After reading the feature story in the June 23 issue, “Speaking Out: One Couple’s Iraq War Saga” (Cover), I am still waiting for the saga.
Ms. Sheese, who commented that the military treated her husband “like property,” should understand that G.I. stands for Government Issue, which means government property. Although this terminology may seem harsh to civilians, those of us who volunteer to serve are fully aware of its implications. The “End the Abuse” signs Ms. Sheese was holding in protest of the war bordered on absurd. Holding demonstrations and appealing to foreign leaders demoralizes our troops and undermines their mission. Ms. Sheese lamented that she found comfort and support from other countries, but not her own. It’s obvious that the media and leaders of those foreign countries were pandering to her in order to further deprecate the efforts of the United States to bring freedom to Iraq. These countries, such as Italy, didn’t complain when the United States fought for their freedom from an evil dictator. Imagine the outcome of World War II if the citizens of the United States had rallied against the efforts of our troops.
In over 30 years of service, Mr. Salewsky has been called upon twice for duty, which probably did not last a total of 18 months. In the other 28 years, he has earned a salary, promotions, college tuition, health and medical benefits and a pension. And although he voiced some valid concerns, most of the article consisted of complaining and speculations, and it was unnerving to those of us who served with pride and confidence — not resistance.
Perhaps Mr. Salewsky served his time in Iraq admirably, but in this article, he portrayed himself as petulant and disaffected. Although these are natural human characteristics, soldiers are not afforded such luxuries. Furthermore, Mr. Salewsky described his disapproval of the military, but he didn’t mention anything about getting out. If he wishes to remain in the military, he should wear his uniform with pride; if not, he should make room for someone who will.
Amy Pettinella (former USAF)
I read the article in the current NUVO on Jari Sheese and Douglas Salewsky (Cover, “Speaking Out: One Couple’s Iraq War Saga,” June 23-30). So GOOD to see military personnel speaking out. I spent most of my life in the military ... Dad was an AF career officer as was my husband ... went through Vietnam era and felt the way Jari and Doug feel now during that period ... I congratulate you on reporting this. I only wish more attention would be given to this ... I also would like to contact Jari ... I would like to participate in her work. I am totally appalled at the current admin as are many retired military and diplomats.
Ruth Holladay’s June 8 column in The Star (“Simon Deal Turns Downtown Park into a Battleground”) contained a disturbing statement from the Mayor’s Office about the Capitol Commons park. The mayor’s spokesman Steve Campbell said, “The park was always intended for development.”
A newly adopted city plan states otherwise. The Regional Center Plan, 2020 was prepared by seven committees comprised of about 320 participants from the community. Prepared over a two year period, it was officially adopted by the Metropolitan Development Commission on March 3, 2004. It clearly designates the Capitol Commons site as Public Park and Open Space. According to city staff, there was no discussion during plan formulation about developing the Capitol Commons site. However, the mayor’s spokesman would have us believe otherwise.
The adopted Plan Map carries the prominent title “Building a World-Class Downtown.” Its Vision Statement refers to Indianapolis as a “world class city.” Evidently, the prospect of having a new “world headquarters” for the Simon Property Group is more desirable for our developer-turned-mayor than a public park, which the city planners and the community had envisioned — a vision which the city officially adopted just three months ago. So the proverbial ink is hardly dry before yet another proposed park-privatization deal turns the Regional Center Plan on its head.
Indianapolis has a long, but dishonorable tradition of trying to privatize our parks. It was a hallmark of the Goldsmith Administration, and the practice appears to be part of Mayor Peterson’s (unwritten) plan as well. The current land grab attempt is particularly hard to swallow, however, because Bart Peterson has given so much lip service to the importance of parks. Several years ago, he even called for an extensive study by the Trust for Public Land. However, the city has essentially shelved that plan after the mayor criticized it for being “uncreative.” Its unfortunate legacy is now chiefly as window-dressing. A similar fate appears to have befallen the park component of the highly-touted new Regional Center Plan.
Indianapolis officials will continue to crow about the city’s claimed world class status. But as long as our policy-makers continue to give away and develop our public commons for private office buildings to further serve the interests of big companies, we’ll be better known for our provincialism and political power plays at the expense of the public realm. As Edward Abbey decried (in his Down the River), we are “… going, going … SOLD! down the river” as a result of the politicians’ pro-development, anti-public giveaway programs.
Clarke Kahlo, program director
Protect Our Rivers Now!