Last updated: August 13. 2014 11:30AM - 18 Views
By Jeremy Wallace



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According to The Times Union of Albany: on U.S. military intervention in Iraq


President Barack Obama faces the unenviable task of persuading a war-weary public that taking even limited military action against militants in Iraq is the right thing to do. Even more: It’s the necessary thing to do.


Even if we could put aside the specter of violent sectarian persecution and slaughter that the group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria represents, the threat that it could take over a strategic and, yes, oil-rich nation is simply impossible to ignore. At the same time, Mr. Obama’s early assessment that the solution to Iraq’s problems ultimately cannot be military is quite correct. American involvement needs to focus on encouraging unity governance and steer Iraq away from the sectarian policies that have alienated minority Sunnis and helped fuel militancy.


But selling all this to an American public — and to Congress, as Mr. Obama must and should do under the 1973 War Powers Resolution — will be no easy task. After President George W. Bush’s misguided war in Iraq, Americans are understandably leery of a return to that battlefront.


Multiple polls this year show most Americans — more than 70 percent in some surveys — don’t think that war was worth the price, a prevailing sentiment since 2006, according to Gallup. And in a Pew Research Center poll in July, 55 percent of respondents said they don’t feel the United States has a responsibility to do anything about the problems in Iraq — even if most people also say the problems today stem from the U.S. invasion and our subsequent withdrawal of troops. An overwhelming majority — 75 percent — feel that the main causes are religious and ethnic rivalries, problems the Iraqis must solve themselves.


Americans’ conflicted views are shown by a Quinnipiac poll in June. On the one hand, the poll found, most Americans don’t see the turmoil in Iraq as a matter of national interest, nor feel the U.S. should help the Iraqi government deal with militants. Yet 72 percent said that if Islamic militants take over Iraq, it’s likely that they will launch a terrorist attack on this country. That poll and others show modest support for airstrikes, drone attacks, or both.


Try basing a coherent foreign policy on all that.


Complicating all this is that crushing these militants many not be a desirable outcome either; it could strengthen Syria’s brutal president, Bashar al-Assad, who is dealing with that group in his own civil war.


What’s needed here is not large military intervention, much as hawks like Sen. John McCain recklessly urge, but a measured approach that diminishes the Islamic State’s threat while continuing to put pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom Iraqi President Fouad Massoum moved Monday to replace, to step aside and allow an inclusive government to form.


In other words, take military action without fighting a war. Encourage change without engaging in nation building. Indeed, an unenviable, and delicate, task.


According to the Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, WV: on college students and finances:


In the next few weeks, thousands of high school graduates in our region will begin their journey into higher education.


Students are naturally worried about harder classes, making new friends and a whole new world of independence. But students and their families also need to make sure they give due consideration to all of the financial issues they will be facing.


There are many differences between high school and college, but one of the biggest is that in high school the state and county are basically footing the bill, and in college, the student pays much of his or her way. Some families have put aside savings for college, and scholarships will ease the load for some students.


But about seven in 10 graduates of four-year institutions graduated with some debt, and on average it was about $29,000, according to The Project on Student Debt. Just as importantly, many students will be having their first experiences with credit cards, and the many other optional expenses that often come with college life, from new clothes and computers to fraternity dues and spring break road trips.


So, students and their families need to go into the next few years with their eyes wide open.


That planning begins with understanding all of the real “school” costs — tuition, room and board, books and supplies, fees, equipment and furnishings and even travel, whether that means commuting costs or getting back home for the holidays.


Federal student loan programs provide great assistance to students and families with low-cost loans, but there are a number of different programs and each have different provisions. The one thing they have in common is that after college, the loans must be repaid. Students want to be sure they do not incur unnecessary debt, and understand when and how the loan payments will be made.


Experts recommend students develop a budget from the beginning on these costs and loans, with the understanding that tuition costs and fees are likely to go up from year to year and the cost of living almost certainly will go up.


Students then need to add to that budget a reasonable estimate of all their other living and discretionary expenses.


Once that budget is complete, students need to understand how they will track their spending, and how to handle basic banking and credit. Many a college budget has been busted by overdraft fees and mounting credit card debt.


Public schools are beginning to recognize that much more needs to be done to improve students’ financial literacy, but today, too many students are unprepared for all the money matters they much deal with in college.


Students and families need to make sure they are ready before the first day of class.


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