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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 Nov. 5, 2009 18 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Afghan Mythologies

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As President Obama decides whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, we should remember that most of the conventional pessimism about Afghanistan is only half-truth.


Remember the mantra that the region is the "graveyard of empires," where Alexander the Great, the British in the 19th century, and the Soviets only three decades ago inevitably met their doom?


In fact, Alexander conquered most of Bactria and its environs (which included present-day Afghanistan). After his death, the area that is now Afghanistan became part of the Seleucid Empire.


Centuries later, outnumbered British-led troops and civilians were initially ambushed, and suffered many casualties, in the first Afghan war. But the British were not defeated in their subsequent two Afghan wars between 1878 and 1919.


The Soviets did give up in 1989 their nine-year effort to create out of Afghanistan a communist buffer state — but only because the Arab world, the United States, Pakistan and China combined to provide the Afghan mujahideen resistance with billions of dollars in aid, not to mention state-of-the-art anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.


While Afghans have been traditionally fierce resistance fighters and made occupations difficult, they have rarely for long defeated invaders — and never without outside assistance.


Other mythologies about Afghanistan abound.


Is the country ungovernable? No more so than any of the region's other rough countries. After the founding of the modern state in 1919, Afghanistan enjoyed a relative stable succession of constitutional monarchs until 1973. The country was once considered generally secure, tolerant and hospitable to foreigners.


Did we really take our eye off the "good" war in Afghanistan to fight the optional bad one in Iraq? Not quite. After a brilliant campaign to remove the Taliban in 2001, a relatively stable Karzai government saw little violence until 2007. Between 2001 and 2006, no more than 100 American soldiers were killed in any given year.


In fact, American casualties increased after Iraq became quiet — as Islamists, defeated in Iraqi's Al Anbar province, refocused their efforts on the dominant Afghan theater.


Is Afghanistan the new Vietnam? Hardly. In the three bloodiest years, 2007 through 2009 so far, the United States has suffered a total of 553 fatalities — tragic, but less than 1 percent of the 58,159 Americans killed in Vietnam. What is astounding is the ability of the U.S. military to inflict damage on the enemy, protect the constitutional government and keep our losses to a minimum.


Our military is the most experienced in both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency warfare in the world. The maverick savior of Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, now oversees operations in the Mideast and Central Asia. His experienced lieutenant, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is a successful veteran of the worst fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Unlike past foreign interventions, our U.N.-approved aim is not to create a puppet state, but a consensual government able to defend itself against the Taliban and al-Qaida — while preventing more strikes against the United States.


With Iraq relatively stabilized, jihadists have no choice but to commit their resources to prevent a second defeat. Meanwhile, Pakistan at last is cracking down on terrorist enclaves.


Unlike the case with the unpopular Bush decision to surge troops in Iraq, President Obama does not face a hostile political opposition at home. Many Americans are undecided rather than against continuing the war.


Republicans in Congress will support the administration's efforts to secure the country. There are no conservative counterparts to Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan. Even most anti-war Democrats became quiet once Barack Obama was elected. European NATO commanders want the U.S. to lead them to victory.


What, then, prevents President Obama from sending more troops to secure the country?


Mostly problems of presidential indecision and confusion. Candidate Obama ran on the theme of Afghanistan as the necessary war, Iraq the optional one. But he assumed the then-quiet front in Afghanistan would stay that way, while Americans would withdraw from what he deemed a hopeless effort in Iraq.


Just the opposite ensued. The surge worked. But Afghanistan heated up. So now the president finds himself increasingly trapped by his campaign rhetoric. He is on record as committed to defeating the Taliban and winning the "necessary" war. But the president is now also a Noble Peace Laureate who apparently does not want what has become a messy conflict with Islamists on his watch.


We have experienced soldiers and military leadership, a just cause and Western unity. In other words, we have everything we need to defeat the Taliban — except a commander-in-chief as confident about fighting and winning as he once was as a candidate.

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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