FROM Richard Schmierer
Military escalation… without diplomacy President Trump wants the Pentagon to "fight to win," and battlefield commanders now make decisions that used to come from the Obama White House. There's been increased action in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and a dramatic rise in civilian casualties — providing fodder for Islamic State propaganda. What's missing is diplomacy and political planning for what to do when the wars are over. But even Trump's critics say Obama didn't have any "endgames" either. We hear about America's increased involvement in murky wars where victory might be possible… but not sustainable.
US Blames Iran for Escalating Violence in Iraq Iran has suspended talks with the US on Iraqi security, denouncing US attacks on Shiite militias in Baghdad. The US accuses Iran of supplying the militias with weapons. Charges and counter-charges fly amid increasing violence in a complex political labyrinth. Does support for the Maliki government mean taking sides in a Shiite civil war? Is the US fighting a proxy war with Iran? We update conditions on the ground and the prospects for stability in Iraq before both US and Iraqi elections.
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.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?