Memorial Day 2011 brought the usual large number of special military programming and garnered a few comments to the effect that we ought to be honoring those who have fought and are fighting "for our freedoms." Certainly over the years there are many who have fought and are fighting for freedom. The list would include those who engaged the British after 1776 and again in 1812, those who fought against slavery here after 1861 as well as elsewhere at other times and places. Today's updated list adds "dissidents" expressing their views in foreign countries and much of the youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and even Iran. But can we include on that list those "coalition soldiers" stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Certainly when confronted by these foreign soldiers on their home turf, Afghans logically perceive that their freedoms are being threatened by us. Few if any appreciate what happened on 9/11/01. And in Iraq after acknowledging that there were no weapons of mass destruction and no prior connections in Iraq with al Qaida, Bush 43 justified our presence there as being necessary to remove Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator. Yet there is little evidence that coalition forces were welcomed into Iraq for that mission.
After 9/11 the status of our freedoms appears to be shaken. Pursuant to 9/11 we did not lose any freedoms with the deaths of upward of 3,000 people. But when we vowed to fight back, we did cede freedom in the "Patriot Act." How ironic that we just renewed that act this past week. And where bin Laden opined that our over-reaction to 9/11 could bankrupt us, our deficit spending on a 10-year-old struggle against terrorism might yet prove him correct. Freedom is lost when economic security is lost.
It is high time we learned how to fight for our freedoms. Step one is to sacrifice rather than deficit spend. The list of sacrifices must include making spending cuts clear across the board and increasing revenues appropriately. Looks like we haven't yet learned our lesson on fighting for our freedoms.
Dale Whiting, Chandler