War can’t be fine-tuned

We are again being fed nonsense: The CIA is trying “to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don’t lose but not enough for them to win” so that a political settlement can be arrived at in the Syrian conflict. Nonsense.

No entity can fine-tune the outcome of a war. One can regulate the temperature of bathwater, but not the outcome of a gigantic, violent struggle.

Geza Simon, Minneapolis


Responsibilities to shoulder

Regarding a prospective U.S. attack on Syria, I would use the quote “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We are the most powerful nation in the world. Do we not have a moral responsibility to aid the persecuted people of our planet? To sit back and watch them being murdered by chemical agents, and to read their signs asking “Why has the world abandoned us?” is reprehensible. What you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.

Sheryl Steinman, Maple Grove

Just a few questions …

I have some questions before the irreversible step of attacking Syria is taken: The argument for airstrikes is supported by a video that shows dramatic scenes of children gasping for breath because they had been exposed to nerve gas. If the video had been of children missing arms and legs, would it be just as effective?

How many innocent lives were taken by the United States in the air war before the invasions of Iraq, either time? How many innocent lives are we taking in the drone war in Pakistan? If Bashar Assad were on death row in the United States, it would take 15 to 20 years to execute him. The principle of American justice is that it is better for 10 guilty people to go free rather than for one innocent person to be punished. Why is it OK to destroy innocent lives in Syria to punish a war criminal?

CALVIN DE JONG, St. Anthony Village

Our hypocrisy is showing

Perhaps the world would listen to us on the subject of chemical weapons had we not scorched Vietnam with Agent Orange.


Tell the whole story

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 slanted way — toward the views and threats of terrorist groups. 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? Or of the 400,000 who have been displaced? What of the gang-rapes of girls and women at checkpoints? Genital mutilations of teenage girls? Editors, I urge you to paint a fuller picture so that citizens understand what is really happening in Syria when pollsters ask them if they believe we should be involved in attempting to end the atrocities there.

Leah Auckenthaler, Minneapolis

Beware the counterstrike

As the United States considers a serious military strike against Syria, we should note that: 1) A month after the U.S. shelled Syrian and Palestinian forces in 1983, suicide bombers blew up the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 marines; 2) After U.S. bombers struck Tripoli and Benghazi in 1988, Libya blew up Pan Am flight 103, killing 259 people; 3) After cruise-missile strikes on Al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in 1998, the USS Cole was hit by suicide bombers, killing 17, and a year later the World Trade Center was taken down, killing nearly 3,000.

Anyone see a pattern?

JOHN Krouss, Baudette, Minn.

Obama’s self-made corner

Now that President Obama’s lack of leadership has him backed into a corner, he risks escalating a situation in Syria in what some would consider a face-saving move. He should have acted long ago. His approach to foreign policy is to sit back and see what happens. Now in the 12th hour, when the crisis in Syria is totally out of control, he is acting more aggressively than he would have needed to a year ago, and he has not a clue as to what can of worms he is opening.