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 May 23, 2010 / 10 Sivan, 5770

True Marines don't lie

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have a thing for Marines, always have. It began a long time ago when I watched my older brother amble away in the night toward his barracks at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.

I cried myself dry that evening, thinking that I might not see him again, knowing that the next morning he was off to Vietnam. Khe Sanh, his ultimate destination, might as well have been another planet. As it turns out, it was Hell.

Jack came home eventually, a different boy than the one who left. Still just a teenager, he was leaner and meaner. His eyes gave nothing away. When our father and I visited Jack at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, where he was being treated for "battle fatigue" and other afflictions, we stuck to safe subjects: college, cars and girls, his primary interests at that point.

To this day, I've yet to hear any stories of war from him, or, for that matter, from any of the men in my family, all of them veterans of various conflicts. A few scattered pictures of tough boys sporting knives and guns occasionally find their way to the top of a shoe box, but there are no videos or journals, no displays of Purple Hearts.

Like most veterans, with a few notable exceptions, my brother has expressed no desire to revisit that time and place, nor any need to boast of his exploits. When you've witnessed the horrors of war, you apparently don't need to tell anyone.

All of these thoughts surfaced as I pondered Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general recently infamous for exaggerating his role as a Marine reservist during the Vietnam era. At various times, he has accurately said that he wore the uniform during that period; other times, he has said that he wore the uniform in Vietnam. In fact, he received several draft deferments while a student at Harvard and Cambridge and enlisted in the Marines only when those deferments were running out.

And, he did falsely and knowingly imply that he was a combat veteran. The question is: Why? And what should voters make of it when they go to the polls?

Blumenthal, a Democrat, is running to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Chris Dodd. His fiercest opponent has been Republican Linda McMahon, who says her campaign assisted with a New York Times investigation into Blumenthal's false claims. As an unintended consequence, McMahon's involvement may have provided momentum to her principal Republican rival, former representative Rob Simmons, who did serve in Vietnam and received two Bronze Stars.

On a certain level, it is gratifying that those who served in America's most unpopular war -- and who were vilified back home -- now can enjoy some measure of pride in their service. But the humility common among heroes is in scant evidence these days, and selective memory has rarely been so repugnant.

Blumenthal isn't the first to exaggerate his service, of course. "Stolen Valor" is the title of a book that chronicles phony heroes falsely claiming to have served in Vietnam.

There is, indeed, something unique about the Vietnam era that haunts a generation. All are familiar with the deep divisions that brought students to riot, leaving four dead at Kent State and others to trek to Canada. The draft was the Maginot Line of America's heart, and too many of the unlucky never came home.

Who knows what motivated Blumenthal to stretch his truth? Perhaps it was survivor's guilt.

"There is nothing that binds Marines together like combat and, if you missed it, I can understand that he [Blumenthal] may have actually convinced himself he was there," my brother wrote in an e-mail. "But those who served in combat consider Marines who did not the same brothers, regardless. We are a team and those in the rear are just as important as those on the line."

The deception, as always, is something else. Blumenthal had every right under the law to seek deferments. He had every right to be proud of his service during the Vietnam era. But he did not have the right to build personal equity on the borrowed suffering of others.

Had he gone to Vietnam, as he apparently thinks he should have, he would have learned that, and this: Real heroes never brag, and real Marines don't lie.

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 Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

<

© 2008, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles