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 Jan. 12, 2007 / 22 Teves, 5767

Are we doing everything to win?

By Mona Charen


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A White House official involved in developing policy on Iraq tells me that the Bush administration is unanimous on one subject, namely, that defeat in Iraq would be a catastrophe for the United States. So far, so good. (The Democrats do not agree, but more on that in a moment.)


As we saw in the president's Wednesday night speech, he is now prepared, as he was not before, to re-evaluate his strategy and to change course. Whereas the president's position had been that a "light footprint" was the way to go in Iraq, and that more troops would not help to solve an essentially political problem, he has changed his mind. He now emphasizes the need for security in Baghdad as the prerequisite to any other progress.


This shift has been a long time coming, and much of the credit for changing the president's mind goes to Gen. Jack Keane and Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute.


But will 21,000 new troops be enough to do the job? Keane and Kagan had proposed a minimum of 30,000. If the president is correct (and I think it is indisputable) that failure in Iraq would permit "radical Islamic extremists to grow in strength and gain new recruits," permit Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, allow Islamists to topple moderate governments and funnel oil wealth to terrorists for attacks against American targets, then why is the surge so modest? If that much is at stake for us, why only five brigades?


The United States currently has about half a million men under arms, as well as 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. While our troops in Iraq are being asked to do multiple tours, we have 119,000 troops sitting in Europe. Does anyone think the Soviets are about to roll through the Fulda Gap? There may be good reasons to keep an American presence in Europe — though I can't think of any offhand — but is there any foreign policy goal that supersedes the need to stabilize Iraq?


There is more to keep one awake nights. The president's plan relies explicitly on Nouri al-Maliki's government doing its part to subdue the violence. But the Maliki government has made promises before only to break its word. Maliki has leaned heavily in favor of the Shiites, particularly Muqtada al-Sadr (an enemy of the U.S.). It was Maliki's government that forbade U.S. forces to enter Sadr City to search for a kidnapped American soldier. It was Maliki's government that released terrorists U.S. forces had captured.


Early reports suggest that in the wake of the president's speech, Maliki has withdrawn his protection from the Sadrists. That's a good sign. So are the new rules of engagement that will permit U.S. forces to enter any and all neighborhoods in Baghdad in search of bad guys. But to succeed, Maliki must also work to train (with U.S. assistance) a minimally competent police force, drastically reduce corruption in the ministries and arrange a fair distribution of oil revenues to all of Iraq's groups and regions. Will he do so? Unclear.


And what if he doesn't? As John Derbyshire of National Review Online observes, "We seem to be saying to the Maliki government: 'Hey, you guys better step up to your responsibilities, or else we're outta here.' This, a few sentences after saying that we can't leave the place without a victory."


The other reason to sleep poorly at night is that the president's plan has an impossibly short time frame on it. In an ideal world, both parties would recognize the disastrous results of a defeat in Iraq and would signal our resolve to win. But the Democrats (and some Republicans) are all too comfortable with failure. Leading Democrats like the speaker of the House and potential presidential candidates are indicating that if they take the White House, American withdrawal from Iraq is a certainty.


Our enemies watch CNN and read The New York Times. Perhaps they've noticed how eager Democrats are to cast the president's decision as an "escalation" rather than a surge. They like the word escalation because it conjures Vietnam. Vietnam is the Democrats' alpha and omega. It's the war we lost (thanks in part to them), and they seem to want to return to the scene of the crime.


The president has freed himself from some of the rigidity that characterized his conduct of the war. The Democrats, unfortunately, are stuck in theirs.

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.


Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles