Our Man in Baghdad
Re “The Asset: An Iraqi Double Agent Killed for America. When He Got Left Behind, a California Marine Stepped In,” by Diana Ljungaeus and Frank Megna (May 20):

Wow. This is a story that needs to be told, again and again. We always think about patriotism in terms of citizens, and it just goes to show we shouldn’t be so quick to judge people on the basis of where they come from. What an unexpected and moving story of a true hero — I think this story will do so much to heal our 9/11 wounds. Bravo!

—Comment by D.M. from L.A.


I am deeply moved and disturbed by this entire article. I didn’t know I could feel so many emotions at once. Being a former Marine myself, I can’t help but feel for this man knowing that all those politicians and “higher-ups” have no clue what kind of a man they have lost. I understand sacrifice completely and it breaks my heart to have my eyes opened to all this injustice. What ever happend to this country? This is not the America I grew up in, and stories like this make me fear for my own children’s futures. I can only wish Al-Baghdadi the best and hope that he gets the peace he deserves. I thank him for his unwaivering service and sacrifice … a true hero … a U.S. Marine in my eyes.

—Comment by Renee from Oceanside


Al-Baghdadi, as a retired Marine, in the unlikely event you should read this, I’d like to say three things: (1) Thank you; (2) I’m sorry; and (3) Semper Fi.

—Comment by Conrad from New York


As a former military adviser to the Iraqi government, I can appreciate the struggles and challenges mentioned. The realities of war are only known to those who stand in the arena. Whether they be warriors or bystanders, only those who were there really know the harsh realities. I hope Al-Baghdadi’s story can be heard by the masses. The article is compelling and I can only imagine what insight the rest of the story can give us of the realities of the Iraq conflict. I’d buy his book. Semper Fidelis.

—Comment by Doug Luccio from Oceanside


Reading this gripping portrait of a man nearly without a country reminds us of the physical and psychological scars endured by those in the field while the rest of us go about our quotidian business. This article should be essential reading for any Americans interested in the reality of war, and especially those about to embark on the grim business of fighting undeclared wars.

—Comment by Bob Ladendorf from L.A.


This story puts human faces on the Iraq War fiasco. Brave men who fought for freedom, duty and country and who are now left to deal with the destructive aftermath must not be forgotten!

—Comment by Monica Sandback from Stockholm, Sweden


I am an Iraqi citizen living as an asylum seeker in Sweden after I had to leave the country. I can feel the pain and struggle that Al-Baghdadi and his family [have] been through and I hope [for] the day that my people appreciate what he and the men like him did [for] the country. It is a great story, with [such] professional writing that, as I am reading it, I feel like the story is written in Arabic. It touched my heart and I wish that they work on making it a book or even a movie, because it has all the potential and [much needs] to be documented for the next generations in both Iraq and the USA.

—Comment by Salah from Linkoping, Sweden


I understand the USA has permitted less than 1,000 Iraqis to emigrate to this country, while Sweden, with a population of 7 million, has taken more than 25,000. Shameful. This man’s story deserves widespread recognition, so that others who may follow do not suffer the same treatment. Shame on us! Semper Fi.

—Comment by Chip Jewett from Garden Grove


Our Men and Women in El Cajon
Re “Between Iraq and a Hard Place: Seeking Asylum and a Better Life, California’s Iraqi Refugees Find Themselves In Limbo,” by Hanna Ingber Win (May 20):

Sad to read this on Memorial Day in my country, where we are to be the leading example of freedom. I guess we need to look harder on where we are heading before it’s too late. We need patriots like these people, who fight and continue to, for what we have, or had? This is real! We the people can’t let this new hurtful idealism continue. Please write more informative articles like this so we can focus and make a stand.

—Comment by Lou from Carlsbad


Our City Council
Re “L.A. City Council Clings to Stunning Perks and Pay,” by Paul Teetor (May 20):

Each member of the L.A. City Council earns $178,000 per year, each has eight assistants that earn $90,000 per year and eight cars paid for by the city? Maybe there is some wiggle room here for some cuts? Are you kidding me? This is an outrage. They should not be called “public servants” because it seems like we’re the ones doing them a favor. I wish the L.A. Times did its job and was an advocate for the people; more people might be aware of this.

—Comment by Louweegie272 from Culver City


As if the council pay wasn’t criminal enough, you didn’t mention the fact that Bernard Parks is also receiving 90 percent of his LAPD salary in the form of a lifetime pension that has now swelled to an incredible $265,000, or $22,083 on top of his $178,000 council stipend! Congratulations, Councilman Parks, you now earn $443,000 a year courtesy of the taxpayers of L.A.! If Mr. Parks were to run for U.S. president, that would be a pay cut (Obama earns $400,000). But make sure we cut those dastardly neighborhood-council budgets! Amazing.

—Comment by Nick Antonicello from Venice Beach


Our Tattooed Intlligentsia
Re “At the New Intelligentsia Venice Bash,” by Erica Zora Wrightson (May 24):

I will probably not be able to sleep tonight because I read this article too late in the day.

—Comment by Neal H

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