Thus begin the nightmares of veterans. Military lives and souls are treated as forfeit — of no consequence — in decisions to make war, simply pawns in a game of thrones. What is wrong with this picture? A billionaire in a comfortable and luxurious setting (made possible by millions of our tax money) has just rained death and destruction (made possible by billions of our tax money) on an already beleaguered people while refusing to help refugees and personally dodging taxes. When the president abuses our power, he makes us all complicit — but some suffer much more than others.
Amy Blumenshine, Minneapolis
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I am a dove — not a hawk. I felt far more safe in President Barack Obama’s world of restrained emotion than I do in Trump’s emotionally knee-jerky one. I agree with little that Trump says and does. But on this matter, I fully agree with him that “no child of God should have to suffer such horror.”
My agreement warily acknowledges the concern that each military response likely triggers more. It is also undergirded by what I consider to be some serious skin in the game — my own child of God is currently serving in our military.
Cory Gideon Gunderson, Lakeville
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There are no perfect decisions, and as difficult as the decision to launch missiles at Syria must have been, it was the right one. But now it will be interesting to see how a president who justifies a missile launch as necessary to protect innocent Syrian civilians, will now continue to justify barring those same people from entering our country. Launching missiles at Syrian targets certainly creates far more risk to the United States than allowing innocent refugees to immigrate.
Frank Abramson, Minneapolis
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There is a new sheriff in town.
And because of it, more babies, young kids and adults probably won’t have to die a horrible and agonizing death in Syria.
I may be wrong, but I’ll bet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad got the message that President Trump was kind enough to send him, with the 60 U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles: That his days of launching chemical strikes against his own people, unchallenged by any world leader, are over; that this U.S. president is different from the last one, on “red line” crossings.
Maybe Trump should be awarded the Nobel Piece Prize, on Dec. 10, for doing something. Compared to Obama, who got one in 2009, less than nine months in office, for doing nothing. (I won’t hold my breath here.)
Neil F. Anderson, Richfield
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I hope that the Trump administration’s genuine concern about the horror in Syria leads them and those who support the administration’s proposed travel bans to reconsider the morality and impact of their ongoing efforts to not allow people — children, women and men — to come to our country to flee this unspeakable horror. While we will all continue to see that there are no easy answers to Syria and all of the problems in our world, and I am not into the blame game and do not pretend that I know what they “should” have done to prevent this, I hope we can all recognize that perhaps some of those children, women and men who suffered such horrific deaths might be alive today had we honored the words on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Donald Gault, Roseville
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I am not fooled. Donald Trump’s strike in Syria was the right thing to do. However, my belief is that he witnessed Americans’ outrage over the horrific actions of Assad and used that outrage as a foreign win for himself. He did not do this over a claimed new-found compassion for what the Syrian people have been dealing with for years.
Trump’s Syrian strike certainly bears direct contrast to his “America First” rhetoric and his tweet storms against President Obama in 2013. This same President Trump has issued travel bans against Syrian refugees fleeing Assad’s brutality and seeks to cut foreign aid for humanitarian purposes. Watch Trump’s poll numbers rise. History has proven time and time again that Americans will rally behind a military skirmish or even the start of a war.
Trump and his handlers know this. He and they needed a win for a president who, in his first 100 days, has suffered setbacks on the domestic front. A Republican Congress needs a foreign win to offset its health care loss in the House and to distract from the fact they just blew up the Senate rules meant to keep appointments to the Supreme Court bipartisan. The president’s hypocrisy on Syria and most other critical issues absolutely astounds me.
No, I am most definitely not fooled.
Diane Aegler, Burnsville
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The Constitution reserves the power to declare war to Congress. It is silent on what constitutes either an act of war or a declaration of war. Historically, any military attack on another sovereign nation has been deemed an act of war.
In 1973, Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution. The constitutionality of that act has never been determined. In essence, it “requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force . . . or a declaration of war by the United States.” The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.
Like 9/11 and the Gulf of Tonkin before it, the gassing of Syrian civilians has given rise to calls for action from the right and left, Republicans and Democrats. Today, unlike then, we must refrain from hasty actions.
Our president likely has committed a war crime, in our names. We should not ratify that act, as emotionally satisfying as it may be. We must condemn it, for our own sake and for the sake of others who may die as a consequence.
As I write this, Russian naval vessels already are on course to intercept the involved American naval vessels. An emergency session of the U.N. Security Council has been called by Russia.
One criminal act does not justify another, here or abroad. It’s time we and our leaders learned that lesson.
James M. Hamilton, St. Paul
I was shocked and extremely disappointed when I read that the prospects are dim for a cellphone bill (front page, April 5). During the past 12 months, I would have been run into three times by a driver speeding out of a parking lot with his/her nose in their cellphone had I not had a watchful eye; and, of course, the numerous times you see an inattentive driver weaving back and forth across the lane dividers. Common sense goes a long way in making good parents, employees, citizens, and, I hope, legislators. This is a common-sense issue supported by the insurance industry and numerous safety groups. I encourage our legislators and law enforcement officers to get together and pass a bill that would significantly increase the safety of those using Minnesota roadways.
Jerry Haugen, Minnetonka
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Let me get this straight: The legislators think it’s more important to have booze sold in grocery stores then getting cellphones out of drivers hands? Which would save more lives?
Noel Hartley, Minneapolis