Reader J.P comments on Jane Fonda’s revelation of a dark Army secret: U.S. soldiers are trained to kill people! (See “Jane, Jane, At It Again,” Dec. 16.) Writes J.P.:

“Oh, for Pete’s sake. It’s not a secret, and it’s not mysterious. After it became apparent that soldiers were often not even discharging their weapons ‘not killing enough’training changes were made. Primarily, human shaped targets were used. Training soldiers to shoot the enemy is hardly training them to commit atrocities.”

Erudite Women’s Quarterly regular Sandra Miesel makes the same point:

“Jane Fonda, being half-witted in public discourse, has half an idea. But it was hardly secret. I think she may be referring to S.L.A. Marshall’s “Men Under Fire,” which concluded that American soldiers didn’t like to aim at other human beings. Therefore, their training was switched to emphasize area coverage rather than targeting a specific enemt combatants. This is also a more appropriate technique with automatic weapons. But it has nothing to do with teaching soldiers to commit atrocities!”

And reader G.H. makes this point about “Brokeback Mountain,” the gay-cowboy flick that has the critics all a-flutter (see “Brokeback Mountain’–the New ‘Million Dollar Baby,” Dec. 14):

“Charlotte Allen writes, ‘Since I’m a heterosexual female, the thought of watching two guys in Stetsons kiss each other on the lips not only doesn’t float my boat; it sinks it to the bottom of the ocean.’ I think this sums up as clearly as anything the difference between the sexes. A cowboy movie with two attractive women, dressed only in Stetsons, kissing each other would float most male boats.”

Depends on the women, G.H. If it’s the Hilton sisters, yes. Donatella Versace and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, no.

Update: Best take on “Brokeback” comes from Mark Steyn, natch:

“The Iraq election’s over, the media did their best to ignore it, and, judging from the rippling torsos I saw every time I switched on the TV, the press seem to reckon that that gay cowboy movie was the big geopolitical event of the last week, if not of all time. Yes, yes, I know: They’re not, technically, cowboys, they’re gay shepherds, but even Hollywood isn’t crazy enough to think it can sell gay shepherds to the world. And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you’ve got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi? Yee-haw! “