Dana Milbank on the Tour We Should Be Watching. While Sarah Palin rides a bus "emblazoned with her name in three-foot letters," Dana Milbank writes that "there is a tour underway that highlights the great things about America, but it isn’t Palin’s." Robert Gates, defense secretary to presidents George W. Bush and Obama, whose work over the past four years "has dramatically improved the state of the U.S. military," is on a tour of Asia and Europe where he "is receiving the gratitude of soldiers and the acclaim of allies." Compare Gates and Palin. "Gates... took on sacred weapons programs at the Pentagon, fired ineffective generals, won the surge in Iraq, revived a crumbling war effort in Afghanistan and got Osama bin Laden. During that same time, Palin quit midway through her term as Alaska governor, then went on to a life of $100,000 speaking fees, reality TV shows and incendiary political speech." While both call themselves Republican, the "dueling tours of Gates and Palin show the best and worst in American public life... It says something about the infirmity of our politics that Gates can’t wait to go home while Palin is again being taken seriously as a prospective presidential candidate."
The New York Times Editors on the Global Response to Syria. The Editors at the New York Times cite just how bloody the revolution in Syria has been. "Human rights groups believe that more than 1,000 protesters have been killed in a three-month crackdown and that 10,000 more have been arrested." The murder of the 13-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb and "at least 30 other children who joined the protests show the depths to which Mr. Assad and his thugs have sunk." But while the United States and Europe imposed sanctions — mostly travel bans and asset freezes — on certain key regime officials, only later did they add Assad to the list. Some "American and European officials still buy the fantasy that Mr. Assad could yet implement reforms." Moreover, the United Nations Security Council is "unable to muster the votes to condemn the bloodshed much less impose sanctions," which the Times calls "appalling." Opposition comes from Russia, "cynically protecting longstanding ties with Damascus," and China "has fallen in lockstep." If Russia and China, which have veto power, can’t be won over, the "United States and Europe must push a robust sanctions resolution and dare Moscow and the others to side with Mr. Assad over the Syrian people."