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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 April 18, 2005 / 9 Nisan, 5765

Turning American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut

By David Gelernter


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith of the U.S. Army was the first Iraq war soldier to win the Congressional Medal of Honor — posthumously. On April 4, 2003, a group of American soldiers building a POW compound were slammed by a surprise attack. Smith organized a defense, then moved under fierce fire to an unprotected machine gun. He kept firing as the wounded were brought to safety and the attack driven off. Meanwhile he was hit, fatally.


Even Iraq war opponents and Bush-haters say they honor Smith's courage. But their "honor" is mostly a sham. Unless you understand what drives a man like Sgt. Smith to become a soldier, the honor you do him is honor with a footnote (he was a brave man, but obviously some kind of weirdo).


Here in academia, my colleagues seem determined to turn American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut. Remember the outcry when that uppity Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin announced in late 2003 that he preferred Christianity to the religion preached by Islamic terrorists, for whom the murder of innocents is evidently a holy sacrament? If you think I'm too hard on my fellow professors, explain to me why Army ROTC host colleges do not include Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Caltech…. (Princeton and a few other top universities deserve credit for not being on this list.)


How can you be terrified of an alleged new draft (calm yourselves! — it will never happen) and opposed to ROTC's soliciting first-rate volunteers? Explain to me, while you're at it, why high school textbooks devote more space and emotion to the forced resettlement of Japanese Americans during World War II than the bestial torture and mass murder of captured American GIs by the Japanese. If we are seriously grateful to Sgt. Smith, why not change our colleges and textbooks in his honor?


A few weeks ago, I spoke on the pro-Bush side of an informal debate at Yale, and an imposing middle-aged man with fierce white hair came up afterward to ask me where I got the nerve to support a president who sends young soldiers to their deaths? (Lots of approving nods.) By accusing President Bush of extorting something that soldiers have freely offered, he slandered the president and stole honor from the soldiers.


Some Americans who joined a peacetime military may be surprised to find themselves fighting in blood-drenched Middle Eastern tyrannies. But the American armed services speak loud and clear and constantly to their trainees about combat heroes and traditions — and combat unity, discipline, technique. They have never kept it a secret that they exist to fight wars.


A 17-year-old boy tried to explain to the white-haired man (in his straightforward, soft-spoken way) that those soldiers had chosen to be where they were; had understood and accepted the dangers; loved life just as much as the man did, but had different ideas about how to live it. The 17-year-old mentioned that he and a friend planned to join the Marines when they finished college. But he couldn't change the Bush-hater's mind.


I had a stake in the argument: the 17-year-old is my son. I don't know whether he'll make it into the Marines; we'll be proud of him either way. I do know that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and that age 17 is a good time for caring about honor and duty and demonstrating the stuff you are made of and fighting to protect your country and rid the world of torture, terrorism and tyranny.


I know also that a whole generation of Americans — my generation, the boomers, the Phony Baloney Generation — can't understand what was plain to the author of Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season." A recent essay by Ethan Dor-Shav in the journal Azure explains the biblical author's message: Be inspired by life's fleetingness to commit acts of love and nobility today. Don't wait.


I think I understand what motivates many soldier-hating boomers. They never served in the military, and soldiers make them feel guilty. I never served either, and I have felt that way myself. But fairness doesn't require that you be defensive if you never wore your country's uniform, only that you honor those who did. It's amazing how spiritually cleansing a little gratitude can be. If Democrats would only resume being Democrats, the nation would rejoice: Can you imagine Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman failing in gratitude to the nation's soldiers? People where I live feel pity for Sgt. Smith, but this man who lived a warrior and died a hero deserves our comprehension, not our pity; and our profoundest thanks.

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



David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale. To comment, please click here.



© 2005, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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