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A fateful phone call and the fallout in Turkey
Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
A graffiti of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is seen on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.
A graffiti of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is seen on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. [ LEFTERIS PITARAKIS | AP ]
Published Oct. 16, 2019

The fallout from one phone call

Trump’s Syria mess | Another voice, Oct. 16

In what is being called the biggest foreign policy blunder since President George W. Bush’s wrongheaded invasion of Iraq in 2003, President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. Special Forces troops from Syria, supposedly in accordance with his stated desire to lessen American involvement in Mideast conflicts. Their departure has exposed our Kurdish allies to an onslaught by the powerful Turkish military, forcing them to seek an alliance with Syria’s dictator, Bashar al Assad, in order to survive.

All this and more, including the immediate expansion of Russian and Iranian influence in the region, reportedly resulted from a phone call between Trump and Turkish autocrat Recep Erdogan without consultation of any kind with America’s regional or European allies.

The foregoing notwithstanding, Trump has just ordered an additional thousand troops to Saudi Arabia to help protect its oil field installations from Iranian attacks. All but forgotten now — and hopefully not to be repeated — is a 1996 truck bomb attack on an American military housing complex known as Khobar Towers located near the headquarters of the Saudi National Oil Co. The attack, perpetrated by Hezbollah al Hejaz, a radical group allied with Iran, killed 19 U. S. airmen and injured nearly 500 people. As the saying goes, “Welcome to the Middle East,” an extremely dangerous and complex region about which Donald Trump is famously ignorant except when it comes to his personal financial interests there.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

A teddy bear as a reminder

Routine morning turns to tragedy | Oct. 16

An 18 month-old girl died after being left in a car Monday. No charges are expected, police say.
An 18 month-old girl died after being left in a car Monday. No charges are expected, police say. [ WFTS | Courtesy of ]

The tragic story about the child left behind in the car dying from heat exposure is not rare. People are busy and juggling multiple responsibilities and can forget that their baby is in the back seat. Out of sight, out of mind.

Here’s a suggestion that costs little. Put a teddy bear in the child seat. Then when you put the child in the seat, take the bear up front with you and put it in your lap. When you arrive at your destination, the bear will remind you of your special cargo in the back. Then simply get your baby out and put the bear back in the seat.

David Beaven, Clearwater

Neither is above the law

First up, current events | Oct. 16

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is flanked by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., left, and Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, as he speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is flanked by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., left, and Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, as he speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) [ JOHN MINCHILLO | AP ]
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As the Democratic presidential candidates debated, they were all saying no one is above the law, referring to President Donald Trump. But how about the people who illegally enter our country? They welcome them in. Why are they above the law?

James Molloy, Pinellas Park

Please show the IRS in

Trump’s lawyers ready for Supreme Court in fight over tax records | Oct. 16

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump [ PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS | AP ]

I saw a memorable cartoon years ago titled “Portrait of an honest man.” It shows a man at his desk and the secretary who says, “The IRS to see you, sir.” He replies “Have them come in.” President Donald Trump should do the same. It would go a long way to solving his distrust issues with voters. He could provide a moment of clarity and silence his opponents by voluntarily providing his tax returns.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

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