What others say

Posted: Thursday, August 02, 2001

Pentagon should not get more until it proves it can handle what it already

Few of even the wealthiest parents would provide a high-limit credit card to a son or daughter without a few restrictions on where and how that card may be used. But the Pentagon is not a parent, just a sugar daddy that must now contend with 10 million purchases and $9 billion in debt rung up on military credit cards.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, the fraud ranged from a soldier who spent $3,100 at a nightclub to an Army reservist's wife who went on a $13,000 shopping spree in Puerto Rico. One bank company has been forced to write off millions in fraudulent debts from military cards.

Before giving in to requests for a higher defense budget, Congress must demand that the Pentagon first show that it can properly handle what it already has.

-- Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio

July 30

Compassion needed in justice for juveniles

By the time Nathaniel Brazill, 14, of Florida serves his 28-year sentence in the shooting death of schoolteacher Barry Grunow, the world as we know it will be a very different place. Indeed, it may be hardly recognizable.

Who knows? By the year 2029, Americans could be driving solar-power automobiles, eating tofu burgers at McDonald's, vacationing in space, or marveling at the Cubs' third World Series victory in as many decades.

What we do know is that Nathaniel, if he survives the ordeal of a 28-year sentence without time off for good behavior, will never have had the opportunity to graduate with his peers, go to college, meet someone special and perhaps marry, have kids, and watch them grow up to be 14-year-olds.

Is that right or is that wrong? The answer is for us to decide. And we owe it to both the victims and the perpetrators to consider such questions with logic and compassion and not, as Nathaniel did, shoot from the hip.

-- Journal and Courier, Lafayette, Ind.

July 29

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