Readers Write: Wildfires will eradicate our forests; the fatiguing fight against Islamic State

Letters to the Editor for September 29, 2014 weekly magazine:

Keller: If we don't control wildfires, it will eradicate our forests.

Frank: With new airstrikes in Iraq, the United States may be setting itself up for another costly and lengthy battle.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Captain Larry Turman, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, keeps an eye on flames approaching a containment line of the King fire near Fresh Pond, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18.

Wildfires could eradicate forests

Thank you for the Sept. 8 cover story, “The Smoke Jumpers.” It does indeed portray the role of smoke jumpers who are brave, dedicated, hard working but alas ineffective. The accompanying graphic titled “Rise of the era of megafires” says it all. Because of the dual causes of overgrowth and increasing droughts, plus the human factors that cause fires during high wind months, the Southwest Rocky Mountains have lost 11 percent of all their forests! 

The economic, cultural, and human costs of these fires and the mega-floods in their aftermath are sobering. There are many approaches to reducing fire threat: thinning, prescribed burns, etc. But the rate of megafire occurrences requires suppression. The lesson is clear – change the way we suppress larger fires (and thus be able to control smaller beneficial ones) or lose our forests. It is becoming apparent that the only way to subdue large fires is with massive aircraft attack during low wind times. While highlighting the romantic nature of our storied firefighters makes interesting reading, it misses the serious point that in a generation we may not need them because there will be no forests.

Dr. Charles Keller
Los Alamos, N.M. 

Fatiguing fight against extremists

Regarding the Sept. 8 online article “How Obama plans to ace his big speech on ISIS” (CSMonitor.com): Much as it did with the Vietnam War, as well as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States may be setting itself up for another costly and lengthy battle, as it prepares for military action against the Islamic State militants in Iraq. But even if airstrikes are successful in killing IS leaders, they won’t solve anything. New leadership will likely take over. IS fighters are savvy in their appeal to recruit new members. 

I believe that President Obama is merely giving into the overwhelming pressure from those who are gung-ho for another war. The US is setting itself up for another drawn out fight against an enemy that will be hard to beat.

JoAnn lee Frank
Clearwater, Fla.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.