My god, the equivalent of internment camps for children of all ages! To all of the professional associations that understand the consequences of immoral and manipulative separation of children from their families for political purposes, please raise your voices more insistently, more widely and many decibels louder in response to these unconscionable acts. You have the knowledge, commitment and authority to be the clarion call and beacon of hope for these children. I have read the relevant letters and positions of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, and your statements, undeniably right, must be translated into leadership and specific actions. You can and should lead in fighting for the best interests of children. Please, please claim and exercise your power.

And a cautionary aside for the president and lawmakers: Do you not understand that radicalization can result from the despicable steps you have taken under the guise of law enforcement? Think carefully.

Susan Mewborn, Minneapolis

The writer is a former president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

• • •

During my life, I often found myself wondering how German citizens could let the human devastation of the Holocaust happen. I now understand. It happens when good people stay silent. Again I say: Now I understand.

Sandra Mahn, Plymouth

• • •

Why not put the blame where it belongs — on the parents who are coming here illegally and breaking our laws? If they were going to jail, they would not be bringing their kids, so why is this different? Most of these “kids” are teenagers, not toddlers as the media would like us to believe. These kids are much better off than they were in their own countries! They have clean beds, good food and are able to take showers. President Donald Trump is not to blame — he is following our written laws. The biased media is blowing this all out of proportion to smear our president for doing his job. If these parents were coming here legally, they would not be getting separated from their kids at the border! If the problem is to be settled, both sides have to meet and come up with a new law, because Trump is following the one on the books now. The media needs to start telling the truth!

Marge Miller, Coon Rapids

Editor’s note: As numerous media outlets have reported, there is no law requiring the separation of families attempting to cross the border. PolitiFact writes: “The Homeland Security Department’s longstanding policy is to separate children from their custodians when they are referred for criminal prosecution. Trump’s administration has decided to prosecute all illegal crossings. Families were rarely prosecuted under previous administrations.”

• • •

With regard to forcing separation of immigrant children from their parents, the Trump administration seems to be taking the view that legality implies morality. Slavery was once legal in the United States. Legal cruelty is still cruelty.

Joe Ritter, Minneapolis

• • •

I would like to know what the operators of the internment camps do if a child tries to leave or escape. What actions are taken, and do they use force or cause bodily harm? Have any children died in the custody of the U.S. government as part of these policies and practices? My heart cannot handle what my brain fears is happening. May Congress do something now to put an end to this humanitarian crisis.

Anita Smithson, Bloomington

• • •

I listened to the audio of children separated from their families on our southern border and felt sick and horrified. The response of my GOP congressman, Erik Paulsen? On Twitter, he writes that he hopes the administration “reverses policies that lead to the separation of kids from their parents.” Hopes? Hope is something for Christmas gifts, the lottery, an early end to winter. It is entirely insufficient for a sitting congressman.

Katherine Bass, Edina

• • •

From where have so many of the world’s worst leaders come? From a youth fraught with traumatic discomfort that can be traced to disruption that brought fears, insecurities and hate.

Those kinds of horrors in early life may fuel the desires for revenge on the world at large. And those have elevated maladjusted humans to self-aggrandizement, which may foolishly be thought of as preparation for leadership of a people.

One of those persons might emanate from the separations of children from their parents that is now being forced by the U.S. president and his administrators.

“The child is father of the man ...,” wrote William Wordsworth, who, among many others, saw an essential paradox and explained that the life of an adult is determined by the experiences of childhood.

Rodney Hatle, Owatonna, Minn.


Iran, negotiate with Trump? That takes wishful thinking

Zalmay Khalilzad’s June 18 commentary “Why Iran will choose to negotiate with Trump” sounds reasonable without context, but in its hopefulness ignores certain questions whose answers expose the lack of thought behind President Donald Trump’s Iran policy.

First, what would a better deal look like? We already had a deal that included verification by international inspectors for 10 years, and we damaged our credibility by tearing it up. Why would Iran agree to a better deal after that? How is Trump able to rely on coordinated pressure from the U.S. and Europe when he’s damaging that partnership through his nationalist trade policies? Why would Iran stop supporting its regional proxies while Saudi Arabia remains its highest regional security threat? How is the North Korea situation any more promising than it has been in the past? What have we accomplished now that hasn’t been undone before?

Finally, the most obviously unrealistic part of the article is the claim that China and Russia would abandon Iran if it went nuclear. Khalilzad’s ignorance of their tacit support of North Korea shows just how far he’s willing to bend reality to the best possible outcome.

Paul Villerius, Minneapolis


I’m dismayed over the actions of U.S. Sen. Tina Smith

As I sit here on my farm surrounded by sulfide mineral exploration, I cannot express my disappointment, dismay and sense of betrayal over U.S. Sen. Tina Smith’s actions to undermine environmental protections in my community (“Smith backs PolyMet land swap,” June 16). Smith sneaked in provisions to help PolyMet circumvent the law and weakened the environmental review process for proposed mines threatening Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She did so against the will of the majority of Minnesotans.

Maybe it was because three PolyMet executives are donors or at the behest of some other special interest. But from my vantage point, what hope do I have to protect my farm from contamination when politicians change the rules to benefit polluters? We always hear that these projects will be highly regulated and that they are safe. This is not only contrary to the history of every sulfide mine, but contrary to the actions of politicians like Smith. At every corner, they help donors and special interests skirt the rules at the expense of all of us who own land here and enjoy the natural beauty of the Northland. I am a lifelong Democrat and cannot support Tina Smith this election year.

Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township, St. Louis County