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Considering the lengthy history of “false flag” incidents laid out in Stephen Kinzer’s “Hoisting the false flag” (Ideas, April 29), it’s important to question the truth of the chemical attacks in Syria. In an interview on CNN, Senator Rand Paul said, “I still look at the attack and say, you know, [Bashar al-Assad] either must be the dumbest dictator on the planet or maybe he didn’t do it.” The people of this country have been lied into war many times. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, which led to escalation in the Vietnam War, and misleading reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before 2003 are other examples of dishonesty by our government to garner support for war.

Unfortunately, I feel we’re striking at a branch rather than the root of the problem. The use of chemical weapons, whoever the culprit, is deplorable. But is that the issue in question? We are not at war with Syria, nor has Congress authorized the presence of our forces there. Yet thousands of our soldiers remain in Syria. Why? How is that legal?

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The false flag that concerns me most is the one we’ve hoisted ourselves. It’s the flag of empire.

Brian Garvey

Brighton