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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 August 31, 2007 / 17 Elul, 5767

Flawed analogy

By Diana West

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | History, as Marx famously said (by way of paraphrasing Hegel), repeats itself — "the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." A catchy concept, to say the least. And while there's definitely something to it, it's also true that sometimes history does not repeat itself.

Take American wars in Japan, the Koreas, Vietnam and Iraq. President Bush, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars, recently made a case — a flawed case — for a kind of core continuity linking these disparate conflicts. It's not that he didn't admit that there are many differences among them ("There are many differences" among them, he said). But he mostly argued that American involvement over time across the Far East had ushered in postwar peace and prosperity, and that this demonstrated "a precedent for the hard and necessary work we're doing" in Iraq.

How do you equate total victory in Japan with bloody stalemate in Korea with congressionally mandated defeat in Vietnam... and Iraq? Of course, it was the invocation of Vietnam — the president offered a cautionary tale against withdrawal from Iraq by pointing to the ghastly fate of millions of South Vietnamese and other U.S. allies on our abandonment of them in 1975 — that triggered media distress, with the liberal-elite-complex going dyspeptic over the implication that its beloved antiwar movement was culpable in the humanitarian disaster visited on anti-communists in Southeast Asia.

This is the point at which, as a good conservative, I should declare that this assessment of Vietnam is long overdue. And it is (although why the White House speechwriters brought in a quotation from Graham Greene — a Reagan-hating, Castro-admiring, Kim Philby-defending leftist — I'll never know). But that doesn't mean the Southeast Asian analogy — basically, we can't let the Iraqi people down as we did the South Vietnamese — is right.

Why? Well, for starters, South Vietnamese didn't kill American troops, didn't booby-trap buildings and towns, didn't turn temples into armed camps, didn't teach their young to throw rocks at GIs. To my knowledge, when training South Vietnamese army and police, American advisors didn't require body armor (not to mention armed U.S. guards) to ensure their survival. And South Vietnamese leaders weren't — while Americans were fighting on South Vietnam's behalf — eagerly courting American enemies, as, for example, Prime Minister al-Maliki seems to do every week with junkets to Iran and Syria. Where next, North Korea?

This glossed-over distinction accounts for my uneasy reaction to the president's exhortation to "stand with the Iraqis at this difficult hour." Which "Iraqis"? Sunnis and Shi'ites eradicating Iraq's remnant Christian population? Sunni bombers whose hatred of Shi'ites (fleetingly?) transcends their hatred of Americans? Agents of Iran? Agents of al Qaeda? Proponents of Hezbollah? Forgive me if I fail to be stirred by the president's call.

This isn't to suggest there aren't strategic imperatives in the Mesopotamian theater, but they have less to do with "the Iraqi people" than with suppressing Iran's offensive capabilities, Syria's expansionist aims, Saudi Arabian support for creeping Shariah, and other jihadist threats unaddressed by our efforts in Iraq.

Could it be that our military has other, more vital missions ahead? No, our strategic thinkers say, better to gloss over such things. Just like the president did when he blithely equated our limited war effort to transform post-Saddam Iraq with the total war effort that democratized Imperial Japan after World War II. There are few similarities, because there is no correlation between limited war and total war.

How can there be? The utter devastation of Japan 1.27 million Japanese soldiers killed in battle — another 670,000 Japanese civilians killed in air raids — was such that when Gen. Douglas MacArthur instructed Japanese military commanders to order their men to disarm, 250,000 Japanese soldiers complied, right down to their Samurai swords. This has nothing to do with the American experience in Iraq, which, of course, remains plagued by armed militias.

Another result of total victory was that the Japanese Emperor admitted to his people that he wasn't divine. This would be akin to Shi'ite leader Ali al-Sistani declaring Mohammed wasn't divine. After all that, little wonder Gen. MacArthur could write up a decent constitution for Japan — as opposed to the Shariah-supreme constitution we sponsored in Iraq.

A more frank, comprehensive-more grown-up assessment of the historical record would offer very different lessons from the ones Mr. Bush is teaching. It comes down to this: As World War II ended, we stopped being total warriors. In the 60-plus years since, we have become limited warriors. Our leadership, political and military, left and right, should recognize the difference.

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JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist for The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.



© 2007, Diana West