With respect to Nick Daley, his column on American cynicism in the Feb. 13 issue of The Echo was wildly off-target.
Daley seems to be advocating the position that we should not complain about our government because plenty of other countries are worse off.
This is a very unconvincing reason. Those who are dissatisfied with the direction of the United States aren't taking their country for granted—they believe that the country could be better, and want to make it so. Dismissing concerned citizens as pessimists and whiners is simply offensive.
Nearly 4,000 proud Americans have died fighting a war in Iraq that was initiated under the pretense that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Over 80,000 Iraqi civilians have died because of this U.S.-initiated war. No evidence that Hussein ever had weapons of mass destruction has been found, and military leaders have no exit strategy.
The value of our dollar is declining, and our economy looks to be in a recession, as Daley admits in his column. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 36.5 million Americans lived in poverty in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics were available. A recession would result in Americans losing their jobs, and more people living in poverty.
The New York Times Web site is reporting, as I type this, that six people have been shot dead at Northern Illinois University, in the fourth shooting at a U.S. school in the past week. These shooting incidents may not be roadside bombs, but that doesn't mean they're not worthy of discussion.
Meanwhile, our government is spending its time trying to figure out whether or not Roger Clemens had steroids injected into his buttocks a few years ago. What a shameful job of prioritizing.
Our stable police force, our democracy, and our electricity are not good reasons to stay silent on these or any other issues.
And one could easily find some residents of New Orleans who will question just how effective our police force is, anyhow.
The United States of America is certainly a great country but there is a lot of room for improvement.
Daley cites the Failed State Index in his column. There are 17 countries that are better off than the United States in the Failed State Index. I am a proud American, and as such I refuse to settle for 18th place.
At the risk of trivializing a serious issue, consider this analogy. Would any self-respecting Red Sox fan be content with letting the Sox finish second in the division every year to the Yankees, because, hey, at least they're better than the Royals and the Pirates? No.
It doesn't matter whether one agrees with the Iraq War or not, or whether one thinks our country is doing enough to combat climate change or not. The point is that Americans should never be silent on any issue that they're concerned about. Our First Amendment rights must not be left to stagnate.
I don't take for granted the privileges I've received simply by being born in this country. The vast majority of people who are dissatisfied with our country's direction feel the same as I do. We don't wish to leave the U.S. That's why we want its problems solved. Cynicism has nothing to do with it.
We cannot let all that's great about the United States obscure our view of our nation's flaws. And we absolutely cannot settle for these flaws just because other countries have it worse.
To be complacent would be un-American.
Andrew Entiwistle, Albany recruiting batallion
I found your Feb. 13 article [Kaitlin Couillard's report on Army recruiting]. Speaking not as an Army rep but just as one who has
written for a couple newspapers - great job ! ! You were fair and
balanced, factually accurate, and your flow made sense - it was a great
There is one SMALL clarification I'd like to make - I'm sure I am
responsible for the confusion, but in the paragraph below it is not "1200 a year" but actually "1200 the FIRST year". 1200 is the total
contribution. In the overall context of the article, not worth worrying
"Under the GI Bill, enlisted individuals contribute a maximum of $1200 a
year, allowing the provisions of the bill to then be applied, Entwistle
says. After two years, with a contribution of $1200, a person could
receive a total of $32,000. After three to six years, still only having
contributed $1200, they could a total of $39,600."
So great work. To do a piece like that and keep it so balanced is a
talent. I'd be pleased to work with you again and if you or any of the
staff need points of contact about Army recruiting or the Army in
general, you know where to find me.