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December 2, 2014

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. 12, 2006 / 19 Elul, 5766

An anti-war book even supporters should read

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | First, make lots of Iraqis really, really mad at us. Then convince them we can be intimidated. That's in effect what the U.S. did in the disastrous first year of its occupation of Iraq, argues Thomas Ricks, senior Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, in his new book.


The book is entitled "Fiasco," which gives you an idea of what Mr. Ricks thinks of what he terms "the American military adventure in Iraq." It's a must read, despite serious flaws.


"Fiasco" doesn't do as good a job of describing the planning for the Iraq war and the march on Baghdad as did Michael Gordon, defense correspondent for the New York Times, and Bernard Trainor, a retired Marine general, did in their book, "Cobra II," published earlier this year. But Cobra II ends with the fall of Saddam's regime.


The heart of Mr. Ricks' book is the guerrilla war which began afterwards.


As a supporter of the war and a defender of the Bush administration, I was put off by the title. But Mr. Ricks marshals an impressive amount of evidence to justify it.


As Mr. Gordon and Mr. Trainor noted in greater detail, the Bush administration began the war with rosy illusions, lousy intelligence, and virtually no idea of what to do once Baghdad fell. Blame for the failure to plan is shared roughly equally by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Army, which suffered as massive an institutional failure in Iraq as did the CIA and FBI before 9/11.


Mr. Ricks argues (as did Mr. Gordon and Mr. Trainor) that Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer made two huge blunders early in his tenure when he ordered a massive de-Baathification program which stripped Iraq's government ministries of most of its competent technicians, and formally abolished the Iraqi army.


By stripping tens of thousands of Iraqis of their livelihood, Mr. Bremer created a huge pool of recruits and sympathizers for the insurgency, while making it harder for the Iraqi government to provide basic services to its people, Mr. Ricks argues. The Army compounded Mr. Bremer's blunders by its rough treatment of civilians in Sunni Muslim areas. Thousands were arrested on flimsy pretexts in sweep operations and sent off to Abu Ghraib prison, which swiftly became overcrowded. Many who did not support the insurgency beforehand were inclined to do so afterward.


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After the CPA and the Army made most of Iraq's Sunnis mad at us, our "leadership," by wimping out in the first battle of Fallujah, gave the insurgents reason to think they could win.


The Marines were ordered to take Fallujah after the grisly murders of defense contractors there in March, 2004. But as they were on the verge of taking the city, political pressures forced the Marines to halt their assault. The insurgents were handed a victory. Their prestige and their morale soared. Thirty nine Marines and soldiers died for nothing.


The list of lesser mistakes chronicled by Mr. Ricks is, regrettably, far too long to mention in the space available in this column. Suffice it to say that in our first year in Iraq, the U.S. violated every sound principle of counter-insurgency warfare. Fortunately, the U.S. military tends, in wartime, to learn fairly quickly from its mistakes. Virtually everything that was done so disastrously wrong in the first year of the occupation is now being done right, or nearly so. Mr. Ricks thinks it's too little, too late. But that remains to be seen.


"Fiasco" has two serious weaknesses. Mr. Ricks advances two theses: that the Iraq war was unwinnable from the get go, and thus ought not to have been undertaken in the first place.


But Mr. Ricks also implies the insurgency could have been put down fairly quickly (or might not have gotten going at all) were it not for the blunders of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CPA administrator Paul Bremer, and various Army generals.


He seems not to recognize there is tension between the two. If the blunders cost us a relatively easy victory (and Mr. Ricks makes a persuasive case that they did), then it's the blunders — and not the decision to go to war — that's the core of the problem.


The more serious weakness of "Fiasco" is Mr. Ricks discusses the enemy only to illume U.S. mistakes, real and imagined. He sheds no light on the relative importance of al Qaeda, the ex-Baathists, and Iran in this conflict, and how they have interacted. He says nothing of the importance al Qaeda has placed on Iraq, or of the losses it has suffered there. It's like reading a history of World War II that mentions the Germans, the Japanese and the Italians only in passing.


So read "Fiasco" with a jaundiced eye. But read it. The book's strengths outweigh its weaknesses.

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 Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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