Editorial voices from U.S., elsewhere

February 1, 2013

Excerpts from editorials from around the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:

The Providence (R.I.) Journal

President Obama’s program to curb gun violence is eminently reasonable. How much will survive the lobbying of the gun manufacturing and sales industry working through the National Rifle Association is unknown. But most Americans seem to support the proposals.

These include restoring the ban on military-style assault guns, banning high-capacity ammunition clips (our favorite) and universal gun-buyer background checks for criminal records and mental illness. These things would require changes in laws. And, in our view, for the measures to work in the long run they may also have to be accompanied by local, state and federal gun-buyback programs. There are, after all, hundreds of millions of guns in the United States.

It will take years to get this problem under control, but that is no excuse to do nothing now.

The Telegraph, London

When we think of emigration, the image that comes to mind is of retirees fleeing to the sunshine after a lifetime of labor. But, this has long been an illusion. In fact, the vast majority of Britons who choose to pack their bags are in the prime of their lives – and are taking with them the skills that this country so badly needs.

Of course, worries about “brain drain” have been with us for almost as long as mass travel. In fact, it is greatly to Britain’s credit that its people have long possessed the wanderlust, the entrepreneurial spirit, to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Moreover, in a highly globalized age, when leading companies recruit and deploy their personnel irrespective of borders, it is hardly surprising that the numbers on the move have crept steadily upward.

At the same time, however, there is reason to be concerned both by the scale of the exodus and its composition. The fact that so many people of working age are departing has created gaps in the labor market that have had to be filled by arrivals from outside – accounting in part for the wave of newcomers that has done so much, in the years since 1997, to make immigration one of the public’s most pressing concerns. High emigration might help the government achieve its target to reduce net migration, but it will be a pyrrhic victory if we lose those we should be trying the hardest to retain.

Press-Gazette Green Bay, Wis.

For decades, women have served in the military, from support roles to service as medics and intelligence officers.

Through those years, women have been banned from frontline combat positions, instead relegated to brigade-level units often far from the front lines or more recently in roles unofficially attached to battalions.

Over time and with changing military conditions, it has become increasingly difficult to keep women in service out of combat, just as the definition of front lines has blurred.

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in combat, and President Barack Obama backed that call.

The decision, recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 19-year-old rule denying women a combat role. It opens 230,000 battlefront posts to females, with many of those posts in Army and Marine infantry units and in potentially elite commando jobs. Relying on “the great diverse strengths of the American people” will make our military stronger, Panetta said.

For ages, women have proven time and again, in ways large and small, that ability is not determined by gender. So in 2013, the basic statement that including women in a role traditionally held by men would only boost, not weaken, the efforts undertaken in that field seems archaic and unnecessary. But it is needed.

Many will still argue that simply allowing women in the military is enough; the added step of putting them in combat roles will only complicate things. But military roles are determined by a person’s skill and ability: Those qualified rise through the ranks. Those able to hold their own in combat situations, mentally and physically, are entrusted with serving on the front lines.

It’s about using the best personnel, whether they are male or female. Some women will be successful. Some will not. But all will have the opportunity.



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