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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 Nov. 17, 2005 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

McCain's flawed position on Iraq

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was a politically brave speech John McCain gave the other day about Iraq, in which he called for increasing troops levels and planning to keep them there quite awhile, while acknowledging that the inevitable result would be more U.S. casualties.

If McCain does run for president in 2008, this speech is an almost guaranteed political loser. The Bush administration is highly unlikely to follow the advice and would enflame the country if it did.

That means that in 2008, things in Iraq will either be better than they are today, in which case McCain's call for more arms will seem imprudent, unwise and unnecessary. Or things will be about the same or worse, in which case the country is hardly likely to be receptive to a candidate proposing an even deeper involvement and longer commitment.

But the political bravery and disinterestedness of McCain's prescriptions for Iraq don't make them right.

McCain's most powerful argument is a moral one. "When America toppled Saddam," he said, "we incurred a moral duty not to abandon the people there to terrorists and killers."

Actually, the more significant moral obligation was incurred not in the toppling of Saddam, but in the aftermath. Iraqis have given and are risking their lives to create a democratic country, in part on reliance that the United States would help them.

But McCain's analysis is less sound about whether an orderly and flexible withdrawal is compatible with that obligation and about the practical consequences of such a course.

According to McCain, and many other supporters of a sustained if not enhanced military engagement in Iraq, the alternative is likely to be "full scale civil war" that will lead to a "failed state" hospitable to terrorists.

Consider the import of that for a moment. The Baathist regime has been eliminated and its military force decimated. The military upper hand is now clearly held by the Shia and Kurds, with their control of governmental security forces and their militias.

Yet, according to the McCain premise, there is not now a critical mass of Iraqis willing to fight and capable of prevailing to create a unified democratic state. If that is true, then Iraq remains a Western artifice and the United States will have no more success in making a country out of it than did the British or the Baathists.

There is, however, reason for more optimism than the deeply pessimistic premise behind McCain's analysis. The Shia and Kurds appear committed to a unified, federated country stitched together with oil revenue.

The minority Sunnis cannot realistically hope for a restoration of their dominant status. Given that the oil is mostly in Shiite and Kurdish territory, the practical choice for the Sunnis is sovereignty without oil revenues or local control within a federation and some shared oil revenues. There are signs that the Sunnis are beginning to adjust to this reality, and therefore the need to participate as a minority in a broader government.

The tactical alternative McCain recommends for an even deeper military engagement needs to be more fully understood. He endorsed the "oil-spot" strategy that has been proposed by, among others, Andrew Krepinevich in a recent Foreign Affairs essay.

Rather than trying to secure the entire country through periodic sweeps of insurgent strongholds, Krepinevich proposes instead that the United States and Iraqi forces up to the task try to permanently secure smaller areas at a time through the imposition of what amounts to martial law, although Krepinevich doesn't call it that. This occupation would need to last, according to Krepinevich, a half year or longer.

Spreading the oil spots of security would require U.S. involvement in an extensive domestic intelligence operation that sought to gather information about insurgents and manipulate tribal relationships in favor of a democratic, unified government.

According to Krepinevich, all this will take a military commitment of at least a decade, hundreds of billions of dollars and higher casualties.

Now there is a risk that McCain and Krepinevich are right, that without such an engagement Iraq will be consumed by civil war and become a failed state hospitable to terrorists. But if it requires that massive a U.S. role to create a stable democracy in Iraq, there is also a substantial risk of failure even with such an extensive U.S. engagement.

McCain is too dismissive about the opposite risk, that a large U.S. military presence at some point hinders rather than helps the creation of a stable, democratic Iraq. Part of the Sunni calculation is that they can get the U.S. to impose a better deal for them than they can realistically expect to negotiate directly with the Shia and Kurds. The terrorists have flatly said that they require a large U.S. military presence to rally the populace in favor of a militant Islamic state.

After the Dec. 15 national election and the formation of a new Iraqi government, chances are a prudent evaluation of all the risks will weigh in favor of an orderly and flexible reduction in the U.S. military presence and role, not an escalation.

In his speech, McCain said: "Iraq is for us to do, for us to win or lose." That's fundamentally mistaken. In the final analysis, Iraq is for the Iraqis to do, and to win or lose.

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JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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