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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 Sept. 4, 2013/ 29 Elul, 5773

U.S. credibility runs deeper than Syria

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


JewishWorldReview.com | Undoubtedly you’ve heard that U.S. credibility is on the line, thanks to President Obama’s vacillation over what to do about Syria.

To bomb or not to bomb, that is always the question.

Obama, indeed, seems to be stricken with indecision. Two years ago, he said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. Last year, he drew the now-infamous “red line” on chemical weapons use.

Finally, after chemical weapons were used on civilians, most likely by the Assad regime, Obama called for military action. Then, after deploying Secretary of State John Kerry to make the case, he suddenly decided to pass the decision to Congress. (Note to Kerry: Google Obama and “under the bus.”)

Now we’re stuck with a near-certain military strike that could have disastrous repercussions — all on account of a few presidential words carelessly uttered. It’s all about our credibility, they say.

What does this mean, exactly? Merriam-Webster defines credibility as “the quality or power of inspiring belief.” Applied here, it means that when you draw a line in the sand, you have to be willing to fight when that line is crossed.

Apparently, the defining atrocity for the Obama administration is the use of chemical weapons. Pentagon spokesman George Little says using chemical weapons “violates basic standards of human dignity.”

Unlike, say, shooting protesters in the public square. Or chopping off limbs with machetes, systematic rape, enslavement, sex trafficking and on down the list of atrocities we’ve witnessed without feeling compelled to respond. We may have turned a blind eye, but at least our credibility remained intact.

Why? Primarily, one supposes, because our president didn’t draw a line. If your mind has wandered to the playground, where little boys get in fights over taunts and fragile pride, welcome to the sandbox. What say we all brush off our britches and think this one through?

Arguments favoring an attack include that Assad’s willingness to use chemical weapons poses a threat to our allies and that other radical actors might become emboldened if the United States fails to act. Finally, terrorists might get their hands on Syria’s chemical weapons and use them against us.

All true, though the terrorist threat seems more plausible if Assad is ousted. Otherwise, except for the method of killing, not much has changed in the two years since the Arab Spring became a bloody winter in Syria and elsewhere. Recall, too, that we didn’t intervene in 1988 when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to slaughter 3,000 to 5,000 Kurds. Do we really wish we had? Where does one draw the line on interventions to save innocents at the hands of their own countrymen? Whose civil war is off-limits?

Would that Obama’s foreign policy were clear enough to provide answers.

More at the heart of the current debate is whether a limited missile strike would make any difference. The near-unanimous opinion is not really. From the porches and stoops of America’s heartland to the marbled floors of the Capitol, the consensus is that a limited strike would merely aggravate matters and potentially lead to a catastrophic clash with global ramifications. How would that work for our credibility?



A strike of greater proportions reminds us of Colin Powell’s better moment: You break it, you own it.

That Barack Obama hesitates seems the least of our concerns. He has created problems to be sure, speaking loudly and carrying a twig (as a reader wrote me, to give credit where due). His “foreign policy” seems to be more afterthought (or political cynicism) than strategy.

Even so, lawmakers, including John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi, are lining up to support the president’s plan for missile strikes. Let’s hope that whatever the outcome, our best efforts have been directed by an abundance of caution rather than a prideful attachment to credibility. This is not to say that credibility isn’t important, but the measure of one’s credibility isn’t only whether a nation is willing to stand its ground. It is also whether a nation is willing to be wise.

The United States still carries the biggest stick. We are still the bravest, most compassionate, most generous nation in the history of mankind. When our allies need us, our credibility is beyond reproach. We always act decisively when the stakes are clear. The world knows this. It is our exceptional history, not a single, transitory man, that inspires belief.

And sometimes, it is helpful to note, a coiled snake is more effective than one that reflexively strikes.

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