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Continued: Readers Write (May 8): Marriage, Syria, North Dakota

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  • Last update: May 8, 2013 - 1:23 PM

SYRIA

‘Bombs away’ is not a display of courage

The May 7 editorial cartoon has a perplexed looking President Obama announcing that since “Syria’s Assad is out of control, there is only one thing to do … hope that Israel shows some guts.”

Since being a cartoonist just has to be easier than being the leader of the free world, one doesn’t expect far-reaching insight, but I do wonder what exactly “showing guts” would look like in Dana Summers’ estimation.

Can even the most hawkish among us agree that “nuking” is not an option? Air or drone attacks risk placing civilians at greater risk, both from the bombing itself, but also the probable release of poison gases that are suspected. In addition to the physical damage of bombing, it is a no-win situation in the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East. Putting soldiers on the ground would be extremely complex with a slim chance of success, and exposing them to gas attacks. Then there is the sticky problem of extricating ourselves from another war. As one journalist said recently, “the options are terrifying.”

Showing guts is often best done using intelligence, restraint and diplomacy. Sadly, there will always be those who seek to answer every dilemma with guns blazing.

Kathleen Wedl, Edina

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North Dakota OIL

It’s still not enough; we need renewable

The oil boom in the Bakken and Three Forks formations is attracting a lot of attention these days (“North Dakota oil field is 7-billion-barrel giant,” May 1).

But often overlooked is the fact that even with new drilling technologies and the revised estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, there’s only enough oil there to supply the United States with about 13 months of gasoline at 2011 consumption rates. For our country’s transportation sector to be truly energy-independent, we have to focus more on renewable energy.

Fortunately, Minnesota and the Dakotas can play a big part in our future. All three states are rich in renewable agricultural resources that can be converted into liquid transportation fuels called advanced biofuels. According to the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs, Minnesota and its neighboring states are home to at least nine advanced biofuel companies.

These innovative American companies provide a market for crop waste like wheat straw and corn stover. This does not interfere with the food supply, and it helps family farms increase their revenues. At nearby biorefineries, crop waste is then processed into clean-burning fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, creating high-paying jobs that keep young people close to their rural hometowns.

The Bakken oil boom is certainly an amazing story. But let’s not kid ourselves. If we want to build an economic foundation that will last generations, we have to turn to renewable energy.

David Kolsrud, Brandon, S.D.

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