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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 June 30, 2010 / 18 Tamuz 5770

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is something achingly sad about the way Stanley McChrystal ended a career dedicated to serving his country. But there was no getting around it: Patriot, warrior, and remarkable leader that he is, there was no real alternative. He had to be relieved of his command. Some things just cannot be tolerated. He had to go for the good of the service.

The commanding general of American and allied forces in Iraq had violated a number of military principles, beginning with the chain of command and the respect he owed his own commander, the president of the United States. That's more than bad form; it's prejudicial to good order and military discipline. Not to mention the principle of civilian control of the military in a republic -- if it's going to stay one.

But mainly the general showed a disregard for just plain common sense. There are unwritten rules that should govern the conduct of an officer and gentleman. The general may be an expert tactician, but he should have known better than to go drinking-and-dining, with the emphasis on the former, with a reporter for Rolling Stone, which proceeded to roll right over him. What was he thinking -- or was he?

Quite aside from any military manual, the general would have done well to consult the Book of Proverbs: Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

His staff came across as equally well lubricated and even more loose-lipped, which is no excuse for his conduct but a further indictment, for the commander sets the tone of any outfit.

You'd think at least one of his subordinates would have served him better -- by having the courage and grace to warn him he was asking for trouble. Mainly for himself. That's another rule the general should have remembered: A commander is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do. But his staff failed him, which means he failed to exercise leadership.

But let us now praise famous men, specifically Barack Obama and Stanley McChrystal. The president knew what he had to do, and for once he did it. No hemming-and-hawing, no inviting everybody in to sing Kumbaya, no seeking consensus or convoking another beer summit with Joe Biden sitting in. This time he had to act like the commander-in-chief he is, and he did not disappoint.

As for the general, justice demands that the country he served so long remember that he did more than have a night out in Paris with his staff and a reporter who was taking everything down. He played a major role in the Surge that turned everything around in Iraq under the remarkable general who now has succeeded him in the Afghan theater, David Petraeus, he who literally wrote the book on such a war. And then won it.

General McChrystal, during the tumultuous five years he headed the Joint Special Operations Command, made it a key factor in the ultimate American success in Iraq. His special forces decimated the upper (and lower) leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq, hunting down its chieftains with deadly dispatch. He shaped his command into a contemporary, computerized combination of Wild Bill Donovan's old OSS, Orde Wingate's Chindits, and California's Silicon Valley -- with a touch of James Bond and a dash of bitters thrown in.

For an assessment of the general's military achievements, let us turn to Eliot Cohen, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins and all-around scholar of generalship. This is what he has to say:

"Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a hero -- a selfless, fearless and inspiring soldier. He is also something of a military genius. In Iraq, as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003-2008, he created an extraordinary military operation.

"His command center -- a vast open hall resembling the floor of a trading exchange -- put long-haired civilian geeks next to wiry commandos, and together they uncovered, analyzed, pooled and acted on information that enabled soldiers to launch successful operations at a moment's notice. They did so in ways that only a few years ago would have required weeks of preparation and rehearsal. He is one of the fathers of victory in Iraq, because his organization dismantled the leadership of al-Qaida there. Few Americans know, or will know, how well he has served this country -- and as a shrewd, humane commander, not merely a lethal one."

A master of stealth warfare and remarkable coordinator of mixed talents, it was his troops who tracked down Saddam Hussein in his rathole. And then Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was Osama bin Ladin's man in Iraq. The latter could testify to the general's relentless dedication if he were still with us. But he isn't, thanks to Gen. McChrystal's command. The general personally identified his remains in a bombed-out hut after his boys struck.

It can be a dirty job, counterinsurgency, but Stanley McChrystal seemed made for it, maybe destined for it since his days as a hellraiser at West Point. This country has need of hellraisers from time to ever increasing time. Thank you, sir, for ridding the world of the likes of Mr. Zarqawi. (Next, Osama bin Laden himself.)

The professor who may be the country's leading student of military leadership -- Eliot Cohen -- had to conclude his paean of praise for the general's accomplishments by saying: "President Obama should, nonetheless, fire him."

For even when Gen. McChrystal was doing so much to assure an American victory in a crucial war, there were questions raised about his adherence to the rules. He was suspected of using torture to obtain needed intelligence and covering up the truth about the death of football hero Pat Tillman, who, as it turned out, was the victim not of enemy but of "friendly" fire.

Pattons and Custers may cut corners to accomplish their mission, but it would be as unfair to forget their remarkable achievements as it would have been to let them get away with breaking the rules.

So let us wish the general well on his now less than voluntary retirement, bid him farewell more in sadness than anger, and in a final salute remember not just how he left the service but all he did in it.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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