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November 13, 2009

The U.S. Military Has Been Good to Jews

Your story on the tragic loss of Captain Benjamin Sklaver in Afghanistan was significant on that basis alone, but it also brought up the issue of the relative dearth of Jews in our armed forces (“Officer’s Death Highlights Dearth of Jews in the Military,” October 23).

I commanded a Military Police company in Vietnam and spent a total of 30 years in both the active Army and Army Reserve, retiring as a full colonel. Fellow Jews often express amazement at this career and then idiotically inform me that the military is antisemitic. I suggest that this is nonsense and that if there is interest in seeing genuine and blatant antisemitism at work, they should check out such institutions as the University of California at Irvine. While there are few Jews in the military, those who serve often do quite well.

The current Air Force chief of staff, General Norton Schwartz (four stars), is Jewish. The recently retired assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Magnus, (four stars) is Jewish. A former chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jeremy Boorda (four stars), was Jewish. The recently reassigned director of the National Guard, Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum (three stars), is Jewish. And there are many scores of other high-ranking Jews in America’s armed forces. There are five retired Army and Marine Corps colonels in Post 385 of the Jewish War Veterans (my post) out here in Southern California. Is any of this evidence of antisemitism?

Our military offers Jews a magnificent career and a learning experience unmatched anywhere else. More Jews should try it.

David G. Epstein
San Diego, Calif.

We Should Never Forget Kristallnacht

It is true that November 9,1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, is a momentous day in modern history. But to not even have one word in your November 6 editorial titled “November 9, 1989” — or even in your entire issue — mentioning November 9, 1938 is sad at best and shameful at worst.

The date of Kristallnacht should never be forgotten by anyone alive today and into all future generations. Of all the media in the world, a Jewish newspaper should be at the forefront of memorializing the date that foretold the impending Holocaust. By not annually reminding ourselves and the world of these events, we put weapons into the hands of the Holocaust deniers.

Wolfgang Rauner
Flushing, N.Y.

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