More letters to the editor

Author: Readers

Memories of war

Thank you for sharing William Yaley’s poignant notes on his return visit to Vietnam in your summer issue (“Children of War”). As an Army ROTC lieutenant, I also served in that sad place during 1965 and ’66 when that nasty war was still in its relative infancy. I share his memories of a good and gentle people. Some 58,000+ American names are inscribed on a 500-foot-long black gravestone in the Washington Mall. If there were a similar memorial for all the Vietnamese, both civilian and military, North and South, who died during that conflict, it would stretch for more than two miles. Maybe we did keep the dominoes from falling, but the Vietnamese people certainly deserved better.

Richard Furnari ’64
Glenview Illinois

Your latest issue seems to be a tour de force. The article on “Children of War” evoked strong thoughts and emotions in me. In summer 1970 I was set to go on active duty when the MD’s at Walter Reed Army Medical Center nixed that due to bad feet. (I received my Army commission through ROTC at Stepan Center on June 1968).

Within the past year I researched the My Lai massacre (which occurred in 1968 but was not reported by Seymour Hersh until 1969 — that was when I was in Georgetown University Graduate School studying international relations) and discovered that U.S. Army 1st Lt. William Calley received only one year house arrest at Fort Benning for what was clearly without any doubt the issuing of an illegal order (under UCMJ), that is, to fire on unarmed civilians.

How could any U.S. military office issue such an order? How is it that Calley only received one year house arrest? Mindboggling!

John M. Schmelzer ’68

Corporate test

“Corporate Counsel for Troubled Times” and the advice offered by Professor Tenbrunsel fits well the Rotary Club’s " Four Way Test," which has been our motto for 54 years. “Is it the truth? — Is it fair to all concerned?— Will it build good will and better friendships?— Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” The current Rotarian has a story about Herb Taylor who used the motto originally for his business, and it was later adopted by Rotary International. The story can be referenced at the website:

Clete Kruyer ’71M.A.
Jamestown, North Carolina

Love story

I was so moved by the story of Louise and Bob Roche (“Love Story”) in your summer 2009 issue. Their love for each other and their years of unselfish service to the people of Africa are extremely inspiring!

My husband is a ND graduate from the 1950s, and he is physically and mentally disabled by a genetic neurodegenerative disorder. I have cared for him full time at home for the past several years, and I so admire Louise for the care she has given Bob in their home.

Please forward to Louise Roche my admiration and prayers for her and her family, as well as the link to the Well Spouse Association, a national organization for spousal caregivers who understand the grief, trials, and small rewards of caring for an incurably ill spouse:

Terri Corcoran
Falls Church, Virginia

As I read Bruce Goldfarb’s “Love Story,” I thoiught back to my own experience. On May 7, 2007, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The doctor told me and my family I had two weeks to two months to live. I figured I had two weeks to get everything sorted out. One thing I did was sign a Do Not Resuscitate form. I told my children that we had been saying good-bye all our lives. When they went off to kindergarten, we said good bye. .When they went off to College, we said good bye.. When they went off to a new job, we said good-bye. I told them I didn’t know where I was going, but I was going somewhere and this was just another good-bye. I then asked them to open a bottle of Tulamore Dew Irish whiskey I had learned to appreciate at the Notre Dame Faculty Club in 1949, and we had a Bon Voyage Party!

I cannot guess what Bob Roche would decide, but I decided to sign the form. The California Emergency Medical Authority provides a form: EMERGERNCY MEDICAL SERVICES / PREHOSPITAL DO NOT RESUSCITATE FORM. The form reads: I understand DNR means that if my heart stops beating or if I stop breathing, no medical procedures to restart breathing or heart functioning will be instituted.

Would Bob Roche have signed a DNR form to save his devoted family years of suffering and mountains of expense? I did.

Bob Riordan ND ’45

P.S. So it’s July, 2009, and I’m still here. I keep the DNR in my passport.

Money business

In his article on the excesses of the market economy, Terrence Keeley’s crocodile tears of personal regret are no balm. As a member of the financial community his claim to be a “man of conscience” rings hollow! Where was his voice of warning about the consequences of such greedy “moral hazards” when they were occurring for years? Does he also scourge himself on the way to the bank?

John N. Nizick ’57

Terrence Keeley’s article on the Wall Street debacle and the mindset that created it is excellent — with one big exception. He repeats the canard that sub-prime mortgages were a sort of program for promoting home ownership among people of modest means, indeed “the only hope that some 35 percent of all Americans ever had.” In other words, the financial industry made it possible for people who had difficulty affording a mortgage to get one — by making them pay still more. Actually, that approach to helping poor people predates Al Capone.

The justification for the higher cost of a sub-prime mortgage is that it represents a higher risk for the investor. The poorer 35 percent of Americans have less money and there are more likely to have trouble making payments. The sub-prime lenders compensated themselves for this risk by making the loans more expensive, and therefore even more risky. But more profitable; at least till the bubble burst. Likewise, the asset-backed securities constructed with sub-prime mortgages were more profitable, and so, for many Wall Street players, hard to resist.

Keeley does not even argue that the 35 percent in question were characterized by bad credit, the only legitimate reason for a sub-prime mortgage. Indeed, most re not. And for someone of limited means who does have bad credit, credit repair is the appropriate approach. Likewise there are sound approaches to getting people of modest means into houses, such as equity building. But these are typically hands-on, and require work and commitment from all parties, including lenders. They don’t yield windfall-level profits, but they do yield table, long-term investments that benefit lenders, borrowers and communities.

One of the most telling signs of the moral vacuum in the financial industry, or major parts thereof, is that its apologists claim it can only serve some basic financial needs of a major segment of the population if they can squeeze exorbitant returns out of them. Keeley’s “collateralized debt obligation trader” whines what if housing prices had just kept going up? Apparently greed can make presumably smart people stupid. And if Alan Greenspan said that sub-prime mortgages were created “for promoting low-income homeownership” he should burn in hell just for saying that.

Joe Farrell
Cambridge, Ohio

This is a bit awkward, but I think it needs to be said. I picked up the current Notre Dame Magazine to read it and was taken aback by the cover. To use the phrase “money business” as a take on “monkey business” when so many racist people use such terminology to mock our president is, in my opinion, a poor choice.

Mary Ann Camosy

That liberal remark

I demand that you apologize for the article by Jennifer Moses in the Spring 2009 issue in which she writes “Jesus (another Jewish liberal) …” Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and how dare you allow him to be so demeaned and mocked?

This is just more proof that Notre Dame is not Catholic.

David Wemoff ’79
South Bend, Indiana