Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, USA

A few weeks ago, we had some work done on our home to 1) remove bats and flying squirrels and 2) keep them from coming back. The man who did the work told me that he had been home from Iraq from about a year and a half. Coincidentally, one of our Terminix service guys, a military policeman, had orders to go back in August.

At some point I Googled our Critter Control guy. I needed his phone number and was too lazy to go through our paperwork looking for it. Instead, I found this article. Holy crap, I thought. The guy fixing our house has a Bronze Star?

Later that week, when he returned, we got to talking. Let's just say this man has very strong ideas about the war. Ideas that made me think. At one point he said, "The Iraqi people deserve their chance at freedom." That brought me up short. It had nothing to do with the president or vice president or their aides, nothing to do with anything except unadulterated altruism. The Iraqi people deserve a chance. If they choose against it, at least they had a choice. Isn't that what the United States is all about?

He didn't change my mind about the overall shenanigans in Washington, the lies that brought us to Iraq in the first place in an appalling case of ends not-quite-justifying the means. Closer to my view is this excellent op-ed by Keith Olbermann, who gave me chills when he ended his address with "Good night, and good luck." (Anyone see that movie? He really did evoke Murrow last night. Yes, folks, there's one broadcast journalist left who cares, and lets people know it.) Olbermann summed up my feelings nicely, about people in power who take full advantage of the fact that Americans are more interested in shopping and Paris Hilton than they are about, well, very much of anything else.

Thanks to a humble service provider, I can understand better when I see the families of dead servicemen telling us that their soldiers "died for freedom." Now I realize that's true, even if their deaths also happened to line someone else's pockets. It's with that in mind that I feel I can celebrate our country's birthday for the first time in years. I love the United States, the fact that the most important thing about democracy is the matter of choice - the free will that God Himself bestowed on us when He created us. Too bad the Islamist extremists don't recognize that choice in their interpretations of God.


Blogger Meg said...

It always has been about the restrictions that the Islamic extremists would place on freedom, not just those of their own country, but on us, as well, if they get that chance. That "Americans are more interested in shopping and Paris Hilton than they are about...anything else," suggests that maybe we *deserve* to lose that freedom -- except that I don't especially care to live that way. I'm glad that your pest-control guy put his finger on the real point of this particular war.

BTW, I've always wondered what happened to the one report I *did* see, about three years ago, of the finding of a cache of nerve gas -- about five drums of it, enough to cause reasonable catastrophe. Definitely a weapon of mass destruction, but what's more dangerous -- the weapons, or the fact that the story was swept under the rug in order to fulfill a political agenda?

4/7/07 10:59 AM  
Blogger Mary Louisa said...

Yeah. I'm incensed at Bush's imperious attitude. I always have been, though. Not that I'm more interested in her than in my country's future, but if Paris Hilton can serve 23 days for driving with a suspended license, then Libby should at least get sent to his room without supper for exposing a CIA operative, right?

D and I remembered Bush saying early on that when found, the rat should be prosecuted "to the fullest extent." HOWEVER, when we Googled that, we found that Bush's press secretary actually said Bush felt it should be PURSUED to the fullest extent. Hmmmm. He knew, even then, that it was one of his buddies.

4/7/07 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

My brother is active military so I say this with no disrespect towards anyone currently serving. I understand that they are following orders.

But. (insert throat clearing)

You know what the Iraqis deserve more than freedom? Life. And peace. Our efforts in Iraq aren't bringing peace, they're inciting death. And that includes our own people.

This Fourth, I grieve for the families of soldiers who are never coming back. My colleague at work just got her husband back safely - he was National Guard (a lawyer) who was sent over for TWO terms. It's desperation at this point, not winning freedom.

I love our country. I respect our military. My younger brother is active, my older brother is retired. Several cousins, uncles and my grandfather (and great-grandfather) all served our country. And I applaud their sacrifice and courage.

And I still absolutely hate this war.

6/7/07 12:56 PM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/7/07 6:38 AM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

Patti, you didn't have to remove your post. :)

I didn't say I agreed with him... I said he made me think. That I can understand his perspective where I didn't before. I hoped that including the Olbermann link had made my views clear, but maybe not.

Like Kelly, I respect what the soldiers are trying to do over there - the best they can with what they have, which isn't very much. I hate that no matter what they end up doing, it will be perceived as losing. And I hate that the politicians just. don't. care.

This soldier did, and does, care. That's what caught my attention. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong. But it's rare to see that level of passion anymore - same for Olbermann - as I said, most people care more about shopping. And who gets passionate about that?

8/7/07 9:37 AM  

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