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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 8, 2013/ 2 Elul, 5773

The American pill bug

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We all run across the pill bug in our gardens. At the first sign of danger, the tiny paranoid crustacean suddenly turns into a ball -- in hopes danger will have passed when he unrolls.

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan and the current scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On Aug. 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed based on intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have over a month to go before the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire Middle East public profile on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Apparently al-Qaeda did not get the message that the administration's euphemisms of "workplace violence," "overseas contingency operations," "man-caused disasters" and jihad as "a holy struggle" were intended as outreach to the global Muslim community.

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness -- or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of shutting down and curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi and killed four Americans. So far the killers roam free. Rumors abound that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama re-election campaign team fobbed the assault on a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic video maker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments take place against a backdrop of "lead from behind." Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world's largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Muammar Gadhafi -- with a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and Arab League but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. But when you do not know what to do, it is imprudent to periodically put down "red lines." Yet the administration did just that to the Bashar al-Assad regime over the last two years.

In a similar vein, the administration has so far issued serial "deadlines" to the Iranians to cease the production of weapons-grade uranium. They don't seem much worried about yet another deadline.

In Egypt, the United States went from abandoning ally and crook Hosni Mubarak to welcoming the freely elected and anti-American Muslim Brotherhood. Now, we are both praising and damning the military junta that overthrew President Mohamed Morsi. Do we still call that "the Arab Spring"? Is a junta still a junta, a coup still a coup?

Our entire anti-terrorism agenda is a paradox. Obama ran for office on the promise of shutting down Guantanamo Bay, curbing the Patriot Act, ending renditions and preventative detention, and mumbling about drones. Then, in office, he went both hot and cold on all of them.



U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder hinted at trying accused terrorist killers such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian courts and holding CIA interrogators responsible for enhanced interrogations. Then, the administration abruptly dropped those bad ideas and embraced or expanded many of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols -- and in many cases went far beyond anything envisioned by the prior administration.

These paradoxes were not lost on our terrorist enemies. The successors to Osama bin Laden apparently guessed that the Obama administration might not like America's anti-terrorism policies any more than the terrorists themselves did.

News that the FBI scrutinized and then apparently forgot about unhinged Islamists such as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Major Nidal Malik Hasan sent the wrong message to terrorists. Was the Obama administration more worried about hurting feelings than preventing further attacks?

Other rivals and enemies are now fully aware of our new pill-bug mode in the Middle East -- and are willing to bet that it might apply everywhere. Without worry over the U.S. reaction, Russia has given tentative asylum as a reward to Edward Snowden, who singlehandedly exposed -- and sabotaged -- a vast National Security Agency spying network. Increasingly, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan seem to be on their own with a bullying China, unsure whether to bend or resist.

Meanwhile, the new American pill bug curls up in hopes that the mounting dangers will just go away.

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.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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