MAY 31—JUNE 6 

Letters on the Letter

Thank you for the Memorial Keepsake from Saigon, and thanks to Mark Seeley for sharing it with you to print. It touched our souls and I sent a copy to everyone I love. What a beautiful treasure for Mark and his family--and a generous gift to your readers.

--Amy M.J. Knight,


Hi, I'm calling about the letter in your Memorial Day issue ... I hope I can get through this without crying. Well, thank you--it was beautiful, thank you. Bye.

--Anonymous phone message

Roasted Reviewer

Gee, Waj--from the tone of your review (BW, Food, May 24), I must assume that you were the first and only customer that the new Bistro @ BoDo has ever "enjoyed." Every other Boisean (or at least the low-life "dear readers" that you cite in the second paragraph) is flocking to the newest (and you, Waj, would then append "lousiest") culinary chain in our growing burg.

Get over yourself.

You have a terribly romantic view of yourself: Mistaken for a hobo, rousted as a vagrant--but actually an epicure nonpareil, the one man among millions. I just don't know why any decent restaurant would open in a town so bereft of taste and cultivation. Board up the Boise State culinary department. Warn chefs at the border that they dare not enter, lest they overreach, because no dear Boise Weekly reader will appreciate their talents. Close the Andrae'ses and Emilio'ses and Sixonesixes in the valley. Only Waj Nasser is refined enough to frequent their establishments, and he's spending his money on haircuts.

--Karen Svea Johnson,


Save the Military!

Another beautiful day here in Idaho. Strange man that I am, though I have no friends or relatives serving overseas at this time, I can't help but think about all the Americans in harm's way while I enjoy this little bit of paradise. I have some things to say about the Department of Defense that will upset some folks, but understand I do so with the utmost respect for those who risk their lives in my defense and a great love for those who serve honorably. Conversely, I have the utmost disdain for those who would bring shame to the memories of those who have sacrificed their lives and those who would profit from the tragedy of war. To those who would say that I should not criticize the military in a time of war, I say we have been told that this state of war may continue for the rest of my life; that each citizen in our democracy has a duty to participate in the business of government; to ask difficult, painful questions and to demand truthful answers.

I would begin by saying that the lower enlisted ranks of our services are grossly underpaid while flag and general staff officers live like feudal princes. This is because service pay raises as far as I can remember have been on a percentage basis for all ranks. This practice must end. We have 10 times the number of generals and admirals we need or can use.

The American military must hold itself to the highest standards of conduct during war. War is horrible enough when conducted within the laws of warfare. When we exceed long-established international standards of ethics, we invite reprisals in kind against our people and dishonor those who have served and are serving. Torture does not produce reliable information, it produces terror. Corporals, sergeants, lieutenants and majors do not set policy, they follow orders. When policy includes war crimes, those who set policy should be brought to justice for their criminal acts.

I am not convinced that the Department of Defense is being controlled by civilian government. No-bid military contracts and Black Budget procurement invites corruption, inefficiency, poorly supplied soldiers and sailors. Secrecy is being used to keep the people of this country ignorant of the activities of our corporate and governing elites. We should be outraged. 

We can save many billions of dollars if we insist on a more open, transparent procurement process. Our military will be much improved in the process. Our troops in the field will be better off and more likely to come home. Careful study of the Swiss, Israeli and Swedish armed forces will yield worthwhile lessons. Seemingly radical ideas must be considered, like reintegrating the Air Force into the Army.

In real terms, our treasury is empty. We have spent the Social Security surplus for my generation, for my children and theirs. We can't keep writing checks without money in the bank and the time is fast approaching when foreign investors and governments will become unwilling to loan Uncle Sam more. We have a duty to our daughters and sons who serve; to give them the tools they need to protect themselves; and to future generations of Americans, to give them a country where the accounts are balanced, their freedoms are undiminished and the flag is unstained.

--Tom Granander,



I marvel at the duplicity of the American people who lavish huge financial and emotional capital on injured Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, while subsidizing the abuse and slaughter of billions of horses, cows, pigs and other sentient animals for their dinner table. Although we don't eat horses, we slaughtered 88,000 last year for export to countries that do.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503 and S. 1915) would permanently ban U.S. transport and slaughter of horses for human consumption. Similar Congressional efforts have been thwarted by the USDA earlier this year.

It makes no ethical sense to cherish our horses, dogs and cats while paying for the abuse and slaughter of billions of similar animals that are not part of our family. With the great abundance of soy-based meat alternatives in every supermarket, it makes no practical sense either.

--Bradley Genna,


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