Time to extract ourselves from that futile war on IS
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Time to extract ourselves from that futile war on IS

The idea that Australia should decide to participate in dropping bombs on Syria is truly appalling. Even if it were not legally dubious, it is absolutely the last straw. As Christians down through the ages could testify, the more a movement is persecuted the more vigorously it spreads. So exactly how is bombing going to set back this "death cult"?

The only possible reason for our participation in a campaign which will doubtless cause unimaginable terror for the innocent people, is a craven fear of lessening even slightly the perceived protection of the US alliance. How utterly shameful.

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Both sides of politics need to call a halt now. Far from becoming more deeply involved in this futile war, we should be seeking every possible way to extract ourselves.

Lyn Kalbar, Latham

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Fears understood

I have been following recent coverage of the Majors Creek gold mine proposal and growing tension between its proponents and those concerned with the risks of long-term poisoning of water catchments from future escaping cyanide and its derivatives.

I can't take my mind off a nearby river catchment on the western side of the divide where, in spite of retroactive measures, many kilometres of river and its wildlife remained poisoned for decades.

I can understand the growing fears of Braidwood district folk if they too have Captains Flat and the Queanbeyan River in the backs of their minds.

Noel Haberecht, Ainslie

Taxing task

Thank you T.J. Marks (Letters, April 27) for outlining the difficulties of using the MyGov site. This has been my experience also.

Last year I spent days trying to complete tax returns for my husband and I, and was totally frustrated with the multiple password requirements which had to be re-figured for each of us every time I tried to go back in, to complete the task.

The business of being able to have two people living together at the one street address but denied the same email address was a real crunch. This year, I just down-loaded the paper forms – filled them in with biro and posted them snail mail, with much less stress and it only took me an hour!

Pat Mascord, Monash

Rocking the boat

Donald Trump ("Trump ejects Hispanic news anchor", August 27, p7) will almost certainly prove to be a disaster for the world if elected US president. But then we can be 100per cent sure of such disaster if either of the hand-picked establishment candidates, Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton, get "elected" instead. In the meantime, it is obvious why Americans are flocking to Trump's banner – he is so refreshingly unscripted.

That at least is the one benefit of a system which only allows billionaires to run for office – occasionally, one of them (Ross Perot was another) shows themselves to be unconcerned about their cushy parliamentary pensions by actually rocking the media-managed boat.

Chris Williams, Griffith

Lunatic scheme

There must be a couple of powerful stand-over megalomaniacs operating within ACT Community Services Directorate and the Land Development Agency, if the proposed redevelopment of public housing land near the Red Hill shops is anything to go by ("Government accused of trying to 'maximise cash' from units", August 24, p1).

Their lunatic scheme for this tiny local centre (not even a group centre like Manuka, let alone a town centre like Woden) would see the number of flats there increased from 144 to an outrageous 600 (a third of that would seem to be too many) or so, and the building height increased from two to a beetling out-of-character seven storeys. What happened to proper responsible planning? The Red Hill shops precinct is not at all well connected up to arterial access roads etc (look at long-suffering Dalrymple Street), making it hardly the place for mega residential intensity. Chief Minister Barr, you've got to put a stop to this blatant profiteering now.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Oh, to be Bond

David Ellery ("The safer Canberra travel alternative", Gang-gang, Augusts 27, p8) is right on target regarding bad drivers. He only misses slightly with his choices of vehiclesto cope with them. The ideal vehicle is the Aston Martin DB that James Bond used in Goldfinger. Fast, beautiful and equipped with machine guns, tyre slashers and the ability to lay an oil slick.

Many times I have gripped imaginary trigger on my steering wheel when, coming in a line of traffic to a passing lane on the open road at 80km/h, the slowpoke at the front has speeded up to 100km/h, thus preventing the cars behind from legally catching and passing him.

Paul O'Connor, Hawker

Energy targets

H. Ronald (Letters, August 26) asked whether coal-fired power stations could be shut down if the ACT meets its renewable-energy target. No. You have to read the fine print. (That's why, in an earlier letter, I described the renewable-energy target as a high-quality lie). Coal-generated electricity will still be needed, but will be traded for renewable energy generated at times when there is more than the ACT needs. This strategy can only work for a relatively small consumer connected to a larger grid. For example, it wouldn't work for Hawaii, which has a target of 100per cent renewable electricity by 2045.

Hawaii has no local sources of oil, gas, or coal, and has by far the highest cost of electricity in the USA. This tends to make renewable energy more financially viable there.

Mike Dallwitz, Giralang

Lost opportunity

Tragically your story "Indigenous agony at lost babies" (August 26, p1) is a missed opportunity. It could have easily provided retrospective insight into the so-called Stolen Generations of the early 20th century, yet it's devoid of details explaining why Indigenous babies in Canberra are 20 times more likely to be taken into care than non-Indigenous infants.

It's what's behind the enforced removal of Indigenous children from their parents that Australians need to understand. Presumably it's not a policy based on race so there must be something else involved.

Exactly what is the reason for the disproportionate number of interventions, and could it have been a similar root cause that prompted action by our forebears 70-100 years ago?

Bob Thompson, Belconnen

Tram vote needed

It is time for a referendum on the Canberra tram. Given the huge cost (financial and disruptive) of the project to be borne by all, but of limited benefit to only a few, and the waste of public money if the project is canned after the next election, it simply does not make any sense for the Barr government to proceed without a strong community consensus.

If it wants to proceed with the project ahead of the election, then the referendum should be held as soon as possible before any further work is done. Otherwise, let work be deferred until a referendum is held at the time of the election. Given the special nature of this project, huge cost/ limited benefit, the matter should not be decided by the outcome of the election. It deserves to be decided in its own right.

B. Blackburn, Chapman

A walk in the sun

As Simon Corbell prepares to walk into the sunset, he demands Gungahlin's public transport commuters walk into the sunrise ("Trams good for the heart, minister says", August 27, p3). Apparently studies show tram users will walk slightly further to get on and off than bus users.

You know they've reached the bottom of the barrel when walking 100 extra metres gets included among rationales for a tram costing ratepayers $1billion. To guarantee that fabulous gain he'll probably eliminate Gungahlin-to-City bus services: forcing them to get to and from his central tram terminus somehow.

You have many way of making them thin, Simon. Legislate plain packaging (with disease-pictures) for cream buns, crisps and fizzy drinks. But while sufficiently fascist, you're just not that interested? The tram's expensive Green symbolism and triumphalism, right? On our dime.

Manson MacGregor, Amaroo

Ads unwelcome

Canberra Airport's owners are obviously committed to improving the health of children and the disadvantages through their family foundation. Yet their terminal hosts advertisements by weapons manufacturers whose products contribute to the death and disadvantage of children in war. I wonder if the Snows have noticed the disconnection. I find these advertisements offensive, for all the reasons Joan Beaumont ("Welcome to armament city", Times2, August 26, p1) states, and would rather see more welcoming ones.

Peter Tait, O'Connor

Congratulations to Joan Beaumont for her excellent article on war machine posters at Canberra airport.

My friends and family always remark on how offensive the ads are when they come through Canberra airport and I dare not send my overseas visitors through our airport. We don't provide a free market for gun purchase, cyber paedophilia and other markets harmful to humans, so why should the sale of war weapons be subject to a free market. Take a look at how well armed Islamic State is with these Western "free market" weapons. These ads truly normalise war.

Penny Lockwood, Weetangera

Wake up, Farah

Question: How can a football club have salary cap issues and be currently dead last on the ladder? Answer: Bad management.

Question: If a football player is out of form where do you put him? Answer: Reserve grade.

Wake up, Robbie Farah ("Agent attacks Tigers over Farah move", Sport, August 27, p24). It's a real world. Swallow your pride, play reserve grade and win your spot back. Mr Natali Rech, Yarralumla

TO THE POINT

PUT IT IN JARGON

Translating the "national reform summit" into the local dialect: The rise in GDP despite the GFC, and a shiny FTA with the PRC, masks real falls in the MFP, caused by over-emphasizing the AEC.

But without a courageous PMO, receipts will fall for the ATO, creating future headaches for HMG, highlighted gleefully no doubt by the ABC.

Julian Murray, Griffith

WORTH THE WAIT

I knew if I waited long enough Joe Hockey would say something sensible ("Hockey to lead bipartisan push for a republic", canberratimes.com.au, August 26).

Robyn Lewis, Raglan, NSW

DAMASCUS MOMENT

Seems like Tony Abbott is not the only one keen to tread the road to Damascus ("Julia Gillard changes mind to support same-sex marriage", canberratimes.com.au, August 27).

John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW

NOT DOING ENOUGH

Thanks to Richard Moore ("Aussie aid fraud beat-up taps into prejudice", Times2, August 26, p5) for redressing the nonsense from News Limited.

I agree with him that "we are just not doing enough to deliver deep linkages with countries in the region".

Peter Graves, Curtin

ARMS ADS UNWELCOMING

Joan Beaumont ("Welcome to Armament City", Times2, August 26, p1) is compelling in her argument that defence advertisements at Canberra Airport are inappropriate and should be taken down. They reinforce the Abbott government's message that war and the expanding national security state are normal and beyond critique, and are unwelcoming to visitors.

Dr Niki Francis, Barton

Arms ads in the airport? It's sinister.

Dr Vida Viliunas, Deakin

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).

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