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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 Nov. 13, 2012/ 28 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773

How the mighty have fallen

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | ". . . count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last."

-- Sophocles, "Oedipus Rex"

He was America's most honored general, and for good reason. From West Point to Princeton, the classroom to the battlefield, theory to practice, David Petraeus had studied and then acted on what he'd learned. He rewrote the book (FM 3-24) on counter-insurgency warfare, or at least oversaw its compilation and culmination.

In the Army's and the country's hour of desperation in Iraq, when others were ready to accept failure there and call it statesmanship, when master strategist Joe Biden was advocating that we just leave and let that bloody mess of a country vivisect itself into three ethnic parts, this four-star general had a different idea: try something new.

It was called the Surge, an infusion not only of a new troops but a new attitude--working with Iraqis on the ground, building alliances, recruiting new forces who would fight for a better, more stable and democratic future for their reunited country.

Naturally, the general was hooted down by those who knew only that they knew better. Their calculation: Defeatism is always the best course when defeat becomes undeniable. In a phrase that will always stay with her, Hillary Clinton, the senator from New York who would go on to become secretary of state, said it would take "a willing suspension of disbelief" to believe this upstart general. The senator from Illinois, a political comer named Barack Obama, hastened to agree. He, too, scoffed at this Surge the general was proposing.

But a president named George W. Bush had faith in this general and his new approach, and what the armed forces of the United States could do, even adopt new ideas. And the Surge worked -- dramatically. The tide was turned. David Petraeus, his command, and Iraqis and Americans together snatched victory -- or at least success -- from the jaws of a defeat that had looked inevitable.

There is no misfortune that cannot lead to change for the better. In this case, it led to David Petraeus' being recognized as both the visionary and practical-minded leader he was. The same strategy would later be approved by its former critic-in-chief, President Obama, in Afghanistan.

No, it hasn't proven a complete success there, being denied the complete support that General Petraeus had requested. But the man's reputation as both seer and leader had been established on both fronts, and he was a natural pick to head the country's Central Intelligence Agency, where he lasted until his abrupt resignation last week.

Why did he have to go? His shame-faced announcement to the stunned agency he headed told the story: "After being married for 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extra-marital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours." An organization in charge of the country's secrets and its secret exploits.

His indiscretion affected not just the general and his family, but opened a security breach with unpredictable consequences that no intelligence agency can afford. Indeed, the general's affair was uncovered in the course of the FBI's investigation into an unrelated question: Was someone else using one of his personal email accounts? Once the investigation began, it uncovered his affair. The End -- of his brilliant career, of his outstanding service to his country, of an untarnished reputation -- was unavoidable from that moment.

The general's predecessor in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, had to resign after making some indiscreet comments about the president and commander-in-chief. And now David Petraeus realized there was no honorable course but for him to submit his resignation in these embarrassing circumstances. And the president had to reluctantly agree. His resignation took effect immediately.

No doubt the general and his lover had hoped, like so many involved in such affairs, that theirs would remain a private matter, only between the two of them, and that no one else would know, or be hurt. David Petraeus wouldn't be the first, and he surely won't be the last, who fails to appreciate the whole interconnected web of family and friends, duties and joys, that each of us constructs over a lifetime. And that by jeopardizing just one strand of that tangled web, we jeopardize the whole.

None of us lives alone, yet too often men pretend they can betray just one connection, ever so discreetly, and the whole web, at home and at work, in public and in private, will remain intact, unaffected. It doesn't. Betrayal ripples. Everything is affected. Everybody is hurt, disappointed. Especially the man at the center of this web of interconnections he has taken so lightly.

Imagine the reaction of Barack Obama, returning to the White House the morning after his triumphal re-election speech in Chicago, to be greeted by the news that, oh, yes, Mr. President, your CIA director has just submitted his resignation. What?! Talk about having to push the reset button. Life is just full of surprises, including surprising disappointments in the best of men.

It's an old story with an old moral: Even the best of men may prove only a man. The country would gladly forgive the general's indiscretion. His place in American military history and his lasting influence over the country's military strategy will remain assured. But can the general forgive himself? That is his next great challenge, and one he'll have to work out by and with himself.

Forgiveness cannot change what has happened in the past, but it does enhance the future. With gratitude for all the things David Petraeus has done for his country, it will wish him well.

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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