History presses back, but also presses on
I don’t know what Michael Karkoc did or didn’t do in World War II. His son, Andrij, wrote a pretty compelling commentary (“My father is not a war criminal,” July 14). But one thing I am always reminded of when I read about the search for aging Nazis who may or may not have committed war crimes is the fact that justice was not equal. What the Nazis did was horrible beyond human comprehension, but the atrocities committed by the communists in the Soviet Union by far exceeded it for the simple reason that these crimes continued after the war ended when they enslaved Eastern Europe with torture, rape, murder, etc. Were any Soviet war criminals brought to justice? Of course not; they were on the winning side.
And not only in the old Soviet Union, but also China and North Korea, where such atrocities are still taking place. But is the world going after these people? No, we’ve still got aging Nazis to root out — real or imagined.
TOM R. KOVACH, Nevis, Minn.
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The headline “Ordinary family man or Nazi henchman” (July 14) is a sad and possibly harmful distortion of reality. It’s sad because the truly scary thing about the Nazis is that their unspeakable evils were committed by such ordinary people: good family men and women, shopkeepers, farmers, professionals. (The Third Reich demonstrates “the banality of evil.”) It may be harmful because all too often characterizations of the Nazis as psychotic monsters serve to mask the reality that far too many of us have been capable of unspeakable acts — lynchings, burnings, even massacres.
Whether or not we should prosecute Michael Karkoc, we should understand just how well he represents his times and places.
The Rev. GREG GARMAN, Minneapolis
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As someone currently visiting Latvia, I can attest to the continuing scars of World War II. There are vacant buildings waiting for their Jewish owners to return. There is still an emotional tension between ethnic groups. I hope there will be an open investigation into Karkoc’s alleged crimes and a trial so our nation can learn that the past effects our present and our future.
MICHAEL RESIG, Crystal
SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL
It’s time to revisit the decisions made
Putting the portion of the proposed Southwest light-rail line in a deep tunnel (“LRT corridor fight nears a crossroad,” July 14) solves both key problems afflicting this route: First, it would moot the conflict between St. Louis Park and Minneapolis regarding relocation vs. colocation of freight. This conflict could potentially derail the entire project if both sides maintain current positions. And second, it would preserve the historical aesthetic of the corridor, which combines recreation, housing and a low volume of slow freight. All sides dedicated to the success of this project should come together around the tunneling option. It would cost more, certainly, but if this project is worth doing, it is worth doing right, in a manner that does not cause conflict, degradation of the environment and the wholesale taking of private property.
STEVEN GOLDSMITH, Minneapolis
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I was amazed several years ago when the extremely useful, versatile route option through the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis was discarded in favor of a less useful route through a “park,” for the sake of saving a few minutes’ travel time between downtown and the suburbs. Uptown’s immediately obvious advantages are its large population for the line to serve, and its abundance of lakes, restaurants and biking, which provide a many-faceted destination both for city dwellers and suburbanites.
Now, as the chosen route becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to accomplish, can we find a way to go back and re-look at the Uptown route? Much more detail regarding reasons why the Uptown route is better, and discussion of federal rules that are biased in favor of long-distance commuters are much more thoroughly explained at www.startribune.com/a2364.
We should take every action available to do this right the first time. A second chance seems quite unlikely.
TED R. LARSON, Chaska
Obama’s delay is no cause for distrust
Tim Penny and Tom Horner heap scorn on President Obama for a delay in implementing the employer mandate of Obamacare (“Politicians certainly earn their scorn,” July 14). They ignore the purpose of the Affordable Care Act, which is to make it possible for millions of people to get medical care without going broke. The majority of those the law intends to provide with insurance will not be affected by this delay.
Undermining trust in our government is a poor use of space in this newspaper, and it is a puzzling career choice for men who have aspired to high political office.
Dr. WILLIAM ANTHONY SMITHSON, Rochester