Home
In this issue
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 March 23, 2007 / 4 Nissan, 5767

In Iraq strategy applying logic is ... illogical

By Diana West


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

Archives

Up


© 2007, Diana West