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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 June 13, 2006 / 17 Sivan, 5766

Finally a must-read about Iraq war

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We quit while we were ahead, and rapidly fell behind. That's the message of Cobra II, the best book so far written about the war in Iraq.


Cobra II was the code name LtGen. David McKiernan gave to the battle plan for the invasion of Iraq. (The first Operation Cobra was Patton's plan for breakout from Normandy to liberate France in World War II.)


"The U.S. military commanders who battled their way to Baghdad and endured the long hot summer of 2003 believe that there was a window of opportunity in the early weeks and months of the invasion, which was allowed to close," wrote Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor in their epilogue. "Though some degree of opposition was unavoidable, the virulent insurgency that emerged was not inevitable but was aided by military and political blunders in Washington."


Unfortunately, that judgment is the least supported part of the 507-page book, most of which is the story about how the battle plan evolved, and a gripping, unvarnished account of all the battles soldiers and Marines fought on their way to Baghdad.


Gordon, the chief military correspondent for the New York Times, and Trainor, a retired Marine lieutenant general, based their book on a massive number of interviews with participants, and a meticulous review of after action reports.


Gordon and Trainor are more cautious in making judgments than other commentators less conversant with the facts. But the judgments they make are harsh. The most egregious and most gratuitous errors were made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but he had plenty of company.


The CIA's performance was awful. The WMD threat the agency predicted never materialized, and CIA missed entirely the presence of the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam, which offered the most resistance to the invading U.S. troops.


Senior generals reacted slowly to the significance of the Fedayeen, missing entirely the possibility that the guerrilla tactics practiced by the organization would be continued after the fall of Saddam.


No sooner had the regime fallen than the Army removed from the theater the officers with the most experience in and knowledge of Iraq, leaving the occupation to be botched by relative newcomers.

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By far the most serious of the errors was that little planning had been done for what would happen after the regime fell; such planning as was done was puerile and contradictory, and those tasked with carrying out the puerile and contradictory plans were allocated grossly inadequate resources to do so.


The military bore much of the blame for this. The authors note that in the war plan prepared by Gen. Anthony Zinni, Gen. Tommy Franks' predecessor as head of Central Command and a prominent Rumsfeld critic, "there was a gaping hole in the occupation annex...CENTCOM would have the responsibility of general security. But there was no plan for the political administration, restoration of basic services, training of police, or reconstruction of Iraq."


This gaping hole was never filled in the many iterations of the plan that became COBRA II. But the failure was mostly Rumsfeld's. He wanted to attack Saddam with as few forces as necessary for victory, and to withdraw them as soon as he could. This involved certain Pollyanna meets Dr. Pangloss assumptions, the most important of which were that an Iraqi provisional government could rapidly be stood up, and that the Iraqi army would be available to keep order.


Then Rumsfeld postponed turning Iraq over to the Iraqis in favor of a regency by Ambassador Paul Bremer, one of whose first acts was to formally abolish the Iraqi army.


There is less to this controversy than some would make of it, since the Iraqi army had effectively demobilized (all the soldiers had deserted). But the generals interviewed by Gordon and Trainor believe Bremer's overly ambitious de-Baathification program hugely delayed and complicated its reconstitution, and gave Sunnis whose rice bowls had been broken a grievance against the United States.


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Gordon and Trainor think establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority was a huge mistake. I agree, but proof of the thesis will have to await another book. This one provides only the assertion.


Everyone who wants to understand how we got to where we are in Iraq should read COBRA II. We cannot learn from our mistakes unless we know what they were, and how we made them.


COBRA II is necessarily incomplete, because the war in Iraq continues. The way to think of it is as the first volume in a two volume history of the war. I hope Gordon and Trainor are already at work on the sequel.

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.

JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, Jack Kelly

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