Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 March 3, 2014 / 1 Adar II, 5774

Back to the '30s: The great American retreat

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | It happens after every war. America disarms. And so invites the next attack, and next war. The same haphazard pattern is emerging now -- even before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, much as this administration pretends they are in order to cut the defense budget.

On both those fronts, the enemy is rushing to fill the vacuum left by the American withdrawal. This country's retreat has allowed al-Qaida, its branches and assorted allies and successors, whether the Taliban in Afghanistan or freelance terrorists in Iraq, to advance. At this rate, it may be only a matter of time before the next Benghazi or even the next September 11th, yet this administration has already sounded retreat. And taken not a scalpel but a meat axe to the national defense budget.

Under this just-proposed budget, the country's active-duty forces are to be reduced by more than a tenth and the reserves by 5 percent. Military pay and veterans' benefits would be pared accordingly. (Thank You For Your Service, Vets. The line for unemployment benefits begins just outside the door.)

Out will go various weapons systems good, bad and in-between, including the A-10 Warthog jet and flying fortress, aka the American infantryman's best friend -- well, next to his rifle. Who needs a defense, anyway?

How sum up this retreat from the world and reality in general in a few concise words? A senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, one Randy Forbes (R-Va.), came close: "It is very difficult for anyone to say with a straight face this budget will defend this country."

Second Place goes to Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who noted that "Washington is trying to balance the budget on the backs of those who have suffered the most." Veterans of those conflicts haven't sounded as bitter since the fall of Fallujah, which the Taliban have just re-occupied after its liberation cost so much in American blood.

Leave it to our still new secretary of "defense" to rationalize all these cuts. Chuck Hagel sounded like the last of the straight-faced kidders when he said that slicing away at the defense budget would strengthen the country's defenses. The pity is that he may not have been kidding at all but being perfectly serious. Which explains why, as long as he's in office, he'll sound like the new secretary of defense.

Mr. Hagel did mentioned in passing that, oh, yes, slashing away at American defenses might entail certain risks, but went on to explain, "We are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted."

American dominance can no longer be taken for granted. What heartening news that would be for America's enemies and the enemies of freedom everywhere. Except -- though it may come as a surprise to our ever-new secretary of defense -- there has never been a time when American dominance could be taken for granted. Or should be. Nothing -- nothing -- can be assumed in war. Or in peace, for that matter. That's a tried and tested recipe for defeat.

Even now we can hear our old battery commander chewing out some hapless and hopeless sergeant: "You assumed?!" Question mark, exclamation point. The sergeant wasn't a sergeant for long after that. Unfortunately, our current secretary of defense seems to have tenure. Ditto, the less than commanding figure who is currently commander-in-chief of our armed forces, which are now to be less well armed. (The applause you hear in the background comes from capitals like Teheran, Beijing and Moscow, those well-known citadels of freedom.)

American dominance can no longer be taken for granted. As if it ever could have been. There was no taking victory for granted in any of America's wars. Going back to the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, which, to borrow a phrase often attributed to the Duke of Wellington during the Napoleonic wars, was "a damned close-run thing." Thank goodness the French fleet arrived in the nick of time off Yorktown to save the day, and the American cause.

American dominance was scarcely assured during the War of 1812, either, or in our own Civil War, whichever American side you were on. The same goes for the Second World Catastrophe, which this country entered formally only after being caught unprepared at Pearl Harbor.

By then, being caught unprepared had become something of an American tradition. A tradition maintained up to September 11, 2001, and which our current administration seems determined to renew. Indeed, it may be the only thing Obama, Kerry, Hagel and Careless Company, LLC, may be determined about. As this latest defense budget of theirs demonstrates.

American dominance can no longer be taken for granted. It certainly couldn't be in the happy-days-are-here-again years leading up to the Korean War, when the Truman administration was so bent on disarming America that our meager forces were woefully unprepared for that war, too. Indeed, the closest parallel to Chuck Hagel's course as the nation's secretary of defense may be that followed by Harry Truman's incompetent secretary of defense, one Louis A. Johnson, whose idea of defense was to slash, cut and generally shrink the armed forces of the United States.

The result: Our troops paid for those years of deliberate neglect in blood and suffering. At frozen-over places with names like Chosin and Heartbreak Ridge and Pork Chop Hill. ... The Forgotten War was forgotten even while it was still going on. And the Best and Brightest did no better at strategizing in Vietnam with all its rules of (non)engagement, which might as well have been rules for defeat.



And now The Hon. Charles Hagel, secretary of what is called defense by this administration, assures us: "We are entering an era where American dominance ... can no longer be taken for granted." No words could be less assuring, or so complete and concise a summation of this administration's absence of historical perspective or constancy of purpose in foreign policy. The result has been a kind of isolationism-by-accident, for not even that outcome seems planned. For now American foreign policy with all its Pivots and Resets seems a completely ad-hoc, make-it-up-as-you-go-along affair, as feckless as it is pretentious.

It was said, and rightly so, that the previous president was widely hated. And so George W. Bush was -- by every aspiring tyrant and ambitious terrorist and enemy of freedom in the world. This president isn't hated, he's just ignored and despised, for he's become the personification of weakness and drift in American foreign policy. He abandons one ally after another and courts one tyrant after another. As high an opinion as he may have of himself, the world has lost respect for him, friend and foe alike.

It is said in the president's defense that he's really leading -- from behind. There are only two things wrong with that assertion: (1) He's not leading, and (2) he's so far behind he's not even in the picture.

So welcome back to the Carter Years, or even the Twenties and Thirties, the years of Harding and Stimson and the Kellogg-Briand Treaty to simply outlaw war, the years of the Gathering Storm in general. The view from here may be bleak, but it is terribly, terribly familiar.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast