Editorial Roundup: War assistance: U.S. must consider security concerns

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The international rule of law has never been more important as war ravages Ukraine and now the Middle East. And that international law is only as good as nations’ ability to give it moral standing and enforceability.

That is where the United States must lead.

President Joe Biden made that case Thursday evening in a rare address from the Oval Office. Biden urged Americans to get behind his proposal to provide $105 billion in aid to Ukraine and Israel as conflagrations of war threaten to destroy those countries and their fragile democracies.

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The complexities of the Gaza-Israeli-Arab conflict over 70 years makes picking a side difficult, though Biden is right to tell Israel the United States supports it, as does a large swath of the American public. But it was equally important that Biden support the international rule that civilians cannot be targets in any conflict and withholding food, water and fuel from a war-torn population cannot be an acceptable strategy.

Biden was able to convince Israel to allow limited supplies from Egypt into Gaza. And he discouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from letting rage consume the Jewish population, noting the U.S. made some mistakes afterthe 9/11 attacks.

On Friday, Biden asked Congress for a $105 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and to help shore up the border, hoping the variety of the offering would draw wider and bipartisan political support. Some in Congress say assistance to Ukraine and Israel should be voted on separately as they are vastly different problems. That point is well-taken.

But the aid package can go nowhere until the House Republicans can elect a speaker after ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy more than two weeks ago. Every day these wars in Ukraine and the Middle East continue without U.S. aid, the more we risk a collapse of democracy in key places around the world.

We would urge Congress to approve the aid packages in whatever way is most expedient. Losing democratic friends means we face more autocratic enemies. Democracy is fragile, as we can see, and the falling of democracies would be historic but also catastrophic.

— Mankato Free Press, Oct. 22

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Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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