14 August 2007

Response to Patriotic Rap Video

I received a link from a relative to a patriotic rap on u-tube, by a "bad-ass" African-American marine who celebrated the patriotic willingness to sacrifice by fighting for our country. (Sorry, no link). This is my response.

I appreciate this because Americans need to be reminded ... frequently ... that only a small group of people are willing to actually serve the nation in the military. We treat our military without nearly enough honor, especially in the way they are underpaid and receive inadequate services, despite taking risks and suffering death and injury at rates that most Americans would never voluntarily accept. That's one of the reasons why I am a strong supporter of much better pay for our military, including Guard and Reserves; more guarantees that they will not be aked to always bear the total brunt, being sent back over and over for repeat tours; more guarantees of support for themselves and their families, free education, and, especially, free medical care and adequate income for life if they suffer disabling injury. (Shamefully, reservists and national guard do not get medical care beyond two years). These are the kinds of things that brought on an era of robust prosperity and peace in the era after World War II.

But patriotic messages like the one you sent are sometimes misinterpreted as endorsement for policies which, I believe, have not only unnecessarily put servicemen and women in harm's way without their being a compelling national interest for doing so, but have actually made our country less, not more secure. Support for the troops is the right thing to do... it's also right to ask the people to sacrifice a little, at least, to make sure they are taken care of and supported in real, practical ways. But that doesn't translate to support for unwise policies that have involved America in an dangerous and ultimately counterproductive conflict in Iraq, and which seem poised to involve us in still more dangerous and unnecessary conflict in Iran and elsewhere. The military doesn't make policy, and it's a soldier's responsibility to carry out what he's asked to do; but unfortunately there is no guarantee that what they're asked to do is wise policy.

I think it's very sad that we seem to have become so determined to project military power against those who have not attacked us, nor threatened to attack us... even at the expense of prosecuting the just action against those, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who actually did attack us. We may support international action against genocide, but we must return to a policy of aggressive diplomacy; aggressive peacemaking, first and foremost, with military action always a last resort, and only to protect the vital interests of the United States, never to project power or to try to remake the world in our image. "Blessed are the peacemakers," as the Christian prophet, Jesus, said. We must always look for ways to defuse conflicts; to remove from our own actions causes of conflict and hatred towards us and others; to prevent war rather than cause it. These are the responsibilities of civilized, moral human beings everwhere and always. And for the main part, our country has upheld these ideals better than most. But I think we need a new infusion of these goals and intentions, and a major rethinking of how we can attain them.

Categorizing people as "enemies" becuase of their religion, however dangerous some of their beliefs may be, isn't helpful. Sometimes conflict is inevitable, but great care must be taken to minimize our role in causing it. This is part of our responsibility, too, as people of peaceful religions (or ideologies), who hew to decency, universality, and virtue... not violence, oppression and exclusion, as our ideals. I fear that much of what has occurred since 9/11 has failed these tests. It's time for a completely new vision of where we're headed and how we can and should best relate in the world, including how to best respond to the real threats that do exist.

1 comment:

  1. Since the GOP and Bush had control our Service Men and Women have been short changed. Military housing is rat infested. Many of our Military families have to rely on food stamps to feed thier famlies. Then if they become disabled and get out and have to rely on the VA is only gets worse.


Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.