In this issue

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 August 13, 2007 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5767

False Badge of Courage

By Suzanne Fields

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Once a certain tall soldier developed virtues and went resolutely to wash a shirt. He came flying back from a brook waving his garment bannerlike. He was swelled with a tale he had heard from a reliable friend, who had heard it from a truthful cavalryman, who had heard it from his trustworthy brother, one of the orderlies at division headquarters. He adopted the important air of a herald in red and gold. — Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage"

In one brief compressed paragraph, the novelist captures a reality of war, the way rumors become stories and how stories testify to the human need for the messenger to embroider facts as though he lives in a romance, where characters are decorated in red and gold. Stephen Crane never went to war, but as every reader learns quickly, "The Red Badge of Courage" dazzles with the authenticity of experience. Good writers do that.

American writers who have actually seen the blood and cruelty in military action have written great war novels, too. Norman Mailer set the standard with "The Naked and the Dead," and James Jones showed how it ought to be done with "From Here to Eternity." Authors of authentic war stories probe the deeper truths of human experience, taking advantage of the range allowed by fiction, some based on fact and much that is not. Heroism, fear, debauchery and callousness are born in a cruel landscape of battle, confined in a web of human passion. The complexities of tragedy are illuminated by the rocket's red glare and "the greater love" of ultimate sacrifice.

What might have happened can be fused with what actually happened in honest fiction. A novel can grow from reality, but honest reporting can't grow from fiction. A soldier who becomes a part-time reporter in Iraq can't color his "facts" by embellishing experience, no matter how tempting it may be. Such accounts are merely propaganda. Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp's diary, which became reporting in the New Republic, leaves the reader only to wonder what's real and what's not, and on his own to decipher fact from fiction.

The Army's investigators talked with Pvt. Beauchamp's fellow soldiers and concluded that several of his dispatches were false. The editors of the New Republic concede only (so far) that he made "errors." The most sensational anecdote is both strange and vicious, written as a first-person confessional to demonstrate how a soldier in the midst of battle can turn mean and disgusting. He writes of sitting in the mess hall next to a woman with a scarred face, and describes with derision how she tries to put a fork full of mashed potatoes into her "half-melted mouth." The author calls her hot: "I love chicks that have been intimate with [roadside bombs]. It really turns me on — melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses." The diarist and his buddies laugh and laugh.

Beneath the cruelty, the soldier — and the magazine's editors — finds socially redeeming value in the incident. "Even as I was reveling in the laughter my words had provoked," he writes, "I was simultaneously horrified and ashamed at what I had just said. In a strange way, I found the shame comforting . . . relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty." He goes on to describe more dehumanizing stories with great specificity. Soldiers who have lost all sense of shame play games with the skulls of Iraqi children and run over stray dogs.

True, partly true and not true at all, these stories were written to appeal to an ideological bias against the war in Iraq, and to demonize and demoralize all those soldiers who act nobly and who utterly condemn such vile conduct. An imaginative or exaggerated "eyewitness" account is unfair not only to the soldiers in Iraq, but to the readers of the New Republic. Why should they believe anything on the other pages of the magazine?

Pvt. Beauchamp now says he intended to offer only "one soldier's view of events in Iraq" and never wanted it to be seen as "a reflection of the entire U.S. military." (Of course he didn't.) Pvt. Beauchamp has been punished in a most postmodern way. The military has confiscated his cell phone and laptop computer. That beats months in the brig. He might have been inspired to do better if he had read "The Red Badge of Courage." Henry, the Civil War soldier who narrates the tale, is warned by his mother to do what's right: "I don't want ye to ever do anything that ye would be 'shamed to let me know about." Good advice. Too bad it's only fiction.

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