Editorial voices from U.S., elsewhere

February 8, 2013

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:

The Advertiser-Tribune Tiffin, Ohio

The only person to win the Tour de France seven times in a row admits to taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Baseball Hall of Fame voters – facing a ballot including one player who has admitted taking steroids plus three others whose qualifications are clouded by allegations of using banned substances – opt not to have a Class of 2013.

There is a distinction between athletes who violate rules against use of banned substances and those who flirt with breaking the law of gravity. Yet all have one thing in common – they risk their health in order to compete.

But that distinction is important. Competitors in many sports face the possibility of injury. From motorsports to mountaineering, those risks are accepted by participants and minimized as much as possible.

Those who violate rules against performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping not only cheat their fellow competitors, they cheat their spectators, also.

The New York Times

One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking. Republicans focused on Israel more than anything during his confirmation hearing, but they weren’t seeking to understand his views. All they cared about was bullying him into a rigid position on Israel policy. Enforcing that kind of orthodoxy is not in either America’s or Israel’s interest.

Hagel, a former Republican senator, has repeatedly declared support for Israel and cited 12 years of pro-Israel votes in the Senate. But that didn’t matter to his opponents, who attacked him as insufficiently pro-Israel and refused to accept any deviation on any vote.

The sad truth is that there is more honest discussion about American-Israeli policy in Israel than in this country. Too often in the United States, supporting Israel has come to mean meeting narrow ideological litmus tests. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that was formed as a counterpoint to conservative groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has argued for vibrant debate and said “criticism of Israeli policy does not threaten the health of the state of Israel.” In fact, it is essential.

The Telegraph, London

The forensic dramas that have become so popular on our TV screens in recent years have whetted the public’s appetite for this particularly morbid line in detective work, but the discovery of the skeleton of Richard III beneath a Leicester, England car park trumps any work of fiction. It ranks as one of the most dramatic archaeological discoveries of modern times.

A story that began more than five centuries ago with Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth Field has been concluded with the use of the most advanced techniques. The University of Leicester used archaeology, genealogical research, carbon dating and DNA-matching to conclude that the huddled skeleton with a twisted spine and severe head injuries is, beyond reasonable doubt, that of the last monarch of the House of York. One of the great mysteries of our history – the fate of Richard’s corpse – has been resolved.

This extraordinary work of historical detection would not have been possible a decade ago, because DNA technology was not well enough advanced. Nor would it have been possible in the years ahead, because the direct bloodline traced by Leicester’s researchers is going to die out. A monarch who has become a by-word for regal villainy – largely because of the effectiveness of the Tudor propaganda machine, aided and abetted by William Shakespeare – will now be re-interred. The last English monarch to die in battle, who was “killed fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies” in the words of one chronicler, deserves the fullest pomp and ceremony. We will never again have a chance to entomb a sovereign five centuries after his death.



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