Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Defense Department

Aug.
5th

Military can catalog World War I bombs but not medals?

This editorial, which will appear in Monday’s print edition, is an expanded version of an earlier blog posting.

For the last six years, Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson has been compiling a database listing every bomb the Air Force has dropped since World War I.

Sounds like a monumental mission, right? For World War II alone, he had to scan an estimated 10,000 pages of bombing reports.

Yet the Pentagon has long said that it would be too hard for it to compile another database – one listing medals given to service members. Such an online database would allow the media and individuals to verify claims many people falsely make regarding decorations they supposedly received.
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June
16th

Pentagon must overcome bureaucracy on PTSD diagnoses

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

It’s welcome news that the Department of Defense is expanding its review of post-traumatic stress syndrome diagnoses. That review will now date back to the 2002 start of the war in Afghanistan and include all branches of the military, not just the Army.

If recent reversals of many diagnoses made at Madigan Army Medical Center are any indications, too many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been wrongly told that they do not suffer from the disorder, affecting their ability to get treatment and receive disability benefits.

According to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray – who has been a pit bull on the subject of veterans’ mental health care – many soldiers whose diagnoses have been reversed said they were told “they were exaggerating their symptoms, lying and accused of shirking their duties.”
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Jan.
9th

State stands to weather storm of defense cutbacks

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The Obama administration’s plan to trim the defense budget by $487 billion over the next decade – about 8 percent – has some critics saying it cuts too deeply and others saying it doesn’t cut enough.

But hardly anyone is disputing that Washington state’s military facilities are as well poised as any to weather the cutbacks in the new age of austerity – and perhaps even benefit from them.

That’s because as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the Pentagon’s focus is shifting to threats along the Pacific Rim. For operations in that region, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the state’s naval bases in Everett and on the Kitsap Peninsula have a geographical advantage over just about any other state’s military installations. Read more »

June
29th

U.S. defense budget needs Gates-style scrutiny


Robert Gates

This editorial appears in Wednesday’s print edition.

The Cold War ended in 1980s after leaders of the Soviet Union realized they weren’t buying more security with unsustainable military spending – just more antagonism abroad and poverty at home.

The United States isn’t in the same hole, but a growing number of defense advocates – people who genuinely care about the nation’s military strength – are recognizing that something’s got to give.

Foremost among them is Robert Gates, who’s stepping down this week as secretary of defense. Serving under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Gates has skillfully outmaneuvered Pentagon power blocs to kill or curb immensely expensive weapons programs – the F-22 Raptor, example – designed to fight large conventional wars.
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