Thursday, September 20, 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.

Comments
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

After an encouraging start, the breakdown in America’s reset with Cuba is a loss for both sides and for the state of democracy across the region. Havana and Washington are both to blame, but the Trump administration’s hard line with Cuba is out of sy...
Published: 09/12/18
Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

If the swift departure of CBS Chairman Les Moonves has a bright side, it’s that a major television network took accusations of sexual harassment against its chief executive seriously enough to hold him accountable and obtain his resignation even at t...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18