Trump stands up to Syria

No one has been more critical and opposed to the policies of President Trump than me. In the aftermath of his strike on Syria ("U.S. missiles hit Syrian base," Friday), I stand with our president and will not second-guess his actions.

The atrocious gassing and torturous deaths of innocent Syrian civilians, including children, was a war crime. There is no question that it was perpetrated by the Syrian government, as it has done before. It had to be addressed. It left a no-win situation for leaders who were repulsed by it.

The Syrian morass demonstrates the importance of maintaining good relations with our allies, because we will need their help in situations such as this, so that the civilized world speaks with one voice.

I thank the president for demonstrating that a nation such as ours will not stand idly by as barbaric behavior is perpetrated.

|Oren M. Spiegler, Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Get the facts before attacking

Without definitive proof or congressional approval President Trump launched yet more destruction on a devastated country. A more-reasoned approach would have called for an independent international investigation. But, then he couldn't have diverted the attention from the investigation into possible Republican/Russian interference in the 2016 elections. So, as he sheds tears over Syrian children (though banning them from the United States), he systematically cuts laws and regulations that protect American children from poisoned air, water, and food.

One commentator reasoned that the timing for the chemical attack was specious in that the war in Syria has turned in favor of the Assad regime, the truce was still functioning, and a political meeting was scheduled. It also followed the sending of 500 U.S. troops into Syria without congressional authorization.

|Aaron Libson, Philadelphia

McConnell's short memory

Mitch McConnell is shameless. The Senate majority leader accused Democrats of bringing the august deliberative chamber to "a new low" in forcing him to trigger the so-called nuclear option, ending traditional Senate minority filibusters, and giving the Supreme Court keys to the inmate majority and letting them run the asylum ("Senate showdown," Tuesday).

He had the temerity to suggest that "history will be watching" the Democrats. If impartial history is paying attention, it will also be staring balefully at McConnell and his "they did it" pointed finger. Just ask President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, Judge Merrick Garland, what he thinks. It will be the first hearing he gets.

|Kenneth M. Foti, Malvern, kfoti36@yahoo.com

Ways to stop 'testilying'

The Inquirer special report ("Tangled justice: Rise of 'testilying," April 2) is an important reminder that we need a better way to assess truthfulness and reexamine old convictions. But readers concerned about "testilying" must distinguish between lies resulting from pressure and fear and lies arising from a desire to convict.

Some witnesses accurately reveal that a suspect committed a crime and then lie in court because of fear of retaliation. Others lie when they tell police a suspect committed the crime because of pressure from police. But police lies are a byproduct of what the Supreme Court once called being "engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."

Taping of witness interviews in serious cases will reduce fights in the courtroom over what was said and the likelihood of a witness being subject to undue police pressure.

But police testilying? A cultural change among police and prosecutors is an essential first step; use of cameras by police to record criminal investigations is a second one; and diligent defense counsel, going to the scene where police claim events occurred to test visibility, a third.

|Jules Epstein, professor of law, Temple University, Philadelphia

Wage history is discriminatory

On Tuesday, women rallied across the country - and in Harrisburg - for equal pay. On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce took a stand against wage equality by announcing a lawsuit against the city to allow employers to grow profits on the backs of women ("Chamber will sue over pay measure," Thursday).

April 4, 2017 symbolizes the day when women on average will be paid as much as men were paid by Dec. 31, 2016. The wage gap exists. Only bias fully explains it. Legal protections are not working. Legal reform is needed, and Philadelphia has taken the lead by enacting a ban on employers from asking job applicants for salary history, starting next month. But the Chamber is intent on undoing the new law.

Wage history is irrelevant to an employee's value. It only perpetuates pay discrimination. Employers have other valid factors, such as education and experience, to consider when evaluating employee pay.

|Terry L. Fromson, managing attorney, Women's Law Project, Philadelphia, tfromson@womenslawproject.org