Susanna J. Sturgis    


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A Few Pecks of Salt

To the Editor:

When I was a chambermaid, I knew plenty about making beds, doing laundry, and troubleshooting vacuum cleaners. I knew which cleaning product to use on which bathroom fixture; I could clean a shower stall top to bottom without getting wet. In a pinch, I could take room reservations, provide answers to most frequently asked questions, and recommend sights to see and restaurants to eat at. If, however, a reporter had ever shoved a microphone in my face and asked me to discourse on the economics of hotel management, I would have made a fool of myself. Likewise, Lieutenant Zachary Iscol (Aug. 18) is on firm ground when discussing his personal experiences in Iraq, but his comments on Iraqi politics, the Iraqi people, media coverage of the war, and U.S. policy in the region should be taken with a few pecks of salt. Two tours of duty do not an expert make, any more than a few summers on Martha's Vineyard qualify a person to discuss what goes on in the winter.

Most readers of the Martha's Vineyard Times have probably heard the story of the emperor's new clothes. Only one child dared say out loud that the emperor was parading down the boulevard in his undies. Of the other, presumably multitudinous spectators, either none noticed or none dared speak out. The version I heard doesn't say, but I think it's safe to assume that at least some of those silent observers were in uniform. Does the story say what happened to the child? I can't recall. But it's a good guess that if it had taken place in the contemporary U.S. of A., and not in some unnamed empire far, far away, she or he would surely have been detained for questioning, and maybe even packed off to Guantanamo.

Susanna J. Sturgis

NB: I restored my original paragraphing; I like it better than the newspaper's version. SJS


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