U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers running away, shedding weapons and uniforms as ISIS forces overrun the country is a new verse to an old song. The U.S. has supported some governments more for our own benefit than the good of the people in those countries. Presidents and State Department officials from FDR to LBJ and beyond have been credited with saying about some foreign leader we've backed, "He may be a bad actor, but he's our bad actor." A number of strongmen, strawmen, dictators and despots haven't had the best interest of their peoples in mind. To name just a few: Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China; Trujillo of the Dominican Republic; Cuba's Fulgencio Batista; Diem, Thieu, et al., in South Vietnam; Iran's Shah Reza Pahlavi; Nicaragua's Samozas; and Ferdinand Marcos (remember Imelda's shoes?) of the Philippines. As convoys on I-24 rolled under Belvoir Avenue in 1991, one patriot's sign read, "Kick Saddam's A--, Get Our Gas!" Post 9/11's call for "Freedom and Democracy" in Iraq veiled a desire to bring stability to oil-based economies. Every foreign policy issue has its own intricacies, but perhaps looking to benefiting a country's people more than its leadership or our self-interests should be of higher priority.
GRADY S. BURGNER, Chattanooga
Residents of District 27 need to know Patsy Hazlewood. They should know a vote for Patsy is a vote for merit and for trust when we vote in August to elect our new state representatives. It is my pleasure and privilege to have known Patsy Hazlewood for three decades. I have seen her in action in many leadership roles in our business and volunteer community. When Patsy commits to someone or a project, she is all in and, she delivers. I have witnessed the hard work and dedication she put into working for our regional building partnerships and on enhancing economic development. Patsy has a tremendous work ethic and our traditional values. She has passion and perseverance in working on issues meaningful to our community. We have seen Patsy exhibit wonderful character traits in Chattanooga for 34 years. There is no doubt we can expect her values and characteristics will work for us in Nashville. My friends in this district, appreciate an elected official who has no political obligations. Patsy will speak for all, for each of us.
The whole Bergdahl release stinks. While we allow our wounded and disabled vets who served honorably to molder in waiting lines for basic but necessary care, our president fetes the release and extensive rehab of a very questionable fellow in a Rose Garden ceremony. I put a lot of credibility in the reaction of his fellow soldiers who feel Bergdahl deserted; an offense, if proven, that carries the death penalty in the military. Imagine the reaction if Richard Nixon had hosted Jane Fonda following her photo op tour in North Vietnam.
DENNY PISTOLL, Rising Fawn, Ga.
the point I am writing concerning Pam Sohn's editorial on June 6 (ironically D-Day) titled "Bergdahl Furor Is Sickening Show." Mrs. Sohn's falsehoods in this editorial are simply intolerable. Her main goal is to reveal the hypocrisy of Republican congressmen who are opposed to the release of the five Taliban members (who are equivalent to four-star generals in their organization). She writes, "Yet of all the things you'd think everyone would agree on, it would be rescuing our only remaining prisoner of war of the War in Afghanistan." And does she really think the five Taliban leaders will be playing bridge and listening to Wayne Newton CD's for a full year in Quatar? The previous quote is a knowing falsehood. Pam Sohn knows full well that he was not a prisoner of war but rather a deserter. Because he is a deserter, likely a traitor the United States is under no obligation to seek his release. Because he is a deserter, he has forfeited his right as an American to expect his release will be aggressively sought by our government. And the evidence continues to mount he was a collaborator, i.e., a traitor. The punishment for treason in a time of war is death unequivocally. I close with these rhetorical questions: Mrs. Sohn, why do you not mention the six honorable soldiers -- as opposed to deserters -- who gave their lives trying to rescue Bergdahl? Why, Mr. Obama, did you spike the ball with the traitor's parents in the Rose Garden, when you had not contacted the parents of the slain soldiers in any way? This is simply an intolerable situation.
DR. STEVEN W. SHRADER