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 Nov.1, 2006 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

The long view: Of war and public opinion

By Paul Greenberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | These are the times that try men's souls.


Tom Paine wrote that opening sentence of the popular pamphlet that came to be known as "Common Sense" even before there was a United States of America. At the time, his countrymen were still fighting for the rights of Englishmen. And still proclaiming allegiance to His Majesty George III.


The war that had had begun at Concord and Lexington in the spring of 1775 would only later become the war for American independence. The struggle was less than a year old when Tom Paine's stirring words appeared, and people were already war-weary.


Nor was the country united behind the Patriots' cause, In the glow of all the Fourth of July celebrations since, we forget how evenly, and bitterly, the country was divided before there was even a first Fourth of July.


We forget, too, how often the times that try men's souls keep returning in a national history entwined with so contentious and flammable an idea as freedom, or as Tom Paine would print it in his pamphlet, FREEDOM.


Instead, we tend to assume there is such a thing as Normalcy in the affairs of men and nations, and conclude that war is but a temporary aberration — and one we can avoid at that. All we need do is withdraw from the world's problems, the theory goes, and peace will reign.


Isolationism must be the most characteristic and enduring of American illusions, which is natural enough in a New World where the plagues of the Old were to be left safely behind.


But as an American general who fought in more than one terrible conflict — Douglas MacArthur — noted in his valedictory address, only the dead have seen the end of war.


Almost a century after Tom Paine, as another conflict threatened to divide the country, literally, another rhetorician urged an embattled president to avoid war at all costs, even if the price included the Union itself. "Let the erring sisters go in peace," Horace Greeley wrote in his influential New York Tribune.


Instead, Abraham Lincoln would accept war rather than let this one nation become two. And the most devastating war in American history was under way.


Almost immediately a joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War was formed to second-guess the president — and his generals — at every difficult turn.


Dissension grew on all sides; defeatism set in; unity eroded. In the next congressional elections, amid the chaos of civil war, Mr. Lincoln's party would drop 22 seats in the House.


As in any great war, the American Civil War's consequences were unseen when it began. Before it was over, the question at its root — slavery and its spread — would be rendered moot by the Emancipation Proclamation. Once he was sure of his political, moral and constitutional grounds, and after he and events had prepared public opinion, Mr. Lincoln issued his famous proclamation unilaterally. His justification? It was necessary exercise of his wartime powers.


Long before it was called the unitary theory of the executive, Abraham Lincoln was acting on it. He was able to abolish the shame and curse of American slavery by presidential decree because the Constitution had vested all executive power in a single President of the United States (Article II, Section 1) and made him commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


As commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln would endorse different tactics at different times. He would change commanding generals regularly, trying first one and then another, and one (George B. McClellan) twice, both times without satisfying results. But he would never give up — from the ill-fated shock-and-awe campaign of the war's first days ("On to Richmond!') to Grant's bloody war of attrition at the end. Through it all, neither the Union's overarching strategy nor Mr. Lincoln's paramount objective ever changed: The Union was saved.


In the next century, and in still another unpopular war, another president would persist in defending the hope of freedom, this time on a distant Asian peninsula. He would leave office with the conflict unresolved, and his poll numbers so abysmal that they would make today's president look wildly popular.


And yet Harry Truman, who could be called the first Cold Warrior, persevered even as his popularity plummeted. In the congressional elections of 1950, his party would lose five seats in the Senate, and 28 in the House.


Now again we are deeply divided over a struggle in which the national interest is deeply entwined with the fate of freedom in a faraway land.


Congressional elections impend, and there is little on which to base the old American hope in freedom's ultimate triumph except the faith of our fathers and the experience of our improbable history. As Abraham Lincoln told Congress and the nation in December of 1862: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion."


These are the times that try men's souls. Again. No great nation is ever tested just once. Contrary to a popular academic theory a few years back, history is far from over.

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 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