Before you judge him,

try a little empathy

Lest we forget that Sen. Ted Kennedy was human, some require pointing out the man's darkest personal hour (Readers Write, Aug. 27).

I would submit that the writer's spiritual leaders have heard the words, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you", and its modern corollary "People who live in glass houses ..."

The trials and tribulations this great man faced in his life would crush a lesser person. The loss of his tireless voice only increases the weight of responsibility for the rest of us.



We have to vote yes on health care for Ted! For Ted! For Ted! Once again the Democrats will attempt to use their dead for political power. What a shame.

JIM WEIDT, Holyoke, Minn.


Sen. Kennedy has died, but his dream will never die. The cause of his lifetime -- the dream that the richest country in the world could overcome partisan politics and offer the simple gift of health care to all its citizens -- lives on.

I dream we will honor the legacy of Teddy, who fought his entire life for civil rights, justice and dignity for all, and move beyond the shouting, gun toting and vitriol, and make universal health care a reality.



This is the war that we should have fought

What is it with people all of a sudden wanting to "plug the plug" on Afghanistan? Where were all of these people seven years ago when President George W. Bush was beating the Iraq war drums?

Afghanistan is where we should have stayed, and it is where we now need to stay. Have people forgotten that Osama bin Laden may well be still roaming the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, plotting more attacks on the United States?



As a former soldier and combat veteran, I absolutely empathize with the loss of the young man from Litchfield in Afghanistan and the suffering of his friends and family.

At the same time, I take strong issue with the Aug. 26 editorial, "A 'deteriorating' Afghanistan," which appears to conflate failure to escalate the war in Afghanistan with a tragic sacrifice having been made in vain.

The editorial notes that we have neither a clear definition of victory nor an exit strategy in Afghanistan, but ignores the more important question: Why are we fighting such a war? What were our objectives in the first place?

Arguably, we invaded the country with the objective of killing or capturing those who carried out the 9/11 attacks. However, while many of the terrorists we sought seem to have melted across the border into Pakistan, we now "own" Afghanistan.

Not only has our original objective not been realized, but we are now dealing with an increasingly active insurgency, intractable issues of nation-building and myriad other problems of the same kind that ultimately doomed our efforts in Vietnam.

Thus, with our troops already fighting a war, there is something wrongheaded to me in the editorial's prescription that we must provide everything they require "once a clear strategy is in place."

It's actually the other way around. We must commit our troops to combat only after a strategy has been developed and clear objectives have been defined -- and then give them everything they need to accomplish the mission.



The ballclub wisely looked for the best deal

The Minnesota Twins bought grass from Colorado because it was the product that best suited their needs. This is capitalism, folks. I'm sure there are people in Colorado willing to pay more for a glass of Summit beer because it tastes better than Coors.



The Star Tribune chronicled with great romance the saga of grass arriving from Colorado at the Twins' new stadium.

While it makes for a lovely story, has no one from the Twins operation ever set foot in Anoka County? We grow grass -- lots of it -- right here in the metro area! You can buy big rolls in the middle of so-called Twins Territory! It's green and durable and beautiful!

From the team that pioneered the "hometown discount" in player negotiations, what an insult to local sod farmers. Shocking, too, that such a small-market team can afford to truck it all that way.


gang strike force

Forfeiture laws are legalized theft

What happened with the Gang Strike Force is not so unusual. The ACLU has termed the forfeiture of property laws a "license to steal." Minnesota statutes regarding forfeiture provide that law enforcement can almost always confiscate property at will with no judicial oversight. This is done with the legal fiction that such actions are civil rather than criminal and has led to widespread corruption of law enforcement and great injustices to citizens.

We need the Legislature to change these laws such that forfeitures can only be done by a judge after a conviction, as with a fine.