Friday, January 19, 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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William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18