Are we certain? What doctrine drives this?

I know Obama and Co. decided to skip due process and immediately place all blame for the Ghouta attack on Bashar Assad, but what if they’re wrong? What if Assad isn’t actually suicidal enough to do the one thing that had been publicly announced as a guaranteed invitation to his very own cruise-missile surprise party? What if, say, a jihadist from Libya somehow got his hands on an old Soviet chem-shell and brought it with him to Syria?

If any of this were true, then any missiles we were to launch, or any lives we were to take, would be in support of whoever truly is responsible for gassing hundreds of innocent civilians. And if we’re on the same side as the bad guys, doesn’t that make us the bad guys?

JOHN LINDWALL, Minneapolis

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The war hawk in the White House, with a Nobel Peace Prize to prove it, sent his bomb salesman out to pedal war on Syria. The last regime was bad enough, but this gang is Bush on steroids. Just as that progressive snob Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin in 2008 — “What is the Bush doctrine?” — I ask my lightweight senators from Minnesota: “What is the Obama doctrine?” … Crickets.




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The economic boost fuels a community

An Aug. 26 letter doubting the number of jobs created by Enbridge Energy’s proposed pipeline illustrated the ignorance of so many people opposed to projects like this.

In 2009, Enbridge brought a pipeline through the Grand Rapids, Minn., area, and the economic benefits reached far beyond just the wages of the thousands of pipeline workers. These people needed housing, food, entertainment, car repairs, etc. The resulting boost to our local economy was by all estimates millions of dollars. Virtually every business was affected.

I know many liberals do not believe in trickle-down economics, but this was it in its purest form. Our hotels, motels and resorts were full during a time of year that is typically slow. Our restaurants and bars experienced near-record offseason revenues. Auto-repair businesses had record years. The same for gas stations, retail outlets and hardware stores.

All of this translated into more jobs and the influx of millions of dollars into an economy that is primarily tourism-based and seasonal in nature. I’m certain that the overwhelming majority of businesses of Itasca County would welcome the pipeline back with open arms.

ROBERT BARTON, Cohasset, Minn.

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Strike balance before there’s a backlash

As a retired county attorney and former member of the Criminal Justice Information Task Force, I understand the concerns expressed in a recent editorial about the proliferation of lawsuits for improper access to information (“Rein in rising costs of data snooping,” Aug. 24).

However, the timing concerns me. We are seeing a massive increase in information stored and sources thereof: license plate readers, facial recognition software, surveillance cameras, integrated data systems that are searchable in an instant, and the software allowing the integrated searching of various systems. Linking of public and private data systems (merchant files on shoplifters, bad-check writers and others) is an example of the breadth of the data available.

Yes, the costs of misuse of these systems could be significant to the government, but also to the individual whose data is compromised.

We need to confront these issues and find ways to permit the use of information by law enforcement but guarantee the privacy of the subjects of data. If we don’t, as evidenced in the current NSA situation, we could see a backlash that would eliminate such data.


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House calls: An old idea, back around

Home visits are not such a new idea (“Making house calls, teachers build ties,” Aug. 26). Years ago, I was a fourth-grade teacher who was routinely invited to the homes of my students for lunch. Back then students were allowed to walk home for lunch. These visits allowed teacher, parents and students to get to know one another. A side benefit was the delicious lunches served. St. Paul will definitely continue to reap the benefits of this practice.


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And to think we was gonna let it slide …

Hey ya Strib! Yer shure gonna git whatcha want on this ’un that ya run fer fun. I mean bunches of letters. (“Why knowingly print incorrect phrase?” Readers Write, Aug. 24)

“We was [wuz] robbed” comes from the world of boxing, most likely. Try “I shoulda stood in bed” and many more from our vastly entertaining field of baseball (also most likely). And a multitude of others from the world of sport, generally.

The letter writer might find fun and prophet in reading “Strictly Speaking” by Edwin Newman, subtitled “Will America be the Death of English?” It’s a witty bestseller of 1974. And, hey, dontcha be put off by the date, ’cuz it’ll bring ya up ta date. Almost, anyway, given the new electronics which is a current influence.

Whatta heck, maybe we oughta be as careful to demand logic (actual correctness) in our world of politics as the writer is with demand for correct (standard) grammar.

RODNEY HATLE, Owatonna, Minn.