Hey Nephew – You’ve been talking about joining the Marines for a long time. As you know, each time that you do, I grimace and then remind you that on my side of the family, we are Air Force men. Your grandfather, your father, and I, your loving uncle, all served honorably in the USAF.
And if you have our aim, you should definitely avoid having anything to do with guns. As your grandfather has pointed out, during his pistol training, trying his hardest, he couldn’t even hit the target. Of course from that, we made note that should he ever go postal, as long as he was aiming at us we should be completely safe.
You joined the Marines and are expected to begin active duty soon, but can decline at any time before your report date.
You did, however, grant me an open ear to dissuade you. And that is what I intend to do. If this doesn’t do it, then I’ll have to come up with a better plan. But if I fail to convince you not to do this thing, I will respect your decision as I have respected the decision of another nephew who previously joined the Army.
I was just old enough to have to register with the draft board during the Vietnam days. I complied. I was very opposed to our involvement in that war. I decided that I would not serve in the military in any capacity and if drafted, I would relinquish my citizenship and move to another country. Conventional wisdom suggests that wars and killing can be “just,” but there was nothing coming close to that in ‘Nam.
It turned out that I was never called to duty, but years later I voluntarily joined the military. I followed orders and did my best to do a good job. If you do decide to join, I know that you will do the same. And under the present circumstances, that’s exactly why I don’t want you to join.
Let me say that I have nothing but respect and gratitude for those serving in America’s armed services. I don’t say that because it is so politically correct to say it. I say it because I have been there.
Here’s the way I see it – If you join the Marines, you will undoubtedly spend time in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Let’s take a very abbreviated look at both:
America invaded Iraq because of the supposed threat of hidden WMD, because of the supposed Al Qaeda presence and because of the supposed threat of Iraq’s future actions against America.
Hitler pointed out that the bigger the lie, the more likely that the people will believe it. Man, he sure was right.
There were no weapons of mass destruction. Al Qaeda wasn’t there. And we did a most un-American thing by making a pre-emptive strike against, at best, a mouse that might roar.
Of course, Al Qaeda is there now – our presence made sure of that.
Of course, we will be enmeshed in Iraq forever.
Frankly Francis score: Unjust War 1 – Just War 0
We very quickly invaded Afghanistan after the despicable acts of terror on September 11, 2001. The “supposed” purpose was to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice and remove the Al Qaeda supporting Taliban. Well almost 10 years later that’s sure worked out swell, wouldn’t you say? It’s at best another forever presence that will accomplish nothing.
Frankly Francis score: Unjust War 2 – Just War 0
Frankly Francis Side Note: And as long as I’ve mentioned our Enemy Number One, Sarah Palin has recently suggested that we hunt down the WikiLeaks front man like Bin Laden. Seriously, or at least as seriously as one can take that statement, that should make the guy feel pretty safe and comfortable…
That’s Not the Worst of It
The number of innocent civilians killed by the U.S. military is staggering. And I say this carefully and with the utmost of respect, but even conservatively, they are so massive that they make the number of innocents lost on 9/11 miniscule in comparison.
Maybe, underneath it all, it is revenge we are seeking…and if so, what is the ratio of other innocent deaths to our innocent deaths that we must achieve? 1:1, 2:1, 5:1, 10:1? We are already far above those ratios. So how many more innocent people must die to avenge our loss?
Perhaps There’s Worse Than That
The innocent civilians that survive American attacks have this nasty tendency to want revenge against us. Thus, our very actions are creating more terrorists. YIKES!
I can only imagine, but it must be very difficult to kill another human being, even if they have it coming. To kill innocent people must make life unbearable.
Your well intentioned uncle knows that you would never choose to suffer the blood of innocents at your own hands. But if you join, at best you will be much closer to that process and at worst, a direct part.
And while I know that innocent casualties occur in any conflict, I can’t help but think that it is worse when the war was not just to begin with.
Again, I’ll respect your decision to join the military, but I urge you to consider my thoughts before you go off to war.
There’s much being made about having your privates groped or doing a radiated digital strip tease in order to board an airplane these days. Emotions are running high on both sides of the issue.
Has it really come to this?
So how did it come to this?
Social and political issues are not typically one-offs. They are usually part of an intertwined pattern of events and circumstances… actions and reactions.
This is how I sort it:
America has had its hand in foreign countries for a long while now. Post World War II, American foreign aid in rebuilding decimated nations and economies was certainly noteworthy. America was viewed pretty well throughout the world.
It went to our heads.
We decided that we knew better.
We felt a deep obligation to mold the world in our own image.
America began meddling in affairs of other countries using money to get its way, commencing military affairs and even using black ops assassination teams. We began an all out effort to deploy our military everywhere. We propped up tyrants at the expense of their citizens. We became involved in combat operations all over the place. America made a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. From there we began openly utilizing methods of interrogation that involve torture.
Some people do not like being subjected to the atrocities committed by their puppet government held in place by the Americans. Some people resent the fact that American military actions result in the deaths of their innocent loved ones. Some religious folks truly believe that American presence on their soil is sacrilegious to their beliefs.
Some of all of these types of people had their lives so shattered by American actions in their lands that they vowed to make America hurt. Terrorism resulted.
That’s the way it works – you get in somebody’s face, they get back in yours. Guaranteed blowback.
For the record, I strongly condemn the initiation of violence.
Well as it turns out, we still have this wonderful, if not completely forgotten and misused document known as the constitution which very clearly states that the federal government is responsible to the people for the defense of America – note the word “defense.” It also clearly states that Americans cannot be subjected to unreasonable search.
We the people need to understand that when we gave up our liberty, the terrorists won.
Now try this on:
Isn’t it ironic that when America is the world’s most powerful country, that we are actually more at risk and more afraid to live on our own soil? All of our great power and force has only brought violence directly to us.
Here’s Bill Bonner’s take:
We’ve never been mistreated by an agent of the TSA. Bullied, yes. Threatened, yes. They’ve been impolite on occasion. We’ve been patted down so vigorously we didn’t know whether to leave a tip or lodge a complaint.
But we try to maintain a sense of humor.
“The trouble with you, is you just don’t get it,” said a paranoid friend lately. “Can’t you see? This TSA has nothing to do with keeping out bad guys. It’s about keeping us in. They’re not really there to make the airlines safer. Instead, it is just a preparation. They are getting Americans accustomed to following orders, standing in line, and acting like half-wits. They are also training up a whole class of goons. These guys don’t ask whether it really makes sense to pat down girl scouts and look at old ladies naked. They just do whatever they’re told to do. And they probably enjoy it.
“There are always some people like that – ready to be concentration camp guards and exterminators. The TSA program helps the authorities identify these people.”
“Why”” we asked.
“Who knows…maybe they just want power. Maybe they just want a docile population so they can do what they want.”
A few years back we took a family trip to NYC. We were selected for the enhanced search. As American citizens with no cause for suspicion, I was humiliated when I saw my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law’s arms out in the “airplane” position. I understood how the Nazis pulled off the Holocaust.
I get the feeling that a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that submitting to the government mandates is necessary for the privilege of flying. But Americans never sacrifice their constitutional rights to the government.
As bizarre as it seems today, in truth, it is the government’s obligation to protect our rights – not take them away.
When you board a plane, if you have not given the authorities reasonable grounds to search you, then they cannot legally search you. It’s that simple. It really is. Seriously, it really is.
And I don’t want to hear that tired line, “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.” The very existence of that line gives one much to fear.
If you believe that the government’s rules and actions are protecting you, I would respectfully ask you to think that through again.
I’ve heard some comments from those in support of cooperating with invasive body inspections that if someone doesn’t want to go through the procedure, that’s OK – they should take another mode of transportation. I would suggest that if you are willing to give up your liberty by complying with unconstitutional actions then it is you who should find another mode of transportation.
Don’t let them touch your liberty.
P.S. I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the following demonstration of the radiation strip scanners, but on the surface it seems reasonable. Be forewarned that it is graphic and should not be watched if you are sensitive to reality.