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Editorial Roundup

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Excerpts from editorials around the nation

The Associated Press

The New York Times, March 29, on President Obama’s explanation for military involvement in Libya:

President Barack Obama made the right, albeit belated, decision to join with allies and try to stop Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering thousands of Libyans. But he has been far too slow to explain that decision, or his long-term strategy, to Congress and the American people.

On the night of March 28, the president spoke to the nation and made a strong case for why America needed to intervene in this fight — and why that did not always mean it should intervene in others.

Obama said that the United States had a moral responsibility to stop “violence on a horrific scale,” as well as a unique international mandate and a broad coalition to act with. He said that failure to intervene could also have threatened the peaceful transitions in Egypt and Tunisia, as thousands of Libyan refugees poured across their borders, while other dictators would conclude that “violence is the best strategy to cling to power.” ...

To his credit, Obama did not sugarcoat the difficulties ahead. While he suggested that his goal, ultimately, is to see Gadhafi gone, he also said that the air war was unlikely to accomplish that by itself.

Most important, he vowed that there would be no American ground troops in this fight.

...

Instead, he said the United States and its allies would work to increase the diplomatic and military pressure on Gadhafi and his cronies. ...

The president made the right choice to act, but this is a war of choice, not necessity.

Presidents should not commit the military to battle without consulting Congress and explaining their reasons to the American people. ..

The Denver Post, March 28, on the government-sponsored report about BP’s Macondo blowout preventer:

A recent report provided much-needed answers about how a critical piece of equipment failed to avert an oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now it should be easier for the United States to push forward with a reasonable and responsible offshore drilling program.

The government-sponsored report said the blowout preventer at BP’s Macondo well malfunctioned because surging oil and gas mangled a drill pipe, and emergency shears weren’t able to fully sever the pipe.

It is a conclusion that suggests a relatively straightforward solution: Design a better blowout preventer. ...

The Seattle Times, March 28, on Catholic sex-abuse scandals:

After decades of silence, deceit and settlements, the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandal might finally be headed where it truly belongs, U.S. criminal courts.

Church leadership has been granted extraordinary latitude in handling epic cases of sexual assault against children who put their innocence and trust in religious figures who violated them, sometimes for years. ...

Recently, a $166 million settlement was announced for victims abused by Jesuit priests on Northwest tribal lands and in remote Alaskan villages. ...

But real progress came across the country in Philadelphia, where a judge approved requests by the district attorney to move ahead in a case involving accusations of rape and conspiracy involving clergy, and a subsequent cover-up by a senior church official.

...

The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, March 25, on federal spending cuts:

If you’re looking for something positive in the federal government’s serious deficit, here is something.

There are plenty of places to cut in the federal budget.

The Government Accountability office recently released a report that identified nine specific ways to save up to $20 billion over time. Some of the reforms have already started.

And the GAO is being careful on this because some apparent duplication may not save money. Some careful thought is needed, a scalpel rather than an ax. Therefore, the GAO identified 81 different areas for examination. ...

The Center for American Progress highlighted defense spending and tax enforcement as worthy of further study. ...

One key suggestion is to get rid of unneeded federal property. A report by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., and others made it clear that $2 billion could be saved by selling at least 20 percent of underperforming federal real estate. In addition, leases should be renegotiated to take advantage of declining market rates. ...

If President Barack Obama wants to move to the political center, he ought to start an aggressive move immediately to cut back the size of the federal government.