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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. 26, 2007 / 14 Tishrei 5768

A Failure of Politics

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Who will speak for America?


Nobody in the Republican or Democratic parties when we contemplate the disheartening result of the recent congressional appearances by Gen. David Petraeus. Both parties responded as if Iraq were nothing more than an item in a political debate instead of an issue of supreme national importance. Both pandered to their political base. Both were hostage to special interest groups that did their best to discourage bridging the partisan gulf, threatening primary challenges against anyone who opposed their shrill views.


The result was incendiary rhetoric. Republicans attacked Democrats for advocating a "cut and run" policy. Democrats attacked the president, his policies, and even the integrity and honesty of General Petraeus ("General Betray Us," the newspaper ad described him) as if he required "a willing suspension of disbelief," in Sen. Hillary Clinton's words. No one can imagine this performance changing as we draw closer to the primaries for both parties in January and later.


The major blame for this sad collapse of American political discourse lies with the president. He has lost his moral authority. He has lost the public's trust on this issue, partly because of the erroneous intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, the incompetent management of the war, and the intense partisanship of his administration. It is no surprise that a poll finds only 5 percent of the public trusts the president to wrap up the war. The equally partisan Democratic-controlled Congress does not do much better — only 21 percent trust lawmakers to do it. These support levels are tantamount to a vote of no confidence. Only the military is trusted — by some 68 percent.


Public vs. political. Tragically, there is more common ground for the grand political compromise America needs and deserves. The public might well support a longer-term effort in Iraq if it had some sense of the boundaries. The leading Democrats are coming to understand that even when the direct U.S. combat role is diminished, a mission remains: to train Iraqi forces, guard the borders, and hunt down terrorists. More and more Republicans know that the United States cannot indefinitely spend blood and treasure to install "democracy." They recognize that our ambitions have to be readjusted, our mission gradually changed. The fact that for the first time in four years the president and our senior military officials in Iraq have proposed a reduction in forces should have provided the basis for a dialogue.


How then do we find a sustainable position? By that, I mean one that reduces our exposure but minimizes the damage to the United States, its allies, and Iraq itself. And one that has to form while the political clock in Washington is ticking faster than the pace of our counterinsurgency strategy. Surely how we diminish our role can't become another humiliating withdrawal, perceived as reflecting a weak America. That would unnerve those allies who rely on us for security in the face of a growing Islamist threat. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger aptly wrote, "An abrupt withdrawal from Iraq would not end the war, it would only re-direct it," and might well cause the United States "to lose the ability to shape events, either within Iraq, on the anti-jihadist battlefield, or in the world at large." Many experts share this view, including both General Petraeus and Gen. James Jones, head of the special congressional Iraq commission.


The risks of a reduced American presence are multiple. Iraqis who supported us might be targeted; we have a moral obligation to those people. Outside Iraq, Hezbollah might well be inspired by a surging Iran to attempt a Lebanese takeover. The Taliban would gain new energy in Afghanistan. A crucial but fragile political ally, Pakistan, a possessor of nuclear weapons, would face increased radical pressures at home. Instability would shake the oil markets. At home, any move seen as failure would undermine American domestic support for an activist international role.


So leaving has huge risks and costs. And so does staying. The Iraqi government is becoming more precarious, the Sunnis want far more than the Shiite government is willing to grant, and the Shiites seem more concerned with their coreligionists than with the nation. No one knows for sure whether absent a commanding American presence, Iraq will divide along sectarian lines or whether Iran and al Qaeda will take over different parts. There is certainly a clear risk that we might have to return at some later day to confront an even more dangerous enemy.

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JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2005, Mortimer Zuckerman

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