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The True Cost of Military Spending

Raining on Gulf war paradesRegarding Godfrey Sperling's opinion-page column "Misguided Rain on Victory Parades," June 11: I would like to offer my reasons for being a "parade-basher." Let me preface, however, by emphasizing the fact that I am a loyal fan of Mr. Sperling and appreciate his consistently balanced and insightful columns. I consider myself to be one of the many Americans who managed to support our troops while maintaining my firm opposition to President Bush's decision to go to war. Nevertheless, news of the war's quick and decisive ending made me just as happy as any other American. But in addition to boosting public morale, the war also took the lives of some 100,000 Iraqis and aggravated an already unstable situation for the Kurds in northern Iraq. I'm all for giving our troops a warm homecoming, but I'm not sure I see the logic behind spending millions of dollars on spectacular parades in both Washington and New York to commemorate an event that, for the vast majority of people involved, proved to be a devastating experience. Wouldn't it be great if, some day, Americans elected a president who decided to commit $1 billion a day (the cost of the Gulf war) to solving the myriad of domestic problems confronting us year in and year out? And wouldn't it be great if, some day, Americans decided to hold ticker-tape parades in cities throughout the country in honor of the men and women who have committed their lives to eradicating crime, illiteracy, poverty, drug abuse, and so on? It's a shame we haven't got something besides a war t o celebrate. Eric D. Nelson, Poway, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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