Ping (zestyping) wrote,

Does the military preserve freedom?

It's been a little while since my last entry. Life has been busy and eventful, and i've been piling up things i wanted to write about here without having the time to put them into complete sentences. So, over the next few days, i'll be trickle-posting a few things from the last couple of weeks.

On Friday, June 25, i saw Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Metreon. Much of the movie reiterated news footage and information that i had seen previously, but there were a few interesting new things. In particular, i had not known about the many objections to the 2000 election results that were attempted during the joint session that counted the electoral votes. All failed due to the lack of a single Senate signature.

The Congressional Record contains all that was said in that session on that sad day, January 6, 2001. It's worth reading.

Fahrenheit 9/11 inspired the largest Slashdot discussion i have ever seen — there are now over 3200 comments (of which over 2300 have positive ratings). Among them was this insightful comment about the purpose of the military:
One of the things that keeps coming up since our troops have gone into harm's way is that they are fighting for our freedom.
The military does not and never has fought for our freedom. It cannot. All the military can do is to preserve our independence as a nation, giving us the opportunity to structure our society as we please. The military can prevent people from some other nation from taking away our freedoms, but it is up to *us* to decide if we as individuals will be free or not.
Individual freedom is won or lost in the legislative and judicial processes, and the electoral processes which control them. The military has nothing to do with it.
What's really amazing is how this meme (military preserves freedom) has become so deeply rooted in the American psyche that no one questions it. [...] I think much of our loss of individual freedom is directly attributable to the fact that so few Americans today seem to understand what it is, why it matters, or how it is achieved/maintained.
When people say the military is "fighting for our freedom", i've tended to accept that without thinking. But now i realize that it's not true. I think the author of the comment is right.

Americans lost one of their most basic freedoms long before September 11, and they did not lose it through military battles in Iraq or anywhere else. They lost the freedom to choose their own head of state on January 6, 2001.
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