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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 July 7, 2010 / 25 Tamuz 5770

The Anatomy of Defeat

By Tony Blankley




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Afghan War may be the first one we lose primarily because our civilian leadership did not understand the effect of its public words on our government, our allies and our enemy. Throughout the summer and fall of 2009, as experts were getting more pessimistic about success in Afghanistan, President Obama began having second thoughts. He was conflicted between his campaign statement that Afghanistan was the good and necessary war and his supporters' concerns that America not get bogged down in another unwinnable Vietnam.

Finally, he announced his decision in his December 2009 speech at West Point, where he stated: "(A)s commander in chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.

"… (T)aken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government -- and, more importantly, to the Afghan people -- that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country."

So was born a conceptual confusion that is leading us to defeat in that war. As I and many others observed a few weeks after the speech:

"The confusions as to intentions, strategies and exit-timing started immediately after the president's Dec. 1 speech, and have gotten dangerously worse in the ensuing month. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen and the top generals all said we were there to win and the July 2011 exit date was conditional on whether enough had been accomplished by then. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, adviser David Axelrod, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the president all indicated July 2011 was real, and senior White House sources said 'winning' was not an objective … Saturday's Washington Post … laid bare the shockingly different understandings of the Afghan mission held by the White House and the Pentagon (see 'Civilian, military planners have different views on new approach to Afghanistan, Dec. 26.) … A senior Democratic staff member in Congress told The Post: 'Is the surge a way of helping us leave more quickly, or is the timeline a way to help win support for the surge? Which is the strategy and which is the head fake? Nobody knows.' A senior officer is quoted in the article saying they 'don't know if this is all over in 18 months, or whether this is just a progress report that leads to minor changes.'"

In the ensuing two-thirds of a year, Mr. Obama and his senior aides proceeded to publicly characterize President Karzai and his brother as irredeemably corrupt and incompetent. Then, when Mr. Karzai started negotiating with the Taliban, he was invited to the White House for a heavy dose of warm words and good photo ops. The war continued to go worse and worse; Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (and his aides) inexcusably whined to the press about the incompetence of the president and his top aides, was justifiably fired for it and was replaced by Gen. David H. Petraeus.

CBS, meanwhile, reported: "The Obama administration is giving different explanations of its July 2011 deadline for the start of an Afghanistan troop withdrawal, assuring foreign officials that it applies only to the 30,000 to 35,000 additional U.S. troops that President Barack Obama is sending next year (2010), but suggesting to Congress that it covers all U.S. forces.

"The conflicting versions suggest that the administration is trying to reassure U.S. allies in the region and elsewhere that the U.S. won't cut and run, while telling a concerned American public, Congress and Democratic Party that it has an exit strategy."

That last CBS observation gets us to the essence of the White House's strategic communications blunder. The president and his men have confused the effect of "political spin" -- when heard as such -- on domestic public opinion with its effect when heard as formal pronouncements of state by enemies, allies and institutional forces such as the Pentagon.

The American public has become accustomed to discounting the spin of politicians -- even of presidents. The public views political spin the way it does professional wrestling: It's fun to cheer or boo, but don't take it seriously.

Unfortunately, what the president and his political operatives meant as a little useful spin for their domestic base was taken as formal policy by foreign players -- and they have acted accordingly. Our two allies in the Afghan War -- Pakistan and Afghanistan -- having heard the "spin" as policy have irrevocably taken the strategic action of discounting America as a reliable force in theater. And, as the president's strategy relied on gaining and keeping their trust and loyalty, his strategy has necessarily collapsed. In the coming months, we should expect many more words of explanation in Washington and many more failures in Afghanistan. Alea iacta est (the die is cast).

Even the greatest chef cannot unscramble an egg. Even the president of the United States cannot unspin his words.

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.

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Tony Blankley is executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington. Comment by clicking here.

© 2010, Creators Syndicate

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