Supporting our country’s servicemen and women isn’t necessarily synonymous with supporting the actions they’re forced to take.
I have friends in the Air Force, the Marines and the Army, all of whom I support because I know they joined the military with the best intentions, in sound mind and with loving hearts.
They joined out of a sense of duty, a moral obligation and a willingness to defend our nation and its citizens, should that need arise.
That is certainly a noble and commendable sacrifice and I deeply respect them for it.
At present, though, my friends are not defending my right to write this article, speak freely, practice my religion or do anything else. We are not a nation under attack. The rights of our citizens are not being threatened by any foreign entity.
This has been true since our troops defended us against Hitler’s reich in World War II. That was the last time anyone in the military fought, served or died in defense of our rights.
The Korean War was about stopping North Korea from annexing South Korea. The war in Vietnam was about stopping the spread of communism. Our military intervention in the Middle East, Africa and Central America throughout the 1980s was about control.
The war in Kuwait was about stopping a dictator. The war in Iraq was about imposing democracy.
Our military intervention in Libya and Syria was complicated, but it was not in defense.
None of these countries or their leaders ever had the capacity to take over America, turn it into a dictatorship and repeal our Bill of Rights.
So stop saying things like, “Our servicemen die for your right to sit there and talk bad about this country.”
In my lifetime, the First Amendment has never been at risk of being compromised by anyone other than our own government and it hasn’t been since perhaps 1945.
Some of our military interventions might be morally justifiable. There have been times when we’ve fought for good causes. But that doesn’t mean anyone died for my right to critique this nation or its government.
Supporting our troops doesn’t mean I have to support our government sending them to places they don’t belong or killing people who don’t deserve it.
The Obama Administration recently admitted killing between 64-116 civilians with drones in a six-year span. A study conducted in 2013 revealed a half-million Iraqis civilians died as a result of our invasion of their country.
It seems to me, for the past seven decades, the rights of Americans aren’t the ones being threatened.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Let’s talk about ISIS.
Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom until 2007, admitted without the Iraq War there would be no ISIS. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, formed head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has also said the same. And even a senior ISIS commander told the Guardian the Western invasion of Iraq created conditions that made it possible for ISIS to arise. War and violence solves nothing. In fact, it perpetuates terrorism.
So before you use “killing the terrorists” to justify scoffing at my pacifism, remember our troops aren’t defending our rights. They’re creating conditions that allow for them to be taken away.