Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 23, 2006 / 25 Shevat, 5766

The other Iraq: An eyewitness account

By Victor Davis Hanson


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | TAJI, Iraq — Screaming Iraqis and mangled body parts still dominate Americans' nightly two minutes of news from Iraq. And, indeed, Iraq is still a scary place within the Sunni Triangle.


Opposition politicians in the United States charge that our troops don't have enough body protection or heavily armored Humvees — suggesting that our fighters have been almost criminally ignored. On CNN, a journalist laments that a prominent news colleague severely wounded near Taji is emblematic of the mess of the entire American effort.


But Iraq, like all wars, is not static. What was supposedly true on the ground in Iraq in 2003 is not necessarily so in 2006 — in the way that the situation in Europe in 1943 hardly resembled that of May 1945.


Yet while things have changed radically in Iraq, the pessimistic tone of our reporting remains calcified. Little is written about the new Iraqi government, the emergence of the Iraqi security forces or the radically changing role of the American military.


I recently listened to members of the newly elected Iraqi provincial council in strife-torn Kirkuk. All were enthusiastic about their new responsibilities. They were unabashedly argumentative with one another over security, electricity and oil production — but still confident that they could govern their own affairs. As the meeting broke up, a female council member whispered, "Tell the Americans thanks, but ask them to have patience with us." She's right: Patience, more than anything, is now needed in Iraq. There are now 10 Iraqi divisions. The newest is the 9th Mechanized Division, at Taji, of Maj. Gen. Bashar Ayoub, trained under the auspices of Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey's officers of the Multinational Security Transition Command.


A Patton-like veteran of three bloody wars, Gen. Bashar Ayoub has fashioned ex nihilo a new division replete with refurbished Soviet T-72 tanks and scores of veteran officers from the old Iraqi army. He plans to take over most of the security of Taji, and was out on the streets with his men even before his division fully materialized.


Two years ago, the conventional wisdom was that we wrongly disbanded the Iraqi army and dumped shoddy equipment on what little we rounded up. Soon the new complaint will no doubt emerge that we have redeployed too many officers from the old corps, and that their brigades appear too lethal in new uniforms, body armor and mechanized vehicles.


At the enormous Balad U.S. Air Base — with almost as much traffic as at Chicago's O'Hare — nearly 75 percent of the emergency surgeries conducted under its vast tents are on Iraqi casualties who receive the identical care as wounded Americans. Everything there is in constant flux, as Predator drones now monitor roads, highways and pipelines. U.S. Air Force officers prepare radar grids to craft a new air traffic control system that someday will accommodate the emergence of Iraqi civilian airplanes.


In 2003, Americans saw L. Paul Bremer, then the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, daily on television. In contrast, few even know what Zalmay Khalilzad, the current American ambassador to Iraq, or the top echelon of the American officer corps — Gens. George Casey, Martin Dempsey and Peter Chiarelli — looks like. Reconstruction, Iraqization, drawdown and diplomatic finesse are the new themes, not telling Iraqis what to do or building new permanent bases in the desert.


Almost every media stereotype about the American military vanishes when visiting frontline bases. The world still sees dated Abu Ghraib photos, not Iraqi civilians receiving topflight care in the emergency room in the American-run hospital in Baghdad.


We hear that the U.S. Army is worn out — propped up by national guardsmen and reserves. Yet young enlistees differ. They claim instead that more mature reservists are a godsend for reconstruction efforts since so many back home were successful contractors, businessmen, teachers and mechanics. Complaints circulate about the weight, not the dearth, of body and truck armor. I saw hundreds of Humvees on the roads, but not one was unarmored. I shot AK-47s with professional Iraqi soldiers and felt far safer amid their professional live fire than back at home at the local municipal range.


Critics dub our military a "mercenary" force and sometimes call for renewal of the draft. But it is hardly a late-imperial Roman legion filled with foreigners and malcontents, but rather a true volunteer force, whose diversity in age, gender, race and religion would shame a university faculty or newsroom. Most of the colonels I met are as well educated as academics, but far more willing to debate and question their own beliefs.


Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraq — butchering, traumatizing and dividing 25 million. His baleful legacy is clear from helicopter rides over the sewers of Baghdad or a visit to one of his repugnant palaces where non-potable water pours out of his gold faucets.


It was nearly an impossible task to remove Saddam Hussein, foster democracy in the heart of the ancient caliphate and restore on a relatively short timetable what took the Husseins three decades to destroy. Meanwhile, all this must be done surrounded by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia; in the midst of a larger war against Islamic fundamentalism; and while under global scrutiny from a largely hostile audience.


Yet what amazes is not so much the audacity of even thinking the United States could attempt such a thing, but rather that it may just pull it off after all — if only we remain patient.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


Archives

© 2006, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles