THE PEACE PRIZE PRESIDENT

Now he has to decide about Afghanistan

Why is it so unbelievable that a president who strives to increase communication among his friends as well as his enemies wins the Nobel Peace Prize when he inherits an administration that didn't even consult with its secretary of defense before going to war? I don't think there should even be a question.

LINDA LAIRD, BROOKLYN PARK

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President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize without having achieved anything that would justify his receiving it. His record is clear in that regard.

Obama does deserve an Oscar, however, in the category of "Best Actor in a Leading Role." His ego, narcissism and status as a "celebrity" fit right in with most of those who make up the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

GEORGE M. GAIDA, WINONA, MINN.

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I agree with the statement in your Oct. 10 editorial ("This Peace Prize was for hope") that "the [Nobel] committee has used its award to send the president a message." Another way of saying that is: The Nobel committee is attempting to pressure our president to act a certain way with a political stunt.

Barack Obama needs to make some important decisions regarding United States and world security. He will have many professional advisers and be privy to classified information others are not, and is capable of making these decisions on his own. What he does not need is a few elite Norwegians telling him how he needs to act in order to "deserve" the award they have already bestowed upon him. I predict that if Obama decides we need more troops in Afghanistan and/or cannot close Gitmo, the Nobel committee might try and take this prize back.

BRADLEY ROSE, BAXTER, MINN.

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President Obama has a difficult decision to make in Afghanistan. Will he act boldly and adopt a strategy to win, or a strategy to get out? Or, will he adopt a middle-of-the-road approach to pacify his base, while appeasing those who want to win, and end up with Vietnam stagnation?

TIM LAW, MINNETONKA

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President Obama reasons that a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would provide Al-Qaida with "an even larger safe haven to plot to kill Americans." Had the president read the 9/11 commission report, he would have learned that the tactical planning and logistical preparation for the 9/11 attacks did not occur in Afghanistan. They took place in Hamburg, Germany; Madrid, Spain; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Las Vegas.

A much better way to thwart future attacks by Al-Qaida would be to negotiate a withdrawal with the Taliban predicated on the condition they surrender Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri or disclose their whereabouts.

STEPHEN KRIZ, MAPLE GROVE

The twins bow out

But they delivered a great season of baseball

The Twins were interesting, entertaining and fun all year long and fabulously managed. Thanks for a great year, Minnesota Twins.

GEORGIA DUNCAN, ST. PAUL

Dash Cams

Instead of videos,

try direct discussions

Instead of employing a new way to fight gangs (front page, Oct. 8), has any thought been given to talking with gang members as opposed to relying on a big brother tactic like funding "sophisticated video cameras" for all police vehicles in the state?

I would call that reckless spending, and I also see some potential for abuse.

I'm suggesting that a new way to fight gangs would be to talk to them.

ROBERT J. VILT, AUSTIN, MINN.

Minnesota banks

Just remember,

your money is safe

I recently held a hearing of the Minnesota Senate's Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee to discuss concerns raised by this summer's "Lenders Gone Wild" series by the Star Tribune.

This four-hour hearing -- which included testimony from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), federal and state financial associations, and several local banks -- helped committee members fully understand the intricacies of the federal and state regulatory system and the challenges these examiners and institutions face. The most important thing we learned is that all Minnesotans' money is safe once it is deposited in a financial institution. Even in the most extreme case of a closure, the FDIC or NCUA will protect all depositors from the loss of up to $250,000.

While it is concerning that one out of five Minnesota banks has been placed on the Department of Commerce's "watch list," the department can take a number of corrective measures to help these institutions recover. Although these actions cannot save all from closure, they will help many recover.

SEN. LINDA SCHEID, DFL-BROOKLYN PARK