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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 May 3, 2013/ 23 Iyar, 5773

There goes Iraq --- again, or: Depart in haste, repent at leisure

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week's news from Iraq isn't good, though when has it ever been? Well, maybe at those exceptional times when Washington was paying close attention and American troops were being given the support and leeway to do their job right. Indeed, superlatively. As they can given their head and led by field commanders like David Petraeus, a thoughtful leader who had prepared himself -- and our whole military culture -- for a new kind of warfare called counterinsurgency.

Gen. Petraeus would later come a-cropper about a matter quite outside the military realm but all too common among the male and weaker sex. But he will forever deserve the respect of his fellow soldiers, and his fellow Americans, for turning imminent defeat into remarkably quick victory in Iraq.

This general not only wrote the book when it comes to counterinsurgency, or at least compiled and edited it, but put its ideas into practice when finally given the chance. By a president who could acknowledge that American strategy in Iraq had failed, and it was time to change it, his secretary of defense, and the country's whole approach to the war there. And change it dramatically, decisively, completely. And quickly. While there was still time to save the day and a country, and turn things around on a pivotal front in this long, long war against terror. Despite the dangers he knew such a U-turn risked, and despite all the usual kibitzers who warned him it would never work.

But it did. That new strategy was the Surge, and the president was George W. Bush. The doomsayers were legion at the time -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden -- but this bold new approach worked surprisingly well, so well that a president named Barack Obama would adopt it in Afghanistan, too. As he has so many of his predecessor's tactics in the War Against Terror, even if he cannot bring himself to call it that.

. . .

Whatever our president's criticisms of his predecessor, imitation remains the sincerest form of praise. By now Barack Obama has racked up some impressive victories of his own in this never-ending struggle. Just ask one Osama bin Laden, wherever in kingdom come he may be now, courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seals.

This current commander-in-chief has by now acquired his own loud critics, left and right, by prizing practical results more than ideological fantasies. See the list of terrorists who have come afoul of those ever-watchful drones during his tenure. Happily, Mr. Obama has not hesitated to approve their use, though no one denies they can claim innocent victims, as war always does.

But such successes have been fleeting in Iraq, and this president's emphasis on withdrawing from that war -- indeed, his obsession with withdrawing from it rather than winning it -- has proven all too tempting. The result has been a sad procession of headlines ("Fatal blasts/ sap hope for/ a stable Iraq") that chronicle Iraq's deterioration into civil war. When there is no constancy of purpose, especially in war and maybe foreign policy in general, the fight for a stable world founders.

It's an all too familiar pattern in American history: Win every war, lose every peace. Those who still follow events in Iraq, however sad, can recognize that same old pattern emerging again.

But haven't we already spent a decade fighting there? Not to mention all the lives and treasure that war has cost. Why not leave at last?

It's a tempting prospect, but the one thing worse than fighting there, or at least backing up our Iraqi allies who still are, would be to abandon them at a crucial time. As our premature withdrawal from that country has come all too close to doing.

Why stay even longer? For the same reason American troops remain in Korea more than half a century after the war there ended. For the same reason American peacekeepers patrol around the globe from Kosovo to Sinai. This country may have no imperial ambitions, but that doesn't mean we have been spared the burdens of empire, which need to be shouldered if only for reasons of self-defense.

Since its hasty and artificial conception after the First World Calamity to meet the needs of the British Empire (for oil) and its Arab clients, Iraq has been less a nation than an amalgam of various tribes, creeds, and assorted ethnicities in tension, if not war, with one another.

The one part of this mix that works, Iraqi Kurdistan, is constantly at odds (over oil, mainly) with the central government, such as it is. Caught between Arabs on one side and Persians (now Iranians) on the other, Iraq doesn't need occupiers so much as a referee, an armed referee. One with no interest in the place except its stability, which is where we came in. And still are, if not as effectively or in such numbers as we should be and still could be.

The always relevant Tocqueville said it, as he said so many far-seeing things: However unwelcome to democratic societies war may be, it is "nevertheless an occurrence to which all nations are subject, democratic nations as well as others. Whatever taste they may have for peace, they must hold themselves in readiness to repel aggression...." Much as all of us might prefer it otherwise.

Better to accept a harsh reality and respond wisely to it than go chasing after some dream world that has never been and cannot be. The isolationist dream is a persistent theme of our history; so is the need to see through it.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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