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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 May 16, 2014 / 16 Iyar, 5774

No end for Afghanistan's war on the U.S. taxpayer

By Diana West




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), may have taken Uncle Sam and shaken him by the lapels this week, but the media missed it. Americans, however, need to hear how Sopko, in an address at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., laid out why Afghanistan remains "relevant" -- and a cause for outrage -- for every U.S. taxpayer and policymaker.

In short, Afghanistan is on life support, and Joe Citizen is its permanent IV. From your pockets, Uncle Sam has taken $103 billion to build Afghanistan -- so far. By the way, that figure doesn't include the costs of war-making. To put it in context, as Sopko says in the text of his speech, "that is more money than we have spent on reconstruction for any one country in the history of the United States." That goes for the countries in Europe that American money rebuilt during the Marshall Plan after World War II.

"We are spending more money this year on reconstruction in Afghanistan than we do for the next three countries combined," Sopko continues, referring to Israel, Egypt and Pakistan. Eighteen billion dollars are currently in the pipeline, he says, and between $6 and $10 billion is "promised annually for years to come."

Why? Don't ask. Your U.S. representative probably hasn't.

The grotesque scale of all of this "aid" becomes even more striking on realizing that Afghans, per capita, earn $687 per year. Mammoth U.S. reconstruction programs thus place "a financial and operational burden on the Afghan economy that it simply cannot manage by itself," as Sopko puts it. Consider that Afghanistan's GDP in 2012 was approximately $20 billion. "That same year," Sopko says, "U.S. reconstruction funding amounted to $15 billion -- 75 percent of Afghanistan's GDP." Again, these massive sums don't include war costs.

"Sustaining this assistance," Sopko adds, "will overwhelm the Afghan government's budget."

For example, the projected costs of supporting Afghan security forces come to $5 to $6 billion per year, Sopko says. "At these levels," he explains, "if the Afghan government were to dedicate all of its domestic revenue toward sustaining the Afghan army and police, it still could only pay for about a third of the cost. "

Meanwhile, there are civil servants to pay, and roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure that, of course, require more money to be maintained. Where is that money supposed to come from? From U.S. taxpayers, of course. Sopko calls us "international donors," but "international debtors" is more like it.

SIGAR, on the job since 2008, has produced 118 audits and inspection reports, and made 23 quarterly reports to Congress. Nothing seems to penetrate the Capitol dome, however. This would account for the remedially surreal and Mr. Rogers-like sound of the lessons Sopko offers for next time -- if, heaven forfend, there is a next time.

"First, we must consider a country's ability to sustain the assistance we provide."

Just think about the fact that the inspector general even has to articulate such a basic premise in the first place. It suggests that the U.S. government did not consider the ability of Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest countries, to sustain the gargantuan projects and programs Uncle Sam was using -- let's be real -- to bribe Afghans out of supporting the "insurgency." Thus, Afghanistan becomes U.S. taxpay

ers' latest federal entitlement program. "Second," he says, "reconstruction in a conflict zone is inherently risky."

Really? You mean it's not like building a skyscraper in Manhattan -- as the Bush and Obama administrations appear to have believed? The U.S. "reconstruction" strategy (and I use quotation marks because in Afghanistan's case, "reconstruction" was usually first-time construction) was this: On seeing the infidel's generous and fabulous "nation-building" intentions, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan would instantly and overwhelmingly turn against and work against the local Islamic "insurgency."

For many reasons, a significant number of which are Islamic, this didn't happen -- no matter how much infrastructure, programs and stacks of cash Uncle Sam passed around. Meanwhile, we also believed if we ignored or, worse, accommodated and submitted to the role Islam plays in shaping, guiding, characterizing Afghan culture -- if we just turned a blind eye to Islamic laws against freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to culturally permitted pederasty, to Islamically correct child marriage and abuse of women -- then the Afghans would, too.

Keep the money flowing -- and never mind the endemic corruption in Afghanistan that SIGAR John Sopko has been uncovering. Congressional oversight will get to the bottom of this reckless mess.

Oops, I forgot -- only real democracies have that.

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