Editorial voices from around the U.S.

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


The Journal Inquirer of Manchester (Conn.)

In his recent book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” Robert Gates, former secretary of defense under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, makes pertinent observations on our defense policy.


Oddly enough, Gates’ primary problem is not with our allies or the defense bureaucracy but with our legislators, both House and Senate members.


Gates was constantly belabored with requests on the part of their constituents – not lowly individuals who have one vote, but business owners represented by lobbyists whose primary interest is not American defense but how they can profit from doing business with the Department of Defense.


Gates’ efforts to enhance efficiency and lower costs were hampered by the demands of these legislators, whose power was exercised in committee meetings and budget decisions.


Gates’ observations on Russia and Vladimir Putin also are intriguing. He felt that Putin’s predecessor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, was realistic about Russia’s internal problems and its relationship with the West, and was more willing to closely align with the West.


Gates’ feelings toward Putin are worth quoting, especially given the recent happenings in Ukraine: “Putin’s lust for power led him to shoulder Medvedev aside and reclaim the presidency. I believe Putin is a man of Russia’s past, haunted by lost Empire, lost glory, and lost power. … As long as he remains in office, I believe Russia’s internal problems will not be addressed.”


Our country needs more people like Robert Gates serving in government. But the political stalemate between our major parties prevents many capable people from serving our country.


Harrison (Ark.) Daily Times

H.L. Mencken would have loved the Discovery Channel’s newest reality show.


The noted Baltimore newspaperman on more than one occasion ridiculed Arkansas in his columns, referring to it as “the miasmatic jungles of Arkansas” and stating that “Arkansas is perhaps the most shiftless and backward state in the whole galaxy.”


Discovery’s latest offering to the already overcrowded airwaves would no doubt get a big thumbs up from the Sage of Baltimore.


“Clash of the Ozarks” perpetuates the image of Arkansas as a stronghold of unsophisticated, congenitally violent, probably inbred hillbillies and rednecks. The series features the usual moonshinin’, driving around in pickup trucks and folksy observations.


Despite all the cultural advancements made within our state, much of the rest of the country will still tune in to “Clash of the Ozarks” and believe it to be a true picture of Arkansas.


The show will keep alive the image of, as Mencken put it, Arkansas as “the apex of moronia.”


The Providence (R.I.) Journal

On March 5, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner cited her Fifth Amendment protection against incrimination in refusing for the second time to testify before Congress about what role she played in the IRS’s targeting of certain groups, particularly conservative ones, before the 2012 election.


It is hard to know what crime she thinks she committed, since neither the administration nor the Justice Department has indicated any laws were broken. Indeed, President Obama said in a recent interview “there was not even a smidgen of corruption.” He said the scandal simply revolves around “a 501(c)4 law people think is confusing” and that “folks did not know how to implement.”


Both parties should cooperate to get to the bottom of the IRS matter. This should not be reduced to the standard Washington partisan squabble, because Americans have a stake in making sure that powerful agency is not politicized.


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