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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 Nov. 15, 2010 / 8 Kislev, 5771

Bush had ups and downs, but the surge counted most

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | George W. Bush is sitting on a hotel sofa in front of a south-facing window on a sunny November morning. His presidential memoir “Decision Points” is No. 1 on Amazon.com and is expected to be No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. “I’ve got a very comfortable life,” he says.


“Decision Points,” as the title suggests, does not purport to be the full story of Bush’s life or his administration. It “provides data points for future historians.”

Contrary to stereotype, Bush admits some serious errors up front. He failed to see the “house of cards” in the financial sector that led to the crisis of September 2008.

He should have addressed the immigration issues rather than the Social Security issue when he had political capital from his 2004 re-election victory. He should have stopped in Baton Rouge or returned to Washington rather than fly over New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and he should have deployed active-duty troops earlier to keep order.

Against this list, he also takes time to spotlight accomplishments that neither his supporters nor critics have been talking much about. He argues that his decision to fund experiments only using embryonic stem cells obtained from existing lines has been vindicated by advances in research on adult and other nonembryonic stem cells.  

His Millennial Challenge foreign aid reform encouraging free-market development is a clear advance over failed aid policies. And his PEPFAR program combating AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

But some significant material is left out. An early chapter on Iraq ends with the blunder (as Bush admits) of the “mission accomplished” banner in May 2003; a later chapter recounts how he decided we were losing there in spring 2006. What about the three years in between?

The main goal, he writes, was progress in holding elections, which occurred, and that he thought the “light footprint” strategy could succeed.

When casualties kept rising, he says, “At first you hope it’s a spike, then it’s a trend.” He decided it had failed in spring 2006.

In the meantime, he writes that he wanted to avoid LBJ-style “micromanaging” and, although he notes he read Eliot Cohen’s book “Supreme Command,” he apparently didn’t follow its recommendation of continual and sometimes acrimonious interaction between commanders in chief and combat generals.

“A president doesn’t get to know his generals. I didn’t know that Tommy Franks,” who was appointed by Bill Clinton, “was from Midland, Texas,” his own hometown. “The key to success is to adhere to the line of authority. It’s disruptive if the president is talking to the generals all the time.”

Why wasn’t the surge strategy adopted immediately? “Once I made up my mind to surge, there were a lot of moving parts. I had to convince people in my own administration, I needed new eyes [a new secretary of defense], I had to get beyond the elections, I had to goose [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki.”

The picture one gets from the book and in the hotel room is of a president who suddenly became much more actively engaged in setting a course in Iraq.

He writes that in June 2006 he set up a sort of Team B in the National Security Council to plan a surge strategy. He also makes brief veiled references to the detailed proposals developed outside the government in the following months by Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and retired Gen. Jack Keane.

Bush says that he decided to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in spring 2006, but waited until after the November election and after recruiting Robert Gates. And, he writes, this president who had been reluctant to interact with generals had a recommendation to Gates for the new commander in Iraq: Gen. David Petraeus.

The surge was announced in January 2007, eight or nine months after Bush decided the previous strategy was failing. Bush argues that if he had acted more quickly, there would have been divisions in the government that would have led Congress to cut off war funding.

“The strategic consequences of defeat would have been horrific,” Bush says. “Embolden Iran — shudders through the Mideast — al Qaeda triumphant.” But now he’s optimistic about Iraq and about democracy in the region.

As the sun pours in, it’s hard not to shiver at how narrowly we avoided disaster and achieved success.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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