Regarding [Witness at Haditha, by Bryan Smith, July], Smith provided the backdrop for what may have eventually resulted in the deaths of 24 presumed innocents: "Just that summer, six marine snipers . . . had been ambushed and killed not far from where the convoy was headed that morning. Shortly after, an IED had killed 14 more marines from the same platoon. Only a week before . . . three Kilo Company marines—friends of Dela Cruz—had been wounded by an IED on a similar resupply run." I’m sorry for this tragedy, and it saddens me, but [those events are] going to make for a lot of mad marines, bent on revenge. All the evidence in the media leads people to rush to judgment. But few of us have been there; few of us have seen scores of friends killed or wounded; and none of us should judge these marines. Remember Billy Joel’s poignant lyrics in "Goodnight Saigon": "And who was wrong, and who was right? It didn’t matter in the thick of the fight." We send these guys to fight a war—to kill bad guys. Sometimes in war, good guys get killed, sadly. This is a very different war from those previously fought. Our enemies are not wearing uniforms, and it’s extremely difficult to discern who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. It’s war, and a lot of bad things happen in war, in every war.

Tom Karczewski
USMCR, retired
Kansas City, Missouri



Playing the Fields [by Jeff Ruby, July] reminds me of why taxpayers should just say no to using public funds for any new major sports stadiums. In ancient Rome, government attempted to curry favor with the masses by offering free bread and circuses. Today, we have sports pork.

How sad that taxpayers across America are continually asked to pay for new stadiums. Public dollars are being used as corporate welfare to subsidize a private-sector business. The only real beneficiaries of these expenditures are team owners and their multimillion-dollar players.

Between selling the stadium name, season skyboxes, and reserved seating; cable, television, and radio revenues; concession refreshment and souvenir sales, along with rental income for other sports, rock concerts, and other commercial events, it is hard to believe that the owners can’t finance their new stadiums by themselves.

Some cities face projected deficits in the billions of dollars—there are city services more worthy of investment. Professional sports is not an essential service and shouldn’t qualify for government subsidy. Increasingly scarce taxpayer funds would be better spent elsewhere. Let the current team owners float their own bonds or issue stock to finance new stadiums! Please don’t pick the pockets of taxpayers!

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York



As a Republican, and Obama supporter, I want to thank Chicago magazine for the look into Senator Obama’s Chicago "connections" [The Friends of O, by James L. Merriner, June]. Only time will tell if he will be able to successfully reap the spoils of the Chicago Machine, while at the same time distancing himself from the fact that it represents the worst that government has to offer. I was disappointed, however, not to find any mention of Senator Obama’s man-hugging endorsement of Todd Stroger for Cook County Board president. The nomination of Todd Stroger, and his ultimate election, stands out as one of the most egregious examples of machine politics in recent history. To me (and again, I am a supporter), it shows that no matter how far removed Senator Obama claims to be from "politics as usual," when the Chicago Machine needs to borrow Obama’s aura of legitimacy, he will make himself available—even if he has to hold his nose!

Scott D. H. Redman



In June’s The Friends of O, Senator Paul Douglas’s tenure in office was incorrect. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1949 to 1967.

In August’s Best of Chicago, the address of The Long Room was misstated. It is 1612 W. Irving Park Rd.