this may well end up in the tinderbox because of the nature of the subject matter, and i don't mean this as an attack on steve, but i'd like to note that american soldiers in iraq are no more protecting our freedoms than 19th century british soldiers in colonial india were protecting the autonomy of the british isles.
fighting for their country =/= fighting to protect their country (unless you equate your country with hegemony, then i guess there's a case to be made)
I can see your point in the case of Iraq, but what of Afghanistan? Moreover, since you obviously attempt to see things from a more worldly point of view, don't you believe that it is duty as the lone superpower on earth to protect the innocent and stop tyranny in its tracks regardless if there is an ulterior motive and/or serves our nation's interests or not?
It is rare that Philly B and I are on the opposite sides of a conversation but I am a career soldier with multiple combat tours and I feel compelled to respond (though I may regret it later, lol)
The fact of the matter is is that America is a very powerful nation. We exercise our influence across the globe and constantly take military action to protect our "interests" Because of this we as citizens are able to enjoy a way of life unlike any where else in the world in particular we have enjoyed near unlimited access to resources that are rare in the world, i.e. food, water, oil, land. We drive huge gas guzzling cars that we park in our paved driveway that goes to a house that sits on a half acre of land that we spend our free time grooming because we can. There is no threat of starvation from running out of useable farm land. We spend hours on the weekend killing animals that we dont eat or catch fish simply because we like the challenge. There is absolutely no threat of invasion so we have plenty of free time to spend argueing about a game that is played by multimillionaires. As a nation our bellies are seldom empty and even our poor have access to facilities to shelter, clothe and feed them. The common family has such excess that most have tv's they never watch or rooms they never use. Yes these freedoms are many.
Indeed America is unique in its combination of wealth and security. But why is this? Is the rest of the world so incredibly generous that they clamour over one another to bask in the glory that is the US? Do they form lines to offer us tribute, that our country may continue to prosper? What keeps them at bay? A kind word and a firm handshake from the President? Well, I promise you that it is not our good looks and sunny disposition. This is what your military offers you. The knowledge that no matter what, you are safe to pursue your interests as an American citizen, free from the militaristic influence of other nations.
The members of the military volunteer to accept this responsiblity often times at great risk to their own life, but never with a complaint. You are obligated to respect that, because there is not one of you that would trade even one freedom in order to satisfy some trumped up sense of moral dilemna. That is what is meant by supporting the troops not necessarily the war. We do not choose the fight. We do not pick our battles or tell the public what nations we will exercise our influence. ALL of those decisions are made by civilians. If you dont like it vote new people in. That stuff is not our call. But without us there would be no nation to protect. There is one superpower. Just one. There can only be one. I am curious to hear who you would rather have that role other than us.
People may not like it, and when I stand before God I may find that I have to answer for some things, but this is what I do. I love this country. I am third generation Airborne Paratrooper. I have no delusions as to why we are strong, but I am completely comfortable with risking my life that you may keep yours.
"... there is not one of you that would trade even one freedom in order to satisfy some trumped up sense of moral dilemma."
That's very presumptuous. There are people who give up their lives, much less something deemed as a freedom, out of a very real sense of moral dilemma because that's who they are. It's in them.
In any event, I understand both your arguments and respect both points of view. To me, you're both kind of being cynical in your own way, but justifiably so. In my opinion the cynicism should be directed towards those in power, and not necessarily just the politicians, but those who are behind the scenes such as the Bilderberg Group whose agenda strives to manipulate us all. But that's a whole other subject.