Friday, August 21, 2009

Protecting Our Freedom?

A friend sent me one of those lovely emails filled with gripping pictures of our soldiers in Iraq – sitting on a ring of sandbags in the rain; sleeping on the road beside their tanks, boots off; obscured in a dust storm … with some thoughtful questions about the ease with which we complain while they struggle on in the hardship of war.

But, then, this: As they protect our freedom!

That’s the question, isn’t it?

Are they protecting our freedom…?

Or were they sent to Iraq to fight and die for a tragically misguided foreign policy driven by the illusions of the Neo-Cons bent on American Empire and world-domination?

Our freedom has never been at stake, except when threatened from within by the Neo-Con/Fundamentalist/Right-wing/The Family conspiracy to undermine our Constitution and create a fascist/fundamentalist-Christian theocracy ruled by the wealthy for the wealthy and the powerful for the powerful.

If this group were to have it’s way, abortion would be utterly outlawed, and the death penalty enacted for abortion providers; homosexuals stripped of their rights, harassed, persecuted, imprisoned and worse; the middle-class disenfranchised; unions busted; high walls erected on our southern border, while protecting wealthy employers who hire and abuse illegals; Israel’s madness would be used to destabilized the Middle East and continue the war against Islam (see Blackwater and Erik Prince), and world-domination, of course, all in the name of Jesus, or was that oil? Or is it strangely, both?

I strongly support our soldiers, so let’s bring them home now!

Let’s provide for their training, their health, their families 24/7, for we now have an all-volunteer professional army.

The day of the citizen-soldier is gone, except for the National Guard, but so many of them are on their second or third tour of duty they’ve become professionals as well.

Yes, provide for them, protect them, train them – give them everything they need to be the professionals they are (see The Hurt Locker), and let’s be rededicated to the sparing used of military power, for the lives of our soldiers are precious.

Politically, let’s tell the truth: Iraq was a misguided decision made by a failed administration driven by dark ambitions, and administration willing to fudge the facts in order to convince Americans and the world of the righteousness of our cause.

Lies and deception were the tools of the Bush Administration, that’s the truth, the dark truth underlying this tragic moment in our story. And if we can’t tell the truth, the lie will only grow darker, harder, leading to more lies piled up like barnyard manure.

As for our soldiers?

May God protect them, even as we pray God could forgive us, and with a lot of God’s help, restore our national dignity and rebuild our national character.


  1. It's hard to face the truth, that the war in Iraq isn't about our freedom, and that yes we can send our soldiers to die in vain for petty and unworthy causes. It's a difficult thing to think, let alone say and yet... if we don't say it, the painful truth we will make the same mistake again. I'm not denying the soldier's bravery and willingness to sacrifice for our country. But that is too important a thing to trivialize into a vague feel good America always and all the time right no matter what.

  2. Tom, once again, a very articulate piece. My colleagues, in the past, said I couldn't support the troops while disagreeing about going to war in Iraq. To which I still respond, why not? Before we put our soldiers in harms way, isn't it our responsibility to know that the cause is in fact worthy of the ultimate sacrifice. It is so offensive to see our former president on a golf cource talking about getting the terrorists and then saying, "now watch this drive!" We can and will always support our troops. And before we rush to war or any use of troops, it is our responsibility to know whether it is worthy of their sacrifice, if it may be the ultimate sacrifice.