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Those of us in the peace movement need to be thoughtful regarding Ukraine ("Antiwar activists split on Ukraine," front page, June 5, and "Russia won't back down," Readers Write, June 6). Protesting the Biden administration's military aid and pressing for a cease-fire leaves the Ukrainian people out of the equation. To say that Ukrainians are being used "as pawns in a conflict between the United States/NATO and Russia" is patronizing, especially when the people of Ukraine are choosing to furiously fight the invasion. The decision to fight or not fight belongs to the people of Ukraine, not the American peace movement.

My fellow peace activists should know that if peace without full withdrawal by Russia is accomplished, and against the wishes of Ukraine, there will be other nations adjacent to Russia that will be in its sights. At this time, China is watching carefully the world's response to Russia. It has Taiwan in its sights and an invasion is likely if the world hands Ukraine to Russia. The peace movement will not accomplish its aims with a partition given to Russia to end the war; rather, it will be ensuring more war.

A bigger issue is at hand. Fascism is on the rise worldwide, and it must be stopped. Vladimir Putin is a fascist. Xi Jinping is a fascist. The American Republican Party, according to former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh, in 2022, has been "barreling toward full-on fascism." Back when Women Against Military Madness and Veterans For Peace were created, we were fighting fascists like Richard Nixon here at home. We would be naive fools to turn around and fight with them here and abroad now.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis


In response to why "The Russians won't back down": Think why the Ukrainians won't back down. Josef Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians during the 1930s and also shot thousands, maybe hundred of thousands, of Ukrainians during and after World War II. This is living memory for Ukrainians, not some historical item. There is no incentive for Ukrainians to back down, is there?

Florian Lauer, St. Paul


Monday's editorial warns of the importance of "Sending the right signals on Ukraine" when dealing with Russia. It demonstrates this point by telling us that it was the Trump administration's treatment of the U.S. ambassador during the impeachment process that signaled to Russian President Vladimir Putin that we would not support Ukraine in a fight with Russia, because we "would not be able to come together in a meaningful way." The board may be correct about the importance of sending the right signals when dealing with Putin, but it is being less than genuine when it says that Putin's invasion in 2022 was triggered by how the ambassador was treated during the impeachment, "as well as other things."

While the board doesn't tell readers what those "other things" are that signaled the U.S. was not committed to supporting Ukraine in the event of an attack from Russia, recent history provides a clear answer. In March of 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula; there was no meaningful response from the U.S., as President Barack Obama, fearing provoking a war with Russia, refused to supply Ukraine with lethal weaponry. Soon after, Russian-backed separatists declared the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine to be an independent state, and with the support of Russian troops, tanks and artillery occupied the area; Obama responded by sending blankets.

What the board neglected to include in its editorial was that the 2014 invasion of Ukraine was prologue to the full-scale invasion of 2022 that continues to rage, and that the failure to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needed in 2014 was what "signaled" to Putin that the U.S. was not committed to supporting Ukraine if attacked by Russia.

Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley


In a recent letter, a Veterans For Peace activist opposed U.S. support for Ukraine and urged immediate negotiation to end the war, on a two-pronged rationale: Russia had good reasons to invade Ukraine, and if we don't stop now, Russia's moody funk will just fester until it explodes into World War III (just like Germany after the Treaty of Versailles).

The difficulty with these historical arguments is that human history is infinitely complex, and if you pick one cherry off that tree, I can find another one. Such as: A large subset of Americans tried hard to prevent U.S. entry into WWII, making arguments that precisely mirror the activist's letter. And like today, those arguments inevitably contained sympathy for the authoritarian aggressor. While this writer professes that "we would all like to see a Russian withdrawal," that is emphatically untrue for the majority of those in the U.S. who oppose this war. The MAGA movement (direct descendants of America First movement in the 1930s) deeply admires Putin and his religious, anti-LBGT authoritarian regime, and sees Russia as the vanguard of a new world that will vanquish the decadent, godless West.

See, it's complicated. But for a segment of the American left (which, on almost all other issues, includes me), it's always 2003 or 1965 when it comes to war. But I would urge Veterans for Peace to live in our moment; and if you must look back, ask yourself which side of the Normandy Beach you would rather be on.

Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis


Needed: better ethics

It appears that nothing much has changed with the corporate culture at Allina Health since the early 2000s, when the organization was fined $16 million over its billing practices ("Allina cuts care for patients who owe," front page, June 2). Former attorney general Mike Hatch alleged that Allina's administrative costs included image consultants, spa visits and golfing. These days, Allina is withholding clinic services for those patients who've racked up $4,500 of debt. Perhaps more health care practitioners are needed at the upper levels of this organization so that caring for patients becomes an ethical priority.

Karen Olson, Plymouth


Duplicates what's already offered

I am disappointed in the Legislature's use of taxpayer money for the Northern Lights Express and a second daily Amtrak train to Chicago ("Train to Duluth gets a $195M nudge," June 5).

The Northern Lights Express is expected to cost $30 to $35 for a 2.5-hour, one-way trip between Duluth and the Twin Cities. Meanwhile, the same one-way trip via a Jefferson Lines bus costs $25 for a 2.5-hour journey. Likewise, a one-way trip between Chicago and the Twin Cities currently costs $95 and takes 8 hours via Amtrak, while the same one-way bus trip with Jefferson Lines costs around $53 and takes 7.5 hours. A single driver in an automobile can make both of these journeys in less time while spending less money on gas, and the cost goes down further if travelers carpool.

Neither the Northern Lights Express nor the second daily train to Chicago provide any meaningful improvement to existing transportation options in the Twin Cities. Investing in a high-speed rail line that connects the Twin Cities, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago will provide more benefit to the citizens of Minnesota.

Blake Andert, St. Paul


With respect to the proposed MSP-Duluth train, the Minnesota Department of Transportation projection of 700,000 riders in the train's first year is a fairy tale. Consider the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, which has the highest ridership of any Amtrak service outside the East and West coasts. This corridor has about three times the population of the MSP-Duluth corridor, and the end cities are much closer (1.5 vs. 2.5 hours). In 2019 this corridor had about 875,000 rail passengers. My guess is that the MSP-Duluth corridor would be fortunate to get 200,000 riders annually.

Frank Lerman, Edina