Today, while perusing the local newspaper, I found one of their online polls regarding the burning of the Koran by some nutjob pastor in Florida.
These are the results, as of 10:00AM this morning:
In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about how American servicemen are overseas to "protect our freedoms" and whatnot, while there has been an awful lot of calling for an end to free speech by those who simultaneously claim to "support our troops".
I'll reiterate, since there appear to be a good many simpletons out there who still don't get this yet, but I'm ***NOT BASHING THE "TROOPS"***. These people signed their name on a piece of paper, and agreed to sacrifice several years of their own personal freedoms for the purposes of securing ours. May sound crazy, but that kinda means something to me...
That being said, I have but three questions to ask:
1) How are troops being placed in warzones overseas protecting the freedoms of America? It's a rather important question, considering that they agreed to "support and defend" the Constitution of the United States of America. I have a difficult time understanding how being shipped to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or elsewhere is doing anything to defend our freedoms, since the people over in these countries cannot infringe upon the American way of life while hiding in a cave.
Many people bring up 9/11 as an excuse for Afghanistan, and I totally disagree with this. Do they hate us? Absolutely. All 150 of them! Are they going to swim here and kill us? Doubtful. Are they going to hop a plane and come to kill us? Well, they might...if we LET THEM, just like we did in 2001. Al Qaeda doesn't have an air force, nor do they have their own commercial airline. They did not hijack international flights, they hijacked domestic flights. What does this tell me? The problem is simple, and it doesn't require a $600,000 per minute solution to the problem. I use the $600,000 per minute dollar figure, because that's what the price of our wars was the last time I checked...but alas, this was in 2006, so I'm not really sure any more.
Wouldn't it have been far more cost-effective, as well as being systematically efficient, to invest a month's worth of "war money" into more effective oversight of our state department visa programs? You know, to actually prevent "terrorists" from coming into this country in the first place? Think about it. Better yet, we could bring home all of those troops that are still "protecting our freedoms" from Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany 65 years after the war ended (as well as the rest of the several hundred bases on every continent on Earth), and station them here along our borders. If we only closed half of the bases overseas and relocated them to our borders, we could have an outpost every 20 miles...on both borders! Then, think of the money we'd be saving in logistics alone!
But no, we can't do that, because it would make far too much sense. I mean, how would we have "the sacrifice of our servicemen and their families", if my friends weren't getting shot up in third-world shitholes? How would we be able to bestow such honor upon our military men and women, if my father's friends weren't burying their children? More importantly, how would the General Electric Company and so many war profiteers like them make billions of dollars in profit without paying a dime in taxes? How would our political leaders, past and present, be able to reward their buddies with lucrative no-bid contracts?
And yet, the question still stands. How are they defending our freedom?
2) How is the political speech of one man in Florida somehow more dangerous to our servicemen serving time in a warzone, than a completely unnecessary occupation of that warzone by our servicemen?
I think it's completely ludicrous to suggest that some guy burning a Koran in his backyard is somehow more dangerous to our troops than, you know, BEING IN A WARZONE. Perhaps people may have forgotten what "war" is. It's that thing, you know, where people are, like, trying to kill each other and shit. You tread lightly, so you don't awaken the sleeping dragon.
If you do something that pisses someone else off, that person may or may not want to kill you. However, the likelihood of actually being ABLE to kill you is directly proportional to your proximity to this person! For example, I can stand in my backyard, and talk about how I'd love to bitchslap my neighbor and perform all manner of made-for-cable sex acts upon his nubile 19 year old daughter. Even if he finds out about it, he's not likely to try to kill me...mainly, because I'm not within range of his .38 snubbie. HOWEVER, if I were to say this while my brother is standing in his living room, he's likely to try killing my brother.
We're faced with the same situation, albeit on a global scale, with respect to the Koran-burning "preacher" and the safety of our servicemen. Is burning a Koran, especially by an American "preacher" who claims to "support the war on terr'rism", likely to bring about anger by people who see their nation occupied by those who are supposedly "fighting terrorism" by being an armed presence in their streets?
I don't know about you, but I'm already not too fond of seeing our local cops driving around. The moment I see non-local cops patrolling my street with machine guns while riding around in vehicles of war, I'll take that as a declaration of war upon me. If I were to hear about the "supporters" of said cops sitting in the safety of their own backyards and burning the symbols of that which I hold dear, I'm gonna get slightly more pissed off. As such, I can't honestly blame these people for being pissed and joining the "I hate America" crowd.
And again, the question remains. How is the burning of a book somehow endangering the lives of our servicemen to a degree greater than having our servicemen occupying a nation they have no business being in?
3) How can you claim to "support our troops", while simultaneously saying that the very document detailing the rights of the American people should not apply...because to exercise these rights may put these troops in greater danger, when they are doing a job they shouldn't have ever been asked to do in the first place?
Moreover, how can you claim to "support our troops", while supporting the unethical, unnecessary, dangerous, and likely illegal aggression against and occupation of other nations?
Are you aware that a war was fought, specifically to ensure that governments did not invade other nations, unless such a war was in defense against armed aggression? Contrary to popular belief concerning WWII, we didn't go to war because Hitler was a despot dictator. We didn't go to war because he held a "dangerous ideology". We didn't go to war because he was slaughtering his own people. We went to war because he committed acts of armed aggression against other nations.
While the trials of Nuremberg did convict several men of "crimes against humanity" for their role in the Holocaust, its biggest accomplishment was the conviction and execution of Nazi leadership for armed aggression of other nations. The International Military Tribunal was created by the London Charter of 1945, and this charter (written by Americans and signed by the US, the British, the Soviets, and the French) outlined the proper and improper ways of both starting and carrying out a war.
Basic principles, such as what constituted a "war crime", were detailed according to longstanding customary tradition in war. Also included was the idea that starting a war for any reason was immoral, illegal, and punishable by death. The importance of this fact cannot be understated, as it is integral to the notion that an unwarranted invasion and occupation of another nation is illegal.
It's illegal for good reason. War is hell. People die. It's not just the men fighting the war. Innocents die. Men, women, and children who want no part in picking up a rifle and fighting a war will inevitably die. The likelihood of the deaths of innocents is directly proportional to the destructive capabilities of the weapons being used.
Innocent men, women, and children are dying. US servicemen are dying. We're occupying nations we had no legal or moral right to invade in the first place. We're being spoon-fed the notion that it's to "protect our freedoms". As for myself, I'm spitting that bullshit out!
Our own governments, at every level right down to our own city councils, are slowly but surely stripping away every notion of "freedom" we thought we once had. "Al Qaeda" doesn't hate me because I'm free. "Al Qaeda" hates me, because my government has ordered my friends and family to invade, occupy, bomb, embargo, and otherwise destroy nations that have done nothing to the US, except possibly not play along with our thirst for their resources.
In the past few weeks, I've realized that our city councils found it within themselves to violate not only the 1st Amendment of our US constitution, but also Article 1 Sec. 8 of the Texas Constitution, by criminalizing speech at a particular time within a particular distance of a particular event. Sounds quite a bit like we need a "free speech zone", don't it?
Now, we find ourselves faced with a group of people who think it's appropriate to limit the right to engage in freedom of expression, because it may put people in *warzones* at risk of being killed.
I'm sorry, but I don't think I can respond to this in a manner any better than simply asking, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?