Tomorrow is a day that most Americans will stop and remember those who have died serving our country. Even if it is in between hot dogs, beers or while firing up the grill, most will (hopefully) think of tomorrow as more than the “unofficial start of the summer” or another long weekend.
Just around 1,000 US troops in Iraq have died since last Memorial Day – 1,000 more people who have given their lives for what has become most obviously based on greed and lies, not to mention an unmitigated disaster on every level with no plan or end in sight. And as so eloquently done in Doonesbury, there will be many lists, memorials, thoughts, speeches and prayers given to not only those 1,000 fallen soldiers, but also the roughly 2,500 others before them, and (hopefully) the countless wounded troops, civilians and civilians who have lost their lives.
Sadly, there will be scant notice of the other things that we have lost – the other things that have served to defend this country for over 200 years and have been casualties in this disgrace of a “War On Terror™”. And what I want to do is pay tribute to these things – these ideals, these tenets, these basic fundamental issues that have been sacrificed so willingly (just like the troops) by those who treat the United States Constitution as mere suggestions.
Let us remember habeas corpus, which our very own Commander Guy felt wasn’t really necessary.
We should mourn the loss of our world standing, which right after 9/11 was probably at record highs. Now, thanks to “fighting them over there”, we are now looked upon as arrogant hypocritical aggressors.
We should also not forget our once high moral ground, which was lost with a whimper as then-White House Counsel and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (and his underlings) crafted ways that this administration could torture detainees.
Also lost is hope that our government will be there in our time of need. We no longer can assume that in a national emergency, even one that was predicted and clear as day, an entire region was destroyed, leaving people hungry, stranded and left for dead.
Privacy is another casualty that we should remember this weekend. Whether it be the right to make personal private medical decisions without government intervention, or whether it is the knowledge that we can’t peacefully protest without being subject to illegal wiretapping.
For the first time in generations, we can long wistfully for the days when people thought that they would be leaving a world for their children that would give them an opportunity for a better lifestyle. Add this to the fact that we can look fondly on the days when people actually thought that this country was on the right track as opposed to the wrong track.
And one of the most recent casualties, we should bow our heads in a moment of silence for the faith that their elected leaders would do the right thing when it comes to truly supporting the troops in Iraq.
Let us hope for two things this weekend – first that these ideals and basic tenets that we have lost are not lost forever. And second, that each and every one of our troops stays safe and returns quickly (unfortunately, not soon enough).