See more of the story

Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


I thought for sure that Neville Chamberlain was dead, but apparently he's alive and writing for Bloomberg Opinion under the name "Clive Crook." Crook suggested Monday in these pages that maybe Ukraine should cede "some territory" to Russia as part of a negotiated settlement ("Cutting a deal with Putin would serve the greater good," Opinion Exchange). How long might "peace in our time" last this time?

It is absurd to suggest that Ukraine somehow accommodate Russian President Vladimir Putin and make concessions of any kind. He would see this as success, a reward for his unprompted and illegal war. Anything short of driving Russian forces entirely out of Ukraine only sets the stage for the next invasion.

To be sure, Putin might launch another invasion even if this one is defeated entirely, but he will certainly do so in the absence of such a defeat.

Bryant Julstrom, St. Cloud


In the movie mythology of the Old West, the gunfighter gets to draw first and then the lawman shoots faster and straighter and wins.

Putin is a gunfighter with nuclear weapons. The basis of nuclear deterrence is that we do not draw first. This has worked for 70 years. The grim logic is that when we do draw, we must kill or be killed. All Russian missile sites on land and sea and all command and control have to be destroyed.

On the bright side, we can depend on the Russians knowing exactly what we can do. Their excellent spy system knows that we can kill them. So, they know that they commit suicide if they draw and shoot a nuclear attack. Deterrence can work.

On the dark side, Putin may want his country to die with him when he loses his war. Sounds crazy and it is. Dictators do that. I hope we are as ready as I think we are to deter a nuclear attack.

Ernest Lampe, Bloomington


I commend the crew members of the Golden Rule for their interest in peace and wish them well on their journey ("64 years later, the Golden Rule resumes its anti-nukes quest," Sept. 24), but the article raises the question of whether pacifism is the best path to achieve peace. Pacifists are against all wars, even defensive ones. If pacifists had been leading the U.S. when World War II started, the U.S. would have been taken over by the Japanese and Europe would have been overrun by Hitler. If Ukraine were run by pacifists, they would lay down their weapons and let Putin take over their country.

Wars should be avoided when possible, but defensive wars are sometimes necessary. The fight against Japanese and German imperialism during WWII was worth the sacrifice that it required. The fight against Russian imperialism is equally critical. Some things are worth fighting for.

James Brandt, New Brighton


Step up, box stores

In response to the article "Tree cover grows in importance for climate, equity" (Sept. 22), a letter writer shared that they purchased their own tree ("Just plant one yourself," Readers Write, Sept. 23). The letter ended with suggestions for folks to purchase their own trees as well, with the closing comment, "This isn't rocket science, folks; give it a try."

No, it isn't rocket science; but for many of those who lack trees, there also isn't extra money to cover their basic needs, let alone purchase trees. And if there are big box stores nearby, perhaps they could consider tree donations as their community service project.

Nancy Hassett, Big Lake


Trees are a critical ingredient to life in our region. Recent Star Tribune news stories make this case. Monday's editorial ("Let's keep the Twin Cities green") urges us all to "green up" our communities. The stories and editorial are a great start on what should be a campaign by the Star Tribune to report on our urban forests and urge action to build it. The next step is for the Star Tribune to create a "trees beat," providing regular, long-term reporting on the status of and challenges facing the region's trees. Turn a reporter loose to continue educating us readers and, equally important, telling us what we can do to grow the canopy, everywhere. The editorial page can build on those stories, urging specific action.

For inspiration, if you need it, look at your back editions from 1921 through 1929. The then-Minneapolis Tribune carried out a campaign aimed at diversifying Minnesota agriculture. Before that, we were pretty much a one-crop state, wheat. More often than not, we overproduced, driving down the price. Our state's entire economy suffered. Enter "The Cow, the Sow and the Little Red Hen." That was the theme for years of Tribune reporting, educating and encouraging crop diversification. It worked. The value of agriculture products in our region almost doubled from 1921 to 1929. Farm income was declining nationally but increasing in Minnesota — largely because the newspaper identified a problem, then launched and stuck with a beat long enough to solve it.

Trees should be the Star Tribune's next campaign. Unlike wheat in the early 20th century, we have too few trees. You've started to make that case. Just started.

Disease, wind, draught and neglect have taken their toll. We need a sustained effort to figure out what and where to plant as well as how to plant and nurture the crop. As its predecessor did in the 1920s, the Star Tribune should play a pivotal role, reporting regularly on everything from planning to planting to care. Those recent stories and editorial are a great start. The next steps are a trees beat and follow-up editorials. Then, the paper will be doing its part so our urban forests are doing all that we need them to do in our 21st-century environment.

Bill Blazar, Minneapolis

The writer is retired senior vice president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.


Thank you to the Star Tribune's reporters for their timely articles on the metro's tree canopy! The articles spur me to make a plea to policymakers and property owners: So much attention gets paid to planting trees but caring for existing trees, very little. Even the neighborhoods with the fewest trees have beautiful ones of all ages. One glaring example of our lack of stewardship for existing trees is the way we cut grass around them with mowers and especially gas-powered string trimmers. For example, in Indian Mounds Regional Park in St. Paul, many trees that are 10 to 20 years old have died or have been terminally weakened, their thin layer of protective bark unable to withstand the onslaught from a hard plastic line spun at high velocity.

I agree with the old adage that "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." But, if we keep killing our 20-year-old trees, we are constantly going to be planting trees at the second-best time.

John Lampe, St. Paul


Many cultures have these legends

The commentary "Musicals have long accompanied search for race harmony" by Peter C. Kunze (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 23) and the cartoon on the subject got me thinking. How can it be that a fantastical creature, known through thousands of years by every race and ethnicity all over the world, could cause such a stir and vitriol? Must be that guardians of white supremacy cannot think of any other merfolk but white. To you guardians, please know that just about every culture of humans that has a relation to water has legends and stories of human/fish entities. They are an extremely diverse group including Yemoja, the greatest goddess in Yoruba culture, Lasiren in Haiti, La Pincoya in Chile and the Ji-Merdiwa in Northern Australia. So don't worry about being "woke." Just be open to the truth.

Art Serotoff, Minneapolis


Anyone with half a brain knows mermaids are white. The rest of us know they don't exist.

Craig Laughlin, Longville, Minn.