NY Times editorial:
After so many years in Iraq, Americans are justifiably skeptical about what military involvement can accomplish anywhere — and the Middle East is so complicated that even seemingly benign decisions can have unintended consequences.Douglas Ollivant/CNN:
The United States, Turkey and other allies should move quickly to meet the Kurds’ needs for ammunition and weapons as well as advice on more effectively deploying the pesh merga and integrating Kurdish operations with Iraqi security forces. Under pressure from the United States, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq finally agreed this week to cooperate with the Kurds and to provide air support, and should continue to do so.
That will still leave Mr. Obama with the task of framing a broader strategy that involves Saudi Arabia, the Arab League and the United Nations, just to start.
Since there will be no U.S. forces on the ground as target designators or air controllers, being able to see a target from the air will be crucial. So, a column of ISIS trucks or—as seen early Friday morning—a captured artillery piece firing against Kurdish positions, each make easy acquisition. Against these targets, airpower is nearly invincible. One thinks of the devastation released over two decades ago by U.S. airpower on the "Highway of Death" (albeit these forces were not attacking, but retreating—but the signature is the same).TPM:
Objectives of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq Why did U.S. decide to strike ISIS now?
So when President Obama talks about targeted airstrikes to protect American personnel in Baghdad or Irbil, he is, in essence, saying that if ISIS attacks toward these cities, we will use airstrikes on their then-vulnerable forces.
ISIL is successful because they understand that Iraqis will run in the face of boldness and brutality. If it’s a small outpost they defeat it, hold the site and link up with resupply from Mosul. The spear head forces now fighting the Kurds are the best of their group. A massive defeat on ISIL could decimate their professional spearhead of veterans and break the image of invincibility. Just one drone and a Special Forces forward control team with a B-1 bomber package with could do that with ease. However, absent US airpower on the offensive, it’s up to the Iraqi air force to strike as they cluster.Above written (presumably) prior to US air strikes.
More policy and politics below the fold.
Conservative state officials and their supporters frequently justify the decisions by arguing that they are simply looking after their states’ finances. Even with the federal government picking up most of the cost, they say, states must put up some money of their own—and the states don’t have the money to spare.Greg Sargent:
A new report from researchers at the Urban Institute, and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows just how shortsighted that decision is. Yes, states have to spend money to expand Medicaid. But they get much, more back from the federal government. That money ends up flowing to medical professionals, hospitals, and other parts of the health care sector.
The Urban Institute researchers have made projections for just how much money each state is implicitly giving up by refusing to expand Medicaid. Georgia is a good example. According to the Urban report, Georgia would have to spend an additional $2.5 billion over the course of a decade in order to finance its share of the Medicaid expansion. But the state is giving up more than ten times that—$33.5 billion—in federal funds.
What’s it like for other states? You can check out the interactive map above. Note that these projections are consistent with a previous report that some of the same researchers did for the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As GOP lurches right on immigration, sane Republicans watch in horrorAmy Walters:
Why an Improving Economy Isn't Improving Obama's NumbersNY Times on a Brooklyn Democratic national convention (Hillary likes the idea, Ed Rendell wants PA):
While economists use data points to make assessments of the economy’s health (unemployment rate, GDP growth, etc.), voters are more likely to use their perceptions of the president to determine if things are getting better or not. Those perceptions are driven as much by partisanship as anything else. The more Washington engages in partisan fire-fights on issues ranging from Obamacare to immigration, the more hardened those partisan perceptions become, which is why even an improving economy isn’t lifting Obama’s approval ratings.
“You think Philadelphia thinks Brooklyn is the center of youth culture? You people in New York City might see it that way, but Brooklyn has huge problems,” Mr. Rendell said. “No hotels. And how would you like to transport in the middle of rush hour thousands of delegates from Midtown to Brooklyn?”LTE NY Times:
Asked about Mr. Rendell’s comments on Wednesday, Mr. Ragone replied, “Can you quote me shrugging?”
Doctors ask about gun habits and encourage gun safety because we know that it protects against injury and death. One study found that gun safety improved in 64 percent of patients counseled by their doctors.
In clinic, I see patients who lost a loved one to gun violence or who have post-traumatic stress from witnessing or being a victim of gun violence. Some judges say that asking a question about gun safety is a form of treatment.
As a doctor, I believe that asking this question is part of my sworn duty. Many of my patients wish that a doctor had asked them sooner about gun safety.