I’ve received a comment on the “Bumper Sticker Mayhem: Freedom Isn’t Free?” post. I thought it warranted its own post as a response:
Would you disagree, if it wasn’t for the military in WWII, your post would be spoken in German or Japanese? They paid with their lives so you can still speak English and live in the great USA.
Yes, you “got your money back”, but the ones getting it back to you died in the process. That’s the cost of freedom.
Where do people get this absurd idea that if the United States lost World War II to the Germans and/or Japanese, the citizens would have to adopt their language? Why do people think that we would have suddenly lost all of our culture and taken on our captors’ culture?
Furthermore, what makes you think that the Germans would have been able to conquer the United States? It’s a huge landmass with a huge population with a culture rooted in individual liberty (especially at the time). If there were an invasion with the intent of occupation, would Americans have just sat back and let the Germans take over and recognize their authority over them as legitimate?
Believe it or not, the Germans on several occasions laid out plans to invade the United States, but they decided against it each time. There are so many guns in this country owned by people who would not give up their liberty and property very easily that the German army would have been slaughtered. 3% of the population in the colonies fought against the British—the strongest power in the world at the time—and won. It’s ironic that so many nationalistic patriots think so little of their own countrymen in this regard.
Whose freedom exactly was being protected during World War II? It certainly wasn’t the 110,000 Japanese-Americans placed in concentration camps along the Pacific Coast in World War II. Liberty and justice for all, right?
None of this so far has much to do with whether or not the United States was justified in entering World War II (which in some minds seems to automatically justify entering every war since then). Keeping its own citizens free is not always the reason a country enters a war. Had the United States not entered World War II (even after the bombing of Pearl Harbor), would the country have been taken over by foreign invaders? I don’t think so. If you do think so, please explain how and why that would have happened.
“Freedom isn’t free” is a rather empty slogan meant to stir up emotion for support of an unjustified war. It’s a thought-terminating cliché. Soldiers have also been given this untouchable hero status, paying no mind to what they actually did during their time in the Armed Forces. Both of these ideas are supposed to make it very uncomfortable to say anything ill of the country’s foreign policy since the soldiers are the ones actually carrying out the policy. Even those people who are against the wars we’ve been fighting will say something like: “I don’t support this war in Afghanistan, but I support the troops!” What does that even mean?
You want to point out a soldier and say, “Without him, you wouldn’t have freedom.” Well, who is trying to take my freedom away? And what has that soldier been doing to protect my freedom? How has the war in Iraq protected my freedom? Afghanistan? In reality, the American people have lost freedoms to their own government during these wars. We live in a surveillance state as a result of the policies implemented during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They seize our resources and direct them to building bombs, planes, tanks, and other war machines that produce destruction, taking them away from the things that generate wealth and prosperity.
Yes, most soldiers enter the Armed Forces because they believe that they will fight the good fight for their country and the world. Many of them die with this intention in mind. Unfortunate as this may be, their good intentions do not negate the reality that many of them have been duped. It pains me to say it, but our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters die in vain as soldiers.
The slogans and hero-worship are powerful tools. Soldiers and the men and women of the military carry out the commands of their superiors. What’s the purpose of being critical of the elites who give the orders when you cannot be critical of the soldiers carrying them out?