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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 Oct. 14, 2009 / 26 Tishrei 5770

Who's at the Helm?

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The course of American policy in Afghanistan had been clear from the first of this administration. This president made it clear even before he was president -- when he was on the campaign trail. So it was simple enough for the commander in the field to sum it up when asked to speak at an international conference the other day:

Afghanistan was no longer going to be the forgotten war. On the contrary, it was a "war of necessity," and "the central front on terror." This country would pursue a "comprehensive new strategy ... to reverse the Taliban's gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government." Because the "return in force of al-Qaida terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence."

All of those quotes are not from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new general whom a new president chose to carry out a new strategy in Afghanistan. Those are the words of Barack Obama himself, the commander-in-chief. So when General McChrystal stopped in London to deliver a speech about the war -- a speech vetted and approved by the brass in the Pentagon weeks before -- he had only to echo the president's own policy.

Uh oh. How was the general to know that's now the old policy? Indeed, that there is no longer a policy at all. For since the general last got his orders, the president has gone wobbly. You have to be nimble to keep up with this president even when he's just dawdling -- excuse me, re-evaluating. Let's just say he's taking a furlough day, maybe a furlough year by the time he's through backing-and-forthing.

Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric, his strong statements about winning the war in Afghanistan just after he was inaugurated in January and repeated and reinforced in March and July and again in August . . . all those pronouncements, as Richard Nixon might say, are no longer operative. Everything's been put on hold, maybe indefinitely.

What? What about this president's warnings that, unless Afghanistan can be stabilized, al-Qaida would return from its redoubts just across the border in Pakistan? What about his prophecies that, unless the war was won in Afghanistan, the Taliban would once again offer a refuge and base of operations for terrorists of all Islamic brands?

Remember all that? Well, forget it. It's all going down the memory hole. A re-re-review of policy is being conducted, doubtless preparatory to the next review.

Never mind that Gen. McChrystal, at the president's command, had just submitted a "comprehensive" review of how the war in Afghanistan is going, namely badly. How was the general to know that the presidential policy he was defending in London is no longer presidential policy? There's always one guy in every outfit who never gets the word.

In the fight for influence among the president's 1,001 closest advisers, handlers, kibitzers, staff officers and armchair generals in Washington, the long knives are out. So the general commanding of American and allied forces in the field was accused of pulling a MacArthur -- a reference to Gen. Douglas MacArthur's famous confrontation with his commander-in-chief, Harry Truman, over what strategy to follow in Korea, another forgotten war.

In 1951, it had been the perfect match-up: the American Caesar vs. The Man from Independence, military versus civil authority, autocratic Virginian against feisty Missourian. High drama. Who cares if the McChrystal-Obama parallel is, to put it mildly, inexact? The show's the thing. All that empty airtime on television and radio, not to mention the infinite space available on electronic blogs, has to be filled, you know. So let's re-run the MacArthur-Truman tapes.

This handy historical parallel, however it might have to be strained, has been rolled out by our never very original intelligentsia and applied to this mix-up between a new general who had his orders, or thought he had them, and a wavering young president suddenly confronted with what his once brave words might cost in terms of American lives and treasure. Not to mention the midterm elections.

General McChrystal was said to feel "just terrible" about the misunderstanding -- a most un-MacArthur expression of humility -- but nevertheless he would be squeezed into the MacArthur mold. Charges of insubordination would be bruited about. It makes for a good story. And the story's the thing.

Meanwhile, a new military doctrine for Afghanistan, or at least a military rationalization, is being hammered out under the experienced leadership of General Joe Biden, code-name Silly Man. The vague new direction for American policy: less counter-insurgency, more Rumsfeldian war-on-the-cheap. It didn't work in Iraq but it'll have to do in Afghanistan, at least till Kabul falls to a resurgent Taliban. Then it can all be blamed on the Republicans, or maybe Gen. McChrystal. You can never have enough fall guys.

But what about this president's own early, incautious McCain-like statements January through August? Never happened. They will be forgotten. That's an order. They must not be remembered, let alone repeated. The president might be accused of insubordination to himself.

What fun. Disorganization at the top always is. But only to watch, preferably from afar, safely removed from actual combat. The show isn't as much fun if you're a trooper somewhere in back-of-beyond Nuristan while all Afghanistan is turning into Chaostan.

And so the great ship of state sails on, though no one seems sure of its course any longer. Down below, the grunts sweat and shovel and fight and die. In the wardrooms, the mid-level officers and bureaucrats and visiting correspondents plot to run the show themselves. The bridge is full of VIPs coming and going and offering counsel, intrigue and flattery. And yet, for all the activity there, it seems perfectly empty. No one is at the helm.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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.

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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