Home
In this issue
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 March 28, 2013/ 17 Nissan, 5773

Iraq a convenient scapegoat

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Bring up Iraq -- and expect to end up in an argument. Conservatives are no different from liberals in rehashing the unpopular war, which has become a sort of whipping boy for all our subsequent problems.

The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan recently enumerated countless pathologies that followed Iraq. Yet to examine her list is to learn just how misinformed we have become in our anguish over the intervention.

Noonan writes of Republicans: "It [Iraq] ruined the party's hard-earned reputation for foreign-affairs probity. They started a war and didn't win it."

We can argue over whether the result of the war was worth the cost. But by January 2009, the enemy was defeated. There was a consensual government in Iraq, there were few monthly American casualties, and there was a plan to leave a small constabulary force to ensure stability and the sanctity of Iraqi borders and airspace.

Noonan adds that, "It muddied up the meaning of conservatism and bloodied up its reputation," citing as proof the preferable and prudent foreign policy of Ronald Reagan.

But Reagan had his own foreign policy problems. Do we remember Iran-Contra, when some in the Reagan administration recklessly and illegally facilitated the sale of weapons to a terrorist Iranian government -- a crime that stained conservative credence on anti-terrorism for years to come?

That libertarians, paleo-cons, neo-cons and the Republican establishment all argued over Iraq was natural -- in the manner that the often "muddied" party split over interventions in Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans and Libya.

Noonan believes that Iraq "ended the Republican political ascendance that had begun in 1980." Hardly. Bill Clinton did that in 1992, when he defeated once-popular incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush, then was re-elected for a second term. Al Gore won the popular vote over George W. Bush in 2000.

In truth, there is rarely either a Republican or Democratic long-term ascendance, mandate or much of anything -- other than the natural challenge and response of politics. Iraq became unpopular and was helping Democrats by 2006. Yet the specter of Obamacare in 2010 -- and its reality in 2014 -- may foster an even more influential swing back in public opinion.

Did Iraq alone really undermine "respect for Republican economic stewardship," as Noonan suggests? The war may have cost $1 trillion over a decade. Yet from 2001 to 2008, a Republican president (with help from a Republican-majority Congress for six years), ran up $4 trillion in debt -- at that time the largest borrowing of any two-term administration in the nation's history.

At most, Iraq contributed to 25 percent of that aggregate debt. The vast expansion in the size of the federal government and domestic spending levels not only eroded "respect for Republican economic stewardship" but discredited the Bush tax cuts, which, we seem to have forgotten, resulted in more, not less, aggregate federal revenue.

Noonan thinks Iraq "killed what remained of the Washington Republican establishment." But George W. Bush was always seen more as an evangelical Texas heretic -- his war opposed by most of his father's establishment Cabinet and, eventually, the Colin Powell moderate wing of the party.

Instead, what killed off the blueblood establishment (if it is indeed dead) and spawned the Tea Party was largely disagreement on issues such as federal spending, debt and deficits, the size of government, entitlements, guns, abortion and illegal immigration -- in which grassroots populists argued that Republicans had become not much different from Democrats.

Noonan finishes by stating that when she withdrew her support for the Iraq War in 2005, she was "wronger than some at the start, righter than some at the end."

The now-common confession of always opposing "some" is tantamount to tagging along with the majority who supported the war -- only to flip along with the majority when it did not.

By 2005, when Noonan gave up on Iraq, millions of Iraqis and Kurds were still very much invested in the U.S. effort to replace Saddam Hussein's regime with something better. Tens of thousands of Americans were fighting and dying for that shared goal.

We can perhaps admire either those who were consistently against the war when it was at first unpopular, or those who kept their support when it was even more unpopular. But how does political convenience -- in a war that hinged on the enemy destroying our morale -- translate into courage or wisdom?

Had we given up on the war in 2005, there would not be a viable Kurdistan today or any chance of a stable Iraq government. The reputation of the American military would have been shredded. For a power with global responsibilities, losing an unpopular war is even worse than fighting one.

There were plenty of mistakes made after the impressive three-week removal of Hussein -- the failure to re-employ disbanded Iraqi soldiers, the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the tenure of poor military leaders such as Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. Yet the 2007 surge orchestrated by Gen. David Petraeus to save Iraq was not one of them.

In short, blaming everything on Iraq is just as bad as blaming nothing on it.

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

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


Archives

© 2013, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast