May 27, 2013
Dallas, Texas, USA
Today is the Memorial Day holiday in the Land of the Free.
Curiously, this is the day that the federal government sets aside for citizens to reflect on the sacrifices made by soldiers throughout history to ‘preserve our freedoms.’
At least, that’s what we’re told.
We’re programmed to sing the anthem, wave the flag, and cheer at the parade. We swell with pride at the high note, wear the ribbons, and solemnly nod our heads in approval when politicians make speeches about freedom and fallen soldiers.
Wartime Presidents routinely tell crowds that it is the ‘hardest decision of their lives’ to send soldiers into combat, but that it’s necessary to to preserve peace, freedom, security, and democracy.
Yet with each conflict, we are less peaceful. Less secure. Less ‘democratic’. And certainly less free.
And with very few exceptions, the true motives for war throughout history have almost always been about resources (oil), power, corporate interests, and imperialistic expansion… all started by politicians who send young people into harm’s way from their air-conditioned Ivory Towers.
It’s truly ironic that we have a holiday to remember this.
Coincidentally, today is also the anniversary of the day I graduated from West Point years ago. And having spent some time myself on that side of the world, I’m thinking today of the friends and classmates I knew who lost their lives needlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When I was in the service, I remember being constantly told by senior officers that our actions were making the world safer.
I realized very quickly that this was completely baloney, and I left the service as soon as I could.
But it’s difficult, even after so many years, to choke down the deceit of a day like today… a day to commemorate millions of people, both military and civilian, who supposedly died in support of something that no longer exists.
Politicians want us to turn out for the parade. They want us to stand in a moment of silence. They want us to rally around the flag. They just don’t want us to think too much about it.
Because if people do… if they start to peel away at the onion, they’ll realize that this purported freedom that so many soldiers fought for is rapidly deteriorating.
Most of all, people will realize that the same politicians who give us this holiday to think about such freedom are the ones responsible for destroying it.