In this issue

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 May 15, 2008 / 10 Iyar 5768

The war over the war

By Victor Davis Hanson

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The war in Iraq is in its sixth year — and we, the public, are in our sixth year of reading warring accounts about it.

The most recent is Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story." Sanchez, a senior ground commander in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, faults L. Paul Bremmer, the top civilian in Iraq from mid-2003-4, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the errors and mishaps of the occupation.

The new Sanchez book follows Douglas Feith's new book "War and Decision." The former undersecretary of defense, who oversaw many of the original plans for the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, makes the case that the State Department and Bremmer thwarted Defense Department efforts to hasten Iraqi autonomy and form a new Iraqi army.

But Bremer himself, in "My Year in Iraq," complained about a lack of support from both military and civilian officials like Sanchez and Feith.

And don't forget "At the Center of the Storm" by former CIA Director George Tenet or "American Soldier" by Tommy Franks, the commander who oversaw the 2003 invasion. Both offered their own versions of where others went wrong.

Memoirs by those involved in some way in the Iraq war (or the broader war on terror) have grown into an entire industry. Former counter-terrorism director Richard Clark's "Against All Enemies," former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer's "Imperial Hubris" and former Ambassador Joe Wilson's "The Politics of Truth" all tell stories of how someone else did them in.

What are we to make of all these contradictory accounts?

First, they come in cycles and follow the pulse of the war. In 2003-4, most of our information came from administration and Pentagon press conferences. The brilliant three-week overthrow of Saddam and the relative quiet for a few months afterward resulted in favorable public opinion and few questions about the conduct of the war or the official version of it. But once arsenals of weapons of mass destruction did not show up and an insurgency broke out, published tales of American incompetence proliferated.

Now, as the violence has decreased and former officials are writing their own responses, a new defense of the war is being made. Feith's "War and Decision" will no doubt be followed by accounts from Rumsfeld, the president himself and perhaps other principals like Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney. These men will give yet another account of what happened — and spawn yet another counter-reaction.

Second, there is a lot of money to be made in writing first-hand accounts about the war - the more sensational, accusatory and quicker the story gets out, the better. (A few, like Feith, have magnanimously contributed their earnings to charity.)

Third, there is a "not me" theme in many of the tell-alls. Officials who used to praise each other in televised press conferences and assure Americans that things were going well apparently now turn out to have not liked each other.

Sanchez argues that he was not to blame for Abu Ghraib, but rather Pentagon higher-ups. George Tenet swears that he was not the only one who fouled up the prewar intelligence. Tommy Franks concentrates on his successful war, not someone else's plagued occupation — since he retired right after the three-week victory. Richard Clark argues he couldn't stop 9/11 because of others' mistakes. Likewise Michael Scheuer's special group failed in its mission to catch bin Laden due to the blunders of rival agencies.

Is any of this finger-pointing new? Hardly.

The battle of Shiloh (April 1862) was re-fought for nearly a half-century, and we still don't know whether Grant was drinking before the battle, or why Gen. Lew Wallace took the wrong road and came late to the battle with reinforcements. You can read various versions of who was to blame in the memoirs of Gens. Grant, Sherman and Wallace.

After World War II, British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and American Gens. Dwight D Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and George Patton (posthumously) all bickered in print over the strategy after D-Day, the disastrous Arnhem campaign and the complete surprise at the Battle of the Bulge — issues still not resolved over 60 years later.

Was Vietnam a necessary war, always a hopeless fiasco or a squandered victory? You can read all those versions and more in the books of Sec. Henry Kissinger, Sec. Robert McNamara, Lt. (now Sen.) Jim Webb and Gen. William Westmoreland.

The only difference with the Iraq war is that in the modern age of instantaneous global communications, those involved right in the middle of it, at least on the American side, scramble to get their "true" story out first — and get even — well before the war is won or lost. In such an ongoing conflict, these memoirs are often out-of-date even before they hit the bookstores.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


© 2008, TMS