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Continued: Readers Write: (Sept. 10): Syria, Minnesota Orchestra

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  • Last update: September 9, 2013 - 9:10 PM


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American military power, along with that of our NATO allies, stopped a genocide in Kosovo in 1999, without loss of American life. After touring Auschwitz a few weeks ago, I find it difficult to accept that the world will do nothing for millions of refugees and nothing to stop the death of thousands of noncombatant victims. Dropping bombs and rockets on the equipment that delivers poison gas is not the same as invading Iraq, and calling it “killing Syrians” to compare it to Assad’s murder of Syrian innocents is thoughtless.

Those who want military action must get support from our allies, and that starts with an intelligent and nonpartisan discussion in Congress. I respect those who oppose military action, and respect should be given to those who are considering support for some intervention.


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Clouding the debate are commentaries on what the decision in Congress will mean for President Obama’s remaining term. I am glad that our president is outraged at the horrible slaughter of innocent civilians by the use of chemical weapons. I am glad he took time to consider a U.S. response, and I am glad that he is seeking the opinion and will of Americans through their congressional representatives.

Americans are saying “no” to this intervention, and the congressional vote should reflect the will of the people. If a “no” vote is the result, then it is up to Congress to work with the president to find alternative ways of making Assad accountable. Isn’t this the way government of, by and for the people should work?


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Editorial ‘verdict’ was a study in defeatism

Newspapers are sometimes accused of boosterism, but until Saturday I’d never seen its opposite: a Star Tribune editorial making the shameful, dispiriting suggestion that Minnesotans abandon their tradition of cultural excellence (“Verdict on orchestra: Costs are too high”).

I have lived in this community all my life and have never heard civic leaders advise us that our community vision was unrealistic, that our sights were too high, that we were out of our league in aspiring to excellence.

The editorial wasn’t even logical. Positing that artistic excellence was at stake, it proceeded to suggest diminishing the same to save … what? An institution that has lost its soul?

Clearly, the Minnesota Orchestra is sloshing around in some kind of financial doo-doo. It’s also clear the musicians have held up their end of the deal — making music that blows away some of the world’s most sophisticated critics — even as the board has dropped the ball and put the organization on the skids.

Well, the damage is done. We need a solution.

But it must not be to cheat musicians of compensation commensurate with their world-class talent, deprive the community of its music and downgrade the cultural status of the Twin Cities. The solution lies instead in a board that knows how to run an orchestra like an orchestra (not like a bank), is savvy enough in its community relations to cultivate and engage sufficient resources, is truthful about its finances, and eschews brute bullying as a management style.

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