Vieques is critical to saving lives

Those who advocate "Leaving Vieques in peace" (editorial, May 10), advocate sacrificing national security to political demagoguery. Vieques is more than "a particularly useful site." It is the only place our Atlantic fleet can conduct simultaneous air, sea, and amphibious training using live munitions.

The peace we enjoy today was obtained and maintained through a military deterrent that remains credible due to continuous practice and training. The Vieques range has been used to prepare for every US conflict since World War II.

Protesters say the bombing poses fatal health risks to Vieques residents, but they seemingly care nothing about putting American servicemen at risk through inadequate training. Vieques saves lives, in more ways than one.

Daniel John Sobieski Chicago

Confederate heroes deserve respect

Joe Davidson's argument that Confederate symbols ought to disappear from public property because Confederate soldiers "killed US government troops" is simply ludicrous ("Dishonoring America," opinion piece, May 10). Shall we remove monuments to Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Chief Joseph on the same grounds?

There are numerous military ships and forts named for Confederates. This is not shocking or new. Confederate heroes are universal American heroes - just as are Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph. Civilized people know when to make peace, when to let people honor their ancestors, and when to recognize their common, reunited heritage.

Civilized people do not continue to spew hatred upon the descendants of the vanquished of more than 130 years ago. Why are people like Mr. Davidson still fighting the war?

Larry Beane Fort Wayne, Ind.

Keeping the peace between faiths

As a local pastor who draws ecumenical parishes, I read with interest your May 8 stories on the pope's recent journey ("Pope on a mission of contrition," and "Pontiff's presence in Syria stirs sectarian tensions").

When first promoted, "ecumenism" had the very desirable goal of doing much of what the pope did: ending centuries-old antagonisms. But it has morphed into the destructive effort to try to get everyone "together," expecting that all of us can give up our unique expressions of faith in favor of the lowest common denominator.

I would rather that we simply cease hostilities.

As our choir members sing different notes while blending, so we should worship as best we can in the way that inspires us, while leaving room for other notes.

Pastor Dan Lozer Elk Point, S.D.

Fighting for forests

Your May 9 editorial "A middle road on forests" is tantamount to asking the fox to guard the hen house.

Just as the chicken rancher who lives among the foxes must build a substantial chicken coop - good for now and for the distant future - forest managers must look beyond the temporal whims of local forces and design systems that assure survival of what little remains of our once-vast forest reserves. A quick look about the world shows that once they are violated, we never get those forests back.

Forests are too essential for human survival on this planet for us to take any but the long-range approach to their management, one that will benefit all citizens for generations to come - not just a few folks for a few years.

Rich Hart Watsonville, Calif.

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