Letters to the Editor

Middle East, democracy, oil and environment

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mideast conflict sounds familiar

Re “U.S. weighs more bases, troops to aid Iraq’s fight” (Page 1A, June 12): From the mid-1930s to the mid-’40s, Nazi Germany marched across most of Europe and would have seized Great Britain if the U.S. had not entered World War II as a result of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The U.S. had no strategy for intervention in the war, and President Franklin Roosevelt said publicly that U.S. boys would not be sent to fight in foreign wars.

Millions of people hated by the Nazis died in gas chambers. Without U.S. intervention, who knows where Nazi Germany would have looked next? Today, the Islamic State marches across Syria and Iraq. Groups hated by ISIS are beheaded and killed. If they are not stopped, who knows where they will look next? President Barack Obama stated publicly the U.S. will not put more “boots on the ground” in the Middle East and admitted recently the U.S. has no clear strategy for stopping ISIS. Sound familiar?

John West, Sacramento

Democracy: Good or bad, Mr. Bush?

Re “German welcome may signal support for Bush” (Insight, June 10): Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush tells German cabinet ministers he wants to let the market, not governments, set the global agenda. But aren’t our governments democracies? And wasn’t one of the supposed reasons his brother led the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to establish democracy in the Middle East?

Sorry, Jeb, I’m proud of our democracy and want it to set the global agenda. It’s baffling that an American presidential candidate would speak against democracy.

Peter Jacobsen, Sacramento

Police are under orders

Re “Video doesn’t lie in Texas pool party mayhem” (Viewpoints, June 10): Kathleen Parker makes a balanced analysis of the police brutality issue. After dissection of the “good cop or bad cop” controversy, we are left with the human cop. These human beings don’t join police forces to make policy. They are paid to carry out policy.

Police officers, over much of the country, have been behaving like occupying colonial armies. They don’t do this without the knowledge of the political establishment. And the politicians are elected by voters.

If Americans are suddenly concerned about fascistic tendencies on the part of those who protect us, we need to assume responsibility over those we choose to represent us.

Gregg Matson, Elk Grove

Time to move beyond oil

Re “Oil spill inquiries show the need for real oversight” (Editorials, June 11): As a resident of Santa Barbara County near the recent oil spill, this morning I observed large oil clumps on the beach, despite the hazmat-clad cleanup crews nearby. Our tideline is still rimmed in black blobs. And it’s not just our beaches. Since that well-publicized spill, there have been other, smaller onshore oil spills in our county. While oversight and enforcement are definitely needed, there is no way to make oil extraction safe.

Meanwhile, at the G-7 summit last week, world leaders agreed to phase out fossil fuel use entirely by the end of this century to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius. Given that climate change is already impacting every continent and poses an urgent threat, why are we still encouraging oil production at all in California? Let’s stop the madness of riskier and riskier oil extraction and start building the clean, green economy of the future.

Katie Davis, Goleta

Disregarding Mother Nature

You have to wonder: It took 500 million years for Mother Nature to create Yosemite National Park. Its first guardian, Galen Clark, named it the “Grandest of all God’s temples.”

An ocean floor becomes a broad valley. Eons later, a Sierra uplift forms a deep river canyon, and during the final stage – the last 3 million years – powerful glaciers scrape and grind a U-shaped valley, a half-mile deep, out of solid granite. Some final touches, and Mother Nature’s task is completed: breathtaking geological formations, free-falling waterfalls, three groves of giant sequoia, alpine meadows and lakes, plus a multitude of flowering plants, fern and lichen. We were blessed.

In return, we pollute Earth’s soil and streams with toxic chemicals, acidify its lakes and oceans and foul the air with carbon dioxide. This is our appreciation of Mother Nature’s bounty?

Bill Harder Sr., Auburn

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