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Mailbag

Issue: "Cool hot spots," May 17, 2003

Appalling

Marvin Olasky's "Darkness, destruction ... and decency" shows an appalling readiness to condemn as inhumane a century of honorable American fighting men. William T. Sherman's shelling of Atlanta, a fortified and defended city, was fully within the laws of war. If civilians came under bombardment in the city, the fault lies with Confederate general John B. Hood, whose duty it was, under the laws of war, either to evacuate them or to declare Atlanta an open city and withdraw his forces. Sherman did not make prisoners of female factory workers who had been laboring to equip those trying to kill United States troops, but he did destroy their factory and send them out of the war zone where they would have had no livelihood after the termination of their treasonous activities. Did Sherman and his men sometimes conceive of their activity as punishment of the South? Of course. If trying to destroy the American experiment in self-government in a destructive war that takes more than half a million lives, all for the sake of perpetuating slavery, does not merit punishment, what does? The Union armies were fulfilling the biblical injunction that the civil government be a terror to evildoers. - Steven E. Woodworth, Benbrook, Texas

The April 19 issue is a treasure in capturing in words and pictures the nature of a compassionate war. A fallen world is deeply indebted to a president and a military establishment that used every available means to plan and execute a war driven by and demonstrating a compassionate heart. - Ken Williamson, Harrisonburg, Va.

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You did not mention that saying "god" is OK in America because it could refer to Allah or any other god ("Speaking of God," March 29). However, saying "Jesus" will fire people up because it points people specifically toward Christianity. - Katrina Jay Gingerich, Unionville Center, Ohio

Filling in the gaps

I want to compliment you on "Coverage uncovered" (March 8). I am rather upset at the seemingly poor knowledge of many of our U.S. newspapers and magazines as to what Islam teaches. It is not a peaceful religion; all one has to do is study a bit of world history to find that out. - Wayne C. McManigal, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Minds made up

In response to Marvin Olasky's Feb. 8 invitation in "Make up your mind," my wife and I took vows "till death do us part" in 1968. Benefits of long-term commitment? Staying together in spite of struggles and trials has built strength and given continuity to us as a family. Secondly, our children do not have a messed-up home life to overcome in order to understand God's picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. All three, each in their own way during their public high-school years, have acknowledged that in spite of our weaknesses and imperfections as parents, they were and are grateful for our home life. - Edd Nichols, Sterling, Va.

War waged justly

In prose and selected photos, your April 19 issue depicted how to fight a just war: low collateral damage through the use of costly smart bombs; food and water carried over oceans and across thirsty deserts to be distributed like manna to a hungry people; enemy dead covered with blankets and their wounded given medical care; a populace delivered from a cruel despotic ruler after two decades of fear; soldiers coming as friends and being greeted with handshakes and hugs; and little children being picked up and held. May the true God of Abraham bring enlightenment to the Islamic nations and others who will not see justice being accomplished. - Gaius Berg, Lynnwood,Wash.

The April 19 issue is definitely a keeper. Who could not be touched by the photo showing children welcoming British soldiers in Um Qasr? The smallest child wore a T-shirt that said, in English, "Reborn." What a metaphor. May it soon be true for all of Iraq in the realm of the Spirit as well. - Michele Bartlett, Morrison, Colo.

The last three issues of WORLD, April 5, 12, and 19, were absolutely superb. You addressed the difficult and controversial Operation Iraqi Freedom in a balanced but thorough manner that left no major topic untouched. - Ted Bishop, Berryville, Va.

The April 19 WORLD was a great issue. The war in photos enabled me to enter into the conflict and experience the paradox of, as your headlines described, "Darkness, destruction ... and decency" and "Of might and mercy." I especially appreciated the captions that gave precise information about the photographs and the soldiers in them. - George Louis Hickman, Philadelphia, Pa.

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