The April 15 editorial “A clear signal to Syria and its enablers” left out important facts.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been invited by Syria to inspect and determine what took place. Why not wait for independent verification? What incentive does the administration of Bashar Assad have for using chemical weapons at this time? The Trump administration had just announced that it was considering the removal of U.S. troops from Syria. Then consider the incentive to keep the U.S. involved in Syria by the rebel troops who see the U.S. leaving as them being abandoned by the U.S. Who has the greater incentive to keeping the U.S. involved in Syria?

I am disappointed that the U.S., U.K. and France have taken this action without disclosing their intelligence. Especially after the Bush administration’s fake intelligence led us into a misguided war in Iraq. A clear signal would happen after the OPCW disclosed that Assad had in fact attacked his people with chemical weapons and not some rebel group trying to keep the U.S. involved in Syria.

Douglas K. Jones, Columbia Heights

• • •

I would like to pair the conclusion in an April 17 letter that James Comey wrestling with a pig gets both dirty with one in a separate letter regarding the Syria bombing: “Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, India, Australia, Norway … think it is OK to use chemical weapons against their own citizens.”

Hardly! We’re all wrestling with ruining Mother Earth. All our decisions are up for rethinking. Thinking that buying war is a route to peace is the main error. It leaves the earth devastated and unusable for decades, let alone the generations of trauma it sows.

Military spending robs us of education dollars to better figure how to live a balanced life, from lifelong benefits of preschool, voter participation practice and amending Supreme Court missteps — as the three other letters outline as ways forward.

To throw in one more: Making the U.S. a gated community ignores the real issues in Central America.

Insisting on truth is the way forward. Demand that military industry create peace conversion plans. Until you acknowledge the mud, you don’t know where to start washing.

Barbara Vaile, Minneapolis

• • •

The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to wage war. As commander-in-chief, the president has the duty to execute Congress’ authority. If the president possesses no authority under the Constitution to wage war, then why has Congress abdicated its authority?

Congress could very easily end this practice by criminalizing unauthorized wars by the president. Congress could make it a felony crime punishable by imprisonment for any president who commits this illegal act. Obviously, we want the president to act if we’re under attack or there’s an insurrection. That could be easily legislated. But America hasn’t been attacked by any nation since World War II and hasn’t had an insurrection since the Civil War. Which raises the question: Why all the endless wars? Why won’t Congress make it illegal?

The answer is simple: Because the two-party tyranny doesn’t want the consent of the people to wage war. The parties want the almighty war-power privilege for their respective presidents. Besides, the people might decide against going to war. Wouldn’t that be terrible for the military-industrial-banking complex?

Chris Wright, Minneapolis

PRIVACY

Online data is worrisome; so is surveillance of Somalis

If you feel unsettled by recent online privacy violations and data-sharing, realize it has been a longstanding tool of discrimination to profile and police the Twin Cities Somali Muslim community. FBI home visits, data collection and social-media tracking have become normalized in the name of national security as the constitutional protections of our neighbors are violated. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) is a federal surveillance program first enacted under the Obama administration with an aim to curb Islamic terrorist recruitment through partnerships between law enforcement and social-service providers. Teachers, social workers and religious leaders were asked to report personal information and arbitrary suspicious activities of the people they are supposed to help, causing mistrust while also conflating community outreach and intelligence gathering, according to Brennan Center for Justice (see https://tinyurl.com/brennan-cve).

CVE programming perpetuates Islamophobia and has legitimized FBI surveillance in person and online while expanding discrimination in workplaces, schools, airports and other public accommodations. For simply being perceived as Muslim, U.S. citizens and legal residents are facing violations of privacy, along with unreasonable search and seizures that threaten their freedom of religion and speech.

The program is under review by Congress (“Mpls. at heart of terrorism strategy debate,” Aug. 10, 2017) , and the changes under consideration could focus even more on the surveillance of Muslims. Instead, CVE should end, because its surveillance efforts violate constitutional rights, are wrought with racial prejudice and religious discrimination, and take advantage of impoverished communities. As we work to maintain our right to privacy, we must remember to include the rights of all.

Kathleen Roche, Minneapolis

EVANGELICALS AND TRUMP

About supposed contradictions:

On a regular basis, this newspaper and other liberal media give headlines about President Donald Trump’s language or his past two marriages (“Evangelical values: Contradictions, indeed,” Readers Write, April 14, responding to “Tension between church, Trump,” front page, April 8). These articles are presented in the hope that the conservative, evangelistic voters will change parties in any upcoming elections and shame Trump from office. Of course, the writers of these stories are “without sin” in their lives. Let me state it very clearly, and I believe I speak for most of these conservatives. We don’t care about his past or his language. We care only what he has done since taking office and if he is fulfilling his campaign promises. He speaks for us and acts for us. He has our support.

Jim Gerdes, Sturgeon Lake, Minn.

• • •

One of the April 14 letters states that “under the banner of abortion, many Christians have largely been tricked into embracing a package of goods that has no connection to the message of grace that is at the heart of Christianity.”

Among the synonyms for grace, the thesaurus suggests loveliness, elegance, beauty and kindness. Abortion is neither lovely, elegant, beautiful nor kind. If one advocates abortion, that person’s connection to the “grace that is at the heart of Christianity” seems questionable.

Hardly a “pied piper’s tune,” anti-abortion (in reference to our efforts, we’re consistently denied the courtesy of our desired and fitting term, “pro-life”) activity is based on the beliefs that the fetus’ life is sacred, not ours to take, and that the defense of life is at the very heart of Christianity. Among Christianity’s required ways of life that bear on abortion is: Thou Shalt Not Kill — with no margin note as to its possible legality making it OK.

The writer poses supply-side economics and a host of other important issues as being part of the “package of goods” wrapped up in anti-abortion efforts. He may be assured that abortion most certainly is separate, distinct and stands alone from any other issue he may espouse.

John P. Dunlap, Fridley

TRUMP VS. COMEY

Really blank verse

If it is true that life imitates art, our esteemed president has a doppelgänger in King Lear. Both madly rage at those who place them in a pickle that they themselves created. Could we only wish that our leader use more literary language and call James Comey “vile jelly” rather than a “slimeball”?

Pamela Kearney, Edina