Friday, May 25, 2018
Editorials

Another voice: No way to win a war

Until now there has been a stark contrast between the tactics of the U.S.-backed military campaign to recapture Mosul, Iraq, from the Islamic State and those of Russian and Syrian government forces attacking rebels in neighboring Syria. The latter has featured deliberate bombing of civilian targets, including hospitals, food stores and aid convoys, at the cost of thousands of lives.

In Mosul, meanwhile, Iraqi counterterrorism forces have sustained heavy casualties in street fighting while limiting the use of artillery and airstrikes to avoid civilian deaths, winning praise from humanitarian groups.

A U.S. airstrike that may have killed scores or even hundreds of people in Mosul on March 17 may now tarnish that record. Iraqi civil defense officials are saying the attack targeted a building in Mosul's al-Jadida neighborhood where many people were crowded in a basement; the remains of more than 100 had been recovered by Sunday. On Saturday, the Pentagon confirmed that the coalition had targeted Islamic State fighters "at the location corresponding to the allegations of civilian casualties" and said a formal inquiry was underway.

It's equally important that U.S. and Iraqi forces minimize further civilian casualties as they reclaim the remaining, densely populated areas of Mosul still held by the Islamic State. Once the fight is over, the Shiite-led Iraqi government will face the stiff political challenge of stabilizing a multiethnic city that includes hundreds of thousands of Sunnis; that will be all the more difficult if the pro-government forces have inflicted heavy casualties.

Outside observers nevertheless are speculating that the advent of the Trump administration has loosened restraints on U.S. attacks in the Middle East. A controversial Jan. 29 raid in Yemen, approved by President Donald Trump, killed up to a dozen civilians, according to Votel. A U.S. airstrike in Syria's Aleppo province on March 16 is under investigation amid allegations that it killed scores of civilians gathered in a mosque; the Pentagon described the target as an al-Qaida gathering.

President Barack Obama was frequently criticized, with some reason, for micromanaging military strike decisions and exercising excessive caution. Trump, on the other hand, has talked loosely about heavily bombing Islamic State-held areas and has stepped up direct U.S. involvement in the fighting. Defeating the Islamic State more quickly through the greater use of U.S. force is a worthy goal. But doing so at the cost of higher civilian casualties would be a serious mistake.

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Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18