Home
In this issue
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 Feb. 8, 2013/ 28 Shevat, 5773

The turret gunner was a she

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Martin Dempsey, the Army general who's now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a division commander when he got to Baghdad in 2003 and climbed into a Humvee for his first trip off base. "I asked the driver ... who he was (and) where he was from," the general remembers, "and I slapped the turret gunner around the leg and I said, 'Who are you?' And she leaned down and said, 'I'm Amanda.'

"And I said, 'Ah, OK.' So female turret gunner protecting division commander."

One of the things that makes a good commander is the speed with which he can adjust to changed conditions, and the general had just been introduced to another reality of the ever-new U.S. Army.

The general told that story the other day as he stood next to the country's secretary of defense to formally lift the Army's ban on women in combat units. No, not every woman -- or man -- may be fit for combat, but now every trooper has a chance to qualify for it. Which is as it should be -- at last.

Gen. Dempsey, it turns out, is a rich source of instructive stories. Not to mention comments that apply to more than their immediate subject. It was during this same news conference that he discussed the considerable problem of sexual harassment, not to mention outright abuse and rape, in the service. He traced it to treating women as less than equal. To quote from his remarks:

"When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors and another part that's designated as something else, I think that disparity begins to establish a psychology that in some cases led to that environment. I have to believe the more we can treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally."

When you have one part of the population that serves in the military and another part that doesn't, a rift is likely to develop between those who have defended the country in uniform and those who have never had that privilege. And it is a privilege. As well as an education, not just an obligation. It's also a necessity in a democracy. For the divide between citizen and soldier may only grow greater as the years pass, and develop into mutual suspicion, even mutual contempt. And divided we fall.

Unlike generations of Americans, this one may be remarkably ignorant of both military life and the military virtues, not having been exposed to either. Which is why every citizen of a republic should serve in the military for at least a time. In order to understand that freedom does not come without obligation -- including a military obligation. And to realize anew that discipline, far from being the antithesis of freedom, is one of its requirements. They go together, like liberty and law.

The idea and ideal of the citizen-soldier has been at the core of democracy since the ancient Athenians invented it and entrusted the defense of their city-states to their hoplites, the first citizen-soldiers. Divide citizenship from military service and something essential to the preservation of democracy since the Greeks has been lost. Democracy and its defense will have been separated, and that is not a wholesome arrangement for either. To quote Thomas Jefferson, "Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."

A professional army is a great asset -- a necessity, as many a democracy has discovered when it neglected to train one. But a republic needs citizen-soldiers, too. Without them, democracy is divided at its very core: between those who defend it and those who are defended.

It is not a healthy division, for the result is a mutual ignorance that leads to mutual estrangement -- between those citizens who have known military service and those who haven't. It is a division no democracy can afford. For the military needs a connection with the citizenry, and the citizenry with its military. Both benefit, and the country benefits most of all.

Or as Gen. Dempsey noted: "When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors and another part that is designated as something else, I think that disparity begins to establish a psychology...." And it is not a healthy psychology, for it divides rather than unites. And united we stand.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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 Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast