January 27, 2005


Bunker found an MSNBC headline that galled him, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind:
Freedom -- At What Cost?

If you even have to ask, you don't grok.

I have always been free. Many, like Zeyad and Ziggy, have not, and they know the value of freedom firsthand. And though I have never had that value tested, I know what it's worth. It's worth sending my husband downrange, it's worth living alone for a year, and it's worth -- heaven help me -- becoming a widow, a fate worse than my own death. It's worth everything.

Jefferson said that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." If you don't understand that feeling, this war on terror is going to be rough for you. If you don't understand that 1400 Americans have died for a cause far greater than their individual accomplishments, then the next decade is going to be very long.

Perhaps in the meantime you could read What Are We Fighting For?

John Hawkins asked a phenomenal question a few weeks ago about immortality va. anonymity:

If you had a choice, would you rather be Leonidas, the king who died fighting in the Spartans' immortal stand at Themopolae against the Persians or Xenolas, the unknown Greek farmer who died at 90? Would it be better to be Davy Crockett who died fighting at the Alamo or Phineas Hogenbottom, a banker no one has ever heard of? Is it better to be Bob Wilson, nameless family man, or Nathan Hale who said, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country" before he swung?

I can say that I will never forget the names Tyler Prewitt, Sean Sims, and Gunnar Becker. They gave everything for freedom, used their blood to refresh that tree of liberty that is taking root in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only way we honor their sacrifice is by understanding what an asinine headline that is.

Freedom -- At Any Cost

Posted by Sarah at January 27, 2005 11:39 AM


Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2005 12:50 PM

When I see headlines like that or hear someone say 'closing firehouses in America to open them in Baghdad' I cringe at how selfish and isolated they sound. Freedom at all costs.

Posted by: Kathleen A at January 27, 2005 01:28 PM

Sarah - very well said. It's pretty presumpuous and condescending of people who have never not been free to say that Iraqis were better off under Saddam.

Posted by: Toni at January 27, 2005 01:52 PM

Yeah...I wrote a post today about something I saw at MSNBC yesterday: a poll asking: "If you were an Iraqi, would you risk your life to vote Sunday?" I clicked "yes" thinking I would be in the majority...WRONG. Apparently, most of the poll takers wouldn't. They would rather cower at home, and blame others, and hope for things to "die down". I hope that just represents MSNBC readers, and not the majority of Americans, otherwise that would be pretty damn pathetic. Hopefully Iraqis will prove to value choice more.

Posted by: calivalleygirl at January 27, 2005 02:01 PM

Well seeing as our soldiers are fighting this immoral, illegal and unethical war in Iraq because of a lie it has nothing to do with our American freedom. In fact, it has made our freedoms less safe.

Posted by: good to go at January 27, 2005 05:17 PM

Uh, it's not about OUR freedom. You dipstick. Guess we can put you on the list as someone who would rather die in bed at ninety drooling on your sheets in the nursing home. Enjoy your self-limited existence. Tyler Prewitt, Sean Sims and Gunnar Becker - thank you and your families for grokking.

Posted by: Oda Mae at January 27, 2005 05:32 PM

"not about OUR freedom"?

Boy am I laughing at you now. You are so dumb you think that I am paying taxes so that some criminal gang in Washington can use the military I pay for to kill people in the name of some foreign country's freedom? NOT.

Posted by: good to go at January 27, 2005 06:29 PM

Wow. Can anybody help me with the paradox that comes from feeling both intensely proud of my country (see: Prewitt, Sims, Becker) and indescribably disgusted with it (see "good to go", New York Times, most network TV) at the same time?

There're a few ways you can read the third-grade-level writing from "good to go"'s last post, but I privately hope it means he doesn't plan on paying his taxes to the "criminal gang in Washington." That way, if the universe has any sense of justice at all, he can discover how an absense of freedom feels (and what it's like to be the girlfriend of a guy named "Bubba") first-hand.

Posted by: James at January 27, 2005 08:00 PM


Dont be ashamed of "Good to go" He has no honor, no understanding of what it means to believe in anything. We in the profession of arms are here to provide good to go with his security and deep down it galls him. These types will always be amoung us so its best not to dwell on them

Posted by: cptham at January 27, 2005 08:45 PM

You guys really are hilarious charactatures of patriots. But let me clue you clowns in: supporting an illegal, immoral and unethical war does not make you patriotic; it makes you a partisan republican. If you would only put your countries interest above your partisan agenda then perhaps we could respect you. But I don't see that happening, do you?

Posted by: good to go at January 27, 2005 11:10 PM

Beautifully said, Sarah. Your eloquence and ability to grok amaze me every time.

Posted by: Erin at January 27, 2005 11:38 PM

Repeating ignorant phrases like "immoral, unjust and illegal" about a war authorized by the United Nations Security Council and both houses of Congress doesn't create a position of patriotic, let alone informed, dissent.

Since you're good to go, just do it.

Posted by: Rev. Churchmouse at January 28, 2005 03:33 AM

So why was freedom in Iraq so unique? There were worse tyrannies at the time and there still are. We are doing little or nothing elsewhere. In Uzbekistan dissidents have been boiled alive, but GWB considers Karimov a "good friend," and is giving them financial aid. Burma has one of the worst records of human rights violations and the government forces its citizens into slave labor, but for some reason we aren't planning the invasion. Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam et al. jail dissidents, and crush any movements that promote freedom.

Bush said we were going in because they were a threat to the U.S., which was an obviously ridiculous claim at the time. Trying to pretend that we went in to bring freedom is just a way of trying to wave your hands around to try to distact from the real reason we are there - the false claim that Hussein had WMD. The war was unjustified, and has disgraced our nation.

Even that hand waving is unfounded, BTW. The U.S. trained Iraqi police force has been caught torturing prisoners, kidnapping family members of suspected criminals, and doing a number of other things that are not done in a free nation. Don't kid yourself, Iraqis aren't free now (Martial Law is still imposed an many cities), and whether they will be any time soon is not a give.

Posted by: VOT at January 28, 2005 04:57 AM

Illegal? ILLEGAL?

Please cite the law.

The UN resolution which ended the Gulf war gave authority TO ANY COUNTRY to oust Saddam if he failed to comply.

Beyond that, what laws do you mean? International Law? Doesn't exist.

Posted by: Bunker at January 28, 2005 08:02 PM

Sarah - You said it best in your second sentence.

"If you even have to ask, you don't grok."

Given the source of the word Grok, that brings a whole new meaning to "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" ;-)

Posted by: Barb at January 28, 2005 09:38 PM

Burma has one of the worst records of human rights violations and the government forces its citizens into slave labor, but for some reason we aren't planning the invasion.

Well, let's put them on the list. Before or after Syria, do you think?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 29, 2005 01:04 AM

If only it were as simple as putting a country on our 'list.' In fact, if I lived in a country that needed international 'assistance,' the U.S. list is the last list I would hope to be added to. Bush has two ways of dealing with things: reluctantly throwing money around in an effort to dampen criticism, and bombing people. I don't disagree with the fact that our country and its people need to be protected at all costs, but I hate the fact that the policy is being carried out in such a haphazard fashion. It also doesn't help that Bush is about as intelligent as a pack mule.

Posted by: ted at January 29, 2005 06:20 PM

Sarah: you grok. I would never recommend the following book to any soldiers' spouse unless they grok as well as you do, but you really should read "Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield. Do yourself the favor of reading through all the set up to get to the punchline, when the king reveals how he selected which Spartans would go to fight at Thermopylae. He grokked back then, just as you do now. Warfare hasn't changed as much as one would think....

Posted by: MajMike at February 4, 2005 04:47 PM