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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 26, 2005 / 21 Av, 5765

Is Iraq Vietnam? Ask the troops

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Iraq war skeptics and critics have been invoking Vietnam almost from the day the fighting began. So Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska was hardly breaking new ground when he joined the invokers on Sunday. "We are locked into a bogged-down problem," he said on ABC's "The Week," "not ... dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."

Run-of-the-mill stuff on the Democratic left, but since Hagel is a Republican and a decorated Vietnam vet, his words instantly leaped to the top of the news cycle. "GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam," was the headline on AP's widely reprinted story.

Yet in so many ways, Iraq doesn't look like Vietnam at all. Vietnam was never the central battleground of the Cold War, while Iraq has become the focal point of the war on terrorism. Americans had no reason to feel that their own security was at risk in Vietnam, whereas 9/11 made it clear that the enemy we face today in the Middle East poses a lethal threat here at home as well. The jihadis in Iraq don't have the backing of superpowers; North Vietnam and the Viet Cong were armed to the teeth by China and the Soviet Union. In South Vietnam, the United States was allied to an unpopular and incompetent regime; in Iraq, the United States toppled a brutal tyranny and is trying to nurture a democracy in its place.

But of all the ways in which the Iraq war is not like Vietnam, perhaps the most telling is the attitude of the troops.

"When I was in Vietnam," retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs, a 1969 Medal of Honor recipient who had just returned from a fact-finding trip to the Sunni Triangle, told NBC News in May, "if you asked anybody what he wanted more than anything else in the world, he'd say: to go home. We asked ... hundreds of soldiers, low-ranking soldiers, in both Afghanistan and Iraq ... the same question. And the response, to a man and a woman, was, 'To kill bad guys.' ... The morale is just over the top — just really, really enthused about what they're doing. And I think the reason is they perceive that they're making progress. Success will do a lot to morale."

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Indeed it will, as the "Today" show's Matt Lauer discovered when he visited Baghdad last week. He tried valiantly to coax some Vietnam-style disillusionment out of the soldiers he met, but as NBC's transcript makes clear, the troops weren't having any of that:

Lauer: Talk to me a little bit about morale here. We've heard so much about the insurgent attacks, so much about the uncertainty as to when you folks are going to get to go home. How would you describe morale?

Chief Warrant Officer Randy Kergiss: My unit morale's pretty good. . . . People are ready to execute their missions, and they're pretty excited to be here.

Lauer: How much does that uncertainty of knowing how long you're going to be here impact morale?

Sergeant Jamie Wells: Morale's always high. Soldiers know they have a mission, they like taking on the new objectives and taking on the new challenges. . . . They're motivated, ready to go.

Lauer: Don't get me wrong, I think you guys are probably telling me the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that could be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks. . . .What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale can be that high?

Captain Sherman Powell: Well, sir, I tell you — if I got my news from the newspapers also, I'd be pretty depressed as well.

Lauer: What don't you think is being correctly portrayed?

Powell: Sir, I know it's hard to get out and get on the ground and report the news. . . . But for of those who've actually had a chance to get out and go on patrols . . . we are very satisfied with the way things are going here. And we are confident that if we're allowed to finish the job we started we'll be very proud of it and our country will be proud of us for doing it. . . .

Lauer: How would you feel about US forces being withdrawn before — you're shaking your head — before the insurgency is defeated?

Powell: Well, sir, I would just tell you . . . as long as we continue to have confidence that we are supported and people have our back, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Lauer: So you would rather stay here longer and defeat the insurgency then be pulled out earlier ...?

Kergiss: Yes, sir.

Wells: Absolutely.


Things have gone wrong in Iraq as they go wrong in every war. President Bush's strategy of defeating Islamist terrorism by draining the swamps of dictatorship and fanaticism in which it breeds carries a high price tag. Nearly 1,900 US soldiers have been killed and more than 14,000 wounded in Iraq so far. There are more casualties to come.

But another Vietnam? No — not when such strong support for the war comes from the very soldiers who are in harm's way. Their high morale, their faith in their mission, their conviction that they are doing the right thing for both America and Iraq — those are the signals to heed, not the counsels of despair on the TV talk shows. It will be time to give up on Iraq when the troops give up on Iraq. So far, there's no sign they will.

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.

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

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