May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
March 23, 2007
/ 4 Nissan, 5767
In Iraq strategy applying logic is ... illogical
Here's a conundrum: The craziest thing about America's role in the world is its reliance on logic. As in: "See how reasonable we are? That'll fix you." Such certitude animates the more naive notions masquerading as grand strategy, from a belief in winning Iraqi "hearts and minds," as expressed by Gen. David Petraeus four years after Saddam Hussein was toppled, to a faith in "the appeal of freedom" for Muslims in Europe, as expressed by historian Bernard Lewis now that the continent's Islamization is well advanced.
Belief and faith may seem like strange words to choose in talking about logic and reason. But they go a long way to explain an increasingly irrational attachment to the world as it should be logical and reasonable that ignores the world as it is. On second thought, better to say that the craziest thing about America's world role has less to do with its logic than with stubbornly insisting such logic works the same way everywhere.
The "surge" strategy in Iraq exemplifies such thinking. It goes like this. More U.S. troops, mainly in Baghdad, will create stability and security. Such nonviolent conditions will allow Iraq to function as a bona fide state. And such bona fide statehood will allow Iraqis to come to their senses.
Actually, such a strategy seems designed to allow Iraqis to come to our senses to come around to a way of doing things that makes American sense. But is that really, well, logical?
Writing in Commentary magazine, Arthur Herman expounds on the general's strategy to engender Iraqi support for the U.S. mission, which, according to our lights, is the perfectly reasonable position. As the general's counterinsurgency manual states, "Some of the best weapons do not shoot." Herman explains: "They come instead in the form of meetings held with local leaders, wells drilled, streets repaired, soccer leagues organized. In the current surge, one of his stated goals is to get American soldiers out of Baghdad's Green Zone to meet, eat with, and even live with Iraqi families."
Given the dangers American soldiers have had meeting, eating and especially living with Iraqi forces, I have to ask, Is he kidding? But no. This is the strategic logic of American benevolence. As in: "We're so strategically nice it's only logical that everyone like us." Is it really? Are the same criteria for reasonableness common to every culture? PC aside, of course not. A couple of little-noticed stories out of Iraq this week should drive the point home. One was a report about the de facto return to Iraq of the "jizya," the Islamic tax on non-Islamic (in this case, Christian) worship, last seen in the Fertile Crescent before the Ottoman Empire ended in 1918. The other was about the increasing enthusiasm with which the U.S.-backed Iraqi government is participating in the Arab League boycott of Israel. According to a U.S. Commerce Department document reported on by the Jerusalem Post, the number of such cases quadrupled, from 8 to 31, between 2005 and 2006. Furthermore, U.S. companies doing business in Iraq are actually coming under Iraqi pressure to comply with the boycott.
Such practices constitute religious bigotry and, from the Western side of the cultural divide, "illogical" or "irrational" are the most polite words for them. But if such examples are, in fact, logical and rational expressions of Arab-Islamic society, how can American troops organizing soccer leagues compete? Clearly, the American logic of a "hearts and minds" strategy relies on wishful thinking.
The same may be said of the survival strategy Bernard Lewis laid out in the 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, which he recently delivered at the American Enterprise Institute. Having described the energized process by which Shariah-following immigrants are Islamizing Europe, Mr. Lewis arrived at his conclusion. Did he suggest that Islamic immigration be stopped? That Shariah practices be stringently outlawed? No. He merely offered a "hearts and minds" strategy to win Islamic converts to Westernism via, simply, "the appeal of freedom." The idea of Western freedom, he explained, "is perhaps in the long run our best hope, perhaps even our only hope, of surviving this developing struggle."
So, like American troops, all Europeans have to do to prevail is be themselves. Maybe they, too, should meet, eat, even live with Shariah-following families. Freedom, soccer leagues who could ask for anything more? The logic of it all is self-evident.
And that's precisely why it makes no sense.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading."
Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, Diana West