Whose lives would war hawks put on the line?
An Aug. 26 letter writer said that the use of poison gas in Syria by Assad is all we need to “green light the Navy SEALs. Time to take [Bashar] Assad out.” If all the couch-sitting war hawks who rushed to get us into Vietnam and Iraq, and who now want us in Syria, were to volunteer for active combat, we could quadruple the size of our military and take care of business. With 1 percent of our country’s population doing all the dirty work of protecting the other 99 percent of us, I want to be darn sure there is a clear mission, a clear path to success, incontrovertible facts and an absolutely clear plan to minimize harm to all.
Bob Brereton, St. Paul
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While I agree with President Obama’s reluctance to get involved unilaterally and his deference to the United Nations in taking action with regard to Syria, the reality is that the U.N. will do nothing, owing to probable vetoes from Russia or China. The next best option is action by NATO — since virtually all the members of NATO have expressed outrage over the use of chemical weapons against civilians and combatants — but this option is not even being discussed.
What purpose does our support for the U.N. and NATO serve if both are totally powerless to act in a situation as overt as that of Syria?
Ted Adams, Edina
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Gender inequality fetters civil rights
The lack of progress in civil rights can be tied to a much larger issue — the fact that we do not have equal rights for women in our country. As a professional woman, I make 78 percent of what a comparably educated man makes. (This is a “huge” improvement over the 69 percent portion earned in the 1970s.) More women live in poverty than men, and many of those women are women of color. Until we have gender equality, civil rights will continue to be a dream. The Texas governor’s recent veto of an equal-rights bill in his state is only one example of the ongoing denial.
Jane Hovland, Duluth
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ONLINE SALES TAXES
‘Burden’ isn’t new if you’ve followed the law
In response to the Aug. 23 letter regarding the “burden” seniors will suffer from having to pay sales tax on purchases of taxable merchandise: Really? All purchases of taxable items purchased via catalogs or the Internet have been taxed for decades. It’s just a question of whether our seller collects it, or if we send payment ourselves. The letter writer and other opponents simply want the system to continue to allow lawbreaking.
All of us — old and young — enjoy the work of first responders and other governmental benefits paid for, in part, by sales tax collections. The Marketplace Fairness Act simplifies our obligations as good citizens, and supports essential services.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.