Groundhog Day in Iraq? Nope, Worse

It’s a helluva question: “Tell me how this ends.”

It was a good question in 2003 when then Major General David Petraeus asked it as the United States invaded Iraq, an ironic one in 2011 when the US withdrew, worth revisiting in 2014 when the US reinvaded Iraq, and again in 2017 as Islamic State appears to be on its way out. Problem is we still don’t have a good answer. It could be Groundhog Day all over again in Iraq, or it could be worse.

Groundhog Day

The Groundhog Day argument, that little has changed from 2003 until now, is quite persuasive. Just look at the headlines. A massive Ramadan car bomb exploded not just in Baghdad, but in Karada, its wealthiest neighborhood, during a holiday period of heightened security, and all just outside the Green Zone were the American Embassy remains hunkered down like a medieval castle. Islamic State, like al Qaeda before it, can penetrate the heart of the capital city, even after the fall of their home base in Fallujah (2004, 2016.) Meanwhile, Mosul is under siege (2004, 2017.) Iranian forces are on the ground supporting the Baghdad central government. The Kurds seek their own state. American troops are deep in the fighting and taking casualties. The Iraqi Prime Minister seems in control at best only of the Shia areas of his country. Groundhog Day.

But maybe this time around, in what some call Iraq War 3.0, we do know how it ends.

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When a Banyan Tree Hides the Secret to a Korean Enigma

About a hundred miles north of Bangalore, India, in the village of Thimmamma Marrimanu grows an eponymous banyan tree. There are all kinds of records for trees: the tallest, the stoutest, the oldest, and so on, but the record for the largest canopy, at an astounding five acres, is held by this banyan. And it also holds the key to the Korean enigma.

North Korea recently released University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who was comatose and substantially brain-dead, and who has now expired. He had the misfortune to become tangled up in an incident while visiting there.

Every so often it also fires off a test missile or more, and President Donald Trump, although dormant on the issue at the moment, can be expected eventually to erupt. The resulting Far East chaos could be catastrophic.

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Russia/Iran Sanctions Delayed In House: Policy Change… or Deep State Pressure?

The Russia/Iran sanctions bill passed earlier this month in the Senate has stalled in the House on a procedural issue: bills dealing with revenue must originate in the House. Is there a chance the bill may be scuttled? Don’t hold your breath! Ron Paul reports:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Ron Paul Interviews Edward Snowden: Security… or Surveillance?

What does former NSA analyst turned whistleblower Edward Snowden have to tell us about liberty? About trading a little freedom for government promises of security? Does he feel that his historic release of government documents showing how the NSA spies on all of us, constantly, without a warrant, has had a positive effect on freedom? Tune in to this very special episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, where we speak to Snowden on these and so many more issues:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

‘Would You Like a Drink of Water?’ Please Ask a Yemeni Child

This week, in New York City, representatives from more than 100 countries will begin collaborating on an international treaty, first proposed in 2016, to ban nuclear weapons forever. It makes sense for every country in the world to seek a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. It would make even more sense to immediately deactivate all nuclear weapons. But, by boycotting and disparaging the process now underway, the U.S. and other nuclear armed nations have sent a chilling signal. They have no intention of giving up the power to explode, burn and annihilate planetary life. "The United States is spending $1 trillion USD over the next thirty years to modernize its nuclear weapon arsenals and triple the killing power of these weapons," says Ray Acheson, program director at Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Acheson also notes that the excessive spending for nuclear weapons contrasts with US cuts to vital anti-poverty programs. On June 19th, more than a dozen people blocked the US Mission to the UN entrance to protest Washington’s boycott of the negotiations. They were arrested for disorderly conduct, but I believe it’s incomparably more disorderly to plan for nuclear war.

During the past weekend, to support the negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons, WILPF called for "Women’s March to Ban the Bomb" actions in cities across the US and around the world. Jane Addams, who helped found the League in 1919, was a Chicago woman who understood the crucial need to put an end to war, all war, and instead care for the neediest people. She dedicated herself to assuring that many new immigrants in her city were treated with respect, given assistance to meet basic needs and encouraged to live and work together, peaceably. Addams worked passionately to prevent nations from sleepwalking into the horrors of World War I, and she vigorously campaigned to stop the United States’ entry into it.

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