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Summary of recent North Carolina newspaper editorials


Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers:

Dec. 10

News and Record, Greensboro, on Partisan lawsuit:

Gov. Pat McCrory ran off to Texas last week to join its Republican attorney general in a lawsuit against the federal government over immigration. He left North Carolina's attorney general behind.

Texas AG Greg Abbott is a lawsuit animal. "I go into the office, I sue the federal government, and I go home," he once quipped to a Tea Party group.

He was only half-kidding. As attorney general, he's filed more than 30 lawsuits against the federal government. Most of the suits challenge actions by the Environmental Protection Agency. Other targets include the Dodd-Frank Act, fishing rules, abortion funding and, of course, Obamacare.

The latest suit claims Obama's executive order granting temporary legal status to some illegal immigrants, if they register and agree to pay taxes, is unconstitutional because it fails to carry out laws passed by Congress.

Governors or attorneys general from 17 states joined Abbott's suit. McCrory, a Republican, was one of those governors, but he didn't ask N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper to go along — or even let him know. Cooper is a Democrat..

However, when asked later by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to participate, Cooper declined, expressing concern "that a partisan lawsuit adds to the divisiveness that has prevented meaningful immigration reform in the first place." He's right ...

A better course for McCrory would be to urge North Carolina's Republican congressional delegation to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, as employer groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce support. Even in the unlikely event a lawsuit were successful, the problem would still exist.

North Carolina's governor should contribute to a solution, not more obstruction.



Dec. 10

Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer on the 18th Airborne:

They boarded the plane Monday afternoon and said goodbye to the country where some of them had worked on and off since 2002.

As many of them told Observer military editor Drew Brooks who traveled with them, the country that U.S. troops from Fort Bragg left behind this week does not resemble the place they knew just a few years ago.

In the words of Gen. John F. Campbell, commanding general of the International Security Assistance Force and the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, their work constituted "a lynchpin of our success and a hub around which our campaign has turned."

The Afghans have conducted two national elections and seen a peaceful transfer of power.

As the troops return home, they are confident that their security measures bought the Afghan people the time they needed. It was well-used with many lessons learned and new responsibilities accepted.

"The big difference obviously is the Afghans and what they've done since then," said Col. Tim Watson, as he reflected on the difference from 12 years ago. "It's really great to see progress and see the Afghans largely leading everything."

The 18th Airborne Corps led the way in Afghanistan as the first three-star command there in 2002. It now departs as remaining U.S. forces take on an advisory role. In between many units from Fort Bragg contributed to the effort.

"The mission has certainly been complex, difficult and dangerous," said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, who is commander of the corps and Fort Bragg. "This country is safer and more prosperous than before."

As they leave one country, they return to another, their own.

There's no shortage of pride in Fort Bragg and Fayetteville for what all of our troops have done in Afghanistan ...



Dec. 9

News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, on the CIA:

Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has not been hit again. But the United States — both the nation and the ideal it represents — has been hurt time and again. There's the damage of the protracted and increasingly pointless war in Afghanistan, the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, the disgraceful treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the endless confinement without trial of inmates at Guantanamo and the NSA's monitoring of Americans.

But of all that was done in the name of protecting the nation, the most damaging was something that the government would not admit: the extent and the details of the brutal and often illegal torture imposed by the CIA and its contractors on 39 of 119 detainees thought to have knowledge of terrorist activities and plans.

Now we know. A summary released Tuesday of a Senate Intelligence Committee report said the CIA's treatment of terrorism suspects was more painfully grotesque than previously admitted. Some detainees were deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, were subjected to near drowning by water boarding, were given medically unnecessary "rectal hydration" or "rectal feeding," endured forced nudity and sexual threats and were shackled in pitch-black cells as loud noise and music blared. And, the Senate report suggests, these methods carried out in secret prisons abroad produced little information of value despite the claims of CIA officials and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Furthermore, the CIA itself determined that at least 26 detainees were wrongfully held ...

As terrible as the disclosures are, the release of the summary of the 6,000-page report despite resistance by the CIA and members of the George W. Bush administration is a positive and reassuring event. If some deserted American values in the name of security, the democratic system was responsive to the nation's conscience. What happened shamed the nation. That it has been revealed by the U.S. Senate is a vindication that the United States is a nation of laws, committed to justice and willing to admit and learn from those times when it acts contrary to its history and its ideals ...

What's needed now is to codify in law President Obama's 2009 executive order banning torture. There should also be a searching review of the CIA's mission. The agency is supposed to gather intelligence, but it has become increasingly militarized and unaccountable, a force that seems to create more risks than it detects. The prospect of such a review, however, appears remote with Republicans taking control of the Senate in January. North Carolina's Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who will serve as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said recently, "I personally don't believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly."

We hope the response to the report made public at last by the committee's outgoing chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will persuade Burr to take a more open approach to ensuring that the spy agency's behavior does not violate the values of the nation it serves. As Feinstein said in the report's introduction, "The major lesson of this report is that regardless of the pressures and the need to act, the intelligence community's actions must always reflect who we are as a nation, and adhere to our laws and standards."


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