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Share the stories of soldiers who fulfill military duties

Re: Get pregnant, or get sent to Iraq, Sept. 19.

What a shame the St. Petersburg Times has decided to glorify cowardice and moral depravity. Being a member of the Army Individual Ready Reserve myself, I can tell you that being called back to active duty is something we all think about and, yes, sometimes fear. However, men and women in the service face their fears and meet great challenges every day with a high degree of professionalism and morality, something that a person like Cristie Oliver would never understand.

Had Cristie answered the call to service, her family would have health care and steady pay, and she would have developed more skills to be a productive member of society. Unfortunately, she could only think of the potential danger involved. So in response to her fears, she brings a child into this world that she can't support. What a beautiful example she is for her children: someone who doesn't fulfill her commitments, who deliberately deceives authority, and who recklessly brings achild into the world to protect herself.

I believe there are many men and women the Times could write about who provide a role model for all to follow. These are people who leave their families and face their fears to secure the freedom and safety of a people they don't even know. The person to write about is a soldier, and the freedom and safety they secure is yours.

Kevin Kingsley, St. Petersburg

A slap in the face of war families

Re: Get pregnant, or get sent to Iraq.

Who on earth decides what stories to run on the front page of your paper? I can only assume the person who decides was never in the military, or else the story about the woman getting pregnant to avoid going to Iraq would never have been printed.

I think that story was a big insult to all the young women who are now serving in Iraq and especially to the many of them who have had to leave their children. It was also a big insult to the thousands of men who are in Iraq and did not try to get out of their duty, and the thousands of men who also had to leave their young children and pregnant wives.

My son is going to Iraq in February and will leave behind his wife and 3-month-old baby. Will you run a story about him "leaving his baby"?

I am not even faulting the woman in the story. She did what she felt she had to do, and that is fine. But why did you feel it was worthy of a front-page story? There are thousands of military veterans in this area who went off to war for four years, and there are many families who have loved ones in Iraq. I think that story was an absolute slap in the face to all of them.

Christine Davis, St. Petersburg

A private decision

Re: Get pregnant, or get sent to Iraq.

I pity the child who has to grow up knowing that she was conceived in order for his/her mother to avoid fulfilling her obligations to our country. Cristie Oliver, with the encouragement of friends and family, made a choice to create an innocent life so that she wouldn't have to go to Iraq.

Of course, it's scary. Of course, she'll miss her family. But she knew the risks and requirements when she enlisted. And maybe her daughter would respect, honor and appreciate her even more for doing her American duty when called to do so.

The fact that Oliver chose to get pregnant and to exploit her unborn child so that she could shirk her responsibilities to our country is appalling, but it should also have been a private decision. Allowing the St. Petersburg Times to share it with the public is a disgrace. Shame on all of you.

Jennifer Cooper, Inverness

How are we supposed to feel?

Re: Get pregnant, or get sent to Iraq.

This article confuses me, and I'm not sure why.

Am I supposed to feel sorry for Cristie Oliver? Should I side with her for her fear of leaving her baby, or of going to that scary, ill-conceived mess in Iraq? I really can't blame her in either case.

Or should I chastise her for wanting the benefits of military service, but then failing to answer the call to duty? How about using Oliver as the poster child for why women should not be allowed in the military?

Or should I be angry with her for trying to get out of military service by using any available loophole (thanks, President Bush, for setting a fine example).

Should staff writer Leonora LaPeter be called on to clarify the point of her article, or be commended for letting us think for ourselves and sort through these issues on our own?

Barry L. Kain, Seminole

Out of touch with the poor

Re: Power is in the private sector, letter, Sept. 19.

Giving the letter writer who responded to Robyn Blumner's column, In Bush's America the rich get richer, the benefit of the doubt, it is obvious that this person is out of touch with the realities of day-to-day life of the poor. The writer arrogantly states that if the poor were not taxed they would have copious amounts of money to save and pay for the astronomically rising costs of health insurance.

A person making $20,000 a year or less has negligible taxes to pay anyway. The savings would not come anywhere close to giving a person in this income bracket enough money to pay for health insurance or save money. Most low-income people are paying 50 percent or more on housing. Any financial adviser will tell you that you should limit housing costs to 25 percent of income.

We liberals are very concerned with the unequal playing field between those who are poor and those who have more than they need. The inequitable distribution of wealth has been growing ever since Reagan took office. A democracy can't survive for too long in this economic environment.

Incentives to work are good, and most of the poor want to work. However, you have to put a leash on those who unfairly exploit the defenseless for their own greedy agenda.

Mike Davis, Clearwater

Follow Colorado's lead

Re: Colorado could be first to split electoral votes, Sept. 19.

As almost everyone knows, the Electoral College elects the president of these United States, not the people and their so-called popular votes.

If the populace of a particular state votes predominantely for one particular party, all of the Electoral College votes go to that party.

This is not fair, nor does it properly render the "will of the people" in our democratic society.

Along comes Colorado, with Amendment 36, for a democratic Electoral College. The Electoral College vote would be split up to proportionally represent the way the people voted.

Florida needs to do the same.

V. Paradis, Seminole

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