Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 May 27, 2009 / 4 Sivan 5769

Rare Sighting: Reason in the Senate

By Paul Greenberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Will miracles never cease? Reason raised its seldom-seen head last week — in of all places, the United States Senate.


In an extraordinary show of near-unanimity, not to mention an extraordinary show of common sense, the senators voted 90 to 6 against funds to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay.


It was a prudent decision. Gitmo is now home to hundreds of (a) the most dangerous characters on Earth, (b) the most fanatical America-haters on Earth, and (c) both. The prison camp, now Red Cross-approved, provides medical attention, room and board, due process, recreation facilities, prayer calls and a strictly halal diet, and many another amenity for our guests. Indeed, Guantanamo has become a kind of model of its kind. Why close it without a clear alternative, or close it at all?


That's the question confronting Barack Obama, who has vowed to shut down the place essentially for Public Relations reasons. Our enemies don't like it. And they've made Guantanamo an effective theme of their all too convincing rhetoric, just as Barack Obama did during his presidential campaign.


And yet, once in office and given the kind of information he should have taken seriously even before he was sworn in, our president has rethought some of his glib pronouncements during the campaign. Especially about threats to the national security.


For instance, Mr. Obama now recognizes that the military commissions he used to denounce as a "legal black hole" have a long and honorable history, and have proven the best way to handle some of these bad actors. (They're not officially "illegal combatants" any more. Just as, according to the administration's newspeak, the war on terror the president is pursuing may no longer be referred to by that name.)


Mr. Obama also has changed his mind about releasing photos of prisoners being abused in Iraq and Afghanistan, having come to understand what a field day our enemies would have with them — even if the abuse they depict has already been the subject, quite properly, of military justice. Good for him. Nobody ever mistook Barack Obama for a slow learner. He's not scared by that hobgoblin of little minds, a foolish consistency.


But the president and commander-in-chief has yet to reverse his decision to close Gitmo. He's still for shutting the place down — without specifying what he'll do with its occupants.


But this time the usually passive Democratic Congress refused to go along. And rightly so. Before leaving one location for another, it is best to know where you're going. Which is all Congress is really asking. It's a fair question, but the president was so unnerved by this rare sighting of reason in the Congress of the United States that he promptly did what he always does when in a fix: Give a speech.


It doesn't matter what Barack Obama says in a speech so long as he gives one. Among the things he didn't say this time was just where he'd put the dangerous fanatics now locked up at Guantanamo. A minor detail. The only thing that seems to count with American public opinion is that he's given a speech, not its substance, if any.


Indeed, from a purely political perspective, it's better that he say nothing. That way, there's nothing to criticize. See the glowing reception accorded his saying nothing much about abortion at Notre Dame. There would be much to commend this president's value-free style of politics if the sole aim of politics were to sound good. And he sounds brilliant.


That's the empty essence of his Mr. Cool style; few are those who can hope to get away with it. This president has mastered it. It's his gift. And it explains why he's in the best of positions for a politician. To quote one observer, this president gets good press just for getting good press.


Who were the six senators who were ready to shut down Guantanamo without knowing where its occupants would go? Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tim Harkin of Iowa, Pat Leahy of Vermont, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse of little Rhode Island. So can we count on them to volunteer their states to house our all-too-distinguished guests at Gitmo? You know the answer to that one.


Even some of those senators who voted against shutting down Guantanamo say the place should be shuttered eventually. Why? To quote Dianne Feinstein, the senator from California: "Guantanamo is used by al-Qaida as a symbol of American abuse of Muslims and is fanning the flames of anti-Americanism around the world."


Can she believe that, if there were no Guantanamo, our enemies wouldn't find another propaganda theme to rally America-haters around the world?


So how about if we just tell al-Qaida to go to Hell? And add that Gitmo will remain open and ready for business — if those who kill innocents in the name of Allah are lucky enough, or cooperative enough, to make it there alive.


At least for the moment, the president is sticking with his vow to shut down Guantanamo, even if he's reversed himself on one campaign stand after another. It is not his changes of course in this war on terror that disturb. On the contrary, they're commendable. They show a realistic recognition of the kind of world in which we live. There's nothing wrong with his having second and better thoughts; it's just that he hasn't had quite enough of them yet.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles