Letters to the Editor


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Military strike may increase Syrian misery

Syrians deserve more than bombs from the United States. Bombing Syria will achieve little in the way of tangible improvements for the Syrian people. Rather, military action is likely to increase their misery under Bashar Assad’s desperate and murderous regime.

An offer of asylum may encourage more defections from inside the regime and will certainly encourage ordinary Syrians to abandon the wholesale violence that comes with civil war. Asylum as policy will give the Syrian people an opportunity to reestablish communities in the United States. This will help the United States deal with the question of how to approach the reconstruction of Syria following the civil war, as it will strengthen our relationship with rights-minded groups in the Syrian community.

If bombing can eliminate chemical weapons, this is no guarantee against mass killing with conventional arms. And options beyond bombing lead to the danger of funding and equipping the potential equivalent of a Syrian Taliban — regardless of John McCain’s assurances. He, after all, lent his uncritical support to the mujahedeen in the 1980s and remains unrepentant on the issue.

Our responsibility is greater than punishing an errant dictator. Instead of using the ample military resources of the United States to destroy life, President Obama and the Congress should use these same resources to ferry Syrian refugees to the United States and to offer them hope of a better life once here.

Offering asylum on a mass scale is the right thing to do, and it will undermine the Assad regime more than bombs. Those who stay and fight will do so with the knowledge that their families are safe in the United States. And, we could cultivate a reputation for peace and humanity rather than for empire, war, and death. We, the American people, must demand that our government is concerned more with displaced people than with token punitive action.

Jacob Altman

Kirschling for School Board

I write this letter in support of Brian Kirschling and his campaign for the Iowa City School Board.

Brian has demonstrated commitment and worked as an advocate for friends, family, and the community since I first met him.  Attending City High school together, I witnessed Brian’s vocal support not only through his cheering on the City High football team but also as a leader in the marching band.  Brian has continued his role as an advocate into adulthood as an outstanding father to his children, an exceptional physician to his patients, and as president of the City High Alumni Association to City High students.  Brian now wants to expand this foundation by advocating for the students and parents of the School District.  Brian is well-suited to become an School Board member as an Iowa City native, a champion of innovative educational ideas, and dedicated supporter of the Iowa City community.

Brian recalls a time when it did not matter where a student went to school within the Iowa City surrounding area; a student of the district was guaranteed to have access to a top-notch education.

Brian is committed to making this a reality again and supports equality among school facilities, curriculum, and activities to ensure all students have access to a safe, stimulating, and rewarding learning environment.  Furthermore, Brian seeks to promote diversity in the classroom and maximize educational opportunities for students through innovative educational programs and infrastructure.  Brian will honestly listen and consider the educational concerns, needs, and wishes of the Iowa City community, because he believes that parents’ involvement in the schools and educational process is integral to children’s success.

Brian Kirschling’s commitment, dedication, honesty, and passion for advocacy would make him an excellent School Board member.  I urge the citizens of the Iowa City Community to vote for Brian Kirschling on Sept. 10 to give him the opportunity to advocate for the students and parents of the School District.

Pope Yamada

Dorau for School Board

I believe that Tuyet Dorau has done an outstanding job serving on the School Board. I support her bid for another term.

I am the parent of one City High grad, one City High freshman, and I have a daughter who will start school in the next four years; I am a taxpayer and voter; I have served as the co-chief negotiator for the teachers’ negotiated agreement for the past five years, and have been a special-education teacher at West High for the past 10. In 2009, I represented teachers on the Redistricting Committee. In these various roles, I have come to understand our district, and School Board operations, quite well.

Our district faces some serious growing pains. We need a School Board that can rise above factionalism to do what is right for all the students in our community. We need board members who are capable of making difficult decisions based on available, often fluid, data, rather than those who have a set agenda based on ideology. We need board members who have vision and a passion for students, as well as a sharp eye for school finance.

I will vote for Tuyet Dorau to remain on the School Board. Tuyet is a smart, energetic board member. She reaches out to her constituencies, asks good questions of the district administration, and does her job thoroughly. Please join me in voting for Tuyet on Sept. 10.

JP Claussen

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