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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 Dec. 1, 2011 5 Kislev, 5772

A tale of two surges

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From 2007 to 2009, a surge of 20,000 troops under the generalship of David Petraeus saved a mostly lost war in Iraq. Petraeus' counterinsurgency doctrine helped win over the population, as the surge in troops gave greater security to Iraq's government and military. Despite occasional violence, fewer Americans have been killed in Iraq in 2011 (53 in the most recent count) than in any year since the invasion -- a quiet that could end with the departure of all American troops soon.

By 2009, Afghanistan was spiraling out of control and seemed in need of a similar troop surge. President Obama reluctantly agreed to send 20,000 reinforcements. Two prominent veterans of the Iraq turnaround, Petraeus and Marine Gen. James Mattis, eventually took over command of the war and the surrounding theater to seek a repeat of what they had helped accomplish in Iraq.

Yet despite better security in some provinces, a general reduction in violence and a decline this year in American fatalities, public support for the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time low. The violent country still remains about eight times more deadly to American troops than is Iraq.

Why hasn't the surge worked as well as it did in Iraq? One reason is the lack of commensurate diplomatic support. In Iraq, Ambassador Ryan Crocker worked closely with Petraeus and the Iraqi government to integrate civilian and military strategy. That sort of cohesion -- until the recent dispatch of Crocker to Afghanistan -- was lacking in 2009 and 2010. Instead, endemic squabbling between American ambassadors, the Afghan government, the U.S. military and regional State Department diplomatic czars hampered unity of purpose.

Afghanistan, of course, is also not Iraq. We forgot that between 2002 and 2006, when the media strangely considered it the "good," necessary and quiet war to distinguish it from the far more violent and unpopular "bad" Iraq war. Yet this good war/bad war idea -- so popular in the 2008 presidential campaign -- was always a false construct.

Afghanistan poses far more challenges than Iraq. Instead of Iraq's billions of dollars in state oil revenue, impoverished Afghan gangs export opium. Iraqis are part of the larger Arab world, living in its most strategically important area. Afghans are far more isolated and less critical to the world economy.

Flat, arid and clear-skied Iraq is accessible by sea and ideal for air operations. Landlocked Afghanistan is mountainous and hard to supply, with a harsh climate and often stormy weather. A nuclear and duplicitous Pakistan plays far more havoc than did even Iraq's meddling neighbors. Iraq has a stronger secular tradition, and its population is mostly literate. Afghanistan is far more fundamentalist and tribal, with well over half the population illiterate.

There were other differences in the two surges as well. The Iraq surge was overseen by hawkish and stubborn George W. Bush, who was not about to see the war that he started lost. Bush believed that a constitutional Iraq was key to spreading change elsewhere in the autocratic Arab world.

Although antiwar candidate Barack Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and promised to focus on Afghanistan, he clearly believed that most Americans wanted out of both wars as quickly as possible. As soon as Obama announced his own Afghan surge, he also promised to set dates for withdrawal. Fairly or not, both our military and the enemy concluded that American departure, rather than securing the country, was the overriding concern.

Four American generals have commanded operations in Afghanistan in a span of less than three years -- a far different scenario than Petraeus' continued tenure during the surge in Iraq. Americans are also tiring of the war: When Petraeus took over in Iraq, we had been at war almost four years; 2011 saw the 10th anniversary of an exhausting war in Afghanistan.

Finally, we still do not know all the reasons why Iraq quieted in 2008 and 2009. But there may have been ancillary factors for the surge's success. A steady increase in Iraqi oil revenues helped. In 2006, well before the surge, many fed-up Sunni leaders had abruptly joined Americans and turned on the murderous Islamic terrorists in their midst. And by 2007, Americans had cumulatively killed thousands of Islamists and ex-Baathists.

In other words, simply adding more troops and changing tactics might not have been the entire story of success in Iraq. A surge alone in Afghanistan likewise may not so easily turn things around without other such positive developments.

Continuity of American command, an ironclad commitment from the president to finish the job, diplomatic and military unity, and far more help from everyday Afghans are critical to the surge. Without all that, more troops and better tactics still will not bring the sort of success that we saw in Iraq.

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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