U.S. should be careful with its responses

America, cool your jets. Literally. It makes no sense to fly a sortie of two B-2 bombers from Missouri to South Korea (a round-trip distance of about 13,000 miles), which was just done by the U.S. military as a show of force to North Korea.

How much did this sortie cost taxpayers when we have a trillion-dollar-plus deficit? North Korea is surrounded by superpower countries, including China, Russia and Japan. Do you think these governments would tolerate aggression by the North Korean government?

The United States must not be drawn into a blunder. We citizens need to express our wishes for extreme caution when dealing with North Korea, which, I would argue, has just as much right to nuclear weapons as any other country and would be foolish to attack us.

Nick Rowse, Burnsville

• • •

During the 1970s, I lived in Korea for six months and worked with the Koreans for several years after that (which is probably more than any of Obama’s advisers). The Korean are pragmatists, and the current situation must be looked at with that knowledge of the Korean mind.

The North Korean leader was raised to privilege and luxury and is trying to “make his bones” with his people. His generals also have lived in luxury. They will allow their young leader a certain amount of leeway, but when it comes to the crunch, they will take whatever steps are needed to pull back from the brink. Even if it means killing him by hand.

They remember the horrors of the Korean War, even if their leader does not. We must remember this, so we do not act in ignorance.

Arthur A. Larson, Canby, Minn.

* * *


GMO: A problem or a consumer choice?

In endorsing the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, the Star Tribune has taken a bold step to support agriculture in Minnesota (editorial, April 1). More than 60 countries, including our major trading partners, already require GMO labeling. The sooner we implement it, the better positioned our agriculture and food sectors will be in the world markets.

Since GMOs have been introduced, we have seen seed prices skyrocket; small seed companies eliminated; farmers subjected to invasive license agreements and investigations; herbicide-resistant weeds and insecticide-resistant corn rootworms proliferate, and Monarch butterfly populations plummet.

Physicians in Argentina report significant increases in birth defects, miscarriages and child cancer in towns surrounded by fields of genetically modified soy sprayed with glyphosate (Roundup). Researchers in France have confirmed that rats fed GM corn develop tumors and die earlier than rats fed normal corn. Researchers in Canada have shown that Bt toxins from GM corn cross the placental barrier.

As a farmer, I support efforts to label GM foods. Let the market decide the fate of this new technology.

Jim Riddle, Winona

• • •

Why don’t makers of GMO-free foods just continue to label their products as such for concerned consumers and leave the broader market out of it? This would save the massive cost and effort to label every product containing GMO. It seems to work fine for organic foods.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

• • •

Most people don’t read or understand the labels we already have. If they did, we would not have so much obesity and diabetes because of the excessive carbohydrate consumption from sugar, white flour, white rice and pasta. It’s not rocket science.

Jerry Flugaur, Maple Grove

* * *


Most teams, not just women’s, are a drain

A March 31 letter writer stated that women’s sports are money-losers for the University of Minnesota, but the Gopher women’s hockey team, with its perfect season, no doubt put money in the U’s coffers and probably a lot more money than the men’s tennis or golf programs.

In reality, pretty much any sport that is not football or men’s basketball, with their strong revenue streams, is going to have trouble making money for most Division I universities and colleges. That is why cash-strapped University of Maryland desperately needed to join the Big Ten conference, with its billion-dollar television contracts.

Don’t blame women’s sports or Title IX for the U’s woes. Blame the very low number of true money-making college sport teams.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul

* * *


Much emphasis on a title and fairness

I read with interest the story of Elk River’s valedictorian selection process. I, too, had a daughter who finished with a 4.0, top in her class, and a 36 on her ACTs. However, her school had the rule that it would not appoint a valedictorian.

I suppose she could have had a front-page story that stated the unfairness of the whole process (“When perfect still doesn’t mean valedictorian …,” March 29). Instead, we congratulated our daughter on a job well done. As the article stated, all college decisions are completed before anyone is appointed valedictorian.

Having my daughter not be recognized is not going to affect her life in any way. As our school’s decision not to have a valedictorian was very clear, so were Elk River’s rules. Not recognizing this particular student is not only “fair” but necessary if there is to be validity to the rules that were established.

Sometimes, in all things, peoples feelings are going to be hurt. As I always like to tell my kids: “The fair is in August. Move on.”

John McElreath, Mahtomedi