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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 June 15, 2006 / 19 Sivan, 5766

Signs of success in Iraq

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced last week that a US air strike had killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraqi reporters burst into cheers. It was a heartwarming — and to American eyes, unnatural — show of joy. Most American journalists would think it unseemly to cheer anything said at a press conference, including the news that a sadistic mass murderer had finally met his end.


Important and welcome as Zarqawi's assassination was, it didn't put a dent in the quagmire-of-the-week mindset that depicts the war as a fiasco wrapped in a scandal inside a failure. Typical of the prevailing pessimism was the glum Page One headline in The Washington Post the morning after Maliki's announcement: "After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq."


Virtually from day one, the media have reported this war as a litany of gloom and doom. Images of violence and destruction dominate the TV coverage. Analysts endlessly second-guess every military and political decision. Allegations of wrongdoing by US soldiers get far more play than tales of their heroism and generosity. No wonder more than half of the public now believes that a war that ended one of the most evil dictatorships of our time was a mistake.


Some of this defeatism was inevitable, given the journalistic predisposition for bad news. ("If it bleeds, it leads.") And some of it was a function of the newsroom's left-wing bias — many journalists oppose the war and revile the Bush administration, and their coverage often reflects that hostility.


But there have also been highly negative assessments of the war from observers who can't be accused of habitual nay saying or Bush-bashing. In a dispiriting piece that appeared on the day Zarqawi's death was announced, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that "in Iraq at the moment . . . savagery seems to be triumphing over decency." There may be no way to win this war without becoming as monstrous and cruel as the terrorists, he suggested, which is why "most Americans simply want to get away."


Another thoughtful commentator, The Washington Post's David Ignatius, had been even more despairing one day earlier: "This is an Iraqi nightmare," he wrote, "and America seems powerless to stop it."


But not everyone is so hopeless.


In the June issue of Commentary, veteran Middle East journalist Amir Taheri describes "The Real Iraq" as a far more promising place than the horror show of conventional media wisdom. Arriving in the United States after his latest tour of Iraq, Taheri says, he was "confronted with an image of Iraq that is unrecognizable" — an image that "grossly . . . distorts the realities of present-day Iraq."

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What are those realities? Drawing on nearly 40 years of observing Iraq first-hand, Taheri points to several leading indicators that he says he has always found reliable in gauging the country's true condition.


He begins with refugees. In the past, one could always tell that life in Iraq was growing desperate by the long lines of Iraqis trying to escape over the Iranian and Turkish borders. "Since the toppling of Saddam in 2003," Taheri notes, "this is one highly damaging image we have not seen on our television sets — and we can be sure that we *would* be seeing it if it were there to be shown." Instead of fleeing the "nightmare" that Iraq has supposedly become, Iraqi refugees have been returning, more than 1.2 million of them as of last December.


A second indicator is the pilgrim traffic to the Shi'ite shrines in Karbala and Najaf. Those pilgrimages all but dried up after Saddam bloodily crushed a Shi'ite uprising in 1991, and they didn't resume until the arrival of the Americans in 2003. "In 2005," writes Taheri, "the holy sites received an estimated 12 million pilgrims, making them the most-visited spots in the entire Muslim world, ahead of both Mecca and Medina."


A third sign: the value of the Iraqi dinar. All but worthless during Saddam's final years, the dinar is today a safe and solid medium of exchange, and has been rising in value against other currencies. Related indicators are small-business activity, which is booming, and Iraqi agriculture, which has experienced a revival so remarkable that Iraq now exports food to its neighbors for the first time since the 1950s.


Finally, says Taheri, there is the willingness of Iraqis to speak their minds. Iraqis are very verbal, and "when they fall silent, life is incontrovertibly becoming hard for them." Such silence was not uncommon under Saddam, when many Iraqis were afraid to express any political opinion. They aren't silent now. In addition to talk radio, Internet blogs, and lively debates everywhere, "a vast network of independent media has emerged in Iraq, including over 100 privately owned newspapers and magazines and more than two dozen radio and television stations." Nowhere in the Arab world is freedom of expression more robust.


As Congress engages in its own wide-ranging Iraq debate this week, Taheri's essay is well worth reading. "Yes, the situation in Iraq today is messy," he writes. "Births always are. Since when is that a reason to declare a baby unworthy of life?"

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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