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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 Sept. 11, 2013/ 7 Tishrei, 5774

How Obama got Syria so wrong

By Trudy Rubin



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Unless President Obama can show Congress that his planned Syria strike is linked to a larger — and coherent — strategy, legislators should just say no.

So far, his explanations, and those of his cabinet members at congressional hearings, have only added to the confusion. "What is it you're seeking?" Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) asked Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in trying to elicit the broader goals of military action. The general replied candidly, "I can't answer that, what we're seeking."

That moment of testimony encapsulated the dilemma for the Congress and the country. If the military doesn't grasp where the commander in chief is leading, and the president can't (or won't) clarify, we're all in trouble. You can't get there if you don't know where "there" is.

This is not the way to wage a war — oops, I mean a limited military strike.

The official explanation for the strike, of course, is to "degrade and deter" Bashar al-Assad's ability to gas his own people. This would signal other would-be mass murderers not to use such weapons. The attack would supposedly be very limited — missiles fired from ships at sea, but no boots on the ground. It would not be meant to change the course of the Syrian conflict, or to help the rebels beat Assad.

Of course, a missile strike would mainly be meant to salvage Obama's and America's credibility (with Iran) by proving the president means what he says when he sets red lines.

But an ill-conceived attack is more likely to destroy Obama's reputation than to restore it. If it's purely symbolic, Assad will emerge unscathed, and triumphant. Already, while Congress debates, and administration officials leak details of likely targets, Assad has cleared men, rockets, and artillery from prospective target sites. Dempsey testified that he may have moved prisoners in as human shields.

"A minimal strike would do more harm than good," says Elizabeth O'Bagy, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War who has done extensive interviews with Syrian rebel commanders. It would demoralize more moderate rebel forces, who have been waiting in vain for long-promised U.S. weapons.

Given this reality, the temptation will be to expand the target sites (which the Pentagon is already doing) and employ aircraft in addition to ship-launched missiles. Here, too, lies danger. Without a clear strategy, the administration could get sucked into a longer bombing campaign with no clear endgame and disastrous repercussions inside Syria — and in the region.

Yet Obama seems headed right into that trap.



The White House rightly fears that Islamist militias are best placed to take advantage of Assad's losses from any U.S. military action — whether too limited or too extensive. This fear lies at the root of the administration's indecision. (The White House wants to devise a strike that resembles the porridge in the Goldilocks fairy tale — not hot enough to unseat Assad, or cold enough to look weak.)

Several senators have tried to press the White House to link any U.S. strike to arms and training for more moderate rebel groups, so they — not jihadis — would benefit from any weakening of Assad. This, at least, would make strategic sense.

O'Bagy, who has traveled widely inside Syria, says the bulk of rebel groups are not jihadis. In fact, the extremist rebel groups have alienated mainstream fighters with their harsh ideology and brutal treatment of civilians.

But the repeated failure of Washington to keep its promises of military aid to more moderate rebel commanders (who have been vetted by the CIA) has benefited the jihadis, who get arms and money from rich Gulf Arabs. So has the U.S. failure to fully support an umbrella Supreme Military Council that Washington helped set up last December.

In late August, after the regime's chemical-weapons attack, four of the five top council commanders threatened to resign and to cooperate with jihadi fighters against Assad if the West didn't deliver promised military aid. They were already angered that small arms promised months ago were never delivered. Nor has the administration given a green light for other countries — particularly the Saudis — to deliver antiaircraft weapons to CIA-vetted rebels.

The White House worries that such weapons may fall into the hands of radical Islamists. Yet the failure to keep pledges to moderates has actually strengthened the jihadis — just the result that the administration most feared.

Obama is now said to be studying a wider role for U.S. military advisers in training moderate rebels. Perhaps this is meant as a sop to senators who won't vote for a military strike unless it is linked to such aid. But — after the chemical strike — a long-range training program is not sufficient. This will be too little, too late to make any difference.

Had the president armed vetted groups last summer — as all his top civilian and military advisers advocated — the chemical-weapons attack might never have happened. Now may be the last opportunity the White House will have to strengthen such groups and enlist them as partners. Only if they gain strength inside Syria, and soon, might the Assad regime crack — and negotiations become possible.

This — not a halfhearted strike — is the best way to prevent any future Syrian chemical attacks.

Previously:

07/24/13: It's time for Obama to tell Putin 'nyet'

05/15/13: What Russia gave Kerry on Syria --- very little


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.

Comment by clicking here.

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial-board member for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

© 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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