Letters from our readers: Land mines necessary till enemies make peace

A letter writer Thursday misses the reason why three U.S. presidents have not signed the treaty banning land mines.

North Korea has long prepared for another invasion of South Korea across the Demilitarized Zone established after its first attempt. Since Seoul is close by, any attack must be stopped before it gains ground. Minefields placed by America and South Korea (which also didn’t sign) are in highly restricted areas, so that no innocents are at risk. The locations are mapped to remove the mines if ever there is peace between the Koreas.

Similarly, Israel has been invaded by its neighbors’ armies in the past. The country is so small that another invasion must be halted right at the border, perhaps by laying mines across the route. And like Korea, no mines would be needed if only all those neighbors would make peace.

Alan Fisher, Atherton

Sin tax should pay for war

President Barack Obama’s 30,000-troop surge, costing $30 billion, should be paid by a surtax on the American corporations benefiting from the war in Afghanistan, such as Halliburton, Bechtel and Blackwater.

The salaries of 30,000 additional troops are only about $1.5 billion. Where is the other $28 billion going? It will be used to pay the exorbitant salaries and bonuses of mercenary contractors and defense corporation CEOs who stand to reap a windfall at taxpayers’ expense.

Wisconsin Sen. David Obey’s proposed surtax on all Americans for the war costs would be unfair, although the concept of a tax is worthy. War costs should be handled through a sin tax, like that levied on smokers and drinkers, and only applied to those who profit from the fighting.

Paul Page, San Francisco

Circuses cruel to animals

I am asking The Examiner not to provide editorial or ad space for circuses that use animals, especially elephants, in their acts. The very nature of circus life is abusive and cruel for elephants and the many other animals that circuses own. Elephants are intelligent, social animals and in addition to the tricks they are cruelly forced to perform, the very nature of travel and close confinement is tantamount to torture for these beautiful, majestic animals.

Martha Grover, San Francisco

High-speed rail for the rich

High-speed rail is a lobbyist’s most fanciful dream coming true, with 1,800 interest groups ready with their wish lists and begging cups. Meanwhile, our economy is recovering at the top and spiraling down for the rest of us. We live in a time of the greatest economic disparity since the 19th century.

There is just no way that we can avoid increased taxation, and most likely the regressive kinds. It’s our money and we are going to waste zillions of dollars to make others rich. I would consider this high-speed train effort the insult that follows the economic injury.

Martin Engel, Menlo Park

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