Dissent and Free Speach versus Nationalism and Loyalty to US Policies
The Military responsibility is to be prepared to pursue a course of violence.
The Civilian responsibility is to pursue the course of peace.
I recently received by email a letter that was being circulated and purportedly written by a young man shortly before he was killed in Iraq. In essence, the message was that those exercising dissent against that conflict and advocating an end to our military involvement are aiding the insurgents; that the protests are traitorous.
One difference between the young soldier and myself is that I was once twenty years old, with two whole decades of experience under my belt; but he has never been fifty. I know that all warriors must believe in the honorable role they play in service to our democracy. All warriors do not, however, accept the premise that the citizen must not openly question and guide policy decisions made by our government.
The letter succeeded well in espousing the view of those painting true concern for the troops as abetting the enemy, true patriots as traitors, and truth itself as subservient to nationalism. But the message is inaccurate.
Shame on those who would exploit the young man's naivety to their own political ends. For the message is wrong. The message is bad.
Who says so?! What is good and right says so.
"Those who work to bring peace are happy, because God will call them his children."- Matthew 5:9.
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."- Amendment I, US Constitution
Pray for the blessing of peace on the soldier.
Pray the civilians will find commitment to their responsibility.
J. John MixSon, 2008
For those who question my standing in the matter, I offer this, of which my community is well aware:
On September 4, 2007, my 21 year old son lost four of his comrades, both legs, and his left elbow to an insurgent attack in Baghdad.
He enlisted because he thought to help protect the American way of life, in which the freedom to open dissent will not be quashed; a legacy for which he and many of those close to him have honorably sacrificed.
The only right to this letter that I reserve is the integrity of its wording.