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The human cost of pride

I was saddened but enlightened to read the essay on the pride of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. William Halsey Jr. Our nation has done a lot of good over the years, but as humans, it is hard to see the depth of our depravity.
    —Nancy Venezia / Manchester, Mo.

Capt. William Toti did a great injustice to our World War II heroes by presenting them in the most unfavorable light possible. He has maligned MacArthur, Halsey, and Maj. Gen. LeMay by a revisionist ­version of history that they do not deserve.
     —Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. P.K. Carlton Jr. / College Station, Texas

The essay on World War II commanders was a ­deplorable hit piece on MacArthur. Toti should get down on his knees and pray that the next time our hapless and naïve country bumbles into a strategic catastrophe, similar champions will arise.
     —John M. Parrott / Ardmore, Pa.

My grandfather survived the worst friendly-fire incident involving U.S. PT boats. Official inquiries blamed a lack of communication resulting from the rivalry between MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz—a specific example of the bitter fruit of pride.
     —Jonathan Valentine / South Amana, Iowa

This excellent piece of journalism was a good reminder that how we fight is as important as why we fight. My prayer for America’s military is that God would grant us neither hawks nor doves but perhaps owls.
     —Mike Carlson / Weeki Wachee, Fla.

The day approaching

Our culture is dying from a lack of spiritual understanding. Much of our world doesn’t even know it is ­spiritually dead. Please have Andrée Seu Peterson continue to explore the “too heavy” topics—she’ll do it well.
     —Frank Stephens / Lynn Haven, Fla.

At 85 years, I am not the only one soon to face the “redemption calendar.” Lord, help us to get serious about the brevity of life and the certainty of eternity.
     —Charles Wisdom / Fulshear, Texas

Will to live

Grace Snell’s excellent though disturbing article on veteran suicide did well to avoid the dehumanizing assumption that depressed vets just need psychiatric drugs to overcome combat trauma.
     —Jeffrey C. Danco / Bridgewater, N.J.

Getting back to phonics

The battle lines when it comes to reading instruction are not so clearly defined as Janie B. Cheaney implies. Most early readers are sight readers, and phonics ­instruction is wasted on them. Evaluating a child to discover where he is on the journey is essential.
     —Joanne Corradi / Rocky River, Ohio

I taught first grade for 34 years and believed systematic phonics was the only true and effective way to teach reading. It’s great that New York City recognizes phonics works, but many teachers will resist it, sad to say.
     —Ron Luginbill / Peru, Ind.


China’s real gross domestic product at purchasing power parity is $23.01 trillion (“Pacific loans and politics,” Sept. 10, p. 17).


Just 1 percent of U.S. service members who fought in World War II are still living (“Last man standing,” Nov. 5, p. 24, and “A chat with William Toti,” Nov. 5, p. 72).

Loretta Lynn was 31 in 1963 (“Sharp edges and an irresistible groove,” Dec. 3, p. 40).


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