Letters to the Editor

At War with Himself

It is difficult for many, including me, to understand how Norm Coleman was transformed from an activist against one insane war—Vietnam—to being an avid supporter of another insane war—Iraq ("War Torn," 9/5/07). That transformation has to lie deeper than him simply doing whatever is politically expedient to further himself, but then again, maybe it doesn't.

His statement to City Pages in support of the war in Iraq makes no sense at all when considering that Al Qaeda was nonexistent in Iraq prior to our invasion in 2003. But to be fair, many members of Iraq Veterans Against the War believe there was never any justification for the war in Iraq.

Again, I appreciate your article.

Wes Davey St. Paul

Fine with Flip Flopping

This story did a good job in covering the broad spectrum of Senator Coleman's political career and his current situation. I do think that voters will grant a politician some tolerance when they perceive that the politician has changed from one side to another. Of course there is opportunism in this. That is politics.

When Norm Coleman was pontificating on the war in Vietnam, I was there with the First Aviation Brigade. That Coleman is no longer a long-haired student ranter should surprise no one. What those Hofstra students and profs say about Coleman is, to me, irrelevant.

I think that voters want to get past the perceived contradictions of their candidate and see what is in the country's best interests. Mrs. Clinton will do that in 2008 and so will Norm Coleman.

Do we want a senator who runs against Washington or do we want a humorist to represent us? I think that the voters of Minnesota will look beyond the headlines and the perceived wisdom of the day. Voters will think for themselves and not be led by pundits and opinion makers.

Minnesotans may or may not vote for Coleman in the next election, but they will decide for themselves on what is best for the state in the U.S. Senate.

Norman Teigen Hopkins

No Justice, No Peace

Regarding your September 5 cover-story boy, Sen. Norman Coleman: During my over 50 years of involvement in the Minnesota political process, he is the only Minnesota congressperson who has consistently refused to meet with any delegation from the peace and justice community.

Polly Mann, Co-Founder of Women Against Military Madness

Spy Hunter

Thank you for the excellent article on Senator Coleman. I thought I saw him once in 1992 in the summer in a convertible. He looked like he had an Air Force base-type haircut. I am wondering if he was a spy during the Vietnam-era peace rally. He is too polarized in his views. I would like to ask him how many people have to die for his cause now. The 9/11 attack was by several men—many thousands have died since the USA attack.

Sheryl Skoglund Eden Prairie

Two False Assumptions about the Strike

University of Minnesota administrators contend that two-thirds of AFSCME workers are not on strike ("Wage War," 8/29/07). Because the administration does not explain how it arrived at this figure, the claim seems dubious at best. Mistaking correlation for causation, university spokespersons suggest that workers who remain on the job do not support the strike and are content with their pay and work conditions. An alternative explanation is that these low-paid workers simply cannot afford to go on strike. The possibility of losing weeks or months of pay is scary for all workers. It is particularly frightening to employees who lack disposable income and struggle each month to make ends meet. The university should not assume that non-striking workers do not support the union and fellow employees who are on the picket lines.

University spokespersons also argue that operations on campus "continue at the highest service level." This contention is patently false. More disturbingly, it suggests that striking workers are dispensable. It disregards the extra work that non-striking staff, students, and instructors are begrudgingly doing—despite their repugnance at crossing a picket line—to keep the university functioning. Contrary to the administration's cheery comments, all is not well behind the picket lines. Instead of spreading false information, the university should provide the reasonable and just pay increases that the indispensable AFSCME employees demand and deserve.

Joshua Page, assistant professor, Department of Sociology, U of M

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