We are not obligated to a military response
Well, here we go again. The United States is about to attack and possibly invade another predominantly Muslim country that has not attacked us.
Under the guise of outrage over a presumed attack with chemical weapons on a civilian population, we will be violating international law and, rest assured, more Syrian civilians will die as a result of our actions than died from poison gas.
People need to understand that the United States routinely uses weapons systems that kill large numbers of civilians and are condemned by other countries; these weapons include white phosphorus, cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions.
I also wonder where the voices are who have been scolding us incessantly that the country has no money for roads or bridges or education or health care? There is always money for war, though, isn’t there?
Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove
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Studying for the priesthood at the Gregorian University in Rome, we learned the following moral maxim: Nemo ad inutile tenetur. Freely translated, that means: No one has a moral obligation to undertake a useless course of action.
If our goal is a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Syria, a limited military strike is useless. It will do nothing to deter further use of poison gas. If it weakens the Assad regime, it will strengthen Al-Qaida affiliates and Islamists in the opposition. If it fails to significantly harm the regime, the United States will look like a paper tiger.
This doesn’t mean we do nothing. To achieve a negotiated settlement, we have to resolve our conflicts with Russia over issues like the European missile defense system. Who is more important — American military contractors or the people of Syria?
William C. Hunt, Somerset, Wis.
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A Civilian Review task force minority report
The dysfunction of the Minneapolis Police Department and the Civilian Review Authority continue to make headlines.
During his first term, I served on the Mayor R.T. Rybak’s task force to redesign the CRA. Frustrated with the process, I and three other task force members submitted a minority report. Ultimately, both the majority report and our minority report were ignored by the City Council.
Our recommendation was for the CRA to investigate complaints and troubling incidents but not to even attempt to recommend discipline of the officers involved. All of us who signed were aware of the serious problems, but we made this surprising recommendation for three reasons:
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