FROM Ben Watson
What the battle for Mosul says about the future of war A tank of the Emergency Response Division fires at Islamic State militants in the old city of Mosul. Photo by Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters Last October, Western-backed Iraqi forces began to re-take Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from the occupying Islamic State. One hundred thousand troops have been involved — 10 times more than ISIS militants — but it's still taken eight months and the battle isn't completely over. Ben Watson is news editor for Defense One , which has an extensive account of the world's largest military operation in nearly 15 years.
US strategy in a Syria in turmoil Yesterday at the United Nations, Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Russia and pointed to the deadly bombing of a UN aid convoy in Syria. Today, before the Senate Armed Services Committee , Republican Chairman John McCain called Kerry " intrepid but delusional ," and challenged General Joseph Dunford, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "What's the Plan B? Is there a Plan B here, or do we just keep going back to the five-star hotels in Geneva meeting with our count, Mr. Lavrov, and come back with various declarations? What do we do if this one fails?” Ben Watson is following the story for the news site Defense One .
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?