Letters to the Magazine

Our March 20 cover story on Richard Jadick, the doctor who saved the lives of 30 U.S. soldiers in one battle, along with the interviews of some of those who are recovering, elicited many heartfelt letters. The parent of a soldier said, "My son joined the Army to serve in Iraq because he felt it was the right thing to do for his family and country. It is great comfort knowing there are doctors [like Jadick] who will be there for him." One reader recognized Jadick from their ROTC days. "Regardless of how anyone feels about the Iraq war," he wrote, "we, as a nation, are made better with people like Jadick in uniform, and owe him and all who serve a debt of gratitude for their commitment and sacrifice that can never be repaid." And a National Guardswoman who had served in Iraq and whose son is in the Army there wrote, "Thank you for putting a face and a story to those who have returned and what they will live with long after the politicians have moved on." Saving Lives Under Fire

In a world devoid of heroes, when we are increasingly feeling let down by our country, our leaders, corporate greed, the destruction of the environment, education, health care, etc., your cover article "On Call in Hell" (March 20) hit me like a punch in the gut and reminded me why I am proud to be an American. Cmdr. Richard Jadick's heroic efforts as a Navy doctor on the front lines of Fallujah and the stories of the lives of the brave soldiers he risked his life to save reduced me to tears. Thank you for giving a face to the statistics of war and helping us understand the tremendous sacrifice and suffering our sons and daughters endure in service to their country.

Jay Nuzum

Moorpark, Calif.

My son, an infantry officer in the Army, is slated to go to Iraq in October. I hope he never ships out, but he is a committed, intelligent and dedicated leader. As hard as it is for a father to share this, I hope that if my son winds up over there, there is a Dr. Richard Jadick present. And I hope that they never need to meet.

P. J. Katauskas

Media, Pa.

As a physician who served with the Marines in Vietnam and was also awarded a Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor, I can write with some background. If ever a man showed complete disregard for his own personal safety and concern only for his troops, it was Dr. Richard Jadick. He is a true hero. He deserves not a Bronze Star but something much higher, perhaps the Medal of Honor.

Joseph Rubin, M.D.

Rochester, Minn.

I am not, nor have ever been, a proponent of the war in Iraq. But after reading your wonderful article, I applaud the efforts made by Cmdr. Richard Jadick and his medical team. They deserve any and all medals or commendations they received. No one can imagine the amount of stress they must have experienced during their tour. If anything, the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs must not be a casualty of cuts. Many of the service personnel will need medical and psychological assistance for the rest of their days. We as a nation must honor them with lifetime care for their heroic efforts.

Virginia Sholar

Salem, S.C.

Kudos to NEWSWEEK for its story on the role of the battalion surgeon in the war in Iraq. My husband was the battalion surgeon for the First Battalion, Third Marines, during the same time period, and served alongside Dr. Richard Jadick in the Fallujah offensive. The forward aid stations are instrumental in saving lives. I don't think that many realize how close these doctors and corpsmen get to the fighting. They are not in a hospital, but instead are working side by side with the Marines. They are generally young and inexperienced, having completed only their first year of residency before shouldering the responsibility of medical care in combat and garrison for more than a thousand Marines. During this war, and this battle in particular, they faced unprecedented challenges. As demonstrated by the story of Dr. Jadick, as well as that of my husband and others whose stories have not been told, battalion surgeons have risen to the occasion--and then some.

Maggie Fuller

Kailua, Hawaii

I was there in Fallujah with Dr. Richard Jadick, along with three others from the West Virginia Army National Guard. We were attached to the First Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment (the "1/8"), to support the Marines with their push through the city and to provide them with armored ambulances. We were the only Army personnel with the 1/8. We all grew close to the corpsmen and the Marines we came in contact with, and it really feels good to see that people are still talking about that battle and the care we provided. Thank you for your impressive article.

Sgt. Jeremy E. Hurt

Via Internet

Thank you for your vivid article on Dr. Richard Jadick and his experiences in Fallujah. The article renewed my tremendous respect and appreciation for what our soldiers are going through over there, and my mistrust of politicians who send other parents' sons and daughters into harm's way (why aren't Barbara and Jenna over there?). Oftentimes we physicians become distracted and disillusioned by the power of HMOs, malpractice attorneys and the rules and regulations of Medicare. Dr. Jadick reminds me of why I became a physician. He not only served his wounded comrades, but also gives us all a quiet hero to emulate.

Samuel R. Heiser, M.D.

Noblesville, Ind.

This is not a movie, not a weekly television series and certainly not a videogame. These are men and women answering the call for those of us either incapable of serving our country or too cowardly to do so. Whether you approve or disapprove of a politician's decision to get us into this war, or the rhetoric from antiwar activists saying it is wrong, you must support and continue to support men and women like these. Honor and duty should stir the very best in us to stand behind them while they serve and when they come home.

Ron Gearhart

Houston, Texas

I have avoided reading about war stories from Iraq because I am so against the war. However, your story about Dr. Richard Jadick completely sucked me in and made me realize that the "war stories" I avoid are not about the politics but about the pain and suffering that our soldiers are going through every day. I am in awe of them and feel proud and sad for them at the same time. They are incredible people in a very visible hell.

Sandra Roels

Carol Stream, Ill.

Thank you for the interview with the Rev. Billy Graham ("God, Satan, and Katrina," March 20). I enjoyed reading about his view of Katrina and was comforted by his wise words. He is a faithful man who has touched millions. We can't understand everything about this world, but Graham showed that God is in control, even when it seems like this world is out of control. Thank you again for this inspiring interview with a man full of integrity and compassion.

Lauren Champlin

Dothan, Ala.

I give credit to Billy Graham for admitting that he doesn't have any answer to the most basic, most important question of the earthly life: that of human tragedy and suffering. In this he is far ahead of most clergymen who either muddle the issue with glib statements or avoid it altogether. However, I do disagree with Graham on one issue. He habitually invokes the existence of Satan as the spoiler of the perfect works of God. If we accept, like Job, that evil was let loose by God himself, then we have come full circle and the painful question remains: why does God allow senseless suffering? Finally, if the promised help and reward come only in the afterlife as some churches claim, then why not admit this, and state that despite our faith and prayers, we have no certainty on this Earth?

Raul Pettai

Montville, N.J.

Jon Meacham asks the Rev. Billy Graham, "What do you tell people who ask how a loving God could let something like [Hurricane Katrina] happen?" Graham says, " ... I told [the clergy I] don't know why. There is no way I can know ... The Devil might have had nothing to do with this; I don't know. But God has allowed it, and there is a purpose that we won't know maybe for years to come." By putting the question and answer this way, we ignore that it was human beings who were responsible for the New Orleans disaster. Was it God who built levees that engineers knew were inadequate to withstand a major hurricane? Was it God who tried to reclaim a flood plain near Lake Pontchartrain? Was it God who settled low-income African-Americans there, away from the "better" parts of the city? We did this to ourselves. God allows us to make choices and take the consequences.

Rev. Joseph A. Gagnon

Marysville, Mich.

Whatever one thought of Dana and Christopher Reeve's politics, you had to admire their tenacity and the special grace that I believe attend those who strive through tragedy, particularly when that sadness has to be borne publicly ("A Legacy of Love and Hope," March 20). When I learned of Dana's passing, I remembered an image from the end of Chris Reeve's fabled fantasy film "Somewhere in Time," where his character is reunited after death with his beloved in some enchanted realm. And I had the thought that the Reeves, although apart for only a short while, have now been able to embrace for the first time in years.

Jim Burns

Valley Stream, N.Y.

In "New Math For College Costs" (March 13), we wrote that the college-loan limits for first- and second-year college students will increase under the new federal budget proposal, but did not specify when. That portion of the legislation will take effect July 1, 2007.

In "The Next Storms" (March 13) we misstated the amount of money paid out in loans to Katrina victims by the Small Business Administration. The SBA had paid out $473,410,000, not $473,410.

In "On Call In Hell" (March 20) we should have referred to the Biblical passage that begins "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying ... " as being from Isaiah 6:8, not Isaiah 7:8. NEWSWEEK regrets the errors.

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