Let me see if I have this straight. A deaf couple decide to get married, knowing full well that neither can hear. I would assume they do so knowing that this will present challenges to them as a couple (“Lawsuit over interpreter asks: What’s ‘reasonable’ for the Y?’,” June 20).

Then they have a baby, and I assume they must also realize that this will present more challenges.

Now they would like others to help them with their challenges by providing sign-language interpreters at the YMCA to help them with teaching their daughter to swim. The Y is not a government entity with unlimited funds like our Congress is.

How about asking the Y to provide a swimsuit, too? And shampoo, and maybe flip-flops.

If the couple want an interpreter, they should be the ones providing it. Drop the lawsuit!

Craig Anderson, Brainerd, Minn.


U.S. is finding itself in a very tough spot

What seemingly started off as an attempt to curtail Iranian influence in the Middle East has taken a strange twist and would seem to be making strange bedfellows of the United States and Iran.

This complex situation originated in Syria, where the uprising began in July 2011 with the aim of democratizing the regime of Bashar Assad. Soon after, the Syrian army started defecting and formed the FSA (Free Syrian Army), but this time with a different aim in mind: to actually topple the Assad regime.

As the situation worsened in Syria, the opposition to Assad became dominated by the Sunnis, a sect opposed to the Alawite government (Assad is a member of Alawite Islam, a Shiite offshoot). Hezbollah, in Lebanon, joined the fight defending the Assad regime. Out of the chaos that resulted from these opposing forces, splinters of extremist groups and an enraged Sunni sect from both Iraq and Syria arose. This Syrian imbroglio is now spreading fast, and it poses a real threat to the United States and the region.

U.S. political maneuvering in the region is now a debacle, and the United States is caught in a very difficult position. Whatever action is taken now will result either in Iran becoming dominant in the region or in a complete assumption of power by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Furthermore, Nouri al-Maliki, who leads the pro-Iranian government of Iraq, has long relied on a Shiite majority with the support of Iran, further marginalizing the Sunni sect of Iraq’s population. As a result, groups like ISIL and others become a magnet for a global Muslim recruiting campaign — including recruiting Somalis from Minneapolis.

Having met and talked to parents whose sons have either gone missing or who have been subject to the grand jury process is worrisome, and the situation calls for caution and careful of application of the law without alienating the community. It is obvious that the front line of the war on terror is getting blurrier than ever.

Omar Jamal, Minneapolis


The writer is a Somali community activist in Minneapolis.

• • •

The writer claiming the United States is a “treacherous friend” (Readers Write, June 19) draws all the wrong conclusions from history. In blaming us for leaving Iraq “early,” he cites as success stories our occupation of Germany, Japan and South Korea.

First, our occupation of Germany and Japan was the result of a world war in which we were attacked after they declared war on the United States, in contrast to our unilateral invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that had not attacked us and that were not involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings. For South Korea, he carefully fails to mention that more than a half-century after the Korean War ended, there are still tens of thousands of American troops there and that they likely will remain for decades.

The writer also fails to mention Vietnam, which is actually more similar to our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, in that each of these countries have/had completely corrupt governments that did not have the support of the people. We could have stayed in Vietnam for a thousand years and they would never have “pursued liberty, growth and prosperity.” As in Vietnam, lengthening our stay in Iraq and Afghanistan would only have resulted in the loss of more blood and treasure.

Does the writer truly believe the American people would support the occupation of these two countries, knowing that we can never, ever leave? Or are we better off learning the lessons of our own failures in Vietnam, and cutting our losses once and for all?

Donald J. Voge, Crystal

• • •

In regard to the recent Obama-blaming over the situation in Iraq, there are a few things people are ignoring.

First, everyone seems to have forgotten that the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops, was signed by President George W. Bush — not President Obama. Yes, it is fair to assume that Obama would have initiated a similar path, but we are hearing only partial truths on the history of the current situation in Iraq.

Second, since the mid-2000s, public polling showed that people favored the United States getting out of Iraq. In fact, it was much of this sentiment that led to Obama being elected in 2008.

Third, people need to be realistic about our options in this region. We can withdraw like we did and allow the parties involved to determine the future of Iraq. Or we can stay as an occupying force forever in order to keep things calm. I’m guessing that the cost of that second option, both in human lives and dollars, is too large for most of us to accept.

This reminds me of what President John F. Kennedy stated in an interview at the beginning of the war in Vietnam: “In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it.” The people of Iraq are in the same situation many years later.

Thomas Lucy, St. Paul



Article on allegations is just ‘politicking’

The front-page article regarding Scott Walker is misleading (“Prosecutors: Walker was at center of illegal scheme,” June 20). Twice this allegation has been thrown out by judges as having no merit. Yet the Star Tribune makes it sound as though this is new news. It looks like the newspaper is “politicking.”

Sharon Van Gieson, Bloomington

• • •

The emperor is wearing no clothes. See the forest through the trees. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck …

Scott Walker can deny the obvious all he wants, but the reality is he’s a conniving, parasitic, opportunist who became governor on the backs of hardworking people who offended him simply because they belong to unions. Then he tried to manipulate meaningless legalistic distinctions to buy an opportunity to retain his position.

Come on, neighbors. Wake up.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park