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Fighting for Your Freedom

April 4th, 2012

How many times have you heard something like, “Those soldiers are fighting for your freedom of speech, show some respect!”? How many times have you probably repeated it? That’s what you’ve been told. That’s what they’ve been told, too. They believe they’re fighting and dying for “your freedom”, but are they?

I want to make it perfectly clear that I wish we lived in a world without war, so that young men don’t have to get their faces melted off by IEDs (like the subject of Nina Berman’s “Marine Wedding”, which kind of prompted this article), or so that entire families of Afghanis don’t get rape-murdered in their own houses, or so that Pakistani children don’t get bombed to oblivion by Predator drones.  But we don’t. So, until we do, I feel for anyone who has had to endure these (and countless other) horrors; particularly because most of them don’t understand why they’re fighting. 

flag draped military coffins

Are they fighting for “your freedom”? No. Kissinger said it best:

Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.

It doesn’t matter if the soldiers believe they’re fighting for “your freedom” when in-fact they are being used and abused as pawns in someone else’s war, it doesn’t matter if you believe it, either; no matter how many people believe it, it is still a lie.

I feel like an asshole for suggesting that your son or daughter might have died for a lie. Or that your brother or sister was horribly wounded, paralyzed, brain damaged for a lie. But I shouldn’t because that’s the truth and it’s worth being called a treasonous asshole if I can get a few of you to wake up: despite what they and you and “everyone else” believes, like most soldiers in most conflicts in all of human history, they go to war and fight and kill and die for lies.

I mean no disrespect by all this, I simply refuse help perpetuate the lie; no soldier under any flag, went to war to fight for me, or for my way of life, or for my “freedoms” or on my behalf, despite whatever propaganda to the contrary they may believe.

Sanctioning this lie by pretending to owe them some gratitude for their “service”, or by pretending there’s some noble cause, or by draping the lie in a star-spangled banner and decorating it with a Purple Heart only makes it easier to weave the next lie, easier to persuade the next group of kid soldiers to go fight for it.

And as long as they’re fighting for lies, they’re going to keep dying for those lies.

 

 

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  • Karl says on: April 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

     

    Hey David,

    I can agree with you somewhat in that there have been “some” wars that our military have given their lives for that were flat out not “noble causes” and but if you’re saying that EVERY cause men in the military have ever given their lives for was a lie ….I don’t know. I’m thinking about Afganistan for instance… those who went there I believe initially went there in an effort to fight so that we could live “free from terrorist” and since our going there we haven’t had another terrorist attack here since. If thats not freedom, I guess I really don’t know what freedom is. If our military didn’t respond at all, they would have continued to come right back until they wiped us all out. Now granted a lot of things did go on much too long there, but for me I believe, we’ve lived these last 12 years without terrorist attacks because of those folks who volunteered, exercising their “individual right” to go over there, knowing they might die or come back crippled for life. If we have been “living free from terrorist attacks” I’m not sure I understand how that is not a noble cause, or they were led to fight for lie. There are a ton of other fights that we definitely should not be in or not have been in. I’m also sure that “a lot” of people going over are not clear about what they;re fighting for … but I’m not understanding how it could be that none of them know and none of the wars fought are for noble causes and how anybody can say (all) military men are dumb. Unless you’re just speaking in general terms I’m really not clear on the logic. Feel like breaking your logic down a little bit for me?

    • David Z says on: April 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

       

      Hi Karl – sure I am always willing to break down my thoughts, all you ever need to do is ask!

      Related reading would be “War is a Racket” by General Smedley Butler (USMC), also available for free PDF/plain text if you google it.

      In a nutshell, I think most men enlist or go to war for what they believe to be good and noble causes. Nations and empires don’t mobilize or prepare for war unless special interests can profit (on this note you may like What is the True Cost of American Empire?) — and very few men would knowingly fight for someone else’s profit. So they convince you that there is a threat, or that the actual reason for war is something more noble.

      If the real reason the government sends an army to war is something other than what the soldiers believe they are fighting for, isn’t that a lie? Even if the soldiers believe, and want to fight for a noble purpose, if the hidden agenda to their mission is some ulterior motive, isn’t that a lie by omission? Consider the American Civil War, which we’re all taught was the most noble war to end slavery. But if you look in to it there are all these economic reasons that the North wanted a war when they could’ve just left the South be, and when you ask critical questions like, “How come every other Western nation had peacefully abolished chattel slavery, but the US couldn’t do it without killing 700,000 countrymen?” that kind of puts things in a new light. Sure, one side effect was to end slavery, but if that’s all the North had wanted to accomplish, they didn’t need a war to do it. Slavery was just an excuse/justification for that war, as “terrorism” is an excuse/justification for current wars.

      As for the Kissinger quote, I used that quote not so much for the “dumb” aspect, but rather the admission that the enlisted man is merely a pawn in wars waged by the ruling class.

      As for Afghanistan, there’s a lot of angles to take on this… yes, a lot of people were probably asking for soldiers to go over there & fight, I would note that it’s pretty easy to whip a population in to a frenzy in the wake of a tragedy like 9/11 so kind of have to take that with a grain of salt. The lie in this case could be an overestimation of the threat of terrorism, there was also that whole WMD debacle (I think it’s widely accepted now that was either a lie or gross incompetence), and the domino-effect argument reminiscent of the Cold War/Vietnam conflicts, etc.

      I’ve written before about how significant the actual threat of terrorism is and given the ease with which it would be possible to attack hundreds (thousands?) of soft targets, I think it’s pretty clear that the threat isn’t there. There just aren’t that many would-be terrorists in the world. If there were, we couldn’t stop them.

      Thanks again – and like I said feel free to ask any time!

  • Da'udum says on: April 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm

     

    David,
    Karl turned me on to this site. Not sure what point you’re making in your essay. For me, I see this as a world ruled by the aggressive use of force–a system of perfect anarchy. I prefer Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry big stick” Even the Bible states that “Satan is the god of this world”. The only way to protect this country as a free nation is to mercilessly destroy all who come against it. This is a simple and sad truth. That there are those who are killed and terribly injured in the process is also a sad truth. But the only way to prevent even more horror is to nip all aggression in the bud. Think Hitler. No one wants war. It is man descending to animalistic levels but the only way man can ascend to the great heights that he is capable of attaining is through the peace brought about by the willingness to war. The ancient Romans said “let those who would have peace, prepare for war”. And they would know.

    • David Z says on: April 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

       

      I think you are misinformed about what constitutes “perfect anarchy” but that is probably a topic for another day :)

      But the only way to prevent even more horror is to nip all aggression in the bud.

      Doesn’t all this bud-nipping eventually constitute “aggression”, itself? Where do you draw the line? And do you ever reflect on how your past actions may contribute to this apparently never-ending cycle of violence? And to what extent are we culpable, etc.? (i.e., blowback).

      No one wants war.

      This is demonstrably false. If nobody wanted war, there would be no war. There are some people who do want war, and when they are in a position to seduce others to fight for them, we get war. I touch on that in my reply to Karl, above. The people generally do not want war, but can most often be persuaded, as long as the lie is good enough.

  • Da'udum says on: April 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

     

    Hi,

    I think you missed my overall point. Aggression should be answered without mercy. There is a concept that works well on the international stage. If A attacks B, B counterattacks with at least 2 x A”s aggression. A (and all other observer nations) soon see that attack upon B must be total from the get go. Or leave B alone entirely. The “blow back” of this policy is peace, hopefully. Actually, nuclear weapons have been a great deterrent to a world war III for these very reasons. The concept of MAD (mutually assured destruction) has kept it from happening. All my comments are, of course, based upon aggression that is credible and not some “domino theory”. War should be both rare and total. BTW, I meant to say that no SANE person wants war.

    Peace,
    Da’udum

    • David Z says on: April 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

       

      Cheers! Thanks for clarifying. I’m not a 100% pacifist, I do tend to agree that aggression should be answered with force, (I consider retaliatory force to be the only legitimate exercise of force, there may be some exceptions for pre-emptive force under exigent circumstances, but that is a slippery slope).

      But as a nation, I don’t think it’s appropriate to wage war and/or occupy another nation simply because a few idiots did some particularly nasty things. On those same grounds, Afghanistan would be 100% justified in retaliating against the USA due to that most recent civilian massacre, etc., and then you find yourself in this never-ending cycle of violence.

  • Karl says on: April 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

     

    Thanks for responding Dave. I hope you don’t mind long replies.
    Some of this, before today, I have never really given a lot of thought to, so a lot of it is just helping me to get clarity on my own thoughts

    In response I have to ask you – Is it really necessary that everybody always knows what everybody in the military’s real reasons for waging war are? Or let me ask it like this …does everybody taking on a challenge have to all be taking on the challenge for the same reasons?

    Its like saying we all have to have the same reasons for working on a job. One person does the works simply because he loves it, one person hates the work and is doing it just for the money. One person loves what the company stands for but hates the work and hates the way the execs run it and is only there because it will look good on the resume. My questions is …what difference does it make that they tell the owners how they “really” feel … or what their real motives are? I would think the only the thing the owners of the company would be interested in knowing is if I’m qualified and if I’m hired will I give the company what I promised. Are they lieing by omission for not telling them all that they really feel about the company.

    I think its the same way with leaders of the military. As long as they deliver what they promise to their supporters and fighters , I wouldn’t care what the leaders real motives are. Its unimportant to me. Whats important to me is that the leaders are also indeed seeking to accomplish what they promised me was going to happen, because thats why I joined. Its unimportant to me what THEY are there for. Thats them. I’m a live and let live live guy. Whats important to me is that I accomplish what I’m there for. If they are doing it for power, and I’m in for a noble purpose, all I care about is that I;m accomplishing my purpose. If they tell me I’ll be able to do that and then I find I’m not able to, THEN they have lied.

    You asked …. if soldiers want to go into war to “fight for a noble purpose” and in actuality “the hidden agenda to their mission is some ulterior motive, isn’t that a lie by omission? And then you referred to the Civil War. I’d like to speak to that.

    Slavery had been infringing on the freedoms of so many people in our country back then forever and many in the North had been fighting for years PRIOR TO the Civil War to see it end. Years and using all kinds of efforts. But they just couldn’t do it and in their failure to be able to do it people, continued to suffer. IF indeed (and thats a big ..IF) the North’s reason for waging war against the South was indeed simply to have more economic power and they could get Lincoln to abolish slavery in the process, do you think the people who fought to end slavery even cared that the North was omitting that their “real” reasons for doing it was simply for economic power? If it was known ny military leaders that slavery could not been ended by this war and they didn’t tell them, THEN they would have been fighting for a lie. But it could be, and slavery was ended , so how was it a lie .THEY went in to fight against slavery and when they came out slavery was over (the noble cause THEY fought for) and the leaders of the North had their power (the ulterior motive). On top of that our country once again became one. If they knew the leaders motives were simply for economic power alone, they would have not had wanted to fight AND …had they not fought, what they wanted (abolished slavery) would not have ever happened. How do I know, because EVERY effort they made to abolish slavery prior to the civil war, failed.

    Economic power “may” have been what the leaders in the North really were fighting for but the majority were fighting to end slavery and they got it. Who cares what the Norths “real” reasons were except for the South and the only reason ulterior motives are even mentioned is because the South lost. Of course they are going to say it wasn’t about slavery. Who is not going to try to tear down the opponent they lost to?

    Abolishing slavery indeed MAY have been just “some noble cause” or “just an excuse” the North just used so they could ultimately get the economic power they sought, through waging war. But to say the people were deceived into fighting (even by omission) is flat out , not true . They were told it was to end slavery and at the end. slavery was over. I’m just not understanding why they should have been told these real (or other ) reasons. How would knowing those other reasons have helped them in their efforts to abolish slavery ? I just don’t get it

    Same thing with Afganistan. It was called a war against terrorism and EVERYBODY said Amen to it, and they entered into it and terrorism in our country stopped. It had nothing to do at that time to do with WMD at all. They went in to stop terroism and for 10 years we have been FREE of it because they moved forth. I don;t care what Bush, Obama or any other leaders real motives were. Some people went in because they were specifically told this was an effort to stop terrorism, and I don’t believe they were lied to, If it wasn’t a war against terrorism … then how is it that after going into this war, for 10 years terrorism has stopped?

    As for some of these other wars we’re into .. a lot of them make no sense to me all.

    Be easy on me because I’m really not 100% on all of this and I’m open.

    • David Z says on: April 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm

       

      I am working on a reply, but may be slow to respond; my wife & I just had our first child on Sunday so I am much busier than normal :)

      The short version, ignoring for the time being the good questions you raised (which I will respond to in time), is that whatever the individuals (e.g., the soldiers) believe they are fighting for, that doesn’t entitle them to any more “respect” than I would ordinarily give to any other stranger. I’m not saying they deserve to be spat on or disrespected or hanged or any such thing, but simply the argument that we “owe” them some extraordinary “respect” for their “service” is not valid, since it’s a “service” that I never asked for.

      Be easy on me because I’m really not 100% on all of this and I’m open.

      I do my best :) I was in your shoes once, too, and I hated more than anything when people were not open to discussion with me. The philosophy of liberty is a learning process. I have been meaning to write a post about that, too… Anyways sometimes I might need a reminder so feel free to put me in my place and remind me occasionally if I am too enthusiastic in my replies :)

      But especially when you come here asking for opinion, clarification, and with an open mind. I appreciate it and it’s obvious you’re not trolling me. I do apologize in advance, sometimes I get a little too, um, passionate but I try to keep that in check when discussing with someone who genuinely wants to have a discussion (some people just want to “argue” and that’s not what I’m about).

      Also, if you ever have any questions which you’re not comfortable asking in public or whatever, feel free to email me.

      • Karl says on: April 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

         

        Respecting Soldiers ….Hmmmmm.

        Well,I’m not sure that soldiers take on their jobs for respect … no more then any person does any job. I think, just like any person, they do it because its something they want to do. Just like a Police Officer or a Fireman .. they’ve taken on positions that a lot of people have no interest in, and put their lives on the line, for their job. Most people won’t do jobs where their lives are in harms way. So me for me I respect them in a the same sense that I respect people in a lot professions …window cleaners who do high skyscrapers, people who run for political office (because they give up their privacy for their jobs), construction workers who work on the freeway even professional football players. Not because I think they are special or should be esteemed or anything like that but because it takes more courage to do those jobs than most jobs require.It doesn’t have to be something I need somebody to do for me in order for me to respect what they do. I have respect for anybody who will take on any respectable job especially one that I know I wouldn’t (LOL) and to me any job thats legal is a respectable job which includes the jobs of those in the military.

        Talk to you whenever you get time ;-)

        • David Z says on: April 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

           

          yeah I don’t think they generally take the job for the “respect”.

          But it’s funny, when you question the legitimacy of their orders, missions, etc., the “respect” argument often gets trotted out. This argument is not always put forth by soldiers/ex-soldiers, it is also used by “civilians” in my experience.

          • Karl says on: April 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

             

            Hey Dave -Really wasn’t expecting to hear for you this quick.

            If you’re merely talking about the orders the soldiers are given by their leaders and not the nobleness of many of the soldiers themselves, then for certain, many different leaders in the military in our country over the years have made some pretty poor decision. A lot of the decisions some of them have made, have been flat out evil. I’m just having a hard time saying we have to question the legitimacy of “all” of their military decisions and missions because I don’t believe “every” military decision or mission is made with some evil intent or is pursued with an unjust ulterior motive.

            Its like throwing the baby out with the baby water. Should “none” of them be respected as leaders having the country’s best interest, just because of there are “some” military leaders who don’t have the country’s best interest at all? For me …I just can’t say none of the leaders deserve to be respected. Particularly George Bush and those who made the “initial” decision regarding the Afghanistan war.

            As I said before I’m a “live and let live” guy. I’m a 100% for non-invention EXCEPT in cases where there is threat of imminent danger and witnessing those attacks I personally perceived that the country was in imminent danger when I saw those planes. My personal initial response was … please go after the ones who initiated this … and they did. I’m not sure I agree with the strategy of bombing all Afghanistan in an effort to go after Al-Qeada or keeping that war going so long, but I definitely totally have a high respect for our initial response, standing up and demanding the release of those bullies. The Afghanistan government would not surrender them ..and so it goes. Al-Qeada hurt us and if we had not responded I personally believe they would have continued to be a threat. So … for me … whatever our military leaders individual motives were, we saw them stand up to folks who murdered hundreds of people in OUR country who were mere civilians and when we did it their terrorist attacks against US stopped allowing us to leave free of fear. Had we not responded the way we initially did I would have been ashamed.

            I know I’m putting a lot out there ..so I’m not expecting you to respond to most of it. It would take forever. I’m just glad about the points you are bringing out that are making my wheels turn because some of this I’ve never even thought of before today.

          • David Z says on: April 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

             

            I’ve got time for quick replies here & there, it was longer queries that I have to delay for the time being.

            Where I typically see this argument, “show some respect” is usually trotted out as some sort of trump card, like, “STFU because the soldiers are fighting for you.” How’s that for irony? The soldiers are fighting for your freedom so they can tell you when you can speak and what you can say… This implies of course that you don’t have any right to complain/criticize/etc., which is obviously anathema to the idea that you A) have rights and/or B) they are trying to actively protect them.

            I still think, though, and this is a hard thing to try and verbalize… I don’t care why the soldier is fighting. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t ask him to, and I don’t want him to, and therefore, no matter his convictions, no matter the majority opinion, no matter anything, as a matter of fact he is not “fighting for me” if for no other reason than I would not have him fight in the first place. So the “show some respect STFU” argument gets on my nerves.

            I guess that is really what prompted this post. Sometimes I go off on tangents and don’t realize it :)

  • Karl says on: April 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

     

    Dave, How cool!! Congratulations on your first!! Don’t know your faith but your baby was born on a great day and my prayers are with you and your family!! How cool!

    As far as answering …no rush. Take you time and spend some time with your new edition. Just having fun here!

  • Karl says on: April 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

     

    Dave – I got it!! and I’m all the way there with you (LOL)!! If military leaders or any kind of leader for that matter, are involving our country in things you don’t like, you disagree with and you are flat out against , you have every right to say whatever you want about it. I know I keep bringing up Afghanistan and why I “initially” supported that war but the truth is …for me. Its really irrelevant NOW as to why they originally WERE there, our troops should have been long gone. People have been needlessly murdered, billions of our tax dollars have HELPED KILL all of those people … and I don’t care why THEY are there OR how “noble ” they think their purpose is. They can say all they want that they’re doing it for me, but they are NOT, because if it was up to ME they would have been long gone and a lot of folks who have died would still be here. I disagree with what they are doing and nobody has any right to tell me I should “respect” what they’re doing especially when I disagree with it. So I get you now brother and I’m right with you on your tangent (LOL)!! Yeah!! Let ..Them …have it!!

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