In Sunday's Mail Tribune, Carrie Brown wrote an impassioned letter detailing her intolerance of people who cleave to ethnic practices different from her own. I honor the sacrifices made by our soldiers in the 1770s, so I must respond.

In Sunday's Mail Tribune, Carrie Brown wrote an impassioned letter detailing her intolerance of people who cleave to ethnic practices different from her own. I honor the sacrifices made by our soldiers in the 1770s, so I must respond.

I believe she misunderstands the concepts of liberty and rights as embraced by America.

Our Constitution says we are endowed by our creator with the rights the Constitution seeks to protect. Government does not grant those rights; all people were born with them. Those rights are "unalienable" — cannot be taken away, whoever a person is, wherever a person comes from.

I'm certain the liberty our founders fought for includes an individual's choice of language. If English were our "official" language, how would we enforce it? Would we administer spelling and grammar tests? Would we take from their families those who don't learn English, or learn English neither quickly enough nor well enough?

I've lived in Oregon 33 years. Here in rural Oregon, we are far from the America I knew growing up "back East." If you'd like a glimpse of that America, Google the "unofficial iPhone ad." It shows Americans sharing an interest, revealing the vibrant America we can be. — Scott McKay, Medford

After all the negative letters regarding the Iraq war, one hit the nail on the head. Tom Anderson (Aug. 15) sees the fundamental flaw that most overlook.

What is this flaw? Our Congress! How could that be, you might ask? With a multitude of major legislation needing action (including the Defense Appropriation Act), and other items of business, Congress has taken its annual August vacation, so they can come home and toot their own horn to their constituency. Actually, some of them (Clinton, Obama, McCain, et al.) have already been away from their jobs for many, many months — stumping for the presidency — but still drawing their congressional salary.

Don't get me wrong; I know that they have a terribly grueling work schedule in Washington: thinking up things to legislate, voting on various legislation (while figuring ways to get some "pork" earmarked into it), standing "in the well" watching how everybody else votes, castigating the "other side of the aisle," etc. It's tough work, and they are grossly underpaid! Mr. Anderson is completely correct — our troops, like Congress (and the Iraqi Parliament) should just take the month of August off — stop fighting and go on R&R (and ask for a raise). — Murray LaHue, Phoenix

The presidential pre-campaign is in full swing, with everyone hedging all bets. I would like to see a straight platform:

A. If elected, I would love to be commander-in-chief, but I will not declare a war just to savor the power.

B. Shooting at terrorists is OK; war on an "ism" is a misnomer. "Drugs," "poverty" nor "terrorism" die or capitulate.

C. Terrorism says we are greedy, arrogant and cruel. We, the people, are not. As president, I will not be as if from another planet.

D. The terrorists wish to ruin our economy. I will not aid them to that purpose. As a consequence, "terrorism" will die from irrelevance.

I might enjoy voting for that candidate. — Hans H. Stroo, Medford

Inspired by a reader whose letter to Sen. Gordon Smith appeared in these pages, I wrote the following to all three legislators. I hope many more will do likewise:

We've been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II, and it's a shambles. Bush claims leaving would result in chaos, but that's what his mission accomplished. No amount of time there can make up for his incompetence. When the war on terror degenerated into a pretext for seizing Iraqi oil fields, Bush blew it. Now we're caught in a quagmire of instant karma because he isn't man enough to admit his mistake.

Bush says he gets to be the decider. It's past time you take the decision out of his hands. Each day that Bush remains in denial is another day soldiers come home in boxes and missing body parts. Is that what you call supporting our troops?

The American people should be ashamed, not only for the havoc we unleashed in Iraq, but for knowingly subjecting our troops to a second term of Bush's lethally clueless leadership. He brought dishonor on the nation and is unfit to be commander-in-chief. Never has impeachment been more richly deserved. — Michael Steely, Medford