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With all due respect to Christopher P. Costa and Colin P. Clarke's commentary "We still haven't figured out how to beat ISIS" (Opinion Exchange, April 3), these members of the intelligence community sadly omit addressing failures of U.S. foreign policy regarding terrorism.

American hegemonic footprints throughout the world must be faced squarely with a judicious amount of mea culpa. Our shortcomings, if not outright atrocities — some deliberate — have contributed and are contributing to legitimate grievances, violence and endless wars. Investigative journalism such as Julian Assange practiced is crucial in disclosing unnecessary and shameful coverups. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said: "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."

When the authors write "Now it's time for diplomacy" in reference to Afghanistan and the Taliban, this, of course, as in so many other cases, is essential in helping to prevent conflicts to begin with! Instead the time is overdue for our country's governmental policies to reflect increased understanding of interconnected humanitarian and environmental concerns.

Our political leaders would do well to genuinely recognize and appreciate other cultures. Maybe, just maybe, that would help ease if not resolve tensions.

Richard Laybourn, Bloomington


John Rash wrote that "NATO's strength in numbers makes U.S. more secure" (Opinion Exchange, April 6). But pressing the military threat up to Russia's borders may increase rather than decrease the risk of war, including nuclear war. President Joe Biden's proposed $850 billion defense budget, along with nearly $100 billion in supplemental requests for military aid, would push the U.S. military spending toward $1 trillion. Current law also requires that military services and commands submit "unfunded priorities" lists to tell Congress what they might wish in addition to the president's budget. This year those requests are for another $25 billion.

I wish instead that departments like housing and urban development were the ones required to submit unfunded priorities lists. I would feel more secure if my Minneapolis neighborhood did not have so many fences and jersey barriers to keep out homeless people. My wish list would include housing for the homeless instead of more funds for NATO.

James Haefemeyer, Minneapolis


The world order is at risk

I usually don't read the Business section, but Tuesday's article "JPMorgan's CEO warns of risks not seen since WWII" quoted someone I don't have the kindest thoughts for but is the smartest person in the nation's most influential bank. JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon argues that the United States must continue to hold its leadership role in the West or it will eventually cede that role. That includes continuing to support Ukraine in its war against Russia. He argues that the war in Ukraine, as well as U.S. political polarization, may very well be creating risks that could eclipse anything since World War II. That is scary. Not that many Americans are old enough to remember how bad it was in the U.S. and the world back then, but a quick look into a history book should make you shake in your boots.

It also makes me shake in my boots that the Republican Party's presumed presidential candidate is an isolationist who is very friendly toward Russia's Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine, and so are his acolytes in Congress and on Fox. They are arguing that Putin's invasion is none of our business and that what happens "over there" won't affect us. They couldn't be more wrong, and those who said that before WWII were just as wrong. Dimon — who knows a lot more about economics than Donald Trump, who until recently couldn't come up with enough cash to make a deposit on his appeals bond — ties democracy, and the freedoms it protects, including economic freedom, together. Kissing up to authoritarian Putin is essentially like handing him our handcuffs and turning over the keys to our economic house. Dimon as much as said we will lose our freedoms if Putin and Xi Jinping in China aren't stopped.

This is not just a partisan position; this is a cold hard economic fact. As things get worse and Ukraine teeters closer to defeat because of lack of aid, I now know what it was like for my parents and grandparents to watch Adolf Hitler grow and ready himself to swallow Poland and then bomb and invade the rest of Europe, while isolationists in America fought against FDR's efforts to rein him in before it was too late.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis


Looking back to 1864 on this is nuts

The latest ruling on women's reproductive rights out of Arizona should come as no surprise ("Arizona is set to ban nearly all abortions," April 10). Since the U.S. Supreme Court conservative majority cited witch trial jurist and known misogynist Matthew Hale in its decision taking a constitutional right away for the first time in history, it has been clear what the end game is. It is to control people's lives according to the moral and religious beliefs of the few, and impose them on the many. The Arizona Supreme Court has given life to an 1864 law controlling the lives of women based on the floodgate opened by overturning Roe v. Wade. The abortion ban passed that year was done when women could not vote, let alone hold office. Slavery still existed at that time, and the Confederacy was battling the United States for the right to own human beings. Indigenous people had no rights. So when you hear Republicans try to sell you a bill of goods about "state's rights," never forget it is really about their right to control your life.

Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township, Minn.


I notice in the April 9 decision by the Arizona Supreme Court outlawing abortion: The only exception is to save the mother's life. This decision, like those in so many other states, does not allow for abortion in the case of severe fetal abnormality.

Often, women find out from testing in the second trimester that the fetus will not survive more than a few hours after birth — possibly in severe pain. Or there might be a stillbirth.

However, as the law reads, she would have to carry the pregnancy to term, go through delivery and watch her baby die within a few hours.

How incredibly cruel.

Nic Baker, Roseville


Don't breeze by such a key issue

Evan Ramstad's recent column "Ethanol movement on shakier ground" provided an excellent overview of the Clean Transportation Standard being debated in St. Paul, even broaching the topic of what this would cost Minnesotans — something that supporters of this policy have failed to do.

As Ramstad noted, "Missing from the working group's discussion was the potential price at the pump of a special Minnesota gasoline."

One might wonder, "Why?"

Why would the state working group ignore the cost implications of a policy that restructures Minnesota's transportation system? Why would legislators accept a fiscal impact statement that doesn't look at the tax implications for funding transportation infrastructure?

Modeled after California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, SF 2584 could significantly harm families by drastically increasing fuel prices. An independent analysis estimated that Minnesotans would see gas prices increase up to 94 cents and diesel prices increase up to $1.05 by 2030. A conservative 50-cent increase would cost Minnesota drivers upward of $425 per year.

The California Air Resources Board analyzed the California policies this bill is modeled on, determining these policies would "potentially increase the price of gasoline by $1.15 per gallon, potentially increase the price of diesel by $1.50 per gallon and fossil jet fuel by $1.21 per gallon." Moreover, the State Legislative Analyst's Office found the push to phase out liquid-fuel will decrease transportation tax revenues by $4.4 billion over the next decade.

With these facts, the only question left to answer is, "Why would Minnesota's legislators want to emulate the failed policies of California?"

Chris Ventura, Columbus, Ohio

The writer is Midwest executive director of the Consumer Energy Alliance.