Not so heart-warming mail for a soldier

Usually, when school kids write letters to a soldier overseas, it’s a heart-warming exercise. But not always, reports the New York Post.

Pfc. Rob Jacobs of New Jersey said he was initially ecstatic to get a package of letters from sixth-graders at JHS 51 in Park Slope last month at his base 10 miles from the North Korea border.

That changed when he opened the envelope and found missives strewn with politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations and demoralizing predictions that only a handful of soldiers would leave the Iraq war alive.

. . . One Muslim boy wrote: “Even thoe [sic] you are risking your life for our country, have you seen how many civilians you or some other soldier killed?”

His letter, which was stamped with a smiley face, went on: “I know your [sic] trying to save our country and kill the terrorists but you are also destroying holy places like Mosques.”

Well, there was the smiley face.

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  1. “While we would never censor anything that our children write, we sincerely apologize for forwarding letters that were in any way inappropriate”

    It appears that they would never correct spelling either. The story doesn’t actually say whether the teacher was aware of the content of the letters.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    When there was discussion among Feather Merchants about a Korean war memorial, I claimed that my memorial was a South Korea free from the evil of Kim Il Sung and his get. I regret that our children are not being taught that there really is evil in the world that must be physically restrained.

  3. Bart – They probably say that any correction would be censoring the students’ First Amendment right to free spelling.

  4. It would be interesting to know to what extent the kids’ opinion of the war may have been shaped by New York City’s local media.

  5. Jack Tanner says:

    Bart –

    It would be pretty hard to believe they didn’t know the content of the letters or at least the general sentiment of them. I wonder how many mosques are within firing distance of the 38th parallel?

  6. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Some people are indignant about find such letters — and the political atmosphere that spawns them.

    Some people are indignant about a President who sends troops in inadequate numbers, with inadequate armor, because his rich friends don’t want to pay taxes.

    As a member of both groups, I find it sad that the overlap is so small.

    I won’t try to but myself inside the heads of people who actually volunteer to get shot at. I suspect if I was over there, I would be more upset about the lack of sufficient people and armor than about the letters. (But if defending the country had been left to people like me, we would all be speaking Mohawk or something.)

  7. I appreciate the need to muddy the waters but this really isn’t all that tough an issue.

    Someone with authority over children, the teacher, used that authority by using the kids in their care to advance their personal political agenda.

    Under the best of circumstances an action like that would be ethically and professionally suspect. This isn’t the best of circumstances your flawed characterization of the liberation of Iraq aside.

  8. Hey, Richard, I’m not rich and I don’t want to pay taxes either. If you were in charge, would there be any Jews left in the world? Just asking.

  9. Richard Brandshaft says:


    If I were in charge, maybe. If people like me had to do the fighting, no.

    I do however, feel free to criticize people who do things I would be even worse at. You don’t need to be able to lift a baseball bat to compute a batting average. When this principle is applied to government officials, it’s one of the components of what we call “citizenship.”

    I don’t LIKE to pay taxes either. But I do WANT to. It’s that citizenship thing again. No American who is affluent enough to pay significant taxes has any business whining about it.