In this issue

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 Sept. 17, 2007 / 5 Tishrei 5768

The war against politics

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Reflecting on Gen. David H. Petraeus' report and surrounding carnival, it's little wonder the natives are restless — popping off in angry ads, firing personal invectives and, as regards Congress, surpassing even the low expectations of cynics.

Bubbling up from the cellars, meanwhile, is the unwelcome thought that no one is in charge. The president is deferring to the general; the general is deferring to the president; Iraqis are deferring to no one; and everybody else is running for office.

Such is the state of affairs six years after America was awakened by the armed sneer of radical Islam and four years into an unpopular war. And also, not insignificantly, several months into the longest presidential election season in U.S. history.

Politics is ever the enemy of judgment, and perspective gets lost in the hysteria that inevitably builds when large numbers of politicians and media gather too tightly in a room. The whir of cameras and the flash of bulbs alter the human ecosystem somehow and interfere with the brain's circuitry, it would seem.

Thus, Tuesday's Senate hearings at times resembled another presidential debate as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden enjoyed yet another opportunity to remind Americans that they're running for President of the United States. When they weren't giving speeches (instead of asking questions), senators were profiling and positioning themselves for photographers.

Clinton, noticing that no one noticed her entrance, left and re-entered — this time along with Petraeus, with whom she was certain to be caught on camera. Even those who aren't running for president played one-upmanship, trying to establish their war bona fides by lapsing into first-person oracular and ruminating about personal visits to Iraq.

Through all of this, Petraeus, who has had three tours of duty in Iraq, remarkably managed to keep a straight face.

The question that attracted the most media attention, casting a light on our current state of confusion, came from Republican John Warner of Virginia. In the funereal voice that he has mastered, his face a Rushmore of gravitas, Warner asked:

"If we continue what you have laid before the Congress here as a strategy, do you feel that that is making America safer?"

Ah, the old is-America-safer gotcha. Petraeus, who was in town to give a progress report on the surge — not to interpret al-Qaeda entrails — again managed to keep a straight face and gave an honest answer.

"Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq," said Petraeus.

"Does that make America safer?" Warner pushed on.

"Sir, I don't know," Petraeus said.

He doesn't know! Well of course he doesn't know, nor should he be expected to. Who does? Yet from some of the media's reaction, his response was a mind-boggling admission of failure. If we're not safer, then what is the point?

Others can debate this, but Petraeus's role isn't to assess homeland security. It is his job to evaluate whether our projected course of action is best for achieving our objectives in Iraq. Petraeus apparently thinks so.

The burden of reporting whether we are safer belongs to Bush, who ultimately is to blame for Warner's misplaced question. For months now, Bush has been happy for Petraeus to hold the bag, postponing decisions and deflecting criticism until the general's report. Like Fred Thompson's overanticipated entry into the presidential race, Petraeus' report was bound to be disappointing to some.

Now the bag is back in Bush's hands where it belongs, though nothing the president can say will change anyone's mind. Earlier in the war, Democrats complained that Bush wasn't listening to the generals. Now they complain that he is listening to the general.

Bush can't win for losing, though it is worth noting a few things for perspective:

The U.S. has suffered no terrorist attacks since 2001; it took the United States 12 years after the Declaration of Independence to ratify the Constitution.

In other words, wars do not begin and end to suit political campaigns. New nations do not invent themselves according to another nation's timetable.

We will argue to the end whether we ever should have entered Iraq, and most of us — if we're honest — wish we'd never broken that pot. But lack of perspective — and hysteria stoked by politics — ultimately may be our most daunting enemy yet.

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.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2006, WPWG