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Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Wednesday - 9/11/2013, 2:20pm  ET

The Associated Press

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:

Sept. 9

The Times, Gainesville, Ga., on Mideast peace still elusive 12 years after 9/11 attacks:

Twelve years ago this Wednesday, we were suddenly and stunningly jolted from our naive notion that the world was a much safer place than we had led ourselves to believe.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took 3,000 lives and impacted millions more by jerking the blinders off our heads. So America saddled up, went to war in the Middle East, and eventually earned some measure of justice by taking down many al-Qaida leaders and sending the Taliban running into the hills.

Yet a dozen years later, the Middle East looks no more stable nor peaceful than it was in 2001. That leads many to wonder what U.S. policy should be in the region. It's a debate without a clear right or a left, nor easy answers, as the nation considers taking action in yet another turbulent locale, Syria.

The 9/11 attacks directly led to the U.S. military action in Afghanistan. That war has cost 2,200 American lives with success hard to measure, though the No. 2 U.S. commander there, Army Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, said last week he believes victory still can be won before forces withdraw at the end of 2014.

The terror attacks also indirectly led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq a year later, based on the belief Saddam Hussein's regime had supported the terrorists and amassed destructive weapons. Our nation committed more than 4,400 lives and billions of dollars in a divisive engagement that many still believe was a mistake ...

Now civil war in Syria pits Bashar Assad's government against revolutionaries seeking to add that country to the Arab Spring list of toppled dictators that included Libya's Gadhafi and Egypt's Mubarak. His armed forces' apparent use of chemical weapons in a recent battle has the Obama administration seeking "targeted, limited" airstrikes against some of his military sites.

If we learned anything from these messy Mideast uprisings it's that removing one group of bad actors doesn't lead to peace, stability and democracy -- usually just to a different group of equally bad actors who impose their own brand of oppressive rule and political retribution.

Online:

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com

___

Sept. 9

The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune on vexing U.N. vetoes:

Many Americans may be infuriated that Russia and China have signaled their readiness to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution that calls for intervention to punish Syria's use of chemical weapons in its brutal civil war.

According to U.N. rules, adopted in 1945 when the international organization was created, any of the five permanent members (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France) of the Security Council may veto any resolution brought before the council, thus preventing any action the other members may favor.

Critics believe that the U.N. founders made a terrible mistake in granting that veto power, and perhaps they're right. But it would be a serious mistake to think that the veto power doesn't serve American interests as well as those of our adversaries.

Over the years, the American ambassador to the U.N. has frequently exercised the right to cast a veto. ...

The first United States veto came in 1970 and dealt with a major crisis in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The United Kingdom, of which Rhodesia was once a colony, vetoed seven Security Council resolutions on that subject. Two years later, the United States cast the only veto on a resolution that was critical of Israel.

In fact, since 1972 the United States has been by far the most frequent user of the veto and nearly all the vetoes involved resolutions that were contrary to Israel's political interests. ...

Benjamin Ferencz, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II, suggested (in a recent letter to The New York Times) that in this case the Security Council should refer the matter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, "which is competent to penalize crimes against humanity." What he didn't say, however, is how the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, could be forced to face that court.

Still, the U.N., for its faults and machinations, does provide a useful if imperfect global platform for maintaining peaceful relations and providing humanitarian aid, as world leaders envisioned when it was formed at the end of World War II.

The United States should never allow its involvement to diminish its security or sovereignty, but the United Nations, vetoes and all, does serve a valuable purpose.

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