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"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" (August 28): Interesting article, and I love that you focused on the traditional country music (mentioning Dave Donnelly, a Rochester country legend). You missed mentioning another group (Eric Huppert and Jim Schleich) that does classic country (not pop country!): The Backsliders. They don't play out a lot but have been together for nearly 25 years, playing primarily in the Rochester area, mostly south of Rochester – Honeoye Falls, Lima, Avon, and sometimes in the Southern Tier).
If I recall correctly, back in the 60's, a major argument against building the inner loop was that it would divide neighborhoods and lower property values in the bisected areas. Seems that the point was valid in view of the current argument that filling in a portion of the loop will reconnect neighborhoods. Problem is, the cost of doing and the cost of undoing both fall on the taxpayers and not the politicians behind both schemes.
The US and Syria
Your ability to interpret all things Obama in the best possible light is borderline pathological ("What's Next: Obama, Syria, and Congress," Urban Journal). The only reason he backpedaled on an immediate strike was a complete lack of support, and he had to save face anyway he could. "Deferring" to Congress allows him to sit back down without looking like he overplayed his hand.
The UN inspection team had barely gotten their shoes dirty and the US regime was vowing action. A couple of questions come up:
What exactly are we going to blow up to "teach a lesson"?
Most likely critical civilian infrastructure, air defenses, and targeted assassinations of government and military leadership. With those out of the way, we would certainly get down to close tactical support of anti-Assad militants.
How can we be certain the Assad forces used sarin?
Back in May of this year, Turkish security arrested a handful of al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) in possession of sarin gas, so we know for a fact that Assad's opposition has access to this material and has probably used it on several occasions. We're talking about (you can't make this stuff up) flesh-eating Takfiri mercenaries, who would have zero compunction against martyring a bunch of civilians if it might bring much needed heavy ordnance against Assad. And they don't even need to take time out from their anti-Kurdish ethnic cleansing in Northern Syria.
Consider: Assad is slowly rolling these folks up, even with their Western weapons, money, training, and an influx of foreign radical Muslims. He doesn't need to use chemical weapons.
At a time when we are constantly being reminded of the need to cut Social Security, Medicare/Aid, food stamps, etc., the possibility we might lob several billion dollars worth of munitions at another country in support of (you can't make this stuff up) flesh-eating Takfiri mercenaries is sheer madness.
To elected and appointed governmental decision-makers: You're going to retaliate against the Assad regime? Retaliate for what? They haven't harmed this country's people. They're involved in a sectarian religious and civil war in their country.
You're going to punish the Assad regime? Who is going to punish you? You with the most powerful military and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction on planet Earth – for your war crimes; violations of the Geneva Conventions and US laws; for what you've done in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iran (remember the terrorism of regime change involving the Shah?) and Vietnam.
You're going to act unilaterally? You, the moral conscience of the peoples of the Earth? You haven't a square inch of moral ground upon which to stand. No doubt you will consider the effects your decisions might have on your next election and your legacy. Will you, also, deeply consider the legacy of the precious lives that will be gone as a result of your needless violence?
Other than images on a faraway screen somewhere, the US military won't see the red blood as it flows from Syrian bodies onto the walkways and streets of their neighborhoods and out across the desert sands; nor will they hear the cries and screams being obliterated by the "rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air."
You put on a show honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., but you have yet to fathom that non-violence is the heartwood of his words and his actions.
Violence engenders violence... always.
There is a better way. You can find it. You already know what it is and where it is.
May all beings be safe and free from suffering.