Letter to the Editor: ‘Freedom’ often poorly defined

“They fight to protect our freedom”… the most hollow expression since, “I’m not a crook,” which Checkers knew wasn’t true.
Exactly which freedoms, you might ask, and specifically how do they relate to a foreign war? Why choose one particular battle, when potentially there are so many of them? What motivates men in comfortable, non-combatant roles to send someone other than themselves to stir up trouble, get ripped apart and die of shock from loss of blood? Those questions rarely find answers.
Discretionary or preemptive invasion doesn’t necessarily protect or advance a two-syllable word, a fuzzy feeling, an intangible, as if defending gravity or sunsets. Clarity would take too long and require thought. We’d need context, insight and maybe some knowledge of human behavior.
Clearly, the Supreme Court will defend freedom once in awhile, which is done unarmed and free of aggression.
The troops, meanwhile, depend on technology and firepower, which should impress rice or poppy growers wherever they are. Foreign indigenous peoples, we believe, must envy Episcopalians, Walmart and the 4th of July, as if living without CNN and Fox leaves you deprived.
The actual threat to The Bill of Rights and Constitution comes from citizen voters, who endanger themselves when they habitually swear by six-word slogans or Russian Tweets. Without a World War it’s a stretch, the connection between nationalist pride, and exchanging grenades in the dark. What, incidentally, are the 3rd, 5th and 7th Amendments we’re dying to defend? We, the people, should invade ignorance and restore education to protect us from ourselves.
Foreigners are unlikely to capture Fort Knox, even if conspirators imagine a plot. Why not preemptively invade Catalonia and make sure they know where we stand on self-indulgence? Ego, insecurity, riches and delusion, fear and loathing are important to our self-importance. As we know, certain golf courses are “really, really great” by virtue of their ownership.
Freedom is the opioid that numbs and inspires, that generates hostilities, wealth and careers. Send in the willing troops, nameless and expendable. Be pleased.
Free Fire Zones, by the way, result in people who flee and become by default reluctant combatants, and part of our endless strategic experiment, our preordained destiny and the cost of doing business.
At the same time keep the carnage out of sight, and what could be better? Place moral indignation, patriotism, greed, hypocrisy and power into a pot. Stir over low heat timelessly. You get foreign policy.
While attempting to identify which ones were the faithful and which ones were foe, Simon IV of Montfort said in 1209, “Kill them all.” It made perfect sense to him. He thought they wouldn’t mind.
What we believe is like Swiss cheese, full of holes, but it tastes good in a sandwich.
Alexander Lyall, veteran

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