When and why should the U.S. engage?

Prior to the dedication of his presidential library, George W. Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyer of ABC News. Sawyer stated the library’s records show that there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The former president said that this is correct, that “we’re just laying out the facts.”

Sawyer then stated 58 percent of the public does not believe the Iraq war was worth fighting. Bush quipped back that 58 percent of the public initially said it was worth it.

So, after admitting that he, Vice President Dick Cheney and his administration were wrong when they told the American public that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed an imminent threat to the United States, he turns around and uses the public support he created with this false information to help justify his decision to go to war. I don’t think it takes much to see through this twisted rationalization.

Today, Iraq is a country overwhelmed with violence and on the verge of another civil war. There was no justification for the United States to initiate a war with Iraq, and Bush owes the American and Iraqi people his deepest apologies.

Pat Hinderscheid, Mendota Heights

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I wish President Obama would revisit the Bush Library exhibit that attempts to justify the U.S. war in (or on) Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama’s “red line” in Syria and creep toward military intervention, unnecessarily agitating Iran and its allies, is being urged by the same old suspects in Congress. The United States has no national interest in the Syrian civil war and should butt out!

James M. Becker, Lakeville

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Has anyone been reading what’s happening in Iraq (“More car bombs fuel Iraq turmoil,” April 30)? We are against the same insurgency in Iraq that we’re willing to arm in Syria. Crazy!

Bruce Fisher, St. Louis Park

• • •

I suspect that two stories in the May 1 newspaper — “Hezbollah pledges [Syrian] rebels won’t win” and “Americans feeling isolationist” — are related.

I believe that Americans’ “feeling isolationist” is fueled by the media’s coverage of conflicts, as in Syria, in a specifically slanted way — in my opinion, toward the views and threats of terrorist groups (“You will not be able to take Damascus by force. … Syria has real friends … who will not allow Syria to fall into the hands of America or Israel”). When we Americans hear only this message, why wouldn’t we want to “stay out of it?”

Why aren’t we hearing of the lives of the 70,000 who have died since the rebellion began two years ago? Or especially, perhaps, of the 400,000 who have been displaced, and the horrific conditions they are forced to endure? What of the gang-rapes of girls and women at checkpoints? Genital mutilations of teenage girls? One need only refer to Women’s Media Center’s project “Women Under Siege” to see a live, crowdsourced map to individual incidents of violence against civilian women (https://womenundersiegesyria.crowdmap.com).

Editors, I urge you to paint a fuller picture so that American citizens have a means to understanding what is really happening in Syria. Only then may they be informed when pollsters come to ask them if they believe we should be involved in attempting to end the atrocities handed out to the girls and women there.

Leah Auckenthaler, Minneapolis

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Why my legislative proposal is sensible

Dennis Anderson’s fourth column on the House Legacy bill (“Kahn’s Legacy bill in limbo,” April 26) adopts a more civil tone.

My bill funds all of the Heritage Council’s recommendations, as Anderson suggests.

Anderson wants an annual rather than biennial appropriation process. Along with the fact that the rest of the state budget is biennial, it is particularly important for groups that need to start work early in the spring to have their funds before May, which is why a biennial appropriation works better.

Anderson has also moderated his objections to the 15 metro-area habitat proposals. However, the Heritage Council has a significant bias against the metro area. Protecting this area now pays immeasurable future benefits, and the projects are exclusively for habitat. The metro agencies provide more wildlife land protection in the metro area than the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency combined! They are an important part of the Mississippi Flyway, the most important migratory route in Minnesota, the United States and the entire North American continent.

While Anderson indicates some support for the Fond du Lac project, his proposal reflects the reality of the dark history of sportsmen in opposition to treaty and tribal rights.

Anderson ignores the extra $10 million the House proposes to counter aquatic invasive species (AIS). To date, the cabin and lakeshore advocates’ request to counter AIS has been ignored by the council.

Also, an online comment responding to the last Anderson column advocated beating me up. This moves the discussion to a new low and a dangerous level for lawmaking.

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis