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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 March 8, 2011 2 Adar II, 5771

Foreign policy braggadocio on Libya and AIDS

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "We have already engineered the most rapid and forceful set of sanctions [against Libya] that have ever been applied internationally."
--President Obama, March 3, 2011

If Republican cuts are approved, "we will be cutting back on our support for global health; in particular, support through the PEPFAR project, which was started by President Bush, which has been continued and very strongly supported by President Obama. Hundreds of thousands of people will be cut off of their life-sustaining drugs. Others will never have access to them."
--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, March 2, 2011


There is an understandable need among politicians to exaggerate, not only about their achievements but also the problems that the nation faces. Exaggeration makes the issue seem a little more urgent, or the accomplishment just that much better.

Last week, in separate appearances, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed the envelope on foreign-policy issues in subtle yet distinct ways. To the casual ear, their comments may have seemed correct or perfectly reasonable. Let's look closely at what they said -- and why they said it.

The Facts

The Obama administration has been criticized as not acting quickly to condemn the brutal response by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to an uprising against his four decades in power. The White House said later that it acted cautiously out of fear that Americans would be taken hostage by the Gaddafi regime. The administration's rhetoric sharpened after most Americans in Libya had left.

It was in that context that Obama, during a news conference Thursday, wanted to claim that U.S. efforts had yielded "the most rapid and forceful set of sanctions that have ever been applied internationally." He added that American leadership, which included freezing $30 billion in Libyan assets, had spurred "broad-based mobilization around the international community."

The problem is Obama's sweeping claim of the "most rapid" set of sanctions in history. The uprising began on Feb. 15, and on February 26 the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1970, which imposed travel bans on key officials, froze assets and referred Gaddafi and other members of his government to the International Criminal Court.

That's 11 days. By contrast, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the UNSC passed Resolution 660 condemning it the very same day. It then followed up four days later with sweeping sanctions against Iraq, including a broad import ban. So, in that case, the response was quicker and arguably tougher.

A White House official counters that the situation with Iraq concerned an invasion of a country, whereas Libya involved an uprising. Obama, however, did not make that distinction.

Edward C. Luck, a U.N. historian and an adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said that the Libyan resolution is unusual because it was unanimous, unlike the only other time the council cited a country's "responsibility to protect" its population. (That was the 2006 resolution on Sudan's Darfur region, which passed with three abstentions and came three years after the conflict started.) He said the Libyan sanctions were not as sweeping as the Iraq-Kuwait resolution, but he believes they were in many ways better targeted.

In other words, the Libyan resolution is certainly worth bragging about, but to single it out as the "most rapid and forceful" in history is going too far.

Clinton spoke about PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, during a congressional hearing in which she warned against cuts in the House Republican spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Her statement is certainly alarming: "Hundreds of thousands of people will be cut off of their life-sustaining drugs. Others will never have access to them."

Clinton's language -- "will be cut off"-- left the impression that some of the 3.2 million people currently on antiviral drugs would lose access to them. If true, that would be headline news, since AIDS groups had privately said that people currently on the drugs would not lose their access.

A State Department official tried to argue that Clinton's language referred to 400,000 people who are expected to get onto a drug regimen but who would be turned away after the spending cuts. Nice try. Clinton clearly is referring to that 400,000 in her next sentence, when she says "others will never have access to them."

The Pinocchio Test

In both these cases, there was little reason for either Obama or Clinton to pump up the facts. The Libya resolution is impressive enough without having to claim it was history-making. The potential loss of AIDS drugs to people who would need them in the future is alarming enough, and images of people "cut off" from their current drugs do not need to be invented.

Neither of these comments merit much more than a Pinocchio. But, over time, such statements begin to erode a person's credibility.

One Pinocchio

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


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here.In an award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review



Previously:

03/07/11: Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts’

03/01/11: Mike Huckabee is on to something here, but jumped the gun

02/25/11: Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts


© 2011, Washington Post