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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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

Is the US powerless to stop the spread of al-Qaida?

By James Rosen




Why we're losing the "war on terror" and will likely continue to do so


JewishWorldReview.com |

W ASHINGTON— (MCT) There was bipartisan consensus after the 9/11 attacks, in Congress and among Americans, that the United States would never again ignore rising threats in distant lands and allow al-Qaida or other terrorist groups to gain sanctuary as it had in Afghanistan.

More than a dozen years ago, nine days after the World Trade Center towers fell and the Pentagon burned, President George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: "The only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it and destroy it where it grows."

Lawmakers leapt to their feet and burst into applause; Bush's approval rating soared.

Now the black flag of al-Qaida flies in Fallujah, the group and its offshoots are spreading across the Middle East and Africa, and their fighters are battling for control of cities not only in Iraq but also in Syria, Lebanon and beyond.

"Harbor no illusions: Al-Qaida is not on its heels or even on the run," Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, told McClatchy.

"Their operations in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and large portions of Africa indicate that al-Qaida is alive and well," Rogers said. "The group and its affiliates continue to metastasize, establishing new safe havens from which to attack the United States and our interests around the world. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to defeat this enemy."

But it might not be so simple.

Spending constraints, questionable outcomes of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, anti-democratic backlashes across the Middle East and the broader turbulence unleashed by the Arab Spring have left U.S. leaders uncertain of how to counter a new wave of Islamic extremism.


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After nearly 6,600 American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a cost of more than $2 trillion there and in the broader "war on terror," the United States may lack the money, the policy know-how and the political will to respond aggressively to the al-Qaida resurgence.

The Pentagon's budget is down substantially from its 2011 high-water mark, with more cuts in store.

U.S. combat troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan.

When President Barack Obama tried to rally public and congressional support last September for a military strike against Syria — even one with no American boots on the ground — his appeals fell flat.

Fifty-two percent of Americans think that the United States has "mostly failed" to achieve its goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, while 37 percent think it's "mostly succeeded" in Iraq and 38 percent see mainly success in Afghanistan, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last month.

Jeremiah Pam, a visiting scholar at Columbia University, served as a financial attache at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the height of the Iraq War. He later completed major governance assessments in Iraq and Afghanistan for retired Army Gen. David Petraeus and former Ambassador Ryan Crocker when they led U.S. military and diplomatic efforts in the two countries.

Pam said the current unwillingness of American political leaders to respond forcefully to the al-Qaida comeback reflected doubt among counterinsurgency experts after the failure of massive military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to create long-term stability.

"We've seen that large-scale occupation is not a very effective or sustainable way to deny safe havens to terrorist groups," Pam said. "So we're left in a very difficult position. The policy solutions that we thought worked have been shown in practice to be imperfect. We certainly have less confidence in them than we did even four years ago."

Stephen Long, a national security professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said he saw a backslide that went back more than just a few years.

Under the pressure of rapidly changing and unforeseen events unleashed by the Arab Spring, Long said, Obama is moving away from Bush's ringing pledges to support democracy and oppose tyranny around the globe.

"The idealism of the Bush 'freedom agenda' has finally bumped up against the realities of global politics," Long said. "We're not likely to see blossoming democracies in Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon, so we have been backed into a corner where we've had to exchange stability for some of the more lofty promises of democratization."



From Iraq and Afghanistan to Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the United States is supporting autocratic governments in a manner that recalls the Cold War stance of backing anti-communist despots.

Then, the overriding goal was to prevent the advance of Soviet influence; today, the mission is to stop the spread of al-Qaida-style terrorism.

The Obama administration is shipping Hellfire missiles and providing intelligence, training and logistics to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who American analysts say is helping to fuel the al-Qaida resurgence through repressive measures against Sunni Muslims from his Shiite Muslim-dominated government.

"The primary and empowering causes of Iraq's current violence are not extremist movements or sectarian and ethnic divisions, but its failed politics and system of governance," Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazai, analysts with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in a draft e-book that the Washington research center is circulating. "These failures are led by the current Maliki government."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reneged on promises to sign an accord that would enable some 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in his country as a safeguard against al-Qaida's growth there and in neighboring Pakistan.

Obama recently summoned his top military commanders to the White House to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan. White House press secretary Jay Carney said that whether U.S. forces stayed there beyond this year was "contingent upon the Afghan government signing the bilateral security agreement that we negotiated last year in good faith."

In Egypt, the administration is working with the caretaker regime of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seven months after he joined a military coup that deposed the democratically elected government led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which el-Sissi has since branded a terrorist group.

U.S. political leaders are having second thoughts about providing arms and other aid to Syrian rebels as al-Qaida fighters and other Muslim extremists have moved to dominate the movement opposing President Bashar Assad.

"I must reluctantly conclude that of the possible outcomes, Assad winning (the Syrian civil war) is not the worst one," retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who was the CIA director under Bush, recently told Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network.

As local groups across the region vie to use its name because of the cachet, Tamara Cofman Wittes, the Middle East policy director at the Brookings Institution in Washington, cautioned against exaggerating the strength of al-Qaida.

"There are a lot of localized violent extremists who for one reason or another may see an advantage in embracing the al-Qaida brand, but whose concerns, whose sources of support and whose targets are primarily localized," she said. "And it's very important that the United States, as it pursues these threats, continue to carefully make distinctions and differentiation."

Hayden, though, painted a nightmare alternative scenario in which al-Qaida-linked warriors control a 400-mile swath of territory stretching westward from Fallujah and Ramadi, near Baghdad, across Iraq and into Syria.

"The Syrian revolution has been hijacked by Islamist extremists, by al-Qaida," he said. "They've become the controlling element in the opposition. Left unchecked, what we could end up with is a pre-9/11 Afghanistan-like state comprised of (Iraq's) Anbar province and the eastern Syrian desert. But unlike Afghanistan, not in the middle of nowhere but in the middle of the Middle East and 100 or 150 miles from major urban centers: Damascus and Beirut and Jerusalem."

In a candid and at times contentious interview with Al-Jazeera analyst Marwan Bishara, Hayden acknowledged that the increased Islamic sectarian warfare in Syria, Iraq and beyond may be in the United States' interests.

"To have Sunni extremists battling with Shia extremists in a fight to the death in a way that consumes their energies so that they are not focused on other potential enemies or targets in a very practical, realpolitik sort of way is probably not the worst of all possible worlds," Hayden said.

Hayden bristled at Bishara's attempts to compel him to admit that the United States has failed to defeat al-Qaida. Osama bin Laden is dead, Hayden said, and most of its other top leaders have been captured or killed.

"We are now, in my view, relatively safer here in North America from that threat from al-Qaida prime," Hayden said.

Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman, almost mocked bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, on Jan. 23 in downplaying the threat from the remaining core al-Qaida organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Essentially the entire leadership has been decimated by the U.S. counterterrorism effort," she said. "He's the only one left. I think he spends, at this point, probably more time worrying about his own personal security than propaganda."

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, is concerned lest today's local threats in Iraq and Syria become tomorrow's broader dangers to the United States.

"The biggest threat to our national security is (if) this ungoverned territory becomes areas where we have terrorist organizations that become dominant and then try to export their terrorism outside of the Middle East and into several other countries, including the United States," Odierno told the National Press Club last month.

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