FROM Michael Knights
Al Qaeda in Iraq and Maliki in Washington When the US completed its troop withdrawal nearly two years ago, President Obama said Iraq could stand on its own. But today, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is back at the White House asking for heavy military equipment and intelligence aid against a growing and especially violent al Qaeda faction called The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It's averaged 68 car-bombings a month and many thousands have been killed this year at open markets in Baghdad and elsewhere around the country. But Maliki's regime is part of the problem. Politically, he's favored Shiites and outraged Sunnis, while bureaucratic incompetence cripples the economy. Did the US withdraw troops too soon? Has the Obama Administration's "pivot" to Asia compromised US influence in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East?
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?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?