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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 August 18, 2008 / 17 Menachem-Av 5768

When hindsight isn't 20-20

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | IT WASN'T so long ago that erstwhile supporters of the war in Iraq were invoking hindsight to justify their newfound opposition to it. "Obviously if we knew then what we know now," Senator Hillary Clinton said in December 2006, when asked whether she regretted her 2002 vote authorizing military action, "I certainly wouldn't have voted that way."


Many of Clinton's colleagues said the same thing. An ABC News survey of senators in January 2007 found that "an overwhelming number" of Democrats who had voted in favor of going to war - including Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, John Breaux of Louisiana, and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia - had had a change of heart.


Liberals and Democrats weren't the only ones going wobbly. "If I had known then what I know now about the weapons of mass destruction," Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican, told the Houston Chronicle, "I would not vote to go into Iraq." The conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg pronounced the Iraq war "a mistake by the most obvious criteria: If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq." Others singing from the same hymnal have included Jonathan Rauch, National Journal's respected semi-libertarian essayist, and (somewhat earlier) Michael Howard, the former leader of the British Conservative Party.


The prevailing wisdom 18 months or so ago was that invading Iraq had been, in retrospect, a disastrous blunder. It had led to appalling sectarian fratricide and an ever-climbing body count. Iraqi democracy was deemed a naive pipe dream. Worst of all, it was said, the fighting in Iraq wasn't advancing the global struggle against Islamist terrorism; by rallying a new generation of jihadists, it was actually impeding it. Opponents of the war clamored loudly for pulling the plug - even if that meant, as The New York Times acknowledged in a bring-the-troops-home-now editorial last July, "that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave."


But what if we had known then what we know now?


We know now that the overhauled counterinsurgency strategy devised by General David Petraeus - the "surge" - would prove spectacularly successful, driving Al Qaeda in Iraq from its strongholds, and killing thousands of its fighters, supporters, and leaders.


We know now that US losses in Iraq would plummet to the lowest levels of the war, with just five Americans killed in combat in July 2008, compared with 66 fatalities in the same month a year ago - and with 137 in November 2004.


We know now that the sectarian bloodletting would be dramatically reduced, with numerous Sunni tribal leaders abandoning their former Al Qaeda allies, and Shi'ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army being thoroughly routed by the Iraqi military.


We know now that by the summer of 2008, the Iraqi government would meet all but three of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress to demonstrate security, economic progress, and political reconciliation.


And we know now that, far from being undermined by the campaign in Iraq, the wider war against Islamist violence would show significant progress, with terrorism outside Iraq's borders having "in fact gone way down over the past five years," as Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria noted in May - and with popular support for jihadist organizations plummeting across the Muslim world.


So what does hindsight counsel today? That Iraq is a pointless quagmire - or that it is a costly but winnable war, in which patience, tenacity, and smarts have a good chance of succeeding?


Hindsight isn't always 20-20, particularly in wartime, when early expectations of an easy rout can give way to an unexpectedly long and bloody grind - and when victory has so often been achieved only after persevering through strategic debacles, intelligence failures, and wrenching battlefield losses.


There are no guarantees in Iraq. As with every war, we will know for sure how it ends only after it ends. But an effort that so many critics sourly have called the worst foreign-policy blunder in American history - the drive to emancipate Iraq from a monstrous and dangerous dictatorship and transform it into a reasonably civilized, law-abiding democracy - looks increasingly like a mission nearly accomplished. Had we known six years ago what we know today, would we have done it? Differently, no doubt. But we would have done it.

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

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