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Terrorist attack in Afghanistan has Denver Post readers writing letters

The disaster in Afghanistan

The failures in Afghanistan fall to all four presidents to varying degrees: George W. Bush for taking his eye off the mission with a detour to Iraq and the fallacy of nation-building; Obama for not ending our mission after killing Bin Laden; Trump for negotiating with the Taliban and setting a withdrawal date; and Biden for poor planning and communication as to our withdrawal.

I would also fault the many Americans and others who assumed the risk and have stayed to this point; they knew or should have know of the dangers well before now and left earlier on their own.

John W Thomas, Fort Collins

With all of the words written recently about Afghanistan, not one thing I have seen has identified the source of this vast screw-up or the person responsible. The source? The original decision to send in ground troops. And the person responsible is, of course, George W. Bush. This decision simply turned the Afghans into a dependency of the U.S. which never developed any commitment to their own freedom — we saw this beautifully when element after element of their vast army simply surrendered rather than fight.

What should we have done? We should have identified one (or more) factions with the will to fight and offered them all the aid in the form of logistics and air support that they could use, but no ground troops.

As Americans, we are supposed to recognize that people need to be ready to fight for freedom, and the Afghans never were in that position as long as we were there to hold their hands and do all of the dirty work.

All we accomplished was to keep them from ever having to fight for themselves. Had we done this, that group might now be on top and we would have certainly have saved a bunch of American lives.

Tom Dahlquist, Boulder

Re: “Biden must widen net to get more allies out,” Aug. 26 editorial

Thank you for your courage to disagree with President Joe Biden and to advise him to reconsider his decision to leave the Kabul airport on August 31. As you point out, the reasons are many.

Surely if all state legislatures would pass a resolution for the U.S. military to stay as long as necessary, it would carry some weight.

There has to be somebody who can get this ball rolling.

Daniel Abraham, Centennial

Wrong moves, motives for Afghanistan

Re: “The one “forever war” worth the fight for American’,” Aug. 21 commentary

The professor equates the battle with the Taliban to the American Revolution and to the Jan. 6 insurgency at the Capitol. The underlying implication here is the oft-used rationale that by moving an army across the world and helping others gain voting and gender rights, somehow we preserve our own freedom. This reasoning assumes that all people of the world value democracy and freedom the same way we do.

Professor David Goldfischer’s conclusion is that the promise and hope of 1776 died in Afghanistan with the Taliban victory. The argument here is that if we can contain oppression in the rest of the world, we will somehow ensure our own freedom.

A couple of questions for the professor: On Jan. 6 who was in charge of Afghanistan? Who took control of the U.S. Capitol?

Mike Gallagher, Centennial

Opposition should hold criticism of administration

Until recently, it was an unwritten policy that the opposition party in Washington withhold criticism of the president when the country was involved in explosive foreign affairs. When the international crisis was behind us, it was considered the appropriate time to object and ridicule if they chose. I wonder what the militant groups demanding our immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan feel when some of our leaders constantly bombard our actions with anger directed toward our government.

Marilyn Davis, Westminster

Race-based covenants are a part of our history

Re: “State lawmakers work to strip old “whites only” covenants,” July 29 news story

In the first half of the 20th century, “whites only” covenants were not limited to one part of our country. Covenants with race-based, exclusionary language existed and were enacted here in Jefferson County.

My research of the historic plat/planning maps of Jefferson County has found 173 subdivisions and developments that had such race-based, restrictive covenants. The maps date from 1918 to 1950. These documents were signed by government officials, including those from the County Planning Board, County Clerk & Recorder, and County Board of Commissioners; these officials represented the will of the people of the county at the time. The covenants were legal documents backed by law and policing. While some residents remained clueless regarding the existence of racism on their real estate documents, other residents at the time welcomed and supported race-based segregation in housing.

The race-based, restricted language, while unenforceable, still exists on deeds and plat maps held by the county. We must no longer remain naive nor willfully ignorant of how our county came to be in its present form. This topic needs more research and a wider understanding. With the knowledge of our history, we can move forward, and make this a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all.

My research can be accessed through the Colorado School of Mines Library’s website:

Christopher J.J. Thiry, Golden

Editor’s note: Thiry is map and GIS librarian at the Colorado School of Mines.

One consequence of wage law

Re: “New laws support people with disabilities,” August 8 news story

The newly passed law, Senate Bill 39, which prohibits employers from paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage, has had an unintended consequence.

My daughter, who has an intellectual disability, Williams syndrome, had been doing piece work for several local companies in Longmont, Boulder, and Lafayette, but since they now have to pay minimum wage, they have discontinued their programs of hiring people with disabilities. The obvious big difference is that my daughter did not work to make a living but rather to learn work skills and be productive.

For other people with disabilities, a fair wage is essential to their well-being. But this new law is forcing our local Community Centered Board to discontinue their supported employment services. I am certainly in favor of people with disabilities being paid fairly, but it’s too bad our legislators couldn’t have come up with a program that encouraged companies to hire the disabled rather than making it cost-prohibitive.

William Palmer, Lyons

Safety not an afterthought

Re: “High water,” Aug. 21 features story

It is disappointing that The Denver Post failed to mention the need for wearing a personal floatation device while paddleboarding. The photos of a person paddleboarding without a PFD and then not listing a PFD in the equipment needed is irresponsible given the number of deaths that have occurred over the last few years. A PFD should be the first thing mentioned when talking about paddleboarding on any body of water, let alone a mountain lake with icy, cold water.

Mike Thomas, Centennial

Live tolerance and acceptance

Re: “Volleyball coach at Valor Christian says he was forced to quit because he’s gay,” Aug. 24 news story

As a retired high school coach and educator, as the sister of a gay man and as a woman with very dear gay friends, I am hoping that what happened to Inoke Tonga will happen less and less in this century. I take heart in the fact that Americans have made strides in our understanding of the LGTBQ community and have begun to see our fellow humans with our hearts and not just our heads.

However, because we are human, we drift backward to our comfort zone of seeing others mostly with our heads and very little heart. I pray that Inoke Tonga’s experience will remind us that we can indeed fall backward, but we can regain our momentum when Tonga is hired at a different school, and his work is valued not because his personal identity and his lifestyle match a set of values and doctrines but because he is a good coach and cares about his players.

Carol Ayars, Littleton

Sorry, Inoke Tonga, but you should have known going in that the last place on Earth to expect tolerance and acceptance is a place that preaches tolerance and acceptance.

Craig Marshall Smith, Highlands Ranch

Swansea is suffering construction

Please stop the overwhelming mistreatment of residents of northeast Denver/Swansea. I can’t survive much more dirt, noise, pollution and toxic air.

I have lived here for eight years. Initially, I needed to deal with the construction of the A train. Dirt, yes, but the noise of the horns was cruel. For three years we had train horns blaring every 10 minutes. We had been promised this would not happen.

Then almost immediately, the demolition of Interstate 70 began. Again, concrete dust and noise. Pounding and back-up warning sounds are almost constant.

Denver built the 39th Avenue Greenway, building a park that stops at Steele Street. The demolition continued east, tearing up the rail line, filling in with dirt. The trucks were constant for months. We now have a connection to the east, but Monroe Street is a patch of weeds and dirt.

Currently we are dealing with our streets and yards being dug up looking for lead pipes. It needs to be done, but now?

All the while we have Suncor belching out toxic chemicals. Swansea is one of the most polluted area code in the nation.

Why can’t we get sidewalks, street sweeping, a grocery store, a healthy restaurant, trees, a park or simply a break? Why can’t Denver recognize all of the things they have negatively done to this community and not only stop but make amends?

Lisa Ozzello, Denver

Just the facts, please

Re: “Researchers explore media bias … ,” Aug. 24 commentary

In response to Brier Dudley, I can only say that journalists need to just report the facts and not their opinions. I could cite so many incidents and statements in articles that blatantly show bias, and it’s been getting worse as the divide has widened. In my opinion, the divide has been perpetrated by the media. Numerous articles have brought former President Donald Trump into an article even when there is no connection. I have complained about this for several years to no avail. The media just does not believe they are programmed to spin or misstate the facts.

Kay Robbins, Denver

Judge rightfully punishes attorneys over election suit

Federal judge Linda Parker on August 25 issued what maybe the most important court decision in regard to the 2020 presidential election. She said: “This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. That is what happened here.”

The judge ordered that a copy of her decision be sent to the appropriate disciplinary authority for the jurisdiction where each Trump lawyer is admitted. In addition, she ordered the Trump lawyers to pay the fees and costs of the defendants, the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit, to defend the lawsuit.

The decision is a clear, strong and necessary warning to the legal profession in regard to filing frivolous lawsuits — don’t do it. If you do, you may lose your license to practice law and be held liable for your opponents’ legal fees and costs.

Bill Zessar, Broomfield

Measly pay for our heroes

Re: “U.S. wildland firefighters get raise to $15 per hour,” Aug. 19 news story

I was amazed and appalled to see in a recent article in The Post that firefighters, who are heroes in my eyes, will be receiving a raise which will bring them up to $15 an hour. What? These men and women are risking their lives every day to keep us as safe as possible and that is all they deserve? Firefighters, nurses, EMTs, and all of the other people who take care of people who are sick, in danger, and so often completely vulnerable are heroes. They deserve our respect, admiration, gratefulness, and a decent paycheck.

Sally Alberts, Monument

Election in good hands

Re: “County’s clerk is still in hiding,” Aug. 25 news story

Wayne Williams leans right; I lean left. He is an honest, professional election official with a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is Mesa County’s good fortune to have the former secretary of state overseeing its election this year. The Mesa County commissioners have restored order to a process that has become dubious and zany. Where all of that nonsense ends is hard to tell. But Mesa County will have a professional and reliable election this year.

Barry Noreen, Denver

“One last ‘goodbye’ ”

A few weeks ago, I was participating in a work community function. We were helping to build out a garden at a northeast Denver elementary school.

I mentioned to one of my co-workers that, for a couple of years now, my mother had been battling dementia. His mother had battled it, too. She had passed a few years back. The co-worker had referred to it as “the long goodbye.” I had grown accustomed to watching the “long’ portion of that phrase. A week ago Wednesday, I experienced the “goodbye.” My mother, Angela Martinez Nieto, passed away at 79.

In the past couple of years, I would fly home to Northern California as much as I could. With all the responsibility for caregiving falling on my poor dad’s shoulders, I’m not sure if I will ever forgive myself for not trying to do more to fill in the gaps of his no sleep, and, perhaps, fading hope.

When we, collectively, as a family, went down this road, we didn’t know much about dementia. Now, a few years later, I’ve learned so much more (about diabetes, too).

I vow to keep dementia funding and research always at my forefront. Hospice will forever have my support and love.

I know my mother’s sad ending won’t be the last, but I hope it will be among those that inspire a cure.

Mom, I knew it would be a “long goodbye.” I was hoping for one last “goodbye.”

Gregory Nieto, Denver

Take the risk off taxpayers

Re: “Who created the renewable-energy miracle?” Aug. 23 commentary

Paul Krugman says some government projects go bad, just like a venture capitalist.

Under the Obama administration, Solyndra was loaned $535 million taxpayer dollars to build solar panels. One year later they filed for bankruptcy. Is that how we should spend our tax dollars?

I wonder how Mr. Krugman would feel if the loan was made to Exxon and they wrote off the project.

Let’s have venture capitalists take risk with their capital, not the taxpayer dollars.

Jeff Esbenshade, Littleton

Still waiting for answers, action in McClain death

Re: “Elijah McClain’s legacy,” Aug. 22 news story

From the first time I learned of the death of Elijah McClain, I have been disturbed by the lack of information about the call to 911 about his walk home. Don’t we need to continue to address the possible racist catalyst involved in the death? The public should be warned that an individual’s fear of Black people can have horrible consequences? We should be having crucial conversations about this.

Phyllis D Graham, Highlands Ranch

Two years. Two years since Elijah McClain was killed by arrogance and incompetence in Aurora. Two years, and still no justice. And we are watching, Colorado, from across the country. And we are asking, why!

Den Mark Wichar, Vancouver, Wash.

The cost of the Capitol riot

Re: “Mesa County Clerk drank snake oil peddled by Mike Lindell,” Aug. 22 commentary

Complain all you want about the cost of the Mueller investigation, and then compare it to the damage done by the Capitol riot. Besides the deaths and the numerous horrific injuries, we lost a part of the dynamic social fabric, which we will never be able to reclaim. There is no price tag that can be put on almost losing our democracy and part of our nation’s soul.

Robert H. Moulton III, Commerce City

Fear, grief and hope over climate change

Re: “Grieving over climate change?” Aug. 22 news story

I applaud The Denver Post for calling attention to the linkages between mental health and climate change. I directly identify with the feelings described in the article of being overwhelmed, frozen from action and having heightened despair about our future.

The mental health consequences of a changing global climate include increased stress and distress, high-risk coping behavior such as increased alcohol and other substance use and, mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.

There are myriad ways we are failing each other, our children and our planet. There are so many seemingly intractable problems. This article ended on a hopeful note: “there are solutions we can work on. There is hope.”

We can and must all do our part, such as driving less, switching to hybrid if not electric vehicles, reducing meat consumption, expanding sustainable energy technologies, and advocating for more decisive and aggressive political action. It is equally important that we take care of ourselves.

The Denver Post would do its readers a great service to clearly identify and articulate that when experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions, it is OK to ask for help. Colorado has resources to support people, including our strong system of community mental health centers, the crisis line, and an ever-growing presence of providers offering telehealth services.

Mindy Klowden, Denver

In reading the article, I see the stress imposed on our youth by media, environmental groups, educators, and the general public on climate change’s “existential threat.”

The very sad part of Andrés Better’s temperament and attitude and eventual withdrawal from college is that he’s not been taught to be a critical thinker. Higher education was where I learned a variety of disciplines, where I saw both sides and the huge middle of various matters, and how I learned how to create a thought process in evaluating issues.

Over the past 20-plus years, education in America has done a massive disservice to our youth by indoctrinating them in focused learning and failing to nurture critical thinkers on a wide array of views. Unfortunately, fellows like Mr. Better don’t have any idea how to ascertain how the world works or how to problem solve.

Jerry McHugh, Jr., Denver

While I agree there is much to grieve, we cannot let the monumental nature of the problem stop us before we even try to fix it. If we want a bright future for our children and all the precious life we cherish throughout the world’s spectacular ecosystems, we are the only ones who can bring this dream into reality.

I, for one, am more optimistic than ever. Did you know that there is promising action happening in the federal government at this very moment? Congressional leaders currently are focused on the budget reconciliation process, which is expected to be the main vehicle for significant climate policy this year. This budget package could include a price on carbon, a bipartisan solution that would dramatically reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Call and write to Sen. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Diana Degette or your local representative to tell them you want to see a price on carbon included in the budget.

Christina Johnson, Denver

“That’s it!” screamed Charlie Brown to Lucy. Climate Changeaphobia — fear of the loss of a healthy planet. The reason for the gnawing, simmering tension eluded me until I read this article. Yet one more real and significant consequence of a crisis that still escapes understanding and action by many. Thanks for exploring and exposing this aspect of climate change. Now if only The Post would stop putting every paper, every day, into a plastic bag. There would be a lot less grieving by this simple act.

Allie Molinda, Centennial

I am a clinical psychologist and climate-advocate volunteer. I hear a lot of fear, sadness, guilt and anger from clients about our climate catastrophe. I encourage people to educate themselves about solutions!

Putting a price on carbon emissions needs to be a part of any solution. Support for a carbon fee and dividend comes from economists, scientists, business leaders, faith leaders, local governments, and editorial boards across the political spectrum. All can see the clear benefits of a fully-rebated revenue-neutral carbon fee. This market-based solution will save lives, create jobs, and boost our economy. The Growing Climate Solutions Act is a bipartisan agriculture and climate bill that passed in the Senate 92-8.

Now the House is struggling to pass meaningful climate solutions. Let them know your feelings and urge them to take strong, brave, bipartisan action to price carbon.

Lesley Lefevre, Centennial

Remembering Gov. Lamm’s legacy, love for Colorado

Re: “A life of service,” July 31 obituary, “Remembering Richard Lamm and his fight for Coloradans,” July 31 editorial

The late Gov. Dick Lamm was one of Colorado’s greatest leaders for environmental quality. Major items were covered in recent articles, but the true extent and importance of his activities are behind the scenes.

His first successes were in the general assembly. Also then, he was on the Board of the Rocky Mountain Center on Environment, where environmentalists, scientists, business leaders and government officials met to work on environmental issues. He was articulate and skilled at getting group agreements for progress. His legislative actions were important and valuable.

One example is the Glenwood Canyon Interstate 70 design and construction. A lawsuit to locate I-70 outside of the canyon failed, so the highway commission and the general assembly created a panel of ecological design experts to report directly to the governor. In disagreements with the highway department and the federal highway department, that team appealed to Gov. Lamm, who consistently supported the panel. The result is the award-winning highway of minimal environmental impact and with preservation of the canyon’s beauty. (Now, unforeseeable climate change effects have impaired traffic in the canyon.)

Gov. Lamm’s work for public health matters of air and water pollution, responsible land use, outdoor recreation and other concerns were consistent, effective and tireless. There are many examples of his work that commenced in the early days of the fight for environmental quality and public health, which lasted all of his life.

He deserves special recognition and expressions of gratitude for his dedication and service.

Bert Melcher, Aurora

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