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Businessweek Archives

The Army Wants Grads Of All Stripes

Readers Report

The Army Wants Grads of All Stripes

"Pushing the pay envelope" (Economics, Mar. 8) reported that my solution for fixing our recruiting shortfall was to take more high school dropouts. Let me set the record straight. The Army doesn't accept dropouts, as traditionally understood. At least 90% of our recruits must be high school graduates or have earned at least one year of college credits; the other 10% must hold a high school general equivalency diploma (GED). The 10% is a limit.

I suggest that we take a closer look at the thousands of additional GED holders who are available to recruit to identify those who have demonstrated the ability to be successful in the military. That would mean GED holders who have character references and a solid work history, who score in the top mental aptitude and motivational categories, and who meet our high moral standards.

The Army should simply not turn its back on the nation's GED holders. Many of them are young minorities who have heard the message that a high school education is the first rung on the ladder of success, and they are hungry for the opportunity that military training and discipline represents. As the world's best trainer, the Army can afford to take them. The truth is that many of our most highly decorated soldiers and highest-ranking career enlisted soldiers did not come to us with high school diplomas. Along the way, most have gone on to earn much more than their GEDs, including advanced degrees.

At the same time, I wholeheartedly agree that we also need to go after more of the college-enrolled end of the recruitment market. To do that successfully, we need to reinstill in America's youth the sense that military service is a civic obligation.

Louis Caldera

Secretary of the Army

WashingtonReturn to top

Microsoft: The Demo Wasn't Rigged

In "Now, it's Intel in the dock" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Mar. 1), you wrote that, in the Microsoft Corp. trial, "Justice attorneys showed that a taped Microsoft demo was rigged." This is untrue. The video you refer to demonstrated the damage caused to Microsoft's Windows operating system by government witness Edward Felten's "prototype removal program." When the video was played in court, however, government attorneys highlighted an inconsistency--one title read "Microsoft Internet Explorer" where, if the Felten program had been run, it should have read "Windows 98."

Microsoft looked into the problem and found that, while the demonstration was being taped, an entry in the Windows registry had been changed by a third-party software application used to test the effects of the Felten program on applications. The application apparently changed the entry when it was loaded, then deleted it when the application was removed. This caused Windows 98 to revert to the default title, "Microsoft Internet Explorer," even though the Felten program had been run.

Microsoft repeated its tests of the Felten program in the presence of Justice Dept. observers and played a video of these proceedings in court. The new tape confirmed the findings of the original: that Felten's program fails to remove Web-browsing functionality from Windows 98, causes the operating system to malfunction, and breaks many software applications that run on Windows. Justice's lawyers offered no challenge to the accuracy or veracity of the new videotaped demonstration.

Robert J. Herbold

Executive Vice-President

Microsoft Corp.

Redmond, Wash.Return to top

There's More to Defeating Pain Than Designer Drugs

I read "Conquering pain" (Cover Story, Mar. 1) returning from India, where we are working with the government to reduce the barriers to using morphine to manage cancer pain. Opioid analgesics in the class of morphine are either unavailable or inadequately used in most of the developing world because of exaggerated fears of addiction and consequent excessive regulation.

Availability of opioids is particularly important in the developing world, where cancer is on the increase--and typically diagnosed only in late stage. You should recognize, as do the World Health Organization and public-health authorities throughout the world, that there is no substitute for opioids for managing such pain. The case for new analgesics should not be made by perpetuating the myth that "narcotics" are life-threatening and cause addiction. This only perpetuates the barriers to relieving pain from cancer and other chronic diseases.

David E. Joranson

Director Pain & Policy Studies Group

Comprehensive Cancer Center

University of Wisconsin Madison

I was surprised that your article contained references only to medicinal and pharmacologic treatment of pain. It left out hypnosis and other alternative methods. Even more surprising was this quote from Dr. John T. Farrar, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School: "We have to find some way to harness that ability of the mind to control pain." To the best of my knowledge, hypnosis has been considered an accepted therapy by the American Medical Assn. since 1958.

Janet L. Macy

Lake Forest, Calif.

There's a price tag that makes these wonder drugs unavailable to the vast majority of pain sufferers. My sister, who is only 41, has rheumatoid arthritis but cannot afford the $1,000-plus per month that Immunex Corp. charges for Enbrel, one of the drugs you mention. Enbrel purportedly will not only reduce her pain and give her back a life but also arrest permanent bone damage. Her rheumatologist tells me that none of his patients can afford this miracle, nor will insurance companies participate in coverage for many of these new drugs. It's a shame that patients have to suffer when a "cure" exists.

Brenda Everett

Danville, Calif.Return to top

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