Tucson was diminished by losses in August

Being out of town during most of a Tucson August is a good thing. Even better is having a real hometown newspaper to scan when we get back. Unfortunately, Tucson was greatly diminished while we were gone.

Losing Coach Dave Sitton is a body blow, but no more Jeff Smith in the wings with his barbs ready — that’s a jab to the chin. My heart aches missing guitarist and teacher Bob Del Greco and Tucson native and surgeon Dr. Tom Edwards.

Losing all four makes Tucson seem a larger, less cohesive place. It would not make any difference, but next August I’ll stay here.

Steve Nash

Executive director, Tucson Osteopathic Medical Foundation

Will, GOP incoherent in opposing Obama

Re: the Sept. 4 column “Obama now tutors Congress on accountability.”

George Will’s Syria column is a perfect example of the incoherent Republican response to whatever President Obama does. For nine paragraphs Will angrily savages Obama for asking Congress to authorize military action. Then, at the end of the 10th and final paragraph, Will admits that it was actually the right thing to do. His point all along, apparently, was that it was just shameful for Obama to do it.

Will’s anger is real, but it is based on politics, not principle. Republicans were salivating at the chance to second-guess Obama on Syria. Now they are forced to stand and declare their druthers ahead of time. Some Republicans say the authorization is too little, some say it is too much, some say the porridge is just right. But they are all angry at being forced to take a stand now, when it makes a difference.

David Taylor Shannon

Retired, Tucson

Ask whether US should be world’s enforcer

Re: the Sept. 5 article “Obama wins Senate panel’s backing on Syria.”

Why does it take a foreign civil war to get senators to agree with President Obama? Do we intervene to solve an ongoing civil war in Syria because a heinous crime was committed using chemical weapons? Do we value U.S. aggression more than the health care and welfare of our own citizens?

I think using chemical weapons on the Syrians was a serious crime, but is it our business to be the world’s enforcer? Just asking if this bothers anyone else.

Lynn Riach

Retired, Tucson

Santa Rita streams could be like Santa Cruz

Incredibly, the Forest Service asserts that the Rosemont mine will not harm nearby creeks and canyons despite concerns by the Environmental Protection Agency and Pima County officials.

History is replete with records of dewatering of streams of the Southwest by mining, agriculture and urbanization. An example of this problem is illustrated by the Santa Cruz River.

A soon-to-be-released study, of which I am a coauthor, documents the conversion of this live river — containing fish, frogs, and turtles — into a deepened, usually dry channel. Formerly, Tucsonans picnicked under large cottonwood trees along its banks while others fished, swam and boated. Those environmental and recreational values are now gone.

There were few, if any, early predictions of this dire outcome in the 600 books and articles that we consulted in our study. Are we willing to gamble on a similar outcome for the streams of the Santa Rita Mountains?

R. Roy Johnson

Retired university professor, Tucson

American al-Qaida would kill Obamacare

Re: the Aug. 23 article “Shutdown beats Obamacare, say 80 in House.”

More than a third of the House of Representatives’ members, all Republicans, have announced that they would rather shut down the government than fund the Affordable Care Act, designed to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. They claim that it’s “so unpopular and unworkable that it justifies extraordinary tactics to block it.”

Many of those congressmen are dogma-driven tea partiers, to whom the uninsured are either mere abstractions or lazy, irresponsible poor people. Buttressing those congressmen are the notorious billionaire Koch brothers and others who would turn American into a plutocracy.

Those people offer no alternative to Obamacare, because they don’t care about our enormous, national health-care problem; they’re interested only in destruction. Unarmed, wearing pinstriped suits, they’re the American version of al-Qaida.

Thomas Sanders