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President Donald Trump: ‘There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.’ (DOUG MILLS/NYT)
President Donald Trump: ‘There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.’ (DOUG MILLS/NYT)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 8: A red line in Syria. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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A red line in Syria

President Donald Trump, in responding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, has done what Barack Obama failed to do – namely, showing leadership and standing up to a brutal dictator (U.S. Fires Missiles On Syria, April 7).

In August, 2012, then-president Obama said that any use of chemical weapons by Mr. al-Assad or other players on the ground would be a red line, one that would force the Americans to act.

Mr. al-Assad called that bluff, Mr. Obama backed down, and the brutal Syrian regime escalated its tactics. Thousands have died since then.

In 2014, as the Canadian liaison officer to the American CENTCOM forward deployment to Jordan, I worked closely with the U.S. military leadership. Often, U.S. officers would tell me that Mr. Obama’s failure to act on Mr. al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons had destroyed U.S. credibility in the region and had left them scrambling to be militarily relevant.

Mr. Trump is being the president that Mr. Obama should have been.

David Morgan, Lieutenant-Colonel (retired), Ottawa

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In principle, I am opposed to Donald Trump’s unilateral use of force in Syria. In practice, I support it.

Ron Freedman, Toronto

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Justin Trudeau says Canada “fully supports” the United States’ “limited and focused” action to make it harder for Bashar al-Assad to launch chemical weapons attacks. How many times have we heard “limited” and “focused” applied to the West’s “interventions” (such a sanitized word) in the Mideast? How has that worked out in Iraq? In Afghanistan?

“Limited,” “focused” and “Donald Trump” do not belong in the same sentence together in “a part of the world where interventions often only seem to make things worse.” Frightening times for us all.

Amélie Simpson, Montreal

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Hockey’s battle of juggernauts

Cathal Kelly echoes the histrionics heard around much of the country (Isn’t This Our National Game? – April 7). From the National Hockey League’s perspective, it is essentially being asked to loan $3.5-billion worth of insurable assets to the International Olympic Committee, compress the season to accommodate the Olympics, shut down for two and a half weeks in the thick of the season’s homestretch when there is no major league baseball or NFL football, and expose itself to the risk of its best players getting injured while away – or burnt out later on.

The IOC expects the NHL to do all this out of a sense of charity and noblesse oblige in an effort to share the Olympic spirit and build the sport in Asia.

Further, Mr. Kelly thinks the NHL should go out of a sense of nation-building. The NHL generated $4.1-billion in revenue in 2015/16. The Rio 2016 Olympics got $4.1-billion just in broadcasting fees; this doesn’t include the $1.3-billion from sponsorship rights or tickets. These are two financial juggernauts, each jostling for position with an eye on the bottom line, and the NHL shouldn’t be blamed for making a smart business decision.

Jon Heshka, specialist in sports law, Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University

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Besides supplying an inferior product on a small ice surface that ensures regular fisticuffs, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has provided yet another reason to despise the NHL.

Dave Nonen, Victoria

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The big problem for the NHL during the Olympics will be that everyone will watch the Olympic tournament at the expense of the NHL. No matter who’s playing, it’s better hockey.

David Chalmers, Toronto

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Do-something doesn’t live here

Re Action Needed To Curb Toronto Housing Prices, Bank CEO Says (April 7): Toronto’s house prices reached a new level of absurdity recently when a house in the neighbourhood went on the market – asking price: $2,650,000. Less than a week later, it was relisted at $2,980,000, with the same agent.

A 12-per cent hike in one week. Madness? Greed?

When will our elected leaders get off their backsides, stop “studying” the issue and do something?

Fiorenza Hawryluk, Toronto

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Small, medium, large seat, sir?

I was with Christopher Elliott pretty much all the way last Saturday until I got to his Marie Antoinette moment, where he advises, “If you’re a large passenger, buy a second seat” (Whose Armrest Is It, Anyway? – Travel, April 1). All very well for those cake-eaters who can afford it, but if they can afford two seats, there’s a good chance they’d be in a different class already.

I’m 6 feet 4 inches, and not exactly stick-thin, but until being very tall is declared a disability and subsidized, I’m stuck in steerage. I’d like to suggest that instead, you recommend that passengers next to uncomfortably large neighbours take pity and try to ameliorate their unavoidable discomfort. I’ve had passengers in the seat ahead of me not only insist on reclining their seats, but actually ram my knees repeatedly, presumably in hopes of crushing my legs to gain a few extra degrees. Legs longer than the seat pitch provided have only one place to go: into the neighbour’s space. That’s not sprawl, it’s physics.

I would like to recommend that instead of the current punishingly costly options of buying a second seat or flying business class, that seating be sold by size: small, medium and large. This way passengers could sort themselves, paying incrementally different fares, commensurate with the additional seat pitch. Tall people, though still being penalized for something that’s not their fault, could at least have the option of paying a modest premium for their own comfort and that of other passengers.

Ken Straiton, Toronto

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