Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fighting for Freedom

Support the troops.

I’m not going into a rant about what supporting the troops does and doesn’t mean. That debate has been rehashed so many times, I’m not going to say anything new. It’s a tired argument.

You’re going to say that I can’t support the troops if I’m against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And then I'll say that your idea of supporting the troops is a hollow joke. It takes more than a bumper sticker and standing up for a Lee Greenwood song at a monster truck rally.

On that argument, we are at an impasse.

I’m talking about the whining I hear on a regular basis regarding the media. There is a deep resentment towards the media for ‘getting into our business’ that I’ve been hearing from people in the military.

The sentiment seems to be that we should shut the hell up and just let the army do its job.


I’m going to get into why my answer to that is an absolute, unequivocal ‘no’ in a second, but first, let me clear up a couple of things.

When we talk about our troops, we always hear about how they’re fighting for our freedom, or protecting our freedom. That’s a notion that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard questioned.

But it’s just not true.

That isn’t the function of our armed forces. Their function is to keep America strong, not free.

A strong military is hardly unique and there are plenty of governments and countries and empires now and throughout history who have had strong armed forces yet had no freedom.

China, the former Soviet Union, the Third Reich, and we could go on and on through the mightiest military forces in history. If a strong military was the key to freedom and democracy, these societies would be the models of what we should pattern our Republic after.

No, the difference is the free exchange of ideas.

The media.

Because these powers, with all their military might, controlled the flow of information.

They had state-run outlets for information that the government wanted the public to hear. There was no transparency and no accountability because there was no free press to ‘get into the military and the government’s business.’

That is our job. The media holds the military and the government and corporate America accountable.

We have, these past years been failing miserably, but that is a different post.

And that transparency, not military strength is the difference between a totalitarian state and a free country.

You are the ones fighting for our safety and strength.

We are the ones fighting for our freedom.

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