Udell a gentleman in news business
I had the fortunate experience of working with Paul Udell when I first went to KHON-TV in Honolulu in 1980 ("The Buzz,"
Star-Bulletin, June 6). It was a tough assignment: Paul was news director, but the owners of the station at that time, the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, had sent me from their Des Moines newsroom with the instructions "You're in charge." What a scenario for a tense collision of strong-willed people.
Didn't happen. Paul Udell was the consummate gentleman, more than willing to work with the new upstart from corporate to expand the staff, strengthen the news broadcast and remake the department, even as walls fell and rose around us during constant remodeling to hold the larger operation.
Not only did I learn from Paul, I also grew to genuinely appreciate this wonderfully experienced television journalist. It was during Paul's anchoring for KHON that the station first bested the long-time market leader, KGMB. And when the big markets called again (first WLS, then KRON),
Paul was one of the sounding boards I used as we contemplated his successor. The man who assumed Paul's chair at the anchor desk was his former sports partner Joe Moore, who has gone on to establish an almost unparalleled 24-year record of leadership and rating domination in Hawaii.
Even in his leaving, Paul was classy and professional. Television news is diminished by his departure. All in all, I spent 21 years in Hawaii. Working with Paul during those first couple of years remains one of the highlights of those years. What could have been such a tough and unpleasant experience turned out to be so pleasant and professional.
Former news director and general manager KHON-TV, 1980-2000
Current publisher The Record
Attention-seeking doesn't square up
Lt. Ehren Watada's epiphany of conscience doesn't pass the smell test (Star-Bulletin, June 8
). If he is truly prepared, like Socrates, to accept the verdict of the institutions he has chosen to disgrace, then why all the hoopla? Why the lawyer? Why the public statements and the press conferences?
No, Watada is no Socrates. He is a disgraced Army officer who waves goodbye to his Band of Brothers as they go in harm's way. His father calls him "courageous." I have another word and "courageous" doesn't come close.
So Watada votes his conscience (he says; I don't). Fine. The Uniform Code of Military Justice has provisions that apply. Proceed with the general court-martial and let this be the last we hear of this matter -- or Mr. Watada.
Retired lieutenant colonel
U.S. Marine Corps
Active duty soldier doesn't get to say no
Your editorial about 1st Lt. Ehren Watada (Star-Bulletin, June 9
) misses the point. Civil disobedience primarily applies to civilians, not active duty military officers. Watada seems to forget he voluntarily swore an oath to protect and defend this country and now when he is asked to follow through, he takes the coward's way out, asking to resign. What he thinks about the war is irrelevant. His job is to follow orders as he expects those under him to do. Did he think he was just going to play Army then go home?
It is unfortunate others think he has done something brave and noble. High principle? Give me a break.
U.S. Army, Retired
Watada does not deserve 'coward' label
I don't think that the young lieutenant is what some folks are labeling him. He has shown great courage to admit that he has misgivings about the reasons why we're in Iraq and its debilitating impact on American families and national psyche, not to mention the harm done to the Iraqi people and the generation of scars left by our actions. Courage is the act of pursuing what your convictions tell you is right.
It would have been cowardly for him not to act on his convictions and remain silent about his gut feelings, deploy and assume a command position that might have affected his ability to lead. Would we prefer officers who place lives at risk simply to build resumes that reflect combat service?
Yes, Lt. Watada volunteered for enlistment, but somewhere along the way our nation's leaders abandoned him, betrayed his ideals, and his core values simply changed. Is this difficult to grasp? He didn't get a free ride on an ROTC scholarship. He certainly didn't do what the majority of our citizens do -- not serve at all.
Patriotism? In retrospect, I learned one truth during my service in-country Vietnam: GIs fight for their brothers, not because of country, flag or patriotism.
Watada could have served another way
I am appalled at the actions of Ehren Watada in refusing his assignment to Iraq, and I worry that this will tarnish the image of islanders and their willingness to serve and their courage in taking up their obligations, even in the face of grave danger. Think of the 442nd and other island veterans before and since!
Watada volunteered to join the Army. What did he think that meant? The Star-Bulletin article says he "entered Officer Candidate School in August, five months after U.S. troops invaded Iraq." He knew, or should have known, that this meant probable duty there.
During the Vietnam War, when the draft was instituted and we all had to do our part, the islanders who did not want to fight in the Army in Vietnam volunteered to join the Coast Guard, the Navy or the Air Force, where they could fulfill their obligation honorably by serving in other ways.
I hope that other young people reading this think carefully about their future, make responsible choices, and then meet their obligations fully and make us proud, not embarrassed, to be veterans from Hawaii.
Maple Valley, Wash.