Letters

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Allies understand the need for troop reassignment

In his Aug. 24 Opinion piece "US troop withdrawals costly to alliances," Ambassador Robert Hunter is correct in saying that "the impetus for change [to our global defense posture] is obvious." But his critiques merit clarification.

In Korea, our diplomatic and military power both on the peninsula and elsewhere in the region will continue to reassure our South Korean allies while deterring any enemy that would do them harm. In Europe, extensive consultations with our NATO allies over the past year have revealed not only that our allies agree with our strategic rationale, but that they think changes to our cold-war legacy posture are overdue.

For our alliances to be strong and enduring, they need to be affordable and sustainable. Our forward-thinking allies certainly understand this point. Andrew R. Hoehn Washington Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy

Drawing distinctions for free speech

Regarding Derek Cressman's Aug. 26 Opinion piece "Free Speech vs. Purchased Speech," the distinction drawn in these cases is between political (highly protected) and commercial (less protected) speech. It appears to me that the record box-office success of "Fahrenheit 9/ 11," coupled with director Michael Moore's well-documented liberties with the truth, place his B movie much more in the category of less- protected commercial speech, while the swift-boat vets have a clear political motive.

While many may not agree with their position, and one may question their recollection of the facts, this is exactly the kind of speech that the First Amendment was intended to protect. Tom Bowden Richmond, Va.

Mr. Cressman makes the claim that there is an inherent difference between speech that a viewer pays to hear and speech that the speaker pays to have you hear. So he says that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is entitled to greater free-speech protection than a TV ad paid for by its proponents, even though they might have identical aims.

This is a false and dangerous distinction. …