Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

By Alan Caruba

Anyone who has ever worn the uniform of his nation feels differently about Memorial Day than those who have not had that privilege. There is a bond between soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen.

Whether we fought on the battlefield or just protected the nation during the Cold War, we took an oath, not dissimilar from that which the President takes, to protect and preserve the Constitution.

The great lesson of history is that democracy must be defended because it has many enemies. While it has spread to many parts of the world, vast populations still live under tyranny in Africa, in China, in Russia, in the Middle East, and elsewhere.

Sometimes I think the entire argument over the war in Iraq is one over whether this nation has the courage to defend and extend democracy. As unpopular as President Bush is and probably deserves to be, he is still right that the expansion of democracy is the best way to undermine the forces of evil that would enslave populations and would do harm to our nation.

It is much easier to do that harm these days. A single nuclear device could destroy an entire city. A biological weapon could sicken and kill thousands.

When a person like Mamoud Amadinejad openly calls for the destruction of the “Great Satan”, America, and the “Little Satan”, Israel, we need to take him at his word. It is not so much the millions of Iranians we need fear as the handful of despots who rule them through fear and intimidation.

Memorial Day is about courage.

If we lack the courage to defend our nation, even if that requires we send our best young men and women to fight on the other side of the globe, we will lose our nation here at home. If we lack the courage to fight for our beliefs, our values, we shall surely lose them to a conquering enemy, either within or beyond our shores.

We honor the courage of those from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, from Normandy to Iwo Jima, and now to Baghdad and Kabul, who fought and sometimes gave their lives for the freedoms we too often take too lightly.

It takes courage to be free. It takes none to be a slave.


Longstreet said...

Amen! Well said, sir!

Best wishes for a wonderful Memorial Day!


James said...

I can't remember who said this, but it's something along the lines of "the brave has to die but once, whereas the coward dies a thousand deaths".

All of my life I have stood behind the motto "this we'll defend", and will do so unto my death.

Unknown said...

On Memorial Day, we rightly salute the courage of the men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our country, as well as those who currently serve as the protectors of our freedoms.

However, I believe that it is imperative for those of us who do not serve in the military to have the courage to confront our political leaders when they send our brave men and women to war for the wrong reasons.

Both our soldiers and our politicians swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution guarantees a republican form of government to the fifty states, not a democracy. It does not justify sending our troops overseas to start wars for the purpose of defending or extending democracy.

See Democracy is Not Freedom at:

President Bush's doctrine of preemptive war, which was used to justify the invasion of Iraq, is the same justification that Germany and Japan used to invade Europe and Asia in World War II. It is truly no more or less than an attempt to expand the American empire. (We now have more than 700 military bases in over 130 countries.)

Our soldiers are trained to obey orders. Their lives depend on it. But it takes courage for those of us not in the military to take the necessary steps to correct unwise political decisions by confronting the politicians who represent us and forcing them to work within the bounds of the Constitution they have sworn to uphold.

When we fail to do so, we systematically lose our freedoms, the very freedoms our valiant soldiers defend with their lives. Imagine the disillusionment of soldiers who return to civilian life to find that their freedoms have been usurped by the same government who told them that that was what they were fighting to defend.

Your final statement could not be more true. "It [does] takes courage to be free. It takes none to be a slave."

Let us have the courage to stand for freedom and our Constitution. It is not the role of the American people to finance the spread of democracy around the world by use of military force. It should not be the burden of the courageous men and women in the armed forces to risk their lives to satisfy the desires for power of politicians and financial elites.

We should, instead, be the shining example of freedom, encouraging others to follow. People all over the world look up to the United States for this leadership. They hate us when we try to impose our ways on them by force.

James said...


I disagree with almost everything you said, but the only notion you have that I think is dangerous is your view on preemptive war.

If you look at the power and speed and destructiveness of current military technologies, after they have been used is the wrong time to respond to them. Especially in the case of biological/chemical or nuclear weapons, once the genie is out of the bottle, he cannot be put back in. And how many millions of people will die for our restraint?