Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pentagon Refuses to Send Mail to Soldiers

And it's not the way it seems. "Holiday mail addressed to 'Any Wounded Soldier' will be returned or thrown out, Pentagon says" is the headline - and there are some pretty good reasons given.

After 9/11 and the anthrax scare, the Postal Service and the Pentagon won't deliver letters addressed to "Any Wounded Soldier" because
  • Terrorists could send toxic substances or demoralizing messages to American troops, without knowing specific soldiers
  • Peace activists and other opponents of the war could send toxic substances or demoralizing messages to American troops, without knowing specific soldiers
The USO has the same 'no name, no delivery' policy.

There are folks who'd like to send 'good job / get well' messages to wounded soldiers whose names they don't know. This is a good thing, and I admire people who want to spread good cheer.

On the other hand, there's good reason to be careful. There are people out there with very sincerely-held beliefs who would find great satisfaction in sending a message like this to some GI who has lost friends overseas, and whose current assignment is a hospital bed:

"Thank God for IEDs
God Himself Has Now Become America's Terrorist, Killing
and Maiming American Troops in Strange Lands for Fag Sins."

(I'm not making up that quote.)

There may be a way to satisfy concerns about security and decency, and still get those "to any" messages through.

The "New York Times Regional Media Group Alabama" says that "Aides to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., are offering to accept letters, screen them through the U.S. Capitol mail operation, and get them to members of the armed forces."

That sounds like a good idea. Senator Sessions' offices are set up to take email, snail mail, phone, and fax messages.

My guess is that other organizations have started matching "to any soldier" messages with specific American soldiers - or will start, now that the ban on "to any" messages is in the news again.

There's also a website, "To Our Soldiers" - I haven't researched it, but it looks like a they have a good idea.


Brigid said...

"and whose current is a hospital bed:"

Whose current what?

I'm betting you meant something like 'residence'.

By the way, I had a brief urge to lynch whoever wrote that disgusting message.

Brian H. Gill said...


Oops. Thanks for the heads-up on that typo. I've fixed it. And, you were close.

That brief urge to lynch? I trust you let it go quickly. There's a lot of wisdom in following that 'vengeance is mine' directive.

Which reminds me: sooner or later, I'll want to write about vengeance, justice, defense, and protection.

It is so much easier to drop into "death to the great Satan America," "nuke Mecca," "give peace a chance," or some other self-assured, exclusivist, system of belief.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.