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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 Oct. 3, 2006 / 11 Tishrei, 5767

The leaders we have

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While leading the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the summer of 2003, David Kay received a phone call from "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who wanted a particular place searched: "The vice president wants to know if you've looked at this area. We have indications — and here are the geocoordinates — that something's buried there." Kay and his experts located the area on the map. It was in the middle of Lebanon.


This story from Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" would be hilarious were it not about war. The vignette is dismaying because it seems symptomatic of a blinkering monomania that may have prevented obsessed persons from facing facts.


Some will regard "State of Denial" as Katrina between hard covers, a snapshot of dysfunctional government. But it is largely just a glimpse of government , disheartening as that fact may be to those who regard government as a glistening scalpel for administering social transformation.


Once, when President William Howard Taft was listening to an aide talk about "the machinery of government," Taft murmured, "The young man really thinks it's a machine." Actually, government is people, and not a random slice of the population. Those at government's pinnacle generally are strong-willed, ambitious, competitive, opinionated and have agendas about which they care deeply. That is why they are there. And why almost any administration, carefully scrutinized, looks much like a teaspoon of pond water viewed under a microscope — a teeming, disorderly maelstrom of sometimes rival life forms. That is especially true of an administration staffed with such canny Washington survivors as Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell. A government of rookies or shrinking violets would be more harmonious. So, how much of a virtue is harmony?


"State of Denial" will take a toll on government collegiality and the candor of its deliberations. It is based on astonishing indiscretions — current and past officials making private memos and conversations public for motives that cannot be pure.


The book is hardly a revelation about supposed hidden chaos in Washington that produced the obvious chaos in Iraq. It does demonstrate that President Bush and others were shockingly slow to recognize Iraq's complexities and downward spiral. But we already knew that.


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The book does not demonstrate that the president is in a state of denial. His almost exclusive and increasingly grating reliance on the rhetoric of unwavering resolve may be mistaken. It certainly has undermined his reputation as a realist. But he believes a president must be "the calcium in the backbone" of the nation, so the resolute face that he thinks he must show the nation does not preclude private anguish.


The book's central figure, however, is not Bush, whose lack of inquisitiveness is a defect, but Rumsfeld, whose abrasive inquisitiveness is supposedly a defect. The prologue begins with Rumsfeld's selection as defense secretary. The 45th and final chapter contains much about Bush but revolves around an interview with Rumsfeld.


The book actually includes one heartening story that should enhance Rumsfeld's reputation. On Veterans Day 2005, the president traveled to a Pennsylvania Army depot to deliver a speech announcing the new military policy for Iraq, the policy of "clear, hold and build." Woodward says Rumsfeld, having read the speech, called Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, a half-hour before Bush was to deliver it, and said, "Take that out." Card replied that the three words were the centerpiece of the speech, not to mention the war strategy. Rumsfeld replied, "Clear, we're doing. It's up to the Iraqis to hold. And the State Department's got to work with somebody on the build."


At last, a division of labor that uses the U.S. military only for properly military purposes and assigns responsibilities in a way that will force Iraq's government to grow up. In the name of counterinsurgency, there has been too much of what today's military argot calls "full-spectrum operations" — operations that go beyond killing insurgents to building schools, connecting sewers and other civil projects that keep the training wheels on the Iraqi government's bicycle and keep the United States chasing the chimera of "nation-building."


"Where's the leader?" Bush, according to Woodward, has exclaimed in dismay about the Iraqi government's dithering. "Where's George Washington? Where's Thomas Jefferson? Where's John Adams, for crying out loud?" For a president to ask that question about Iraq, that tribal stew, is enough to cause one to ask it about the United States.

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.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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