Bob’s Response to John Forman’s Editorial in the News-Gazette

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October 7, 2006
Letter to the News Gazette
I would like to request a correction to the Editorial N-G
Publisher John Foreman wrote Sunday September 17,
2006. In his lengthy editorial Mr. Foreman was critical of
the “usual suspects.”
Mr. Foreman states he got a “kick” out of the writer
(me: Robert Wahlfeldt) who identified himself as a WWII
military veteran. Foreman states that I said that I only
respected members of the military who served in the
“good wars.” He has made a number of errors in his writing,
which I hope the N-G will have the respect and also
take the responsibility to correct.
My September 13 letter to the editor
stated I felt uniformed military
in elementary schools to be discouraging
and that Col. Rudzinski’s
response to those who question his
appearance was disrespectful. Calling
us ignorant fools is his right as
well as Mr. Foreman’s, but it is
hardly respectful. I never stated in my letter, that I only
respect those who fought in the “good wars.” I am a veteran
and I am also currently working in opposition to war
and am especially concerned regarding those who say they
support the troops yet do nothing to bring them safely
home or work for their ongoing needs upon return. The
US is in Iraq due to lies and no amount of so-called “patriotic”
spin will make this easier to defend.
For Mr. Foreman’s information I was not a draftee. I left
high school at a young and impressionable age and joined
the navy. I was in the US navy from 1943-1946 and was
aboard the USS Waldron in the Pacific Theater of Operation.
I was a rescue swimmer who pulled my fellow soldiers
from the Pacific Ocean among other tasks. I have
grown in age and wisdom over the years since then and
now devote my time and life to working to end war since it
has not ever really resolved much; there are no good wars.
The current war is perhaps no worse than others but
due to the misleading reasons for the invasion, the lack of
planning, misuse of soldiers and
loss of innocent civilian life we
need to oppose it whenever we can.
I currently work for “full-disclosure
recruitment” so that our young
folks know what they are getting
into when they join the military.
Those wearing a military uniform
are obligated not to dissent from
US Policy and therefore unquestionably will present a certain
bias when speaking. I find it disappointing that the NG’s
publisher says he is often paraphrased incorrectly and
yet he proceeds to do the same thing himself in regards to
me. I joined the navy at 17, I was not a “draftee,” and I was
not “peeling potatoes in Virginia to help lick Hitler,”
though an interesting assumption
on Mr. Foreman’s part.
Can you imagine a WWII veteran
who has realized the racket of war
and now wants to work to support
our troops by making sure they
learn that what is going on in Iraq is
a misuse of their sacrifice? Col.
Rudzinski’s disrespectful response to
those who questioned his presentation
given in military uniform and
Mr. Foreman’s lack of a truthful portrayal
of my service completes the
picture of why the military should
not be talking to youngsters about
war. The war in Iraq is devastating to
those who serve and to the civilians
who are suffering. I see no humorous
side to this misadventure and it
is wrong to suggest otherwise. Col. Rudzinski’s presentation
was incomplete at best. In addition, the N-G misquoting of
me to support Rudzinski’s and oppose those who question
his appearance in uniform is further evidence of an incompetent
and dishonest editorial by Mr. Foreman.
I hope Foreman will be both respectful and responsible
and retract the incorrect assumptions he made about my
military service and me. Do I feel an exception coming on to
his typical editorials? How about one that informs the readers
of those who actually do support the troops but want
the current debacle shown for what it is: a tragic mistake?
Mr. Foreman’s suggestion that those who questioned
the school presentation are “bashing America” is a real
affront to those like myself who love our country always
and our government, fellow military and the News-
Gazette publisher only when it is deserved.
Robert Wahlfeldt
Champaign, Illinois 61820

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