Pardon them: The point in "No Canada" about this being a "poverty draft" is a good one. Though these people enlisted and weren't drafted, their pitiful circumstances at home made the military the best job option they could find.
Then they get to Iraq and find out what they've gotten themselves into — a political war that the United States never should have engaged in. They see atrocities committed by U.S. troops and want no part of it.
Some way out of poverty!
They go home on leave and desert to Canada rather than do another tour of duty. It's very complicated, but I feel for them. It might not be the same as it was during the Vietnam era, but a lot of these people deserve not only asylum in Canada but pardons by the U.S. government.
My feeling is that the Barack Obama administration won't turn its back on these people like the George W. Bush administration did. Obama realizes that getting into the Iraq War was a fraud committed on the American people by his predecessor.
Nell Shuster, Phoenix
They owe us: "Poverty draft," my ass! Even if these people did enlist because they were impoverished, they still owe their country a debt. Running away is not the honorable thing to do, no matter how they spin it.
Ted Pullman, Tempe
Lazy so-and-so: Typical. "I want somebody to provide for me. I have to do what to get my benefits? I know I signed up for this deal, but I'm not doing that."
This lazy so-and-so [Kim Rivera] is a victim? Total BS! That's why this country is going down the toilet.
Scott Davis, Phoenix
Should have known better: Upon reading the first part of the article, I really thought I would have sympathy for the subjects involved. But I don't.
The Vietnam-era deserters, who didn't have the balls or were too rich or too smart to fight? Good riddance. They were never Americans to begin with.
I bet they have as many problems and guilt as the men and women who stood up and served our country honorably, as most of our military personnel did. Better to live life bravely than be a coward. And make no mistake, they were and always will be cowards.
I know this is a harsh judgment, but one has to live by one's choices.
As far as the modern-day deserters are concerned, if one joins the Marines, [she or he] should know better. I noticed no Navy personnel were involved. The Air Force guy sounds like the usual fuck-up who got busted. He should be a politician, because it sounds like he is a liar and a weasel.
What is very disturbing about the article is the fact that Kim Rivera was even allowed in the Army. I can't believe that the Army is so desperate to think she would be a good soldier. This is what happens when the standards are so low.
"Boo-hoo, I joined the Army voluntarily to get free stuff," Rivera's saying, "and they sent me to a place where bad things happened."
As far as I'm concerned, the Canadians can keep them all.
Andrew Noe, Tempe
BAY OF RECKONING
We're supposed to be better: See, I don't get this: They say this kid [Omar Khadr] is guilty because "he's the only one who could have thrown the grenades."
How do they know this? They say the fighting went on for an hour, but since the kid was the only one alive, he's the only one who could have thrown grenades an hour ago? So he held the Special Forces guys off for an hour single-handedly?
Secondly, why is it a crime to fight back in a wartime situation? So the guys weren't part of an organized military. Neither were the French resistance fighters in World War II; did we bring them up on charges?
Third, if these guys [in Guantánamo] are criminals, why no actual charges? This game of semantics is ridiculous: "He's not a POW, he's not a civilian. So we can keep him forever if we want."
We should expect anyone to do better with our captives, civilian or military, and we can't use the "but-they-are-meaner-to-our-guys" excuse. We have always striven to be above that, or we would have stuck our Vietnam prisoners in holes for months at a time, with watery rice for their only meals, torturing them on a daily basis.
It's about time the country grew up. I, for one, am glad that the new administration in Washington is moving in this direction.
Mike Wells, Phoenix
No, really, no Canada: I am surprised to hear you say that Dennis Edney is prepared to have Omar Khadr move in with him. My understanding from speaking with him in late October was that he had considered that option and decided it was not a workable one.
It doesn't matter in any case, because Omar Khadr is never coming back to Canada.
Marnie Tunay, Edmonton, Alberta
Lock 'em up before they do something: Does anybody really believe that this kid, Omar Khadr, won't get right back into the terrorism business, no matter what he says, once he's free?
Americans have trouble understanding zealots, and Khadr is one. Just as soon as he returns to Canada, he will [engage] the enemy again and do something else terrible. This time, it probably will be on Canadian or American soil.
Conrad Lipton, Spokane, Washington
Representation without representation: What's happened to these US Airways flight attendants is terrible! A frivolous lawsuit is filed, goes away, and they still are on the hook for all those legal expenses. They should now sue US Airways. I will never book that airline again.
Jessica Noles, Phoenix
The hits just keep on coming: Hey, you don't think US Airway is going to take the hit for a reckless pilot and pay for the attendants to defend the suit? This is the veritable lose-lose.
Chris Long, via the Internet
F.A.R. BETTER THING
Results aren't the point: "F.A.R. Far Away" ignores the fundamental work of ASU's Future Arts Research, namely research in which the products and programs should be seen as experiments without definable outcomes.
They engage me and my students at ASU. Through studio visits with graduate students or local artists, workshops, and master classes, F.A.R.'s guests are elevating the critical dialogue in Phoenix's arts community.
ASU students are now further encouraged to make art that matters; they've grown in their realization that they can do it from Arizona, from their own lives. My students and I understood the workshop quality of Anna Deveare Smith's performance. We put aside expectations about a proscenium performance to fully experience an internationally recognized artist making work in our community, about our community.
Most of the students also participated in programs with Peter Sellars. Sellars worked with students in a focused, deep way, through a class and a workshop, as well as a public lecture.
After a F.A.R.-sponsored dialogue between Cairo-based curator William Wells and Turkish artist Ahmet Ogut, a group of local artists hatched a plan to take Ogut to tour Joe Arpaio's Tent City. Ogut became a catalyst for a group to engage in a conversation about a complex situation that is occurring in our community.
F.A.R.'s work to go deep, to serve smaller, focused groups of artists and students, is a significant element of meaningful education in our community. F.A.R.'s work, while it is evolving its identity and its mission, is nourishing, motivating, and challenging my students and me to make better work, to engage in a broader artistic dialogue, and to imagine ourselves presenting work in Arizona and beyond.
Gregory Sale, visiting assistant professor of Intermedia, ASU
Follow the money: The author of this article appears to have no intimate familiarity with the purpose of the ASU Foundation, which is to orchestrate partnerships between public and private funds.
The funds used to sponsor F.A.R. could not be used for any other purpose by the university besides the purpose for which they were donated and consequently have no effect on the budget of the school itself. If they did, that information would be publicly available because the funds would be state tax dollars.
ASU president Michael Crow sees "art" as beneficial to all aspects of the community but, admittedly, knows nothing about it. Problematic though that may be, the Phoenix arts community is fortunate on some level to have a university president who is actually interested in a relationship.
It seems that the Phoenix arts scene, which needs higher levels of community and financial support to remain viable, would be far better served by attempting a level of integration than by running and hiding from a collection of well-funded, connected individuals who would ultimately like to see the Phoenix art scene succeed.
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Better dead than red, he said: The bilious attacks by the left in the New Times comments section are indicative of its specious, shallow "thinking." Besides being fascistic philosophical bedfellows of Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and other mass murderers (all in the cause of the "greater good," of course), lefties miss the point entirely by focusing on Sheriff Joe.
Their "problem" is with the citizens who elect this stalwart and overwhelmingly support him. And, by the way, I would much rather be a prisoner of Joe's than a resident of one of those "re-education camps" envisioned by Barack Obama's friends and cohorts in the Weather Underground.
Michael Cowan, via the Internet