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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 Dec. 13, 2009 / 26 Kislev 5770

Words that matter: The insights of Obama's speeches

By David Broder



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the things that sets Barack Obama apart from most politicians is how much can be learned from listening to his speeches.

The president is sometimes criticized for the volume of his public appearances, and, in truth, he is out there orating a lot.

But we learned in the course of his campaign — and it was reinforced in this first year of his term — that it's a mistake to think of these talks as routine. They have no equal in providing insights into the way his mind works and the context that guides his decisions.

The striking thing is the consistency with which he places concrete actions into the broadest historical or philosophical setting, and how much he is influenced in his decision-making by the reach of his intellectual exercise.

This first struck me during the crisis in the primaries when the racially provocative views of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, came to public attention. In his Philadelphia address, Obama took the first steps to separate himself from Wright, but he also somehow managed in the pressure of a hard-fought campaign to compose what is likely to be seen as the most significant essay on race delivered by any public figure since the days of Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr.

I had a similar reaction when reading the speeches that Obama delivered during the past two weeks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, announcing his plans for Afghanistan, and in Oslo, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

His immediate task at West Point was to announce the conclusions of his agonizingly long review of Afghan strategy and to explain his doubly controversial decision to send in 30,000 more U.S. troops but start pulling them out by July 2011.

Letter from JWR publisher


Beginning to answer all the questions that had been raised by the leaks of internal debates during the previous three months would have been enough of a challenge. But Obama insisted on placing his decision in its historical context — as a response to the instigators of the Sept. 11 attacks later overtaken by the war in Iraq — and then in its strategic context, as a central piece in the unfinished struggle to stabilize the vital Pakistan-Afghanistan region.

Seeing it in that light, it was perfectly clear why Obama had decided to defy the prevailing wishes of his own party and raise the stakes.

In Oslo, the obvious challenge was to explain why a president leading a nation engaged in two wars should be singled out for the peace prize. Rather than avoiding the issue or burying it in cliches, Obama took it head-on, beginning in the first minute of his speech and devoting half the text to that question.

He focused on the meaning in today's world of the ancient concept of "the just war" and found himself arguing that, contrary to the wishes of those who awarded him this prize, "We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."

Afghanistan is such a case, he said, as was the Persian Gulf War to repulse Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But he made no such claim for the war in Iraq that George W. Bush launched, and he insisted that the many moral compromises made by the previous administration in the war on terrorism were unjustified as well.

This was not a speech tailored to his immediate audience. He even dared to argue directly with the ghost of King, asserting that "a nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies."

But it gave listeners a clear sense of where and why Obama would draw the line on using or threatening force in international bargaining. And it explained as well what had seemed the sometimes contradictory invocation of strong sanctions against Iran and the readiness to invite negotiations with Tehran.

As before, you can learn a lot from listening to this man.

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