December 2, 2014
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
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
: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain
April 14, 2014
Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time
: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic
: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships
: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin
: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate
: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
April 11, 2014
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden
: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does
: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer
: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You
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
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
April 8, 2014
Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease
Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear
April 4, 2014
A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children
Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet
Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds
Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves
April 2, 2014
Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?
Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities
It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene
Jewish World Review
August 4, 2009
/ 14 Menachem-Av 5769
A world of hurt
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
As an increasing number of roadside bombs, suicidal jihadists and cars packed with high explosives kill and maim in Afghanistan and Iraq, it seemed like a good time to take in a feature film that pays well-deserved tribute to the American service members on the front lines of countering such horrors.
"The Hurt Locker" is an unflinching and powerful testimonial to those George Orwell thanked with his timeless quote: "Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
The movie follows the daily fare of one of the most dangerous specialties in the U.S. military a bomb-disposal unit as its deployment in Iraq winds down. The main story line is the tension-filled interactions between the squad's three members as they contend with a series of crises that were all too common in Baghdad and other parts of the Iraqi theater in 2004 and may be in the process of becoming so again.
The film struck me as a terrifically honest portrayal of the carnage of war from the perspective of ordinary soldiers called upon, day after day, to do extraordinary things. While it is a highly sympathetic treatment of the heroism of those who serve, their flaws are on display as well as their courage. The three central characters are all struggling with various personal issues, most notably the central protagonist's reckless disregard for his own safety and that of others.
True to its grunt's-eye vantage point, the story is a series of suspenseful vignettes disconnected from and largely indifferent to the larger conflict. There are just two cameo appearances by senior officers colonels, no generals who are shown the respect required by military discipline but are portrayed as basically out of touch with what their subordinates are experiencing.
The locals are shown as, at best, indifferent and, at worst, cunningly murderous. The images of Baghdad are of a city that is trashed and broken, a place where death lurks around every corner. This reality imparts to the audience a sense of the agonizing slowness of the countdown to the unit's redeployment to a tranquil and safe home stateside.
"The Hurt Locker" touches as well, albeit fleetingly, on the sacrifice made by the loved ones of those who serve. The families left behind confront not only the protracted absences especially on the part of those repeatedly sent into harm's way. They share with their war fighters the challenge of the readjustment to civilian life faced by those who have experienced the stress and trauma of violent conflict.
Taken together, the message is unmistakable: War is hell, particularly although not exclusively on those called to wage it.
For too many Americans, though, the nation's wars have become somebody else's problem. Few have any direct, personal connection to the military. The success of the all-volunteer force in replacing the draft with a superb fighting force has transformed the armed services into a cohort of highly skilled warriors about whom the general population knows little and to whom it is not as tied as has historically been the case.
This problem is compounded by the contraction of the domestic military base infrastructure as the services have tried to cut costs by reducing overhead. Ditto the closure across the country of industrial plants that have produced planes, ships, tanks and other weaponry for the armed forces. The less Americans are living in base communities and involved in manufacturing for the military, the smaller the number who have any sense of what is involved in keeping the nation secure.
Scarcely less worrying is the prospect that those who fight on our behalf may feel increasingly disconnected from the society they are serving so admirably. We owe it to them to ensure that their sacrifice is appreciated and warranted. The new GI bill that will, starting this week, provide tuition support at American universities for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will go some way toward rectifying both of these problems by ensuring that vets are represented in larger numbers in our academic institutions and by covering much of the costs of a college education.
Still, there is an important role to be filled by Hollywood in communicating to the American people a sense of the quality of those who are putting their lives on the line for the rest of us. This will be especially needed as the going predictably gets rougher in Afghanistan and Iraq and perhaps elsewhere. The director of "The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow, and her cast deserve our thanks for the contribution they have made in this regard. May its success at the box office encourage others to make such films and encourage our countrymen to support those in uniform by ensuring their sacrifice is neither in vain nor unacknowledged.
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.
JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
BUY FRANK'S LATEST
"War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World"
America has been at war for years, but until now, it has not been clear with whom or precisely for what. And we have not been using the full resources we need to win.
With the publication of War Footing, lead-authored by Frank Gaffney, it not only becomes clear who the enemy is and how high the stakes are, but also exactly how we can prevail.
War Footing shows that we are engaged in nothing less than a War for the Free World. This is a fight to the death with Islamofascists, Muslim extremists driven by a totalitarian political ideology that, like Nazism or Communism before it, is determined to destroy freedom and the people who love it. Sales help fund JWR.
© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.