Maintenance of Freedom
Please accept my apologies for my recent lack of posting. Duty calls.
I was the CQ (Charge of Quarters) NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) a few days ago, and posted on my XO's (Executive Officer, 2nd in commmand of the Company) are 5 quotes on the door to his office. I have walked past them a hundred times, and read them a few times. I read them again, and two of them struck me. One was from John Stuart Mill.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth fighting for is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the actions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
The other one was this one:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it" - Thomas Paine
There are a number of websites, news outlets, and people out there, American citizens, who constantly malign the military, the current administration, and the cause of freedom itself.
These folks are indeed "miserable creatures." These writers are morally bereft individuals. So, I find myself in a quandary... do I attack them for their excercising of their right to free speech, a right that I have volunteered to defend?? Do I dismiss their drivel as exactly what it is, and tell myself that it is just "free speech??" I feel that some of these people write treasonously. I think that the line between free speech and treason has been blurred, and dangerously so. These writers -- and I am speaking in general terms -- portray us as a barbaric, monopolistic, and imperialistically aspiring to dominate the world. I believe we are trying to spread freedom to the oppressed. To give those masses who have been persecuted under tyrannical and murderous dictators a chance at freedom.
Now some would say I am a blind champion of freedom. To a good many Americans, this may be the case. I in no way, shape, form, or insinuation mean to offend the supporters of our cause. I do not impugne your dedication to freedom, nor do I dismiss your gratitude for my service and every other person who has ever worn the uniform as a defender of the United States of America. Freedom is sweet to those who enjoy it. Freedom is just a little sweeter to those who have fought for it. Seeing how life was, could have been, and still is, in some cases, without the things we take for granted, is an amazing eye opener. Simply visiting a Third World country may not give the insight that I feel I have gained here. Again, I do not intend to demean anyone or their experiences, but freedom's flavor is a bit more scrumptious to those who have fought for it. A keen understanding of the definition of liberty is being etched into mine and the minds of all who serve in harm's way.
But I digress... treasonous "journalism" needs to be ended. I do not have the answer, though. Prosecution immediately springs to mind. Undoubtedly, the writers, bloggers, and journalists who purvey such garbage will cry foul and flail their arms, singing out, "We are just trying to tell the truth!! There is a public need to know!!" They think that classified information should be public knowledge. For example, the New York Times recently published an article detailing CIA procedures for transporting detainees. Wrong answer. These people who commit treason through their keyboards, microphones, and cameras are no better than John Walker Lindh.
There are aspects of war that are distasteful. Distasteful, but NECESSARY. George Orwell said it best:
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
He says "violence." Killing. Inflicting pain. If inflicting pain allows us to gain a tactical or strategic advantage to protect the innocent, so be it. I also want to clarify; attacking and killing an armed and resourceful enemy in military operations is not murder. USMC 2LT Ilario Pantano's case proved that. Blowing up IEDs and shattering the body of a two year old boy IS murder.
My point is this. There are things that go on in war that "Joe Sixpack" are better off not knowing; they are done in the intrest of freedom and national security. Those who divulge information which gives aid and comfort to the enemy are traitors. Those who cover incidents or acts which, however distasteful, assist in the attainment of freedom or the ability to win wars and defeat EVIL, and see what we do as "not worth it," are uglier than words can describe.