Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

The longest war in U.S. history

Now that the 20-year war in Afghanistan is over, I would like to ask The Post (and other media) to stop repeating a statement that is false.

The longest war in American history was fought not in Afghanistan but in the United States. From the time the Colonists arrived in America, there were continuous conflicts and wars with the American Indians, until 1890.

From 1866 to 1890, there was a war between American soldiers and the American Indians, ending in a massacre by American soldiers of American Indians at Wounded Knee at the end of 1890.

Estimates of deaths and wounded in those 24 years of constant war between U.S. soldiers and American Indians are not easy to calculate, but it would be reasonable to state that American losses were in the thousands, as in Afghanistan, and the American Indian losses easily exceeded that amount.

I am not trying to minimize our sacrifices, including the deaths and wounded in Afghanistan, nor the sacrifices of the Afghan people, now under the boot of the Taliban. I am just correcting the constant harping about the 20 years we, as Americans, have toiled in Afghanistan, as being the longest war in American history.

Ira H. Schoen, Alexandria

Serving service members

I was surprised that the Sept. 6 Education article “Education benefits spottily available to those on active duty” failed to mention either the American Council on Education’s (ACE) “Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services” or the Servicemember’s Opportunity Colleges. Both are fundamental to the success of military learners.

ACE’s support of the military has been present since the day it was founded in World War I. ACE was instrumental in the passage of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (known as the GI Bill) in 1944 and later the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008. ACE assists colleges in granting credit for what service members and veterans learned while in the service and offers detailed resources for institutions to help them support their military-connected students, as well as resources for service members and veterans. The ACE Military Guide is the sole source of information for all military courses and occupations evaluated by ACE from 1954 to present. ACE’s Military Evaluations program continues to this day, and ACE’s credit recommendations appear in the Military Guide and on military transcripts.

These credit recommendations are based on evaluations conducted by college and university faculty members actively teaching in the areas evaluated and appear on the Joint Services Transcript. The Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges assist in the transfer and acceptability of credits moving from one college to another. This helps minimize the loss of credit, time and money. Available tests also enable demonstration of learning attained. Millions of service members have been aided by these two programs. They deserved mention.

Pen Suritz, Ocean View, Del.

Dangerous declarations

One expert interviewed for the Sept. 5 front-page article “Pondering covid’s endgame: How, if ever, does this end?” was Jay Bhattacharya. Missing from the article was the information that Bhattacharya is co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, which argued vociferously against lockdowns and mandates and, essentially, for herd immunity. He is also an adviser to Ron DeSantis (R), the Florida governor supervising one of the worst outbreaks of the delta variant of the coronavirus in the country.

As The Post reported the very next day, 7,000 Floridians have died since July 4, Florida health care is in crisis, and, somehow, Bhattacharya thinks that “the emergency phase of the disease is over.” It certainly is over for those who have died.

Bhattacharya has aided DeSantis in his anti-mask crusade, even going so far as to testify as Florida’s expert in the recent lawsuits regarding masking in schools arguing that masks are harmful and ineffective. To cite Bhattacharya for any kind of opinion on where we are going with the coronavirus is ludicrous.

Marsha Schmidt, Burtonsville

A hub of confusion

The Sept. 5 front-page article “In New York, life and death underground” used a term that was new to me: “cover their nut.”

The sentence published said: “The story of Ida’s victims in the basements of New York is a tale of neglect and desperation, of strapped landlords straining to cover their nut and deciding to ignore the law, of an overwhelmed bureaucracy incapable of enforcing the city’s housing rules.” I went online and discovered that “cover your nut” originally came from the Old West. The definition explained that, when peddlers came to a hotel and needed a room but didn’t have any money, the hotel keeper would take their hub, or “nut,” from the wagon wheel as a deposit. Frankly, next time, how about something like “strapped landlords straining to cover their expenses”?

Joanne Richcreek, Fairfax

We blew it

The caption to a photograph that accompanied the Sept. 6 Metro article “In 2021, spiritual evolutions” was incorrect. The caption said Sarah Waxman was “playing” the shofar. She was “blowing” the shofar. One does not “play” a shofar, as it is not a musical instrument. Please consult with people knowledgeable about the faith when captioning pictures showing religious objects.

Jules Meisler, Silver Spring

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

The Kennedy Center may not be Philip Kennicott’s culture island, but it is mine and it is for many others who delight in its majestic architecture and the splendid views of our city and the Potomac River [“At 50, has Kennedy Center lived up to its mission?,” Arts & Style, Sept. 5]. I love the ballet, symphonies, choral music and living theater. There are other venues for these enjoyments, but they are not offered in one glorious setting.

Kennicott assumed the demise of “the Cultural Age” in a fractured American culture. If that is so, what a shame it is for present and future generations. It is sad that he believes these great arts are no longer relevant in our diverse national culture. Cultural change does not mean that what has been created in the past is dead. The great arts of the past will never be marginalized but rather will continue to be the foundation for a vibrant present and a dynamic future.

The visitors from around the country and the world join with those from the entire area to be part of the sights and sounds of the Kennedy Center. You needn’t tear down the beauty of the past to make room for the future.

Dorothy J. Hunt, Silver Spring

Biases go both ways

I hate Old Bay, which is, perhaps, why Gene Weingarten’s Aug. 22 Washington Post Magazine column, “Gene refuses to eat his words,” caught my eye. I live in Old Bay country. Starting in the spring, Old Bay is the go-to additive for everything — seafood, chips, beignets and french fries. Why it hasn’t been added to coffee is undoubtedly an oversight by some culinary mad scientist.

So, if I am to follow Padma Lakshmi’s train of thought in her Sept. 1 Food essay, “An attempt at humor lands as another level of tasteless racism,” I am culturally racist (and if you don’t think watermen are a culture, then you don’t know the Eastern Shore) because I lumped all Old Bay concoctions into one deplorable trend.

In our town, we have two venues that offer Indian food. They are both excellent. I do not confuse their offerings under one label, “curry,” but when ordering, I ask if they can tame the heat to be more compatible with my elder innards. I never thought that I was dissing their culture; if I purchase their food over other available options, I think I am giving an accolade to their cuisine.

So Lakshmi has cooked up a reheated, lukewarm dish of racism and thrown Weingarten into the fire. What next?

Sharon Harrington, Easton, Md.

I just read Padma Lakshmi’s piece on Gene Weingarten’s negative comments about curry. I was good with her opinions until I got to her cute comment about the “Cleveland Chuckle Hut” that seemed to suggest that anything in today’s Post would be much more sophisticated than anything from, well, Cleveland.

Because I was born in Cleveland and grew up there in the years when it was fondly referred to as “the mistake on the lake,” I am forced to point out that Lakshmi perhaps needs to examine her own biases more closely and be careful about casting stones.

We Clevelanders, too, have our own proud ethnic heritages, and we consider ourselves to be the butt of no one’s jokes.

Barb Nash, Bethesda

For teachers, a time for choosing

In his Aug. 29 op-ed, “In my AP Government classes, I teach current elections. But national curriculums say I shouldn’t.,” Glenn Sacks correctly pointed out that there are far more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics curriculum. And I feel so sorry for all those kids who have to deal with the pretentious jargon and lame metaphors to which he alluded. He also made an eminently sensible point that any responsible U.S. government course should include some coverage of both the periodic and unexpected issues that can routinely arise on the national and local levels irrespective of their omission from a formal curriculum.

But it also is true that the students of Sacks, an AP teacher who does some defying of the limits of the explicit AP curriculum, succeed at above the national average on the AP exam. If so, what exactly is the problem? The test results indicate that there is enough wiggle room to accommodate some non-prescribed content of the teacher’s own choosing.

It also seems a bit unfair to criticize a U.S. government class for not being a current events class or a local government class. It is impossible to define, and hard to strike, a balance between the competing and overlapping elements of theoretical significance, current relevance and local interest. In a hectic school year, it is almost a triage situation: Including any one thing entails excluding any number of other things. The conscientious teacher worries about such things constantly.

But I do not see how Sacks’s suggestion — replacing a curriculum straitjacket of five straps with one of six (for election coverage) — is much of a remedy.

John M. Dougherty, Edgewater

No humor in homicide — or flooding

The Aug. 28 “WuMo,” in which a bored office employee encourages armed intruders to shoot someone, was appalling — certainly not amusing. Just about every day, The Post carries news about homicides on the streets and in the workplace. Why would The Post publish such an inappropriate and tasteless cartoon?

Penny Cooper, Gaithersburg

The tasteless and thoughtless “WuMo” strip on Sept. 6 was appalling. To pretend that there is something funny about a flooded basement after many lost not only valued possessions but also their lives in this situation in the prior days was beyond comprehension. An apology is owed to all who had the misfortune of reading it.

Kathleen T. Thomas, Silver Spring

Women just wanna have fun

As I read the Sept. 1 Metro article about the Friday night protests outside Nellie’s Sports Bar, “Nellie’s boycott turns into movement,” I noticed a line of investigation that the reporter did not seem to follow.

The article said that “a group of girls, who were all White, walked up to the bar entrance” and later said that the group of girls decided not to enter after they learned about the protest. I am astonished to find that girls would have apparently been allowed entrance into this bar had they not sympathized with the protesters. One would think that girls would be home in bed at night, supervised by a parent.

There may have been young women out for the evening, in which case they could have been referred to that way, and not in a way to minimize their identities, which is tangentially related to what the protest was about: namely, the mistreatment of a female customer.

Theresa Early, Fairfax

Where everyone eats Wheaties

In the otherwise fine and well-deserved article about Kenneth Feinberg’s long and illustrious career in carrying out the Solomonic task of disbursing funds to the victims and survivors of those killed and injured in calamitous disasters, “After 9/11, he took on a duty few can fathom” [Metro, Sept. 9], it was noted that Feinberg came from “a working-class town south of Boston.”

That working-class town is Brockton, Mass., a city of about 100,000 residents that was the largest producer of shoes in the Civil War and a major contributor of service members in all our wars. Known as the Shoe City, it was the home of numerous important Americans in addition to the truly great Feinberg. These include the famous boxing champions Rocky Marciano (the Brockton Blockbuster) and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, whose exploits and those of many other athletic greats caused the nickname of the city to be changed to the City of Champions.

Brockton is proud of its working-class antecedents, but it is far too important in U.S. history to be called just a working-class town south of Boston.

Bill Brennan, Annandale

Willard Scott’s sunny disposition

Regarding the Sept. 5 obituary for Willard Scott, “ ‘Today’ show personality had roots in D.C. radio”:

To his everlasting credit, Scott was the same irrepressible character in front of the camera as in real life. I learned that in 1966, when I had a radio show with my broadcast partner Dave Miller on WRGW, the student station at George Washington University. Miller and I idolized Scott and Ed Walker and their “Joy Boys” radio show on WRC, to the point where we did a sophomoric imitation of it once a week on WRGW. We learned that Scott and Walker let a few people watch their radio show live in the studio, and Miller and I showed up one night. As we stepped into the elevator going up to the studio, the doors opened and Scott was inside, all 6-foot-3 of him, wearing a jacket and tie — and totally bald. He took one look at us, shrieked in mock horror, wrestled a toupee out of his pocket, put it on backward and began genially chatting away. He continued his shenanigans during the show when the mic was on and off. I became a giant Scott fan that night — and for the rest of his career.

Marc Leepson, Middleburg

Forty-one years ago, I was working as a flight attendant for Eastern Air Lines on the shuttle flights from Washington National Airport to LaGuardia Airport in New York. A very friendly passenger boarded early one morning in D.C., heading to New York. He told us that he had a job interview in New York that morning, and we wished him good luck. A couple of hours later, he returned for a shuttle back to D.C. and was all smiles. He was so excited that he had just been offered the job of weatherman for the “Today” show.

That man was Willard Scott, and he was exactly as exuberant in person as he was on the “Today” show.

I was a little bit sad to hear that he died, but I was a little bit happy to have known him for even a few moments.

Peggy King, Leesburg

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