Readers write: Subpar power plant, campaign rallies, and more

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 16, 2019 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the war in Afghanistan and Trump rallies.

Subpar power plant

In reading the cover story “Legacy of the longest war” in the Nov. 11 Monitor Weekly, I am puzzled by the report that Afghanistan’s Tarakhil Power Plant is not providing the power it is capable of because of incomplete or poor planning by the United States. 

Is a military unit responsible for building structures in a country where it is waging war? Who needed to be present (and wasn’t) when the power plant was designed? Perhaps when (and if) reforms are made in Afghanistan, situations like this can be avoided if there is more oversight.

Mary Larsen
Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania

The realities of farming

After reading the article “Too much milk: Two nations’ travails with dairy policy” in the Nov. 11 Monitor Weekly and having time to ruminate on the issue, I found it ironic the article was situated in the “Humanity Behind the Headlines” section of the Weekly. 

The photo that ran with the piece, which depicts a wonderful bucolic scene of cows standing on grass in a farmyard, is disingenuous. The reality of industrial agriculture is that the vast majority of livestock are treated inhumanely. Many dairy animals stand on filthy concrete in concentrated animal feeding operations.

Replacing people with milking robots and calling farmers “technicians” is further removing humanity from the culture of food farming. It’s no wonder that some scientists are producing “meat” in labs. Livestock, allowed to express their innate nature, are the best producers of meat and dairy, and it is our obligation as stewards on this earth to treat these animals humanely.

John Ott
Durango, Colorado

Campaign rallies

The article “Superfans travel miles to see Donald Trump – and each other” in the Nov. 18 Monitor Weekly, which discussed President Trump’s rallies, was both very interesting and upsetting to me. 

It was interesting because, as a person who has not attended a rally, I got a sense of the appeal of the gatherings for the faithful followers of the president as well as a sense of the community they find there. But although the writer, Story Hinckley, says people attending the rallies feel like they are at football games, she points out the negativity that goes along with the events: “lock her up” chants and the president’s talk of “fake news.” She quotes, at the end, a man who says, “It was one of the most powerful moments of my life.” Does it take such negativity as President Trump presents to get people to bond?

Nick Royal
Santa Cruz, California

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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”:

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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.

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