David Masciotra, over at Salon (If you have an interest in self torture, I’ll let you seek the article out for yourself.), wrote an article just in time for Veteran’s Day. In that article, he makes several claims – the most notable of which are these: “You don’t protect my freedom,” and American soldiers do not necessarily deserve even respect, much less worship.
To the first claim, I call BS. Maybe he is right when he says that America has not fought a war to preserve our freedom in 70 years. I don’t agree, but even if we assume that he is right, there is a simple flaw in his argument. That flaw? It doesn’t matter. It does not matter if not one single American soldier has literally died in a war fought for his specific freedoms.
Why? Because their willingness and preparedness to do so is what prevented his freedom from being threatened in the first place. In the same way that immunizations don’t “save your life” from disease, but rather prevent you from catching the disease.
If you look at human warfare as a pestilence – as this gentleman seems to do – the mere presence of a strong volunteer fighting force has served for many years as an inoculation against attacks against Americans on American soil. Simply put: no one has had to die protecting his freedom simply because anyone who is willing to threaten it knows the consequences of doing so.
And while Mr. Masciotra works himself into a lather over all that, he completely glosses over the sacrifices made on his behalf even when American soldiers aren’t necessarily tasked with “dying to protect his freedom.”
He doesn’t have to fear repercussions (beyond a quick deconstruction of his poor arguments and quasi-intellectual criticisms) when he posts his misguided opinions and asserts them as fact. He’s not going to be arrested (yet) for dissent. And why is that? Because good men stand ready to do great harm on his behalf.
About those men (and women):
They routinely spend holidays and special occasions away from family and friends.
They miss birthdays and anniversaries, first steps, first words, and sometimes even the births of their children.
They live in conditions that would make low-income housing inspectors blush – and then they deploy and have to live in tents.
They move without question when the orders come.
And they do these things – by choice, mind you – for a great deal less than the “living wage” being advocated by so many progressives today.
To Mr. Masciotra’s second point, that soldiers and law enforcement do not deserve blind allegiance and hero worship: I partially agree.
There are soldiers who are not deserving of honor. There are dirty cops. And guess what? We all already knew that.
Valuing and celebrating our troops in general does not mean that we automatically assume that every man who wears the uniform is honorable.
There are teachers who abuse their students. Do we not still value those who choose to educate our children?
There are doctors who kill their patients. Do we not still respect those who use their hands to heal and to save lives?
There are lawyers who dishonestly defend rapists and pedophiles. Do we not still respect those court officers who uphold the law?
The point Masciotra misses is that for every dishonorable soldier, there are hundreds of thousands who signed their names on that line, willing to stand between him and a bullet despite his willingness to throw them under the bus.
And we should celebrate them, even if he doesn’t.