on the IRDC. April 25, 2003 "Iraq doctor goes to aid homeland" on page 4A, April 11, 2003 "Doctor eager to heal his homeland" on page 1A, and April 4, 2003 "Local doctor to lead Iraqi health care" on page 11A. These articles all concern Dr. Daid Hakky who is a local urologist. He has been working in these same confines outside Washington D.C. and has been tapped to be the temporary minister of health in Iraq. He is there even as we speak. He was personally interviewed for each of these three stories, and was very excited to tell the story.
In a recent Top 10 Letters Sean J. Byrne, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Commander, 3rd PERSCOM commented that he does not believe that the mail situation in Iraq is as dire as predicted in Jonathan Foreman's article, The Scandal of the Army's Mail. In his address to the editor, Brigadier General Byrne made statements regarding mail delivery that seemed to assert that the situation had been rectified and that all troops had begun to receive their letters in a timely fashion. He also seemed to suggest that mail sent at the beginning of the war had reached the forces by the time he'd written his letter. I would forcefully challenge those suggestions.
Two Fridays ago, a certain Marine from Echo company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, called home and spoke to his mother for the first time since crossing the border into Iraq. He was depressed and dispirited; he'd only received one letter in all that time--letters that had been sent while he was still in Kuwait hadn't even been received. I myself have written him a letter every day since March 18; as of April 26, he hadn't received even one of those letters. Since the General Byrne's letter was published on April 28, I'd say his assessment of the situation was misinformed.
My unit is the 721st Postal Co. (Reserves).We used to be a replacement detachment, and this is our first active duty time in the MOS (besides the annual 2 weeks). There are only 23 soldiers there, (I'd be there, but my husband got me pregnant) and they are busting their asses trying to get the mail out. They aren't even getting their own mail fast because of the quantity. I am told they are working with some 50 Marines and there is only one cell phone to be passed around, so no one is getting in touch with anyone else.
My unit is good at their job, and we take it seriously. The problem is not due to a lack of care and concern--we are fully aware that mail is the most important morale booster when people are away from home. All I can say is the Army needs to train more people in the postal MOS.
I am a conservative Republican legislator who has worked to keep gambling out of my state. (Jonathan V. Last, Bill Bennett's Gambling "Problem") I am also an avid reader and fan of Bill Bennett's. His ideas stand on their own merits and do not rise or fall depending on whether he is able to live up to his "Book of Virtues."
I still respect the man. We all must ensure that we will live up to the examples we seek to set for our young people. Bennett did nothing illegal and it is questionable whether or not gambling is immoral. Yet he is right to say that his gambling days are over. The admission and change in behavior are a model of character. When he became drug czar under Bush 41, Bennett quit smoking. His willingness to abstain from perfectly legal conduct in order to set a higher standard is admirable. Bill Bennett--thanks for teaching us all a valuable lesson. Our prayers are with you. I look forward to purchasing your next book.
--Rep. David A. Pendleton, Hawaii House of Representatives
I re-read my copy of the February 2003 Hillsdale College newsletter, Imprimis, last night. It included a speech Bill Bennett delivered at a Hillsdale seminar in 2002. Here's a passage I found interesting: