(This post began as a response to a commentor on another blog, who wrote : "Clever form of protest, too bad it doesn't bother to honor the soldiers' choice.
I'd wager that most of the soldiers he's protesting for, died fighting for something this protestor doesn't even want to admit - freedom. Therefore, the protestor is giving a false voice to many of those that have died. )"
People die in combat because they do not want to--cannot--desert their buddies when the shit falls. It's what they teach you in basic training and what you learn to believe--else you do not go far in that profession.
And as their life's blood drains (or, frequently, spurts) into the sand, the dying are not exulting: 'I died for freedom!' Mainly, according to Chaplains who've been there too often, they just want their mothers. (I imagine Casey Sheehan's last thoughts were of his mother, if he had time at all to regard his death. For which reason, foremost among many, I support Cindy Sheehan in whatsoever anti-war activity she pursues.)
The 'freedom' part is the propaganda frame that gets attached when the inconvenient questions start, about why they were somewhere getting killed together to begin with. The 'Freedom' flag is what they wave to distract, and to try to explain away the inconvenient, if self-evident, fact that their war is not at ALL like the exciting, vivid (expensive) computer 'game' with which the militarists are now using as a recruiting tool wo entrap their their cannon fodder.
Personally, I admire the scholar/artist/activist Joseph DeLapp. He logs onto (logs-on to?) the USer Army's virtual battlefield game--I think it's generically called a 'first-person shooter'--chooses the 'won't fight' option and signs in in the name of one of the USer dead from the war. He says he does it in part as a protest against the expenditure of his taxes for the blatant, militarist propaganda. He objects, and uses the nodes the system hands him to tweak back.
I object that there is no lower age limit on the game template, too. Little kids play 'fps' gmes all the time. There is no reason that, with all the help they're getting from the "private' sector gamers and their relentless pursuit of the perfect vicarious, violent death, the Army should be spending my taxes to entice pre-teens 'eat the Emperor's salt' before they've even earned their first full meal.
I, too, object--to put it mildly--that military recruiters are given special access to students' records beginning in upper grade schools: as early as 6th and 7th grades. I object to the disingenuous tone of the ads which are everywhere, posing as public service announcements, wherein voices of 'the troops' extol their contribution to peace and freedom. Peace and freedom are the LAST things the military has any desire to see accomplished. Peace and freedom come, and the military are outta work.
The USofA's dirty secret is that militarism has completely invaded and overtaken USer life. There is hardly a community of any size or substance in the whole country which does not have some "defense" industry component nearby 'contributing to the economy'. Every contribution is vote in the House for the next "defense" bill. "Defense" is the most abused word in the entire USer political lexicon.
Read Chalmers Johnson for example.
Ever since the Revolution, militarism has always been recognized by small-d democrats to constitute one of the biggest threats to small-r republican democracy in the USofA--if it is not already too late, and the threat is now made real and even now slouching like some rude beast out of the desert: Iraqi or Sonoran, it matters little.
This is how Empires look and feel.
Alia jacta est.
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