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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 August 2, 2005 / 26 Tammuz, 5765

An Essential in Iraq: The Ability to Forget

By Michael Kinsley


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | So is it the same person or not? Several weeks have passed since newspapers ran side-by-side pictures of the new president of Iran and an unidentified student revolutionary with his paws on a blindfolded American during the 444-day occupation and hostage-taking at our embassy in Tehran 25 years ago. The Iranian government insists it's someone else in the embassy photo, but the United States is withholding judgment.

We all know the answer, though, don't we? Of course it's not the same person. How many of us are the same person in our late forties that we were in our early twenties — even if that older person occupies the same body (or, more likely, a somewhat decayed version of the same body)? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have changed less than most. He retains his rosy-cheeked idealism. "We did not have a revolution in order to have democracy," he declared in May before winning the presidential election.

There is a lot of talk about long memories in dealings among nations. But it is short memories that make the wheels of international relations turn. At the State Department, they must be hoping desperately that Iran's president is not the man in the earlier photograph, because that will make the embassy episode hard to ignore.

Just look what's going on next door in Iraq. It's like a race to see who can forget the most the soonest. The United States marched into Baghdad two years ago terribly excited to start a process known as "de-Baathification," which sounds like a 10-year-old boy's fantasy but which meant purging representatives of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party from the government and other seats of power. But as the country sank into chaos, the occupiers came to realize that it's hard to run a country without all the people who ran it last week. So forget about that. Baathists, except for those at the very top, are welcome to resume where they left off.

In fact, the judge who is hearing the first mass murder charges against Hussein is a former Baath Party member named Raid Juhi. Apparently, he is good at the job. The Americans in charge are pleased and eager to keep him. I bet he was good at the job when he was judging for Hussein, too. The truth is that the type of person who did well in Hussein's Iraq is not unlike the type who does well in post-Hussein Iraq — or in Germany 1938 or Germany 1948. Or in America 2005, for that matter. (As Tom Lehrer once sang about a Nazi scientist hired by NASA: " 'Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department,' says Wernher von Braun.") Unfortunately, in our initial enthusiasm for de-Baathification, we said no Baathists could work for the tribunal we set up to prosecute high officials of the former Baath government. I guess it seemed reasonable at the time. Now we're sorry. But Iraq's deputy prime minister and chief de-Baathifier is insisting that our rule must be enforced and Juhi must go.

And who is this anti-American troublemaker? It's Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi spent decades in exile, meddling a bit from afar but devoting most of his energies to financial chicanery. For a few months in 2003 we forgot Chalabi's little foibles and promoted him as the Nelson Mandela of Iraq. Why? Because the Bush administration liked what he was saying about how the weapons of mass destruction covered the streets of Baghdad like manna from heaven. That turned into an embarrassment, and it's been "Ahmed Who?" ever since.

Chalabi is a secular, westernized type. But in the recent presidential election, he forgot all that and made a Faustian alliance with the popular religious extremist, Moqtada Sadr. In 2003, Juhi tried to have Sadr arrested for ordering the assassination of a clerical rival. Nothing came of that, but Chalabi still has it in for Juhi. At least for the moment.

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The charges against Hussein that Juhi is hearing concern the slaughter of 150 men and boys in a town called Dujail. This is supposed to be a warm-up for the prosecution of Hussein and others for the notorious Anfal campaign against the Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s, where poison gas was used and the usual number given for deaths is 150,000.

I say "notorious" because Anfal — and especially the use of poison gas against civilians in a town called Halabja in 1988 — became crucial parts of the Bush administration's defense of the war after the initial justifications (such as all those weapons of mass destruction) collapsed. But the notoriety is recent.

Two decades ago, we knew all about these events, yet we did nothing and said almost nothing. In 1983, as Iraq was starting to use mustard gas against Iranian soldiers, Donald Rumsfeld went to Baghdad for President Ronald Reagan and apparently made one veiled reference to this amidst a lot of suck-uppery sending the larger message that we were tilting in Iraq's favor in the Iran-Iraq war. After Halabja, the State Department worked actively to convince the world that Saddam Hussein was not responsible.

The theory seems to be that, contrary to Santayana, forgetting the past can be a way to avoid repeating it. Hasn't worked so far.

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.

Michael Kinsley is Los Angeles Times Editorial and Opinion editor and former editor of Slate.com. Comment by clicking here.



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