Fighting for Freedom?

This is something that I probably shouldn’t even write about.  I have never been in any kind of war or combat situation.  I haven’t even been in the military.  So I suppose you can criticize me for that, but be that as it may, I felt the need to say something.

I got an email from someone at work.  He knows how I feel about politics and the war(s), and I think he likes to send me stuff like this just to irritate me.  Here is most of what it said:

We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I’ll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don’t fuss, I don’t whine.
I’m just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I’m harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I’m the immortal soldier,
I’m a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they’ve shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you’ve won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I’ve done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You’ll stand when the fight’s done.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad that there are people who are willing to put their lives on the line for something they believe in.  I would hope if the cause were right and just, I would do the same.  And that is exactly the problem.  The cause is almost never right and just.  We like to delude ourselves into thinking that when we go to war it is always a good reason.  We are fighting for freedom.  We have to fight to defend our way of lives.  And on and on.  But is that what we are really fighting for?

We’re fighting for freedom because we’re fighting the terrorists.  But if we are making more terrorists than we kill, are we really doing anything to help ourselves?  And when we go into a country under false pretenses (anyone remember weapons of mass destruction?) are we still fighting for freedom?

We certainly have a right to defend ourselves if we are attacked.  But what did Iraq do to us?  Hell, what did Afghanistan do to us?  And we could ask this about dozens of other countries.  We have sent forces into a lot more countries than just Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have been all over the world fighting for freedom.

Just since WWII, we have been in:

China: 1945-1960s

Italy: 1947-1948

Greece: 1947-1950s

The Philippines: 1940s-1950s

Korea: 1945-1953

Albania: 1949-1953

Eastern Europe: 1948-1956

Germany: 1950s

Iran: 1953

And on and on and on…

For a truly amazing wake up call read William Blum’s Killing Hope.  That’s where this list comes from and he continues into the mid 1990s.  So to say that we only fight for freedom is simply naive.  Or maybe we should ask: who’s freedom are we fighting for?

When America decides that it doesn’t need to overthrow every “dictator” and decide who should be in power all over the world, we will be a much safer country.  And we won’t have to worry so much about fighting for freedom.  It will come naturally.

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2 Responses to “Fighting for Freedom?”

  1. I just want to note that soldiers on the ground have absolutely no say in the policies that come from the top–other than the little say they have in electing the president or members of Congress. In other words, soldiers are not responsible for the wars they fight. Politicians are. The bravado depicted in the ungainly verse published above strikes me as a rationalization for war, and yet I have sympathy for these soldiers as well. While I don’t admire unthinking killers, I have to give many men and women in uniform credit for being brave and putting their lives on the line in dangerous situations. I may disagree with the government’s wartime policies, tactics, or strategies, but I can’t fault individual soldiers for those policies. Of course, they can decide to become conscientious objectors, and then they’re taking the best path possible, from the pacifist standpoint.

    One more point: I’m not sure which poor or cripples soldiers are fighting for. The poem seems to substitute rhyme for reason in making its argument. Wars usually result in rich folks getting richer (Can anyone say, “Haliburton”? I knew you could.) and poor folks, well, dying.

  2. I know that soldiers are only following orders. They do not have a say in where they go or what they do once they get there. But my real problem is the fact that they feel that they need to join in the first place. If they weren’t brainwashed into thinking that we are fighting for freedom, then perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick to join.

    Of course, there are some that see the military as their only option because they have no other job prospects. But that is a whole ‘nother issue that deserves its own post.

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