By Doug Newman, Storekeeper First Class, US Naval Reserve, Retired

May 31, 2010

To the veterans of the United States Armed Forces:

For 235 years, you have answered the call to lay down your life in defense of freedom. You have embodied the words of Jesus in John 15:13.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Unlike so many of those who sold us our wars, you actually had the fortitude to risk life and limb.

In just the last century, you have gone off to Flanders Fields, Omaha Beach, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Hamburger Hill, Fallujah and the caves of Afghanistan to fight and bleed and die.

Why? You will say that you did it so that your countrymen could live and breathe in freedom.

And how did we thank you? How did we “support” you?

We have erected a government that has given us, among many other things:

And don't even get me going on these worse-than-damnable porno scanners that are being introduced in airports across America and the enhanced molestation techniques that are practiced on those brave and patriotic souls who opt out of being digitally strip-searched..

Oh sure, we sing songs and wave flags as you march down Main Street. But our actions speak 1000 times more loudly than our words.

Yes, we still have a measure of liberty. And, no, we are not North Korea. At least not yet. As a high school teacher of mine used to say, we have one foot on the banana peel and the other foot in the grave. Too many of us buy into left-wing and/or right-wing fear mongering and are willing to give up what remains of our liberty.

While you fought and bled and died for this liberty, we gave so much of it away. And this was going on for a long time before our current president took office.

Propaganda is a powerful thing. You did what you thought was right at the time. You were lied to and you were used. Most of those who beat the war drums the loudest, especially nowadays, never did a single day in the military. In the timeless words of General Patton, they know as much about real battle as they do about fornicating.

Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, won the Congressional Medal of Honor not once but twice. He would eventually proclaim that “War is a Racket.” He wrote:

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many...”

War is not what it seems to most people. Our current conflicts are cases in point. It has been centuries since a Muslim country conquered a non-Muslim country. A few thousand gangbangers who do not even control the government of Afghanistan are not going to come and take over the mightiest economic and military power on earth. Our liberty is not at all threatened by "radical Islam", but rather by the establishment that has ruled this country for close to a century.

The greatest threat of all comes from the millions of Americans who have allowed this establishment so much power with no regard to the consequences.

I was such a person until I started waking up in 1991.

It was never your duty to keep us free. Your proper duty - a noble and dignified one - is to defend our borders and shorelines. It is the up to We the People to keep ourselves free. We have been horribly derelict in this duty.

Shame on us.

We don’t deserve you.

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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman