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December 2, 2014

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 Jan. 23, 2014/ 22 Shevat, 5774

Robert Gates and the taint of the insider tell-all

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For all hysteria over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new insider memoir of his tenure during the Bush and Obama administrations, the disclosures are more breaches of trust than earth-shattering revelations. Much of "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" is the ordinary stuff of public service.

What little gossip in the book that may be controversial -- revelations that both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cynically opposed the successful Bush-era surge in Iraq on political grounds, or that Vice President Joe Biden is a buffoonish blowhard -- was already common knowledge to many Americans.

Gates sees himself as reluctantly drawn to Washington to help rescue the fading Bush administration's unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, he grudgingly stayed on at the Defense Department, apparently to add some sobriety to an at times comically inexperienced new Obama team.

There is a long tradition of retired court insiders revealing unflattering details about their bosses before they leave office -- and it is not uplifting. The Roman court insider Petronius thought he could get away with caricaturing the buffoonish emperor Nero through his racy novel, "The Satyricon." He didn't, and was forced to commit suicide as a result.

The problem with the genre of the tell-all is that there are lots of paradoxes that usually make it a lose/lose proposition for even the most sincere truth-teller.

If things were so bad that an astute insider had to leave government and spill the beans on his superiors while they still were in power, why did he go to work for such suspect people in the first place? Why stay so long on such an unpleasant job?

If Gates confesses that he never really enjoyed the return to the Washington meat grinder, then readers wonder why he was surprised at the cynical careerism that he predictably found.

In our era of progressive-media dominance, memoirs about sitting Republican presidents are usually treated as courageous examples of speaking truth to power. The partisan press praised the cheap tear-down of the Reagan administration by the likes of departing Cabinet members Donald Regan and Alexander Haig.

In the last George W. Bush administration, when disgruntled high-level appointees like Richard Clarke, Lawrence Lindsey, Paul O'Neill, Scott McClellan and Christine Todd Whitman penned self-serving criticisms of a sitting president and his team, the press hailed them as brave souls who put public duty over their careers.

Try that with a liberal president like Bill Clinton, and suddenly the insider tell-all -- whether by Dick Morris, Robert Reich or George Stephanopoulos -- is seen at best as naive and ill-timed, and at worst as the whining of a sore loser opportunistically trying to settle scores all the way to the bank.

Should Gates really be surprised that both the media and White House are questioning the motives behind the second half of his memoir on the Obama administration?



Letting the public know about the most intimate trivia of the executive branch raises another paradox. No one wants to read about the boring minutiae of most Cabinet meetings, even if that is what administration officials mostly endure. So instead it is the rarer juicy stuff we flip pages to read about: bureaucratic backstabbing, profanity-laced temper tantrums or the weird habits of foreign leaders. But are those less common revelations precisely what the world would be better off not knowing about until well after an administration is out of power?

In the Gates memoir, the spicy tidbit that French President Nicolas Sarkozy dismissed the Iranians as inveterate liars makes for livelier reading than another Pentagon budgetary squabble. Yet are such disclosures all that wise, when the U.S. is now in the midst of critical multi-state negotiations over Iran's nuclear ambitions?

Gates writes that he was dismayed about leaks during his tenure as defense secretary. How does he think the Obama administration feels about his own breach of confidentiality that raises questions about Obama's sincerity and competency?

The motives behind the tell-all must often be considered suspect. The author must insist that he risks controversy only because he wants the public to know information critical for the survival of transparent democratic governance -- especially information related to the abuse of power.

Yet instead, the media hype only the racy nuggets. With publicists booking the insider author on every conceivable news show, hoping to offer up gossip and jump-start a moneymaking best-seller, can Gates be surprised that critics wonder why he wrote his memoirs now, rather than waiting for Obama to leave office and the limelight?

The irony with "Duty" is that Gates is an honorable man who served his country effectively and admirably, but he wrote an insider account of a sitting president that belongs to a tired, dishonorable genre.

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.


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