Debris litters the front of Kabul Bank after a suicide...

Debris litters the front of Kabul Bank after a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 29, 2017. The district is home to many businesses, the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters. Credit: AP / Rahmat Gul

I read Lane Filler’s column about trying kindness, rather than bullets and bombs, to win over the combatants in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, etc. [“Try killing them with kindness first,” Opinion, Aug. 23].

Rather than finding it “appalling,” as one letter writer stated [“Ridiculous suggestion for war in Afghanistan,” Aug. 30], I was impressed with the idea.

We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years, and what has it gotten us? Billions of dollars spent, thousands of our best young people dead or wounded, and tens of thousands of Afghan citizens killed.

With North Korea, there is no viable military solution that would not entail the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Korean peninsula inhabitants. Letting the North’s citizens know what we routinely enjoy seems like a good idea to me.

There are many reasons to be appalled. A couple of recent examples: President Donald Trump equating the two sides in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the contempt for the rule of law shown by the president with his pardon of Joe Arpaio, a controversial former sheriff in Arizona.

Trying kindness to win over our adversaries is not appalling. It’s ingenious.

Carl Borruso, Valley Stream

Assess children and teachers fairly

The writer of the letter “Taxpayers need more data on local schools” [Aug. 30] missed the mark.

She states, “The opt-out movement’s intent was to eliminate teacher accountability while keeping the money coming in regardless of performance or results.”

That doesn’t sound like the view of the parents who are frustrated and taking a stand against having their children measured by an ill-conceived, sloppily administered test.

Tests based on the Common Core — or Next Generation Learning Standards, as they’re called now — should accurately and fairly reflect the students’ education as well as their teachers’ performances.

People want to see their money spent wisely and their children and teachers assessed fairly. That’s why they’re taking a stand.

John Higgins, Nesconset

Set up a 50-state disaster fund

With the increased frequency of catastrophic events like Hurricane Harvey, the time has come for a mandatory, 50-state disaster recovery fund [“Searching for more survivors,” News, Sept. 1].

One benefit would be to minimize the effects of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A 50-state fund could impose an income-based average surcharge of $25 to $100 yearly for each taxpayer. The money could be held by the federal government and released to states after a declaration of a federal emergency. This would create a budgetary mechanism for states to consider climate consequences — preserve natural barriers, build flood plains, relocate citizens, etc. — instead of relying solely on federal assistance to rebuild time and again.

The fund would also eliminate red tape in allowing for the immediate release of recovery dollars, allow states to take primary fiscal responsibility for their own weather events, permit loans or donations from other states and mitigate interstate bias.

Clifford D. Glass, East Rockaway

Transgender ban is a test for Mattis

President Donald Trump’s campaign against transgender members of the military is heating up as he stops new military transgender recruits [“Outcry over Arpaio deal,” News, Aug. 27]. He has given Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to figure out what to do about transgender soldiers already in the military.

If this issue gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, which may happen if transgender soldiers are not treated fairly, I believe the transgender troops will win.

We have to see whether Mattis is courageous enough to protect the rights of his own transgender troops who are serving our nation faithfully and bravely. If Mattis does not stand up to Trump and defend the rights of his own soldiers, he’s not a patriotic military leader.

Michael J. GormanWhitestone

Editor’s note: The writer is a Vietnam veteran and an attorney.

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