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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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How we treat our veterans, generally, and one in particular ...

A lot about veterans on the pundits’ radar today. Veterans in general, and one controversial soldier in particular.

Don’t point fingers, just fix the VA — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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"There are so many faults in the path that has led to the current disgraceful state of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers across the country that Congress is wise to order some immediate reforms rather than get bogged down in trading blame for how our nation came to such a sorry pass. ...

... Politicians who think government can’t do anything right, and those who think government should do just about everything, need to set aside those arguments. Because providing proper health care for our veterans is one thing our government must not only do, but do well."

A lot of editorials out there about the controversial return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. This first one, from a newspaper very near his hometown, may be the best.

Demonizing the Bergdahls — Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News Editorial

"The rush was on to blast the White House last week and congressional Republicans couldn’t care less who got hurt. But the fact that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his parents, Bob and Jani, were the collateral damage in the GOP’s ruthless campaign to lampoon President Obama is vile. ..."

— There is no litmus test on bringing home an American soldier — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

" ... Sgt. Bergdahl might be a quitter. For those on the right side of the political spectrum, those who wanted the president to do anything in his power to bring the American soldier home right up to the time when he did, it’s an accepted article of faith. Sgt. Bergdahl walked away from his base and into the hands of the waiting Taliban. His father’s long beard, grown in solidarity with his son the prisoner of war, is being pointed to as some sort of evidence of nefarious intent. Apparently, long beards on gay-bashing reality TV stars are OK. Dads growing them as a modern-day version of the yellow ribbon? Not so much. ..."

It’s time to focus on Bergdahl’s freedom — Robert Ehlert | The Idaho Statesman

"Though our posture at times has been to never negotiate with terrorists or the enemy, that is a black and white rule that ignores all the gray reality smothering and shrouding the bitter truths of war. Does such negotiation make Americans higher targets as hostages? That is a What-If world. Bergdahl was a captive in this world. ..."

Investigate Bergdahl thoroughly — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

" ... Bergdahl is a U.S. soldier. In this nation, we do everything we can to bring our soldiers home. We’re glad he was returned. That five Taliban leaders were freed in negotiations to bring Bergdahl home serves as evidence that we place a higher value on life than do our enemies in Afghanistan. Now that Bergdahl is safe, there needs to be a thorough investigation as to the circumstances of his capture and his behavior leading to it. If it is determined that evidence exists that he deserted, then he should be charged and face a military trial. If evidence exonerates him, he should be left in peace. ..."

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