Looking back at the week in news

Taking issue with an issue in Merrimack’s school district

An agreement has been reached to allow drug-sniffing dogs at Merrimack High School, which is a great idea – if your goal is to keep drugs out of schools.

If your goal is to keep drugs out of students’ hands, well, then, not so much.

School Board student representative Zev Sernik said students “think it is a step in the right direction in terms of making our school a better environment for all of us.” And there’s no doubt school is a better environment without drugs.

The kids who do drugs will still be in school and the policy won’t address the issue of them using drugs outside the classroom.

While it’s dumb to do drugs, and dumb kids do drugs, smart kids also do drugs – and almost all kids are savvy at keeping, shall we say, “bad intentions” from their parents and other adults.

Resident Kristin Carillo came closer to it: “I’m not necessarily against the dog, but I feel like we could be doing more as a community to be helping these kids. Is our point to get drugs out of school, or protect kids from drug addiction?”

Notice she said “protect kids.” She didn’t say “punish the kids if they get caught.”

The real issue is why kids do drugs in the first place, and finding the answer begins at home. And the sooner that issue is addressed, the sooner there won’t be any need to have drug-sniffing dogs.

Senate takes the right step in treatment funding

The New Hampshire Senate this week approved a measure to put more money in the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund.

Even the oftentimes fiscally conservative members of the chamber have recognized the degree to which the state is fighting a substance abuse crisis, whether it is opioids or alcohol. This is not just throwing money at a problem – the state has studied this issue carefully over the past few years and is in a position to allocate resources wisely and effectively to get help to those who need it the most.

McMaster is the right choice to lead the country’s military

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, named by President Donald Trump to be his new national security adviser, has been described as “a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker.” That is precisely what the nation needs.

McMaster replaces Gen. Mike Flynn, who lost his job because he was not candid with Vice President Mike Pence regarding a discussion with a Russian diplomat. There is no reason to believe McMaster will make the same mistake.

One indication Trump made the right choice was the reaction on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers of both parties expressed pleasure with the decision.

McMaster is an excellent pick for several reasons. One is that Trump’s foes have made much of his inexperience in both foreign and military affairs. Pointing to his outspokenness, they also warn darkly he may get the United States into military trouble.

On a practical basis, it would have been difficult to do better. McMaster can offer balanced, informed, calm guidance on threats to U.S. security.

Perhaps even more important, forward-looking intellect is just what the defense establishment needs.

McMaster can help advise Trump in a manner calculated to have the United States prepared to fight the next war.

Sadly, both history and human nature make it clear that, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, there will be a next war.