Leader Blues

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

EDITORIAL >>Critics never serve

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette must surely win a Pulitzer Prize or one of the other gaudy journalism awards for exposing the Armyís early release of Maj. Paul Suskie, who volunteered but did not have to serve all of his second tour in the war zones.

In the judgment of the editor of the stateís largest newspaper, Suskieís premature departure from the Iraq combat zone was the most important news in the world Sunday morning.

It led the paperís front page and consumed 100 inches of newsprint.

Suskie returned this week to his job as chairman of the state Public Service Commission. He had barely assumed the job last year when he answered the call of the Army for a Judge Advocate General officer with the 39th Infantry Brigade in Iraq. Army lawyers apparently are hard to come by. Although he had already served a tour in Afghanistan, Suskie volunteered for another yearís duty and went off in January.

His commanding officer signed papers last month to cut his tour short. The newspaper described it as special treatment and a violation of military regulations, though the commander who signed the order said it was not uncommon for JAG officers because the Army hoped to encourage more Paul Suskies by truncating their assignments and rotating them home.

The newspaper said some soldiers who were denied early leave were sore when they heard that a JAG officer got to go home before his tour was over.

They may have some peeve about favoritism, but it needs to be said for Suskie that any honorable service on the killing streets of Iraq is done at momentous personal sacrifice and is worthy of our gratitude rather than censure.

In the prints of the metropolitan paper, however, no good deed shall go unpunished.