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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 July 3, 2014 / 5 Tammuz, 5774

Obama seeks an escape from the Middle East

By Victor Davis Hanson




JewishWorldReview.com | In his first term, Barack Obama all but declared victory in America's Middle East struggles.

As he precipitously pulled out all U.S. peacekeepers from Iraq, the president had his own "Mission Accomplished" moment when declaring the country "stable," "self-reliant" and an "extraordinary achievement."

Those claims echoed Vice President Joe Biden's earlier boast that Iraq somehow would prove Obama's "greatest achievement."

After the death of Osama bin Laden, and during Obama's re-election campaign, the president also proclaimed that al-Qaeda was a spent force and "on the run."

But what exactly was the new Obama strategy that supposedly had all but achieved a victory in the larger war on terror amid Middle East hostility?

Fuzzy euphemisms replaced supposedly hurtful terms like "terrorism," "jihadist" and "Islamist." The administration gave well-meaning speeches exaggerating Islamic achievement while citing past American culpability.

We tilted toward Turkey and the Palestinians while sternly lecturing Israel. Military victory was caricatured as an obsolete concept. Leading from behind was a clever substitute.

Middle Easterners gathered that a bruised America would limp away from the region and pivot its forces elsewhere, saving billions of dollars to be better spent at home. The new soft-power rhetorical approach sought to win over the hearts and minds of the Arab Street, and thereby deny terrorists popular support.

To grade that policy, survey the current Middle East, or what is left of it: Egypt, the Gulf monarchies, Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians, Libya, Syria and Turkey. It is fair to say that America has somehow managed to alienate friends, embolden enemies and multiply radical Islamic terrorists.

So what happened?

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In short, the Obama administration put politics and ideology ahead of a disinterested and nonpartisan examination of the actual status of the 2009 Middle East.

The more Obama campaigned in 2008 on a failed war in Iraq, a neglected war in Afghanistan, an ill-considered war on terror and an alienated Middle East, the more those talking points were outdated and eclipsed by fast-moving events on the ground.

By Inauguration Day in January 2009, the hard-power surge had largely defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq. It had won over many of the Sunnis and had led to a U.S.-enforced coalition government, monitored by American troops.

But there remained one caveat: What had been won on the ground could be just as easily lost if the U.S. did not leave behind peacekeepers in the manner that it had in all its past successful interventions -- the Balkans, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea.

Likewise, the once-derided "war on terror" measures -- Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, military tribunals, preventative detentions, renditions and drones -- by 2009 had largely worked. Since 9/11, America had foiled dozens of terrorist plots against our homeland and neutralized terrorists abroad, killing tens of thousands in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama for a while privately accepted that truth and thereby continued many of the very protocols that he had once derided.

But there was again one problem. Obama kept posturing to the world that he would close Guantanamo and substitute civilian trials for military tribunals. He continued to say that he did not enjoy using renditions or drones -- even as he upped the latter's deadly missions tenfold.

The results were contradictory messages that encouraged radical Islamists. The conclusion radical Islamists drew was that even the Obama administration had admitted its anti-terrorism protocols were either morally questionable or ineffective.

Blaming a video maker instead of immediately taking out the known jihadists who had murdered Americans in Benghazi only reinforced that mixed message. So did exchanging five terrorist kingpins in Guantanamo for an alleged American military deserter in Afghanistan.

A series of empty Middle East red lines, deadlines and withdrawal dates likewise reinforced the idea of American abdication.

We warned Syria of air strikes and then backed down. We surged in Afghanistan only to simultaneously announce a withdrawal date for our troops. We issued Iran lots of deadlines to stop enriching uranium, only to forget them and end sanctions in hope of negotiations.

As was the case with Russia, at first there were few consequences to such reset diplomacy and promises of easy victory. Al-Qaeda had been nearly wiped out in Anbar province in 2007-08 and was still regrouping. Iran had been crippled by sanctions and was wary of U.S. intentions. Terrorists did not wish to end up at Guantanamo or in a military tribunal.

But newly emboldened terrorists gambled that the old deterrence was stale and now existed mostly as Obama's reset rhetoric. They gambled that it was a great time to go on the offensive. They may have been right.

Once more in the Middle East, Barack Obama is looking to blame others for a mess that has grown since 2009. But mostly he just wants out of the lose-lose region at any cost and wishes that someone would just make all the bad things go away.

Victor Davis Hanson Archives

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.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University.


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