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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 9, 2010 / 25 Iyar 5770

The ‘civilianization’ of the U.S. military

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FLA. — When asked whether nationalism is putting down roots in Afghanistan's tribalized society, Gen. David Petraeus is judicious: "I don't know that I could say that." He adds, however, that "we do polling" on that subject. When his questioner expresses skepticism about the feasibility of psephology — measuring opinion — concerning an abstraction such as nationalism in a chaotic, secretive and suspicious semi-nation, Petraeus, his pride aroused, protests: "I took research methodology" at Princeton. There he acquired a PhD in just two years: His voracious appetite for knowing things is the leitmotif of his career.

Petraeus thinks he knows that President Hamid Karzai is widely viewed as "the father of the new Afghanistan." Although there was widespread fraud in the election last August that extended Karzai's presidency by five years, Petraeus says "ordinary people are not seized with anxiety about electoral corruption." Besides, "there is a democratic culture in these tribal councils," which are "like caucuses, if you will."

Perhaps, but the limitations of this culture are evident in Petraeus's belief that part of the Taliban's appeal, where it has had appeal, has been its ability to offer "dispute resolution" that is sometimes harsh but at least is rapid. And, Petraeus adds, with an inconvenient candor, the Taliban are sometimes "less predatory" than the Afghan security forces. Although strengthening the central government is a U.S. goal, that government's corruption and brutality might make the localities less than eager for it to be strengthened.

In "The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army," journalists David Cloud and Greg Jaffe write that Petraeus, briefing subordinates in Iraq, swirled "his emerald-green laser pointer over pie charts and columns full of data. 'I am going to manage you by slides,' he told his troops." His topics would include "Iraq's sclerotic electricity output . . . bridge and road reconstruction, chlorine supplies at water-treatment plants . . . even chicken embryo imports." And the closing of a bank in a Sunni neighborhood, "a small piece of a broader effort by the Shiite-dominated government to starve Sunni neighborhoods of essential services":

"Petraeus wanted to know: Why had the Shiite finance minister closed the bank? How quickly could the local manager reopen it? How many guards did the bank need and what was the plan to train them?"


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This is not the militarization of U.S. policy. Rather, it is the civilianization of the military, an inevitable consequence of nation-building.

Petraeus's desire to know things exceeds the capacity of things that need to be known. But Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan, said early this year that "the vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade."

Hence the need for different kinds of persuasion, as in this from Petraeus's Iraq guidance: "Employ money as a weapon system." Money can pay local people to build schools and hospitals; money also can buy the "$10 Taliban" — those who become insurgents just to put food on their tables. Petraeus estimates that at most 30 percent of the Taliban are ideologically fervid.

Counterinsurgency, as codified in Petraeus's writings, is not primarily about killing terrorists, although there is a lot of that. "We have hammered them pretty hard," he says, but "we don't announce every one of them" killed. "The sheer weight of the losses accumulates" — losses of medical and command-and-control facilities, and sites for manufacturing IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

And counterinsurgency is not primarily about holding real estate. Rather, it is about protecting, and improving the well-being of, the population. This is what he means when he says "the pressure must continue, but not just kinetic pressure."

For America to fail in Afghanistan, against a force lacking air power, armor, artillery or other serious military sinews, would be diminishing. But so might be the costs of protracted perseverance. In President Obama's calculations, those costs must include the danger of another insurgency — one in his political base.

During his recent visit to Afghanistan, the president said: "The United States of America does not quit once it starts on something." This is not true, nor should it be. Because Petraeus cannot subdue the Taliban militarily in a time frame that American opinion will sustain, Petraeus's challenge is to persuade enough of the Taliban to abandon the fight before the Democratic Party base persuades the president to abandon it.


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