Editorial voices from the U.S., elsewhere

August 23, 2013

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

The Sacramento Bee

The military coup that toppled former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s Islamist government has proven as destructive to the nation’s hopes of democracy as the regime it replaced.

In a government-backed bloodbath on the streets of Cairo, government forces demolished two camps set up by pro-Morsi demonstrators. Hundreds were killed and thousands injured when soldiers fired live rounds into crowds of civilians, snipers targeted protesters and pro-Morsi militants killed police officers and others.

As too often is the case, President Barack Obama’s response was timid. Again, the president stopped short of naming the takeover and crackdown a coup, and did not use what little leverage he has to ward off more carnage.

The stakes in Egypt are too high for the United States to tiptoe around its heavy-handed involvement in arming what has turned out to be yet another repressive regime. The Egyptian military’s actions have shown in horrifying detail that American dollars are indeed at work in Egypt. Less clear is whether any of the aid is being used to support, as President Obama said, “a future of stability (in Egypt) that rests on a foundation of justice and peace and dignity.”

The United States’ financial support of Egypt’s military has shown little ability to curb the interim government’s abuse of its citizens. Aid can be as much a carrot as a stick, and President Obama has to be willing to use it as such.

Kansas City Star

America’s metaphorical melting pot simmers on, despite some misguided efforts to put a lid on it.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers fresh proof of the nation’s linguistic diversity with a new mapping tool and report that show roughly where people who speak a language other than English in the home live.

Nationally, the percentage of people 5 years and older who speak a language other than English at home is on the rise. About one in five now do, but more than half of them also speak English “very well.” The portion of Americans who do not speak English very well has held steady in recent years at only 8.7 percent.

The Census Bureau’s map offers more than trivia. Communities can use the data to plan language services from translators who help emergency responders to English proficiency programs to library acquisitions. Government’s job is to serve all residents, not just the ones who speak a preferred language.

More important, anyone can use the map to see that non-English speakers are among us. They are our neighbors throughout this great land.

We should not turn our backs on them just because they do not speak English very well.

The Guardian, London

Compared with the announcement in June in which the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, declared his government’s intention to press charges against Pervez Musharraf for treason, Tuesday’s court indictment against the former military ruler for murder in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a sideshow. Few analysts believe there is hard evidence linking Musharraf to Bhutto’s murder, although a UN report concluded that he failed to make serious efforts to ensure her safety. The treason charges, if they materialize, are a different matter, as the legal case that he subverted the constitution when he imposed emergency rule in late 2007 is relatively easy to make.

Musharraf already faces charges in four cases related to his period of rule. One way or another, it amounts to the same thing: putting a once untouchable general on trial. Musharraf was ill-advised to return to Pakistan, where his political support has evaporated and where he spends his time under house arrest. Even with a new army chief and chief justice, Sharif will have to balance the demand to seek justice for emergency rule, with the needs of a military that remains the most powerful institution in the land. A presidential pardon for Musharraf, if convicted, could be one way out. Establishing the rule of law is going to take somewhat longer.



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