Half measures in Iraq aren’t going to work. That’s the message from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who says Islamic State militants can’t be defeated unless they’re also targeted in Syria, where Western nations have dared not tread. Defense officials haven’t indicated whether President Obama is planning air strikes in Syria, but former CIA deputy director and OZY contributor John McLaughlin believes defeating IS will require a “more aggressive strategy than the U.S. has fielded so far.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s against the law to let our enemies go free without first telling Congress, its watchdog says. The Government Accountability Office determined that the release of five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl violated the requirement to provide Congress with a 30-day notice. The administration insists the requirement is unconstitutional, impeding its duty to protect Americans abroad, and Congress plans to debate the swap prior to November elections.
They’ve beaten the odds. Dr. Kent Brantly, a medical missionary, and his assistant Nancy Writebol, have recovered well enough to be released from an Atlanta hospital after being infected with the deadly virus in Liberia. Thanking God, the hospital staff and the experimental drug ZMapp, Brantly hailed his recovery as “miraculous.” Doctors believe the two are now immune to the virus — a sign of hope to fearful west African communities, where more than 2,400 have fallen ill in recent months, half of them fatally.
Jackson Hole is even further removed from the Big Apple’s famed home of the New York Stock Exchange this year. Chief economists from America’s biggest banks weren’t invited to speak at this week’s Federal Reserve conference at the Wyoming resort — a bid to separate financiers from the Fed, alongside implications of privileged access to industry regulators. But B-listing is unlikely to stop those keeping an eye on U.S. monetary policy from tuning in as Fed Chair Janet Yellen opens proceedings today.
Gunmen kill at least 46 in Sunni mosque in Iraq. (AP)
U.S. defends refusal to pay Foley ransom. (Washington Post)
National Guard begins withdrawal from Ferguson. (CBS)
Japan landslide rescue efforts hampered. (SCMP)
Russia aid convoy moves into Ukraine. (BBC)
They’re throwing cold water, all right. The U.S. State Department has doused the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the social media craze that’s seen folks pay donations and/or get soaked to help fight Lou Gehrig’s disease. After America’s ambassador to Israel and 18 members of Congress joined the hypothermic fad, Foggy Bottom banned it, noting that diplomats shouldn’t favor one disease over others. Of course, this hasn’t stopped former President George W. Bush and Lady Gaga from helping raise almost $42 million in cold, hard cash.
Hope is at hand, and it could all hinge on hyper-connectivity. Researchers believe an oversupply of brain synapses — points where neurons connect and communicate — may explain how autism develops and give clues for future treatment. Scientists studied the brain tissue of children who had died, noting that in normal development, synapses are pared down. In those with autism, the brain didn’t do that. The next step? Connecting the dots to find effective ways of fixing the brain’s nerve-link pruning mechanism.
The director of dark web browser Tor says he believes U.S. and UK intelligence operatives leak information to his firm about their attempts to find weaknesses in the anonymity protection software. Andrew Lewman says agents send unsigned tips so that Tor can plug the holes. Why? British intel “heavily relies on Tor working to be able to do a lot of their operations,” Lewman says. The spy agencies refused to shed light on the claims.
Critics of sex and violence in the mega-hit series Game of Thrones sought their pound of flesh following a recent episode depicting character Jamie Lannister raping his sister. But TV exec Michael Lombardo didn’t flinch. At a festival in Edinburgh, he said HBO is faithful to the thrust of George R.R. Martin’s books. It’s not gratuitous, he said of the documented six to eight minutes of carnality per season, so there’s no need to police “how many breasts should be on a show.”
Were things too peaceful after Uruguayan biter Luis Suarez left for Barcelona? Liverpool is on the verge of a $26.5 million deal with A.C. Milan to acquire 24-year-old bad boy Mario Balotelli. The Palermo-born striker has netted both goals and scolds by dissing management, making malicious tackles and setting off fireworks inside a hotel room. He’s reportedly agreed to behave, but the Merseyside club may be throwing good money after bad headlines.