Cumberland Times-News

Z_CNHI News Service

September 17, 2013

EDITORIALS: Strikes averted, for now / Open letter to Vladimir Putin

(Continued)

Syrian president Bashar Assad initially denied even having chemical weapons, and then his foreign minister says, ‘Well yes we do, and by the way, we want them under international supervision. And we’ll sign the pact barring use of such weapons, something we’ve resisted for years.’

Vladimir? Come on. Give us a little credit here. We’ve seen the Wizard of Oz too and won’t fall for that “man behind the curtain” ruse.

But frankly the one area you may want to revisit is your chiding us for our feeling of being exceptional. You say it is “extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. … We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

Does this view mean we’re all created equal, including gays and lesbians? Does this mean you are standing down your enforcement of anti-gay propaganda laws? Or you will release the members of Pussy Riot from the penal colonies where they have been imprisoned for “hooliganism” after performing a punk prayer? Or maybe you’ll release Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who blew the whistle on Kremlin insiders who profited by defrauding the Russian government of $200 million taxes only to end up in prison?

Yeah, we’re still feeling pretty exceptional, because while we have our faults, we have the freedom to complain about them without fear of imprisonment or worse. And people are still knocking on our door to enjoy our freedoms. How about you?

But getting back to your op-ed piece, we’re glad you are open to engaging in constructive dialogue. We hope you will extend that courtesy to our foreign diplomats who are looking to end the bloodshed and gassing of Syrians.

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