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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 June 24, 2014 / 26 Sivan, 5774

Iraq agonistes

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see (evil's) final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices."

--C.S. Lewis, "The Screwtape Letters"

Call it déjà vu, the feeling that we've been here before, that events in the news are happening again, only with a new cast. This flashback could be titled Iraq Agonistes, except it's no play. It is all too real. For those are real people suffering and dying, and real diplomats and generals, presidents and pundits, senators and senior advisers ... all proudly displaying their gobsmacked ineptitude.

There is something eerily, depressingly familiar about the latest news from the state formerly known as Iraq as this all too familiar tragedy is re-enacted in a different setting with a different suffering people.

The players may have changed, but not the tragedy. Indeed, the plot is so familiar you can almost see the audience yawning and heading for the exits. ("Not this sad show again!") In these fast-moving or rather fast-collapsing days for the "republic" of Iraq, some of us wake up every morning with the idle thought: Is there still an Iraq? And if so, who cares?

All the old, blood-soaked scenes of an earlier performance by the same theatrical company -- let's dub it the Washington Players -- return like a recurrent nightmare: the agony of friends and allies who counted on us only to be abandoned, the innocents caught in the crossfire, the usual parade of mutual atrocities, and a nebulous government whose power and authority is not just eroding but disappearing every day, every hour, every minute. No matter how much its remaining leaders may deny it.

How long before these leaders, too, become former leaders and retreat to their villas in the south of France, and give interviews explaining how right they were all along? Much like Jimmy Carter still trying to justify the malaise he presided over in his now almost forgotten day.



It's been almost a decade now since peace was restored after an earlier crisis in Iraq and then maintained at the cost of still more American blood and treasure. But now the violent bear it away again. And we in this blessed country enable the violent everywhere by our indifference, aided and abetted as always by the steady current of isolationism that flows deep in the American ethos. We never seem to learn.

From the moment our failing president tried to justify his hasty withdrawal from Iraq by telling us everything was just fine and dandy over there, it hasn't been. And by now things have grown much worse. But that didn't stop him from declaring Mission Accomplished:

"Everything that American troops have done in Iraq -- all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering -- all of it has led to this moment of success. Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people." --Barack Obama, Fort Bragg, N.C., December 14, 2011.

Sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq is now any anything but, and never has been while this president was supposedly in charge -- in large part because of his leadership, or rather lack of same.

Once again we watch as a demoralized army's retreat turns into a rout, neighboring states circle like vultures to pick up the choicer pieces for themselves, and any remaining islands of stability and refuge are overrun -- by a flood of refugees they cannot cope with.

Even the reactions from Washington are tinged with the same old excuses for inaction. These days they come with an almost desperate air as this administration tries to evade responsibility for what has happened in the power vacuum it created when it decided to withdraw from still another part of the world. Even if the scenes we recall today aren't from the Middle but the Far East.

Remember Saigon 1975? How long will it be before the television cameras again record American disgrace as the last panic-stricken civilians try to clamber aboard the last helicopter leaving the American embassy, this time in Baghdad instead of Saigon?

Our president and "commander- in-chief" has decreed no more boots on the ground in Iraq. That policy is the big problem. But as that former country disintegrates, he has relented to the extent of ordering more troops to protect our embassy in Baghdad. It's a step up from the administration's fecklessness at Benghazi, but only a small step. Let's hope it will be enough to protect our people now on the front lines, but hope is scarcely an adequate substitute for a foreign policy.

Meanwhile, scenes from the tragedy enacted in Vietnam decades ago continue to recur -- right down to mission creep. The White House has ordered 300 "military advisers" to Iraq, which is just the way our misadventure in Vietnam started. The one thing worse than a shameful withdrawal overseas may be an uncertain one that leaves everyone guessing whether we're leaving or going back in.

This administration, which looks more and more like only a collection of slow learners, lacks the one essential requisite for a thoughtful and effective foreign policy: constancy of purpose. Instead, an American administration is reduced once again to buck-passing as it is obliged to make ad-hoc decisions in response to one immediate crisis after another, the total effect of which is to invite more crises.

Confronted by such disarray in Washington once again, what useful judgment can any observer make except a slow, sad shake of the head? Yes, will we ever learn?

"Stand by your friends, and stand up to bullies."

--Margaret Thatcher

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.

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