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Chains of command

Regarding the July 13 cover story, "Pattern of misconduct": I have a son who is part of the same brigade. He returned with a Purple Heart, and since then has been abandoned by the Army. He has been treated similarly to those in your article, and fears that something similar may be ahead of him.

He has been denied the attention of his medical staff, for instance. Due to his injuries and subsequent back surgery, he is unable to walk, stand or climb stairs for any real period of time, and has been given medical profiles prohibiting such activity. Yet his chain of command has deemed the profiles "illegal" and refused to honor them. He was also diagnosed with PTSD and has been given medication for this.

He is being punished because the Army refuses to see that he physically cannot do some things, yet they continue to insist he does. He has sleepless nights from chronic, severe pain, night sweats, nightmares and panic attacks. He has been restricted to the barracks, and has a room on the third floor.

As happened with one family in the article, my son called about a month ago, disturbing my wife and I. He was incoherent and we couldn't understand him. It caused us to make calls to friends of his and see if they could help. Thankfully, he seems OK at this point, but due to the lack of help from the Army, we see no good coming of this.

We have reached out to our senators' offices and asked their help in this matter. Our soldiers are dying after returning home from defending us, and from what we see, the Army is letting them down miserably.

Alan J. Pitts Sr.

Rahway, N.J.

War's wounds

As I read your story, I was taken aback by how a soldier could describe the shooting of a 5-year-old, saying, "I did not want to" do it, but "had to." I have no idea where we are getting these recruits, but I, for one, do not want my tax dollars supporting these individuals.

My father, who fought in three wars and retired a lieutenant colonel, never once had to shoot a child, and you do not even want to know what he and his fellow men did to a soldier who disrespected or tried to rape a civilian.

You would have been better off doing a story about the "trash" that raped a child, then murdered her and her family. I know people who have had nightmares about that. These individuals will for sure get their fetish for gang rape in prison, but along the way, they have disrespected every honest man who fought for our country.

I am sorry for some of the men in your story, as they have seen true horrors. But I do not feel sorry for the ones that added negative images of America to the people of Iraq, as these wounds will never heal.

Jennifer McKenzie

Colorado Springs

Home now

I wrote this tonight in regard to your articles about our local heroes:

"A Soldier's Fear"

When you're in a firefight, your thoughts are about making it home.

You want to save your friends from harm, so you can all go home together.

I hear fireworks outside and want to grab a gun and see if my friends are in trouble.

I'm home now; this shouldn't bother me.

When I was in the theatre, I traveled by helicopter back and forth from fight to base.

The pressure of the blades cutting through the air would thump through my tiredand sometimes injured body.

A helicopter flies around the neighborhood and I start to look around for a landing zone.

Where's my weapon? It's time to go.

I'm home now; this shouldn't bother me.

A rocket lands within the base, first the blast and then the concussion.

Next you hear the screaming of injured soldiers.

It's hard to be brave when those who you know have lost their limbs or lives.

A beer bottle falls to the concrete and breaks within your earshot.

You begin to look around, and the horror of your past comes back in plain view.

I'm home now; this shouldn't bother me.

You're searching houses, bursting through doors, and you never know what's on the other side.

You're always prepared for the worst, and the worst will sometimes be there.

You hear the doorbell ring and turn the corner and see the door.

You hesitate and wonder what's on the other side.

I'm home now; this shouldn't bother me.

I could go on forever with these thoughts.

They come back because of smell, a sound or being surrounded in a group.

Almost anything can trigger the emotions of the times that were so painful and fearful.

I've now been home for more than 30 years; these things shouldn't bother me.


Last name withheld upon request

Colorado Springs

Soldier journalism

I am currently serving in Iraq and read your July 13 IQ ["Grave threats"].

Why don't you comment on the fact that the coalition forces have given the Iraqi people responsibility for the security of the Muthanna province?

That is definite progress and ought to be reported!

There have been 80 tons of hidden artillery rounds filled with sarin nerve gas discovered in caches all over Iraq. Where is the apology to President Bush when he claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and he was called a liar? These artillery rounds kill their victims in a hideous manner. Remember the Tokyo Train Massacre? Sarin was the gas of choice for that terrorist attack!

Ninety percent of the Iraqi people are glad the coalition forces are in their country, and we are making definite progress. I wish the news reporters stationed here in Iraq would stop cowering under their beds, leave their hotel rooms and start reporting the news. They have no journalistic integrity, in my opinion.

Ed Williamson

Pueblo, writing from Iraq, via e-mail

Gay chutzpah!

Regarding "The dog says "moo'" [News, July 13]:

Now they've done it. The Gay and Lesbian Fund, backed by the Gill Foundation, has amused the public with advertising containing mooing dogs, allegedly trying to stimulate discussions over whether homosexuality is partly or wholly genetic and fixed from birth. Or is it a learned and conditioned behavior and a free choice?

Thank goodness our alert friends at Focus on the Family instantly saw through this ruse. After all, the Gill Foundation is that group that funds so many civic and charitable efforts in Colorado, including support for gays.

But the experts at Focus were not fooled. Not for a moment. They saw this as another attempt by those wily gays to advance the dreaded "gay agenda." The crafty lesbians are trying to get equal benefits in the workplace. And the stealthy bisexuals want the right to adopt children, like everyone else. And those cunning transsexuals want equal rights to sue if they are illegally fired. Some nerve.

In short, those sagacious gays really want to sneak in one, and only one, agenda: force America to keep its pledge to treat all people equally. What chutzpah.

Focus experts claim the proof that homosexuality is a free choice not inbred is that some former homosexuals have switched over to a heterosexual lifestyle. Thus, they are "cured" of their gay lives.

But wait! My friend the psychology professor, who specializes in the psychology of sexual behaviors, has research that shows all of us humans are born on a scale of sexual proclivities, ranging from exclusively homosexual to exclusively heterosexual, with most of us somewhere in between those extremes.

Thus, most of us are born with at least a bit of bisexual interest or titillation. Some are outright bisexual, apparently doubling their pleasures. Thus, a Focus example of a gay switching to straight may simply be a bisexual switch-hitter, and not "cured" at all! Go figure.

Scientists may debate for decades the question of whether the traits of evangelistic religious arrogance and moralistic egoism are genetic and inbred, or free choices after one is born. We can only hope for an eventual cure.

Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Dangerous minds

Thank God our City Council has recognized the obvious threat to the citizenry created by banners and signs depicting puppies that moo. The devious purpose, as openly stated by the puppy/moo people, is that these banners may cause people to think, and who can say where that may lead?

People may even be moved to talk, and perhaps discuss the fact that some people are born with a preference for members of their own gender. Acknowledgement of this fact will inevitably lead to the destruction of marriage between people of different genders, and ultimately, the downfall of Western society.

We can only hope that our enlightened council members, Bernie Herpin and Mayor Rivera in particular, will put an end to this dangerous provocation of thought before things get really out of hand.

Dr. J.C. Elgin

Colorado Springs

Arizona dreamin'

Regarding "Hogan's hero" [News, July 6]:

I do not understand why Mike Miles wants to turn the Navajo Hogan into a trouble spot.Why not turn it back into a real landmark,like it's supposed to be? A well-run bar/restaurant, quietly serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, doesn't have to be a rowdy biker bar to keep its heritage.

Some examples of landmark quiet bars are all over the place in Cave Creek, Ariz. Many were rowdy biker bars many years ago, but are now well-run, family-oriented restaurant/bar/tourist destinationswith the old Southwest flavor that the Hogan should have, and can have, if done right.

Maybe Mike should take a trip down to north ofPhoenix and visit any/all the bars, breweries, restaurantsthere in the Cave Creek area. The whole town has an antique, Old Western styleand appeal to it.The Hogan can be a showplace and visitor destination like no other in the Springs.

Brian Lackey

Colorado Springs

Fond farewell

I was saddened to learn of the upcoming retirement of Colorado Springs police Chief Luis Velez from the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Chief Velez is an outstanding man and leader within our fine community, and has honorably (and with great compassion and commitment) devoted the past 31 years of his life to not only the Colorado Springs Police Department, but to the betterment of Colorado Springs (as a growing and changing community) overall.

Chief Velez has worked his way up through the ranks to hold the highest position of our city's police department, and has contributed greatly to the reputation of Colorado Springs as a no-nonsense, law-and-order city, which is something I truly value and appreciate.

But Chief Velez has not just actively participated in law enforcement here in Colorado Springs. He has also worked for area causes, such as the local chapter of the American Heart Association. He worked not only to raise funding for that important cause, but also to raise awareness about heart disease, still our nation's No. 1 killer.

His experience and in-depth knowledge of law enforcement helped to bring about a successful end to the "Texas Seven."

Thank you, Chief Luis Velez, for many years of honorable and tireless service to the city of Colorado Springs. Your contributions to our fine city will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

Addy M. Hansen

Colorado Springs


In last week's cover story, we erroneously reported that the Government Accountability Office found that 23 percent of soldiers suffering from combat stress following service in Iraq or Afghanistan never received a referral for mental help. The correct figure is 77 percent. The Independent regrets the error.

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