Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thoughts On Patriotism This Memorial Day

I was sitting here pondering patriotism on this Memorial Day weekend and I was struck by how my feelings of patriotism have narrowed from a total belief and pride in the innate goodness of this country to a more narrowly focused feeling.

My parents and uncles were all members of that great World War II generation and they were all veterans. My Mother and Father were members of the naval hospital corps, my Mother serving in this country and my Father serving as a navy corpsman who went the entire way across the pacific and then served in occupied Japan. My uncles, being raised in Bedford County, Virginia, were in the same outfit that produced the famed Bedford Boys who were slaughtered on Omaha Beach. My uncles were fortunate to have been in a different Higgins boat.

I was raised by these people and the one thing I learned from them is that we were the good guys. They didn't go to war just to protect their homes and families, they went to war to fight against evil and for the freedom of people all over the world. They were proud of themselves and proud of their country and they instilled in me that pride. They're all gone now, they are now among the Honored Dead and honor them I do.

My thoughts go now to all of those men and women serving our country around the world, but especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. My heart swells with pride at the sacrifices that they are making for the sake of country and duty. Whatever may be happening in this country politically, it has nothing to do with these troops in the field. They should have nothing but pride in the fact that they answered the call of their country and were willing to give that last full measure.

These people fighting today are where my proud feelings of patriotism are focused for I feel that the government that is ordering and controlling these great people is failing them and us miserably.

It has been said, as about the sixth reason for this war, that we're fighting for the freedom of the Iraqi people, but surely if they wanted freedom, they would have fought Saddam themselves. If they had been, as a people, oppressed and unhappy wouldn't they have been willing to fight for freedom, for to be free, you have to be willing to die for it. What bothers me now is that perhaps the Iraqis are dying to be free from us. If that is true, it is too sad to contemplate that our troops would be thought of as oppressors. We have always been the good guys and I know our troops certainly think of themselves the same way.

Our government, led by George Bush, has as policy chosen to disregard the Geneva Conventions. This is a government that has sanctioned and encourages the use of torture against our enemies. Most of the republicans running for president have also come out in favor of torture. I can't imagine that we could have become so cowardly and afraid that we must abandon 200 years of tradition. We have become more like our enemies signifying that in some ways they are defeating us.

It is shameful to think that I all I could say in comparing my country to those countries and groups that oppose us is that we're not as bad as they are.

Jim Martin

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I understand that the Cadets at West Point tend to think of the Geneva Conventions as annoying impediments to "winning" and that disgraceful worm Cheney pandered to that idea at the commencement the other day.

In a war we pretend to have entered into for moral reasons, we're now claiming that "victory" is its own justification.

What greater insult could he give to those who fought to save the world from that very idea?

1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

I saw the stats today in an editorial by Jim Webb that the Army attrition rates of cadets graduating from the USMA in 2000 and 2001 is close to 50%. Obviously they did not choose to re-up after their commitments were over.
It's hard to put your life on the line without a pretty damned good reason.

2:00:00 PM  

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