To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I must take issue with Joan Vennochi’s column on Tuesday, Sept. 10 ("Sen. Courageous? Not Markey"). Because Sen. Ed Markey voted "present’’ and not "yes’’ or "no’’ on whether or not to go forward with military use of force in Syria, she claimed he "ducked’’ the first issue to come before him as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. It is my understanding that a present vote allows the member to hear further details on the vote before him. The senator may owe his thanks to John Kerry for his backing in the Senate race, but if he’s the man I voted for, he’ll vote his conscience and in the best interest of his constituency, not what someone else might approve of regardless of who it is.

Ms. Vennochi also criticized Elizabeth Warren who had said at the Labor Day Breakfast that she wanted to see more data and was concerned about "unintended consequences." I feel that both senators, Markey and Warren, are doing what we elected them to do and not making any rash decisions when it comes to using military force.

Does Ms. Vennochi not remember the vote to invade Iraq and consequences of that vote? I can still feel the sting of those not agreeing with President Bush being called unpatriotic. Many years and many, many lost lives later -- civilians and military -- we realize how wrong it was to invade Iraq.

I was relieved that President Obama decided to wait to see if the chemical weapons can be removed before using military action. We are in a precarious position and must move cautiously if we are to divert another disaster. I agree that if Syria is allowed to go forward using the weapons there could be universal consequences but for now we must be sure all options are discussed before using military action. I am greatly concerned should that happen.

CONNIE YANNONE

Pittsfield